Going Trad - day 4: Latin, etc...

Latin could've been a 'barrier to entry' (inside joke).

But latin is just a rigid, legalistic form of Portuguese and in my (very) conservative parish we had the NO in latin.

So, not only can I understand what's in the Missal, I actually already knew (by heart) several parts and prayers of the Vetus Ordo.

In spite of this, I admit to having spent several of my first TLM's trying to understand what the priest was whispering, worrying about when to stand, kneel or seat or trying to synchronize the missal page with what was happening at any given moment.

I spent mass "troubled about many things" and neglected the "one thing ... necessary... the best part".

I realized this by browsing through one of my Father's prayer books (aptly titled "Rejoice in the Lord"). This prayer book actually included a bilingual ordinary of the mass. But in place of the Epistle there's a non-scriptural exhortation to virtue, the Gospel is Mt v, 1-12 (the beatitudes), the canon is replaced by a meditation, followed by prayers for before and after communion, etc... So I imagined my Father at Mass going through his prayer book and, Sunday, after Sunday, after Sunday, repeatedly reading the exhortation to virtue, the beatitudes, the meditations and the prayers and somehow I got it.

Further help came from Fr. Goffine's invaluable "Devout instructions..." which includes 'A method of hearing mass' (!).

I also found an 18th century "Manual de orações para assistir à Missa" with a brief comment, a prayer and a picture for each part of the Mass.

On the other hand, for hundreds of years, millions of illiterate catholics were able to attend Mass, understand what was going on and keep the "dogma of the Faith"... while many current mass goers will be able to recite the NO and read all the 'propers' while being functionally protestants (or worse)*.

(*) Do an informal survey among your nominally catholics friends about the Real Presence if you dare...

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