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Forever and Ever

I am a product of the Novus Ordo Mass. I grew up thinking negatively of the Latin Mass. In class, I was taught that the ancient Mass was not understood by the people. And they don't participate with the priest, instead they privately prayed the Holy Rosary. So I thought that  the people were very distant from the Eucharist.


The Latin Mass. Photo source
My teacher said something like, "When I was young, I attended the Latin Mass with my grandparents. During the whole ritual, I didn't understand much of what was said. The only phrase that I learned to say was 'Saecula saeculorum', which means 'Forever and ever'. When the priest says that, the response would be 'Amen'."

I was taught that the Vatican II Mass repaired this "people not participating" ideology. And I viewed it from a positive sense. This Novus Ordo Mass made the people participate in the ritual. They're not praying private Rosaries anymore, they sing and respond to the priest. I even came to the point of thinking "Thank God", for the new rite of the Mass.

Well, I had no complains back in High School. I participated well in the Novus Ordo Mass, just like what a student of a Catholic school would do. Then came college, at this point in time, I realized that the Holy Mass was starting to feel empty. There was something lacking to it. I couldn't truly pray with the priest. Instead, my mind would wander off into daydreams. The Vatican II Mass felt hollow and boring.

Now, let's proceed to the next phase: when I started working. At this point, I already had it with the Novus Ordo Mass. I hated the parts where either the priest or the song leader would say, 'Let's clap our hands for the Lord' or 'Greet your seatmate 'good morning''. Worst of all is this: 'Please sit for a while for some announcements'. Isn't this supposed to be a Holy Mass, and not the community's meeting de avance?

*facepalm*

Clearly, there was something wrong with it. There was no essence of prayer anymore. But still, I can't imagine being far from God so I still attended the Novus Ordo Mass. What choice do I have? But not without a lot of facepalms.  

*facepalm*facepalm*

If you love God and if you're sincere in seeking Him, He will find a way to guide you to the right path. At one point in time, I was commissioned by my priest uncle to write about the 'Beauty of the Latin Mass'. Of course, as a writer, I needed to experience it for myself in order for me to write something about it. Research on paper just wouldn't be enough.

Suddenly, I found myself agreeing to attend a Latin Mass. Call me crazy, but hey, I also thought to myself before I set foot in the church, "Hey, it's in Latin. I don't understand the language, so why participate in it? I will just follow what the people do. If they sit, I will sit. If they stand, I will stand." 

So I donned a white veil and sat on the pew. A few minutes later, a single bell of a gong was heard. Everybody stood up and the priest with the servers started to walk to the altar. No singing, just revered silence. Then everybody knelt. When the priest spoke in Latin, they all responded... in Latin. 

And me, who knelt in silence, didn't feel lost. A sense of completeness filled me. I belonged in that moment.  I didn't pray the Holy Rosary privately as what the people of the olden times did. Instead, I felt a deep desire to participate, even if I didn't know any Latin.

Then from out of the blue, I heard the faraway voice of my High School teacher: "Saecula saeculorum means Forever and ever. And the response to it is Amen." 

For the whole of the Holy Mass, that was the phrase I only understood and responded to. I was silent at most the parts where I didn't know. I was able to pray and my mind didn't drift to daydreams. I felt the profound presence of the Eucharist.

It was very solemn. No claps, no announcements. Very sincere and beautiful this old ritual of the Mass. It is unfair to judge this ancient rite negatively just because of its language. No Mass in English or in the vernacular can ever beat what the Latin Mass did to me. What was lacking in the Novus Ordo Mass, I found it in the Latin Mass. 

There was depth, respect, faith, everything that makes a prayer. In the Latin Mass, you may not understand anything but you will just know. You need to experience it for yourself to know what I'm talking about. See, you just have to believe. Now, that is Faith. 

A photo posted by Angel Mariel (@myangelmariel) on




Now that I have been attending the Latin Mass for quite some time, I have come to know the prayer which started it all...

GLORIA PATRI, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum.
Amen.

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