Following the TLM...third week

I have been attending the TLM the last three Sundays. As previously posted, I initially attended because the practices at my usual parish were very difficult to take. Also, I was drawn to the Mass for other reasons - how it had been described to me, lovingly, by family members who remembered ‘the old days’.

Anyway - it’s been a few weeks now. The TLM I attend is served by FSSP and has a small-ish congregation - I’d say about 20-30. The music is good, the Mass is reverent and all is well. In the last few weeks I’ve been feeling more spiritual and focused on my faith than I have done in long time.

I’m struggling with one thing though - when the Mass is being sung the choir / congregation will sing one of the prayers (the Sanctus for example). Meanwhile the Priest is continuing to say the Canon of the Mass - and I find it difficult to keep track. Should I be joining in with the Sanctus (many of the congregation do) or should I be following the Canon and meditating on what is being said there. I love to follow the prayers as I think they are very beautiful - but I also love to listen to the chant.

I come from an ‘NO’ background and as the prayers are said 'out loud, there doesn’t tend to be more than one thing going on at once.

Is this just something that will come in time? Can anyone recommend a way to help me follow what’s going on?

Regards
Vince

That confused me at first as well. The priest quietly says the Sanctus in its entirety before saying the Canon, but the choir will sing the Sanctus up to the end of the first “Hosanna en excelsis” and stop…then, after the consecration, will continue with “Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna en excelsis.” I’ve seen it at more than one high mass, so I’m assuming it’s normal to do that. I think part of the reason is to punctuate the fact that the Consecration is taking place and has taken place. Personally, I think it’s a beautiful touch. We sing “Hosanna in the highest” in anticipation of His coming to us…then once He’s arrived, we sing “Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord!” That’s my take on it. :twocents:

The delaying of the Benedictus qui venit until after the consecration resulted from the polyphonic compositions during the Baroque period growing very lengthy. Rather than keeping the priest waiting for the *Benedictus *to end (or worse, having the consecration occur during the singing), the practice became to split the *Sanctus *and Benedictus, with silence in between while the consecration took place.

However, this is normally unnecessary during a chanted Mass setting and should not be done. De Musica Sacra (1958) states this as a guideline.

The delaying of the Benedictus qui venit until after the consecration resulted from the polyphonic compositions during the Baroque period growing very lengthy. Rather than keeping the priest waiting for the *Benedictus *to end (or worse, having the consecration occur during the singing), the practice became to split the *Sanctus *and Benedictus, with silence in between while the consecration took place.

However, this is normally unnecessary during a chanted Mass setting and should not be done. De Musica Sacra (1958) states this as a guideline.

I agree. It is a baroque decadence, confusing, disjointed. A Renaissance liturgical abuse that became normal and tolerated. But it is not the ideal.

If it is chant…it won’t be a problem. The words will be clear, no harmony confusing that, and the Sanctus will be relatively short. The priest will wait and potentially sing along himself instead of having to read it quietly.

If it is polyphony, the priest should wait, though this is often too much to ask for time’s sake. But long drawn out polyphony should not be being used anyway, only simple polyphony in the style of Palestrina.

Church is not some lacy opera!!! And it is forbidden for words from the prayers to be repeated. These should be settings of the liturgical texts, and shouldnt change them through additions (“troping”) or undue repititions that aren’t part of the text itself.

Unfortunately, some priests and even seemingly congregations o that use the old rite…have an affection for the Baroque, the Victorian, and the Fifties that…is far from the medieval ideal, when Christianity had it’s full blossoming socially.

These abuses of the Rennaisance and the Baroque, the Victorian, and the Fifites…which many people have a disturbing nostalgia for…were all part of the decline of Christendom, and the rot under the surface that led to the Novus Ordo in the first place.

Oh my giddy aunt - do my eyes deceive me or did I just see the word ‘abuse’ used in connection with the Traditional Mass :eek: and at the Consecration no less!

Some TLM devotees would have you believe that there was no or almost no possibility of abuse of their favourite form of the Mass. Bravo for pointing this out :clapping:

Wow! The truth will set us free. Now if some would only admit to the truth.

Well I must say, I don’t see any proof of an ‘abuse’. I am not saying that there can’t be any abuses in the TLM, I am not of that school of thought, but I don’t see any proof and making this a big deal doesn’t seem like the right thing to do.

I’m new here, but I don’t mind telling y’all; I’m already getting tired of this "My Mass is better than your Mass garbage!!

I hope and pray that each and every one of you finds a parish with a priest that you can be happy with,…I have.

Me again

Thanks for your replies - it’s Gregorian chant at the Mass I attend and the priest begins the canon quietly while the Sanctus is being sung. The Sanctus is finished well before the consecration.

Anyway, my original question was - how does one best follow the Mass? If I take part in the chant, it’s very hard to follow the Canon, or whichever prayers are being said alongside the chant.

What do you guys recommend? I want to make my time at Mass as fruitful as possible.

I’ve never had anyone to form me in the spirituality of the classical use, and, quite frankly, I suspect that with all the developments of the liturgical movement putting things in flux before the council there’s not really one right answer anyway. Accordingly, I would just suggest you not box yourself into one way of offering the Mass. Try out both, see if one leads to better/more fruitful prayer. For instance, I usually follow Mass in my missal, but I find I can get into ruts of just reading without fully praying, so every so often I set the missal aside and just focus on uniting my prayer to that of the priest. I like the freedom the extraordinary form gives you in this regard.

Well, if the sanctus is being finished well before the consecration…I usually find I can “catch-up”…ie, I can read through the priest’s part faster than he can say it (though some priests seem to read at an alarmingly fast rate)…

The parts that may be sung over include the prayers at the foot of the altar being sung over by the Introit, the Munda Cor Meum being sung over by the Gradual and Alleluia/Tract, the beginning of the offertory being sung over by the Offertory,and the beginning of the Canon being sung over by the Sanctus. Except for the prayers at the foot of the altar, all those parts are silent at all Masses anyway.

I dont know entirely how I feel about this singing-over thing. I feel like for the Canon, at least, the priest should wait.

But since those parts sung over are the same at every Mass…once you get familiar with them, you can chant along while still knowing what’s going on. You don’t need to read those words in a missal everytime if you know them pretty much by heart, and like I said…after the chant is done, you can usually read through whatever you may have “missed” and catch up to where the priest is.

Thanks again for your replies:

You’re right - I have the freedom to try different approaches. I am hoping that as I spend more time that it will ‘flow’ more easily. Actually, when I starting attended NO Masses as a teenager after being kept away for a long time, I guess I found it just as difficult til I ‘got with the flow’.

Interestingly, when I follow the prayers that I understand in Latin, I find following them in Latin an intensely spiritual experience. Perhaps the language gives me more focus!

Vince

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