No, I won’t tell you where I was for this parish daily Mass. After the opening collect the celebrant shouted to my friend, the other concelebrant, “Do you guys wanna go have coffee uptown after this?” (We weren’t going anywhere before the final blessing, couldn’t it wait until we unvested in the sacristy?!) During the first reading (I was being difficult by trying to listen to it) he asked if I’d read the Gospel and then make up a few reflections, “just anything.” (I accepted the first and declined the second.)
Liturgical renewal suddenly looked very different. I was no longer in the abbey where, even if a few little things are a bit loose and the theology is a bit progressive, everything is reverent, the music is traditional, things are well planned, nobody chatters in the sanctuary, and it looks like everyone is trying to pray.
Forgive me, but all I could think was, This never would have happened in the Tridentine Mass (which may not be true, BTW). The dangers suddenly looked very different, and unthinkable solutions started coming to mind. TLM looked a bit more appealing, and the reformed liturgy seemed much more in need of critique.
What are we really striving for? How much of our thinking is informed instead by what we’re against? When you have good liturgy day in and day out, it’s easier to critique the throwback stuff and the unsound criticisms of the reformed liturgy.
Despite my brief flirt with unthinkable thoughts, I still stand firmly behind the reformed liturgy. But I hope I’m a bit more understanding of its critics.
What are you against? Better yet, what are you for??
P.S. The coffee uptown was good, as was the full breakfast, all on the pastor. His generosity and the engaging conversation said much about his pastoral zeal and evident love of the Faith. Once again, someone with liturgical tastes other than mine showed me up in Christian virtue. I wish that would stop happening.