A Catholic Misfit Goes to the EF…

…and I have 10 reasons why I prefer it to the OF. I’m grateful a nearby parish has a regularly scheduled Sunday EF, merely 25 minutes away.

(Caveat: This isn’t a “The Novus Ordo is a false liturgy post!” or any such nonsense. I love the Mass in either form, as both validly confect the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. I was happy with the recent translation. Certain elements of the NO pale in comparison, in my opinion, but those elements in no way invalidate the Mass. So if you are gonna troll, I suggest you go back beneath your bridge.)

  1. Preeminent focus on Christ and His supreme sacrifice on the cross.
  2. The schola (it is done very well at this church).
  3. Kneeling at the altar rail to receive the blessed Sacrament.
  4. The actions and duties of the altar boys – I hestitate to use the word ‘choreography’ to describe it, but these particular altar boys were solemn, precise, and reverent.
  5. Copious incense.
  6. Congregation stays in their seats – no offertory, no EHMC’s, no parade of lectors…
  7. All organ, all the time.
  8. No Children’s Liturgy (and there were plenty of children. And babies) – I’ve never understood the theological necessity to separate kids from their families during the Liturgy of the Word.
  9. The Asperges Me, with the sprinkling of Holy Water.
  10. Did I mention the focus on Christ and His sacrifice on the cross?

I grew up on the NO, and yet I love the EF. I regularly attend the NO at a nearby Benedictine monastery, and they do most of the items on my list (I don’t attend during the winter because getting there means driving on dirt roads. I had gotten stuck once, and once was enough). So what’s the difference? The difference is…me. Perhaps it’s because my faith has grown to where I thirst for deeper reverence and holy silence. Perhaps I’ve grown impatient at attempts to make the liturgy about feelings and ‘active participation’. Or perhaps the increasing profanity of the world is driving me to seek out the greatest source of sanctity.

The Latin Mass is so profoundly different from anything else I do as a human being, so profoundly Catholic, that it shakes me out of spiritual apathy and dullness, directing me towards heavenly things. Which is the point of liturgy.

For me, a ninety-minute Latin Mass goes by much more quickly than a 45 minute Novus Ordo.  I can’t think of a better example of what it means to be with the Person you love.

Image source: Joachim Specht via Wikipedia (Public Domain)

Author: thelarryd

LarryD resides in Michigan.

One thought on “A Catholic Misfit Goes to the EF…”

  1. About once a month, we drive 25 min to a parish staffed by Institute of Christ The King Sovereign Priest priests, where each Sunday they celebrate 3 Sunday Masses: in the Ordinary Form in English and in Latin, and the Extraordinary Form, all ad orientem. Communion at the altar rail. Otherwise, it’s the local parish where a wonderful priest says OF Mass with, as you say, flocks of ministers and altar servers wandering about.

    The OF in Latin w/ well-trained acolytes and a good choir celebrated reverently is a beautiful, beautiful thing, and what was clearly intended by the Council fathers as the usual format. EF high mass is on another level. I’m greatly blessed to attend mass in any of these cases.

    I asked our kids a few years ago (we’re now down to 1 at home) if they were OK with the mass in Latin. One of my sons, speaking for them all, said: he liked it because he knew nobody would be goofing around. And that is a huge appeal: just knowing going in that it will be reverent.


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