Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ten quick takes before bedtime, TLM altar boy edition

1. No matter how many times I proofread an email, I often feel a bit nervous and helpless once I actually hit the send button.

2. Speaking of email, I'm more behind than usual, so if I owe you one, mea culpa. I'm working on catching up!

3. Has anyone ever read Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series? All the stuff about the Aes Sedai living in the White Tower, how you start as a novice and there's a Mistress of Novices and then you're received as an Accepted and you get a snazzier habit, and eventually you become a full sister-- I didn't know anything about nuns when I read the books, so I didn't even realize how much Jordan had been inspired by that. Of course most of Book One is a ripoff of Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring, but I enjoyed it too much to complain, and the series became much more original after that. I loved the first six books, in spite of their increasingly insane level of detail. But by the time Book Seven started, the series had jumped the shark. I gave up near the beginning of Book Eight when it took several chapters just for the characters to move from one point to the next on an uneventful journey.

4. On Wednesday I was meeting with a visiting priest at St. Michael's Abbey, and afterwards he was going to say his private Mass in a little chapel they have, so I went with him. He was saying the TLM with no server, so I got to make all the responses myself. For years I've been thinking that altar boys have it tough because they have to focus on their job and can't enter into the worship. But I found that kneeling near the altar, trying to get the prayers right, and watching the priest up close actually made me much more recollected than I usually am, and I appreciated the Mass in a way I hadn't before. Those of you who've been altar servers, did you find it helped or hindered your worship of God?

5. Luckily I thought to ask Father beforehand when I should say the second confiteor, since he's from a congregation that uses it but it's not in my missal.

6. Parts of the Mass took on a stronger impact when I was the only person in the congregation, because I was saying the words myself and the priest was speaking directly to me. I'm thinking of the absolution, the final blessing, and the aforementioned confiteor.  And when Father came right to where I was kneeling to give me Holy Communion I felt rather honored-- "Just for me?"

7. The only mistake I'm aware of making was answering Amen after the second Collect when I was only suppose to answer the first and third... but that's a pretty obscure mistake; how often does the priest pray three Collects in a row anyway?

8. I very deliberately did not ask Father if I'd made any other mistakes. :)

9. I'm not through talking about TLMs. :) I went to another the next day, this one celebrated at Serra Chapel in the San Juan Capistrano mission, the last remaining church in California where Father Junipero Serra actually celebrated Mass in the 1700's when he was founding all the missions. The Mass was the votive Mass of (who else?) St. John Capistran. It was celebrated by Canon Jean-Marie Moreau of the Institute of Christ the King, and his altar server was Fr. Hugh Barbour, prior of the Norbertines. We few who knew about it were pretty happy to be there. :) My friend Joe came with me. Those who know him know what a stickler he is for proper liturgy. Apparently he's more famous for that than I realized, because after Mass, as Fr. Hugh was putting the chairs in the sanctuary back in front of the high altar for the Novus Ordo, he called over his shoulder, "Sorry, Joe. I have to."

10. I have other friends who aren't so exacting, and I went to another TLM with a couple of them last night. Christie was searching for her 1962 missal beforehand: "Where's my... breviary? What's that book called again? The doohickey!"


Joe of St. Thérèse said...

That'd be me alright :), twas funny that he appologized. I'm famous, I don't know whether to hide or not :p

Athanasius contra mundum said...

I was an altar server when I was a boy. I found that it made much more involved and aware of what was going on in the Mass; I could just space out or look around at what the other people were doing. I thank God that I did it, because it has given me a much deeper appreciation of the Mass.

Rachel Gray said...

Joe, I don't think you can hide it. ;)

Athanasius, nice to see you again! That's how I felt too.