Saturday, January 19, 2008

My personal experience: the old mass affecting the new

Something i was thinking about today was the changes that the extraordinary form of the mass has caused in my liturgical and devotional life. It is interesting to note that for the first year of my encounter with the older form of the mass, it caused some confusion because of the great number of differences in the calendar structure and in the mass itself compared to the post-Vat. II calendar and liturgy. Also, because i had a pretty immediate attraction to the latin mass, i found going to the NO of the mass on weekdays to be frustrating at times as i came to understand better and better the richness of the EF of the mass.
However, i would like to say that i think (and hope) a balance is being reached in my life. I am still very much attracted to the EF mass, but it has now become a cause of enrichment of my experience of and participation in the NO of the mass. The EF mass, with its more set structure has given me a more solid foundation for truly praying the mass in union with the priest even when going to the NO of the mass. The EF mass has helped me to internalize the Eucharistic prayer, (or I prefer to always refer to it as THE Roman Canon) so that even despite the lack of quiet externally in a NO daily or weekend mass, i have been more easily able to foster that silence within by in a sense ignoring a lot of the spoken text of the priest in the NO of the mass because i have internalized his prayers and so unite my prayer with his. There are still times when this is hard, especially at daily masses when 1) Eucharistic prayer 2 is pretty much used by default, which makes me feel thrown into the consecration without preparation and hinders me from being able to properly offer the sacrifice and myself and my prayers with the priest to the Lord, and 2) when priests rush through this part of the mass, showing a lack of reverence and awe at this most powerful and mysterious sacramental reality taking place, especially when it can already be so short by use of Euch. prayer 2.
For me, there is one Roman canon. it is now imprinted upon my soul and i can pray no other at mass. I think that this is a special grace of the EF of the mass with its one set canon, which goes back at least to the 6th century. It has aided my internal prayer at the NO of the mass greatly.
Maybe this post will help even one priest to understand the power of the Roman Canon, or Eucharistic prayer 1.

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