Sunday, July 01, 2007

I Think I Have the Answer

Now, if someone would just ask me the question!

I've been thinking about the Mass lately. With the talk of renewed use of the Tridentine Rite, the subject seems to be popping up a lot lately.

People in favor of the Tridentine Rite Mass see it as a way of bringing reverence back into the Mass, something which many people feel is lacking these days. And I suppose a Mass where everything seemed fairly solemn and mysterious would have a certain reverence to it, almost by default.

But then I think that shouldn't our worship be one that includes fellowship and songs of praise and thanksgiving. I know I enjoy that. And isn't there room to reach out to a variety of people through the Mass. Can't a Mass be geared toward children or teens or whoever by the music and tone of the sermon.

And then I thought (like a kid in a candy store) 'can't we have it all?'

So, if the order of Mass were up to me (which it is not, nor will it ever be) this is how it would work:

Before Mass would be time of silent prayer as well as fellowship with other parishioners - after all, we are all part of the Body of Christ - we are worshiping together, not just coincidentally in the same spot as one another, and we should be able to treat each other as the family we are.

The entrance song would be singable, and everyone would enjoy worshiping God through song as we prepared for the Mass to begin.

Perhaps there would even be a few other songs of worship and praise - these could be geared to a particular group or theme: children, folk, teen.

The rest of the Liturgy of the Word would remain generally the same - perhaps with a few more opportunities for joyful community worship.

I would move the Our Father and the Sign of the Peace to after the Petitions.

And then it would be time for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. At this point the tone of the Mass would change (and now, no matter what it was geared toward earlier it would all be the same - universally).

The pace would slow. The priest would face the same direction as the congregation and chant the prayers in Latin (I'm not sure about the Latin part, this fantasy re-working of the Mass is still a work in progress). The responses would be in Latin. The sacred mystery of the consecration would be shrouded in seriousness of purpose. It would be impossible not to realize what a wonderful, serious thing this was happening at the altar.

At the time for Communion I know some people would like the return of Communion Rails. I suppose that has some possibilities, but the church I attend is fairly large, and I'm not sure that would be practical (despite the fact of course that they were removed, if they were ever there, the building was built in 1969). There would not be a communion song. Perhaps instrumental music to aid in meditation.

After Communion the priest would face the people again for the closing prayer. And the closing song would be in keeping with whatever theme was set earlier during the Liturgy of the Word.

There - a perfect solution - a little something for everyone: community, joyful worship, prayerful reverence.

If you think this is a horrible idea, you don't need to worry. I have absolutely no influence whatsoever in anything that will ever be decided by the Church.

If anyone ever asks me I'll have the answer ready.

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