Thursday, July 12
Fr. Jim's Seven Tips
(1) Abandon all preconceptions about what the "Tridentine" Mass is all about (whether positive or negative)... Go with an open mind.
(2) Study the Mass beforehand: Find a good overview of the traditional Roman Mass, and read the whole thing.
(3) Many parts of the Mass -- particularly the most sacred parts -- are said silently. In a High Mass (which is sung), you may not notice this so much. In a Low Mass (which is said), it's unavoidable. Follow the silent prayers in your missal: Just because one doesn't hear anything doesn't mean that nothing is going on.
(4) Recognize the different ways that Mass is celebrated in the traditional rite.
- Low Mass: none of the prayers is sung, although music may accompany the Mass
- Dialogue Mass: the people are invited to join vocally in the server's prayers
- Sung Mass: the prayers are sung and the priest may use incense
- Solemn High Mass: the prayers are sung, where a deacon and subdeacon assist. This is the complete form of the Mass.
(5) It's useful to compare and contrast the traditional Roman Mass with Paul VI's version and with the various Eastern Liturgies, but it is obnoxious to make disparaging comments about any of them. The excellence of one or another of these Liturgies doesn't require anyone to criticize the rest.
(6) The old Roman Mass is the product of centuries of organic growth. Don't expect an easily-explained, straightforward ceremony.
(7) Don't worry about it if you don't grasp everything all at once.
And, after all this, if you really can't stand it, rejoice anyway, because over 99% of the Masses in this country are in the New Rite, so you have plenty to choose from. But be happy, too, that people who prefer the Old Rite have this option.