Back in the nineteenth century Father Frederick Faber famously wrote that the Mass was the “most beautiful thing this side of heaven.” As every Mass is a re-presentation of Calvary, and the altar itself the place where heaven and earth meet, one can understand why Saint Peter Julian Eymard called the Holy Sacrifice the “holiest act of religion.” Understanding all of this to be true, is it any wonder that more of the faithful are seeking a liturgy which seeks to restore a sense of the sacred?
For many, the Traditional Latin Mass is fulfilling just such a need. Rediscovering the manner in which the Church has worshipped for centuries has helped a growing number of Catholics to encounter the Lord more deeply. What many are realizing is just how effectively, and beautifully, the traditional Masses engage our senses. Indeed, it is a Mass for all senses.
The Latin Mass presents a visual which immediately speaks to the true focus of our adoration and worship. As the priest offers the Mass ad orientem (facing the altar or the liturgical east) we immediately recognize that the liturgy is not about us. This is something that simply must be experienced by the faithful to fully appreciate. In the past I have called this a true “game changer”, and it is. There is a significant liturgical catechesis in the simple fact that the priest is facing with the congregation, instead of facing the congregation. Far too many Catholics have experienced anthropocentric masses over the years, liturgies in which priest and faithful seem to focus their gaze upon each other. Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, the former Secretary for the Congregation for Divine Worship, said that often in the modern liturgy the priest has become a “showman”. As the priest spends much of the Traditional Mass facing the