Sunday, October 23, 2011


I remained kneeling where I was. I had just finished celebrating the for this Sunday, which is a day that I like to have in a more relaxed way, far from the bustle of any ordinary workday. I used to wonder at how many priests would remain kneeling in thanksgiving after a Mass, the Pope for one. These things I continued to consider as I knelt looking at the Tabernacle in front. Yesterday I jokingly commented that here in Spain its a possibility that after my studies I might end up being attached to two things: the Tabernacle and the Mac. I hope it would be true for the Tabernacle. It's not too hard to get attached to the Mac; one would need to work on the Tabernacle, but I don't thing he would have a hard time with the Mac.

Maybe its the wine, which always seems to have a calming effect after the Mass. No, not so much for the wine, which here in Spain tastes better than the horrible Mompó I'm used to having in the Philippines. No, I don't think it's largely about the wine.

Whenever I could in private, I celebrate the Mass in Latin. I prefer to celebrate it, and not concelebrate, though it's not a big issue for me to concelebrate. I don't like to be pressured while I'm at it though; I read the latin words more slowly, savoring them. Nowadays I'm trying to structurize them, I know my professor in Latin would be delighted if she learns about it. I don't agree that the Extraordinary Form has all the monopoly of the mystery of the liturgy. When someone mentions that the Tridentine liturgy is the one that makes saints, it makes me edgy: God makes saints. Some pronounce it as if the Ordinary Form isn't the Mass. But then I digress.

It's not the wine that pushes me to my knees after the Mass to do my thanksgiving; it's the force and the power and the beauty of the liturgy that I've just celebrated. Irrespective of the the rite--whether Extraordinary or Ordinary, if it is done with particular unction and respect for the rubrics, entering into the mind of the Church, one can enter into an experience of God entering, erupting into our mundane world. It's as if God interrupts into the busy rhythm of our lives for a moment, the curtains are drawn, and then before you know it, the curtains fall back, and normality enters with its noise and ordinariness, or banality, if you may.

Simplicity, order, those small pockets of silence: these contribute greatly to live this experience of God-with-us in the Mass; it's not a sentimental experience, but one that touches at the core of the rational being. St. Augustine mentioned that here the mind is filled with light. I'm not fond of clapping and boisterous singing and feel-good music played at Mass. I wish they could just banish that sentimentalism prevalent in many songs and liturgical celebrations, especially during the Mass. Now I'm not an enemy of sentiments, but of sentimentalism. Too much sugar makes one diabetic, blind to the real miracle of God making Himself present to us, to be touched by us, to be caressed by us.

I stand up, my thanksgiving finished. As I look back at the experience of the Mass, which I'm privileged to have day after day, I remember one point in the Way by St. Josemaria:

You saw me celebrate the holy Mass on a plain altar— table and stone, without a reredos. Both Crucifix and candlesticks were large and solid, with wax-candles of graded height, sloping up towards the Cross. The frontal, of the liturgical colour of the day. A sweeping chasuble. The chalice, rich, simple in line, with a broad cup. No electric light, nor did we miss it.

And you found it difficult to leave the oratory: you felt at home there. — Do you see how we are led to God, brought closer to him, by the rigour of the liturgy?(543)

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