God-Centered Mass v People-Centered

I grasped a concept after having visited another parish in my area, Assumption Grotto, in Detroit. It was stunning for me and I want to do a test run here of my thoughts and get some feedback. It is important for me to know if the tone in which I present something offends you in any way. I’m working at refining this and hoping some day to write an article about the experience. When people see the difference between what I call a God-Centered experience and a People-Centered experience in the context of prayer and mass, I want them to feel invited or called to the God-Centered one, not pushed away. It will help to know if this has worked for you.

This is the Parish website.

assumptiongrotto.com/

This will be a several-part post, so read through it all before commenting please. This is a complex issue, begging to find simplification so I’m using this as a test to see if I’m connecting with anyone.

Please do not reply until you read “Thoughts Complete - Comments Welcome”. I’m having difficulty with the server as I try to upload a continuation and I want them to be all together - the 3-4 posts to complete this. Thanks for your cooperation. I may not get to complete it until tonite so do come back to make your comments after reading the entire set of comments.

(still having trouble with finalizing each reply without losing info so please bear with me). I’ve removed bullets this time to see if that was doing it.

**A NEW EXPERIENCE IN A TRADITIONAL PARISH **

Several things seemed odd to me and I must confess that my first thought was, “Oh-no! I’ve landed in the 1950’s”. Of course, I wasn’t passing up the symphony (a non God-Centered attitude with regards to the Mass). What struck me as odd, dropping into this? Here are my thoughts before God turned on the flood-light and to an unknowing or untrained eye, it seems cold, but it is far from that as I will explain later. There are exceptions, but the rules apply below and I’m sure I’ll recall more later and add them as we go along.

There is no talking inside the Church - I mean, it is absent.

There is no eye contact, even walking the corridors along the confessionals or elsewhere. I walked passed many people with Rosary in hand, or saying other prayers, or just in deep reflection and it’s like I wasn’t there.

There is no touching of anyone during mass - no exchange of hands during the sign of peace, but also just in general. I could see no one sitting there with their arms around a spouse or even around a child. I saw one exception this past Sunday of a mother with her arm on the shoulder of a boy that was maybe 4 or 5, but there was not an inordinate amount of attention on him and he seemed pretty well content, not squirming and restless.

Several families sitting in front of me with young children sat attentively during the Mass. The kids needed no special attention, hugs, discipline, etc. They appeared content just to sit there. There were no toys that I could see, and no cheerios even by the smallest of kids within my view.

When people walk within the Church it is slow and meditative. Even small children walking seem to have a deep sense of reverence as they walk past the cener of the church, genuflecting with purpose.

Genuflecting in general is deep, mostly to the ground for those capable (and it seems even the handicapped and elderly make a concerted effort to go as far as they can).

Gestures of bowing within the mass, and striking the breast are prevelant - something I had not witnessed since living in a European country in the 1980s, but even there, bowing was absent. Bowing is deep and held long.

In the Mass or other public prayer, all of the priests I’ve observed appear “dry” at first - a clear misconception as you will see later. They are not dynamic by any means. Afterall, aren’t they suppose to jump up and down and get our attention? Not quite, once again, as you will read later. The priests that I’ve seen thus far seemed to have tuned everyone out - as if there are no people in the Church.

Communion, which is done at the rail, on the tongue (you won’t get a chance here to get it in your hands), was the biggest dose of culture shock. The first day it was awkward, the second day a little more comfortable and you’ll learn what happened by the third day in m later post. No Extraordinary Ministers here, but there are lots of priests as there is the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross residing on the grounds, as are the Sisters of the Holy Cross. Somehow, I don’t think their absence and reduced numbers of priests would change the manner in which communion is distributed.

I suspect I will never see children at the altar at any time - such as that seen in many parishes on the day of First Holy Communion or other times.

People walked with babies at the back of the Church, but they were really focused and don’t mean on the baby. As I stood for a portion of the Mass at the back of the church, several parents passed me by and as I attempted to acknowledge their offspring with just a smile, they walked right past without any eye contact.

There is a very heavy sense of prayer before, during and after the Mass. A fair number of people remain quietly within their pews continuing to pray and the Church is silent enough for them to do this. It is inviting to prayer.

To be continued…

Looks like the bullets were the culprits so here is the next part without bullets…

MY MASS EXPERIENCE THEN

Now, I can make like-observances based on many years of attending the kind of parishes that had become the norm for me. Many of these things appear warm and friendly and are well-intended. Other things well……It wouldn’t be proper for me to observe these things in others, without publicly confessing my participation in them. So, in all humbleness, I share……

Talking takes place in the Church before and after Mass, and whispering is heard at one time or another, or observed between others, with regularity. I have often whispered into the ears of those next to me and believe me, it wasn’t about the Mass (dinner, what to do after Mass, etc.).

Eye contact is abundant as people greet each other. Even when one walks in late, people seem to nod a “hello” (I know, I was habitually late).

Touching is as abundant as eye contact. Hand shakes as people greet each other within the Church, even after Mass begins when friends recognize each other. Parents can be seen coddling their children. Some cases of contact between couples or spouses is seen.

Children of the same age as that described above can be sometimes seen with toys. Some of the younger children seem to have the bag or box of cheerios. The same children can be unrestrained, often sitting in the “open pews” so they can run around a little, or lying in pews. Parents focus more on their children than I witnessed at Assumption Grotto.

Children can be seen running in the church, and people walk through it with much contact, conversation and greetings before and after Mass.

Genuflecting is often nothing more than a “limp” into the pew and if you blink, you’ll miss it (I think I missed my own genuflection a few times).

No bowing in mass (except maybe on certain liturgical events) and no striking of the breast during the Confiteor or other time.

Priests are often bubbly and dynamic. Awareness of people within the church is very apparent.

Communion, done in procession, offers some opportunity to prepare oneself, but there are often distractions along the way. It becomes easy to get absorbed in “people watching” while in line and while watching the line, even at a subconscious level.

At different events, children are allowed to sit around the altar, or even be allowed to stand around the altar at events like First Holy Communion.

Babies can be star attractions, and sometimes even a way to help one pass the time during mass. People can be seen making goo-goo faces from several rows behind a bubbly baby. I know, I was one of these too, spending half the mass enjoying myself (mea maxima culpa!)

There is often so much commotion going on after the mass that it is just not conducive to post-mass prayer. Shamefully, I couldn’t get out fast enough, and was one of those you saw leaving early (sorry, Lord).

To be continued…(one more phew)

Conclusion:

I can’t be certain how, in a matter of days I have gone from the “Uh-oh, I’m in the 1950’s” to, fully accepting the culture and immersing myself in it within a matter of three trips. I can honestly proclaim, I have not been there long enough to be brainwashed by anyone. Rather, the good Lord has opened my eyes and responded to my request of about 4 weeks go, to help me regain my sense of reverence. He led me to Assumption Grotto and helped me to see that I never had any reverence.

What I have learned in this short time is that all of those signs and observances I first posted, is that the priests, religious, and laity in this parish are highly God-Centered in their Mass and in their prayer. This does not mean every single soul in the building is this way, but there is a predominance of it, in contrast to anything I’ve ever experienced elsewhere. It was apparent that there were differing degrees of intensity. Case in point is the Pastor, Fr. Eduard Perrone, whom taught me by his example, where to direct my attention. I say to you that if a gas tanker exploded on Gratiot Ave. outside of the church, he wouldn’t flinch or miss a beat - he’s that focused. I have concluded that it is far from cold, and say now, it is on fire and very much alive with the Holy Spirit.

If you try hard enough you can walk the corridors of this parish while three or four confessionals are running in the half hour before mass, and you can sense a deep level of contrition in the hearts of those standing there. They are focused - focused on God.

Just a few short weeks ago, I recall how adorable the kids were standing around an altar on the day of their first Holy Communion during the Eucharistic prayer in another parish. This is a practice that was probably duplicated throughout the archdiocese and one that I’ve always enjoyed watching. That is the point, “enjoyed watching”. When I was suppose to focus on God and give myself entirely to Him for the hour, I was adoring the children. I recall my thoughts of how cute they looked, and how this one was doing this or that, and so on. Where was my attention? On the people and I made it a People-Centered Mass. The same can be said of those many times I focused on a baby, or spoke to people.

I went from pure panic and awkwardness that I would kneel at a rail for communion, but I had done it 2-3 times before in my life and survived. After I got over the culture shock and began to immerse myself, focusing entirely on God, I have come to embrace this method of receiving Holy Communion and find that it is far superior to any experience I had previously encountered. Instead of all the distractions on my way up to communion, I kneel for a time and ready myself to recieve our Lord. I must say, I would think twice more fervently about presenting myself unless my slate were clean, something I did a little too easily in my past, I’m sorry to say (and since confessed). I have concluded that this method demands respect for the Eucharist in a way I never imagined. It is now the biggest rush and a moment that I long for as I work my way through my ever developing God-Centered Mass.

God has taught me through Assumption Grotto that reverence is a resultant - a resultant from placing him first. I didn’t have to even think to genuflect deeply or to walk slowly. Reverence occurs at the communion rail because nothing and no one stands between me and Him.

You’ll find no flare or dynamics at a parish such as this. The dynamics and flare are deep within those prayerful souls at Assumption Grotto and they are fully centered on God.

O sancta simplicitas! - Oh, holy simplicity! (Jan Hus)

*This completes my thoughts at this time. My thoughts are subject to change and evolution as time goes on and I comprehend more. *

I will make a clarification on the difference between the apparent “dryness” of the priests at the Grotto versus the dynamics of those I’m so use to. I wouldn’t want anyone to misunderstand my point.

When I say “dry” I mean they are simply not dynamic. These guys are not putting on a show, they are in prayer. I’m not suggesting that other priests at other parishes are not in prayer, but to some extent the gestures can be attention grabbers. At the Grotto, I have learned that I am responsible for my own attention, not the other way around. I and only I can center my attention on God and whether a priest is dynamic or intensely into the prayer of the mass shouldn’t matter.

Bottom line is that the new behaviors I’m learning as a result of developing my God-Centered Mass, will probably flow over into other parishes I attend. It has nothing to do with age, the building, the personalities, etc. Rather, it is a state of mind.

There is no doubt that one environment over another is more conducive to God-Centeredness and I use the communion rail as my primary example.

I’d like to know the 10 year vocation rate at this parish in contrast to many others. I’m willing to bet it is one of the high-bars on the vocation chart.

  1. I’m always a little amazed at people who watch other people to see how they genuflect or make the sign of the cross, ie,“they did it sooooo casually, God musn’t mean much to them.” I should think we would want to mind our own business and less of our brother’s. I don’t notice other’s behavior in church unless it is completely distracting.

  2. I think worship can be too horizontal. I’ve been in church’s where it’s FAR too horizontal (at the sign of peace, one priest said,“And be sure to ask the Jones about that new baby.” I wish I was kidding, but I’m not). That said, we are the congregation, a corporate group, engaged in a corporate act. So there ought to be some middle ground. I don’t care for the idea I’ve heard from many, many old timers that the pre VII liturgy basically amounted to the priest mumbling his way through the Mass (sometimes at break-neck speed) while the laity each engaged in their own private devotions/rosaries/etc. This is my main fear in terms of the Latin Mass. I want to be able to understand and respond. I don’t want some little altar boy responding for me. I also don’t see much wrong with human contact in Mass, not at the Lord’s Prayer (the hand holding there seems to be fake), but certainly at the sign of peace. I also think that it’s perfectly natural and good for a husband or wife to loop their arm over the other’s shoulders or hold hands or a mother or dad to place their arm/arms about their children and that none of that detracts a whit from the Majesty of the Holy Trinity or of our awareness and worship of that Majesty.

  3. I’m sorry for people who cannot find an abuse-free Novus Ordo parish. Mine is, relatively, anyway. I love it. I love the Novus Ordo Mass because that’s what I was brought into the Church under. I would urge people not to abandon it.

These two paragraphs are contradictory. I agree with the first, but not the second. I’ve been in Episcopal churches where overt (not merely material) heresy was taught, yet they had and used an altar rail (the only time I ever rec. in procession in the Episcopal Church was at Diocesan Convention). In the Catholic Church, I’ve only ever rec. in procession, even in the Carmelite foundation where I was rec. into the Church. Far more reverence, no rail.

Thanks for the comments and I know that people will disagree and agree, so I thank you for your comments. I take feedback and biteback with the same level of grace. Also, I may have miscommunicated something so I’ll find out when I really get hammered. I’m sure I’ve smacked a hornets nest with the topic, and that is ok. A little spiritual tension can be good. This time, it dares to come from the right.

I don’t think it is the building, rather it is the people and the way in which people are focused that is making this particular experience a very positive one for me.

Will everyone experience it the same way? No. I thought I was focused on God for the 34 years of my 42 year life that I’ve been old enough to fully participate in the Mass. It is so clear to me that I was not focused on God just by the many simple actions in which I engaged, not to mention my thoughts - work, the football game, where to go for breakfast, you name it. That’s not God-Centered. Rubbing my 73 year old mother’s back during Mass, was not God-Centered. I’m not suggesting this is sinful, but I believe He begs us for our attention for that hour and that we need to work at eliminating each distraction one by one, until He comes exclusively into focus.

I have no objections to people who choose to worship in charismatic fashion and even I have done this. I have experienced it all now as far as I can tell. This experience draws me closer to God than any of the others and I still ponder why?

I think at a sub-conscious level, it is easy to allow distractions around us to lure our attention away from God. We can give the entire day to those around us and to our work and so on. But, this one hour, this Mass it should belong entirely to Him.

I’ve noticed in myself the subtle changes, such as not responding to a door opening during Mass. Such a simple thing. Today, I became cognizant of my reflexes - those which have been there for a life time, now withering away as I dive into the God-Centered Mass.

I saw no one praying rosaries during mass. People participated quite vigorously during those parts where they are to respond.

I too noticed that there was sometimes “mumbling” during the Latin Mass at this parish, and not during the English Mass. I picked up on it the first day as the priest went inaudible and I sensed there was a purpose for it. A few more times and I found myself entering deeply into prayer when he spoke so quietly as I knew in my heart what he was saying at that moment. You can hear a pin drop at that moment.

I tried finding the info I had from the web on the inaudible voice during consecration, but it had to do with the words already having been spoken by Jesus Himself. Someone link me to the article if they know what I’m talking about.

In any event, the inaudible voice at this time actually sends me deeper into prayer. Why? I dunno - it just does.

Even music has changed for me. I use to play in a folk group for a few years. I have always liked classical and choral music and felt it was a shame it had died. However, setting that aside, I can tell you that many times I sat in the pew hoping for this or that song and the bottom line is, I say with all honesty, I was more concerned with my own entertainment - in playing and listening. Sure, I “felt” great. But the point is not MY feeling great. If I’m there only to feel great, then I’m forgetting about giving true praise to Him. I’m just digging deep into my own feelings at many moments and saying that I was no where near being God-Centered in my Mass. I was People-Centered, an one of the people I was often centered on was ME and my desires.

Now, maybe I’m the only one on this earth who ever lost focus on God in this manner, but I suspect I’m not. It became a concert, for pity sake and one that had some kind of entertainment value.

  1. I’m always a little amazed at people who watch other people to see how they genuflect or make the sign of the cross, ie,“they did it sooooo casually, God musn’t mean much to them.” I should think we would want to mind our own business and less of our brother’s. I don’t notice other’s behavior in church unless it is completely distracting.

Actually, it didn’t happen on purpose. You made my point for me - I have not been God-Centered in my mass and noticed these things.

Aside from that, God has made me quite sensitive to the norms and mores of cultures and sub-cultures. I find it fascinating to study new cultures into which I land. I never expected to have an anthropological moment at Assumption Grotto. It just happened. For the most part, I’m done observing during Mass. I’m just sinking deeper into the experience now that the initial culture-shock is over. The more different something is, the easier it is to spot things. I’ve never seen the masses genuflect with such reverence.

I spent over 2 years in a Franciscan convent when I was in Europe and was taught to show some respect and genuflect deeply. In fact, you were the laugh of the convent among your friends if you “limped” your way into the pew and they wouldn’t let you live it down. It was all in good fun. Were they wrong to notice? I don’t know, but they sure taught me then that showing respect was necessary. Of course, I came back here and stood out when I did that, so I just fell into comformity. Oh, the shame of going with the grain. Now it is not a matter of mechanics, but a matter of substance.

I have to say as a convert (and a church organist), you have given me a lot to think about. I was struck by the tone of reverence. I can see where I haven’t been so focused or as reverent as I should be. I find myself tempted to be judgemental. Sometimes I cross over and then I do judge. This can be a sense of frustration. You see so many flagrant displays of callousness that you react.

It is one thing for me to see my own lack of reverence. It is another to cure myself of it. (Or seek God’s cure).
I don’t know about the lack of touch or how they keep children in line yet. If God is pure love then that love would seem to be extended to our family. Maybe not the “Mayberry” effect (like inquiring about the neighbor’s baby) but an arm around my child can be beautiful and give glory to God.

[quote=SusanL]I have to say as a convert (and a church organist), you have given me a lot to think about. I was struck by the tone of reverence. I can see where I haven’t been so focused or as reverent as I should be. I find myself tempted to be judgemental. Sometimes I cross over and then I do judge. This can be a sense of frustration. You see so many flagrant displays of callousness that you react.
[/quote]

You raise a really good point, from another angle. Thanks for sharing that.

I can tell you that the “children” issue goes much deeper than how they behave at mass as I had not been God-Centered and spent much time observing different couples and how their children were behaving in Mass (see, a People-Centered moment).

Take for example a family I’ve seen that has (at last count) 11 children. You would think this would be stressful. The youngest was an infant of maybe 6 months and all were very, very close in age. The kids were well groomed, well dressed, content and relaxed. All but the toddler were sitting still and behaving without even a glance from mom and dad. Now, young toddlers clung to mom and dad, but both parents had the most peaceful look on their face, it was unreal. Their patience was exceptional. I knew that if I ever had kids, I was going to go over there and offer to help that woman in return for her secrets (like, can you be my “mommy mentor”. Her face did not have the usual strain that many mothers have. It was full of love and compassion. I wasn’t the only one who noticed this. My mother wants her nominated as an American saint.

Contrast that to a couple sitting a few pews over who can’t control a single child.

This goes to discipline, or lack thereof. One only needs to watch Nanny 911 or Supernanny to see how structure and discipline “fix” those problems - no hitting required. Obviously, mother of 11, figured it out. With that many kids, there has to be structure and discipline.

Somehow, I think the parents of the Grotto have figured out too that with kids, it is a matter of conditioning. Don’t make THEM the center of the mass and they won’t look for attention. But too many parents blow away the hour focusing on the kids and the kids demand yet more attention.

I suspect the grotto has a fair amount of stay-at-home moms. In fact, they have a huge home-schooling program which is tied into the Micigan Catholic Home Schooling program (if I got that right). It is not uncommon to see several sets of parents and children at the 7:30 or 8:30 am Mass, and I’ve even seen a few at Lauds at 7:00 am.

Thank you for starting this thread. It’s fascinating.

I’ve been worshipping with DH at the Traditional Latin Mass for over a month now. I experienced the panic when I was in line for the Eucharist and approaching the altar rail at first, too, but now I appreciate that I can’t receive our Lord on my hands because it’s so much more reverent to take Him straight into my mouth. I don’t have to worry if my hands or clean or not. Parents can take their (quiet) children up there with them and hold them in their arms while they receive.

Priests are there to hear Confessions during Mass so if you need to confess a mortal sin and/or several venial sins before Communion time, you don’t need to worry - just get in line!

I’ve noticed that parents are usually prompt about taking their crying babies to the back of the church. When the parents and young children are in the pews, their attention is on what’s going on (the Mass) instead of coloring, eating, kicking in the pew, etc. When a baby cries, a mother or father comforts him. I’m awed by other parents’ examples and I hope that I will be that unembarrassed of Baby’s crying when preborn Baby is born.

All the women in my parish wear a veil or hat. They are SO MODEST!! It’s not just the head coverings - it’s the rest of the body, too. You won’t see any V-necks or shorts at this parish. You see dresses and skirts. On men, you see formal wear, the kind that office workers wear to work. Ties are normal.

After Mass, people are very reverent. Unlike the Novus Ordo parishes I’ve worshipped in, people are quiet and respectful of God in the sanctuary and those who remain to talk to Him for a while longer.

my Mother my Confidence,
Corinne

I’ve just had another thought about communion - the music, thus far. From what I have observed, it is a simple chant, and in the two weeks that I have been attending, it is unchanging. This struck me as odd at first. Even as a former “folk-singer/player” I can tell you we always looked forward to singing/playing that communion song.

Another “a-ha” moment strikes as I ponder the significance of this period of “downsizing” the music from some happy song about the bread and wine, to one that is simple and the same each day.

The word “same” is important here. I now see how “Music-Centered” parts of my Mass were. I would focus more on the music than the God-moment. Now that I continue to hear this same gregorian chant sung each time I approach the rail, I believe it has contributed in enabling me to become even more God-Centered during communion, leading to that “rush” I have never felt before. The music is less a distraction. I never realized that I was so focused on the song than on diving deeply into a moment of union with the Lord.

While I wonder if it is just my contemplative spirit wanting to “detach” itself from anything that isn’t “Him”, I feel strongly that this is something that is not only for the contemplative types. There is a concept here that is very important for even the most simple of Catholics - focus: God and God alone for just this one hour.

When I bring up the notion of “sameness” I sense it as well with how I see the participants up that altar. Each day it is unchanging. They stand at attention, hands in oran’s posture, facing the tabernacle or the pulpit at a given time, with a dose of grace that grabs your attention at first, then enables you to let go and not notice after a while. I have learned that in time, what seems so majestic and that which seems to stand out, fades quietly away as one makes the mass more God-Centered. Then I ponder, is this the purpose.

Many a times did I sit for several minutes noticing the altar servers moving around. When I think of what takes my attention to them it is the fact that some “varied” at the moment. In a God-centered Mass, the gestures and cadence become so alike it is nearly impossible to distinguish mass one morning, to the next. Obviously, there are differences when we switch to a high mass, or go from a weekend to a weekday mass. But, if one only comes to the same Sunday mass, they will see things the same way this Sunday as they do next Sunday.

There is significance to this. It is also a statement that we are not there for the concert or the entertainment value of church. I believe in having had this attitude, it contributed to coming late, leaving early, being annoyed with this band playing, or that priest “saying” the Mass (not I mentioned earlier I sense priests “praying” this God-centered Mass and it is deep prayer).

**The big question is, when all of the “entertainment” is stripped, will I stay awake for one hour with Him? When my enjoyment is not the center of the Mass, will I hold steadfast during the dry periods when I do not feel all the bliss? We wouldn’t be following a Christ-like, if the Father always made us feel good. Where are we, when we sense that God has pulled away? **

I think I know what you mean. At the Novus Ordos that I’ve worshipped at (for most of my life), when I knew the song being sung (and I love to sing), I focused on the song as I was in line to receive our Lord. I didn’t prepare myself in prayer as I do at the TLM.

my Mother my Confidence,
Corinne

[quote=coralewisjr]I think I know what you mean. At the Novus Ordos that I’ve worshipped at (for most of my life), when I knew the song being sung (and I love to sing), I focused on the song as I was in line to receive our Lord. I didn’t prepare myself in prayer as I do at the TLM.

my Mother my Confidence,
Corinne
[/quote]

So the song is not a form of prayer?

It is either the song or prayer in your mind?

But Corrine, unlike the Novus Ordo parishes around you, your new congregation is in schism. Tell me precisely how diobedience is reverent? Let’s be clear, the OP is talking about the Grotto, where an Indult Mass in Latin is being celebrated. She’s not going to a Mass celebrated by renegade priests, under renegade bishops, out of communion with the Holy See. We’ve been through this in another thread. According to “Ecclesia Dei,” your congregation is in grave error. If you’re going to talk about reverence, you need to lay all the cards on the table.

[quote=JKirkLVNV]But Corrine, unlike the Novus Ordo parishes around you, your new congregation is in schism. Tell me precisely how diobedience is reverent? Let’s be clear, the OP is talking about the Grotto, where an Indult Mass in Latin is being celebrated. She’s not going to a Mass celebrated by renegade priests, under renegade bishops, out of communion with the Holy See. We’ve been through this in another thread. According to “Ecclesia Dei,” your congregation is in grave error. If you’re going to talk about reverence, you need to lay all the cards on the table.
[/quote]

I’m so glad you pointed this out JKirkLVNV. I was getting a little concerned that readers of this thread would think Assumption Grotto was an SSPX congregation. I have attended Mass there myself and they are in full communion with the Holy See. God bless you for stating the facts here.

[quote=Giannawannabe]I’m so glad you pointed this out JKirkLVNV. I was getting a little concerned that readers of this thread would think Assumption Grotto was an SSPX congregation. I have attended Mass there myself and they are in full communion with the Holy See. God bless you for stating the facts here.
[/quote]

No problem, Gianna.

I read this when it was first posted yesterday and decided to wait a bit before posting…I have attended Tridentine Masses regularly and find the reverence and difference in worship wonderful, exhilerating and absolutely beautiful. I attend Mass mostly (and daily) at my local parish, a N.O. Mass…I find worship exactly the same, wonderful, exhilerating and absolutely beautiful. But this post has made me a little less excited about attending the Tridentine service, and I’ll try to explain why.

Perhaps if you’re only “God-centered” for approximately one hour a week for Sunday services, then the Mass you attend may seem more important to you…When you have an overwhelming love for God, when you have such love that it doesn’t matter how He answers your prayers but only that He loves you so much and so intimately that He answers you at all, then it’s only natural your love for Him spills over to how you treat others and how you treat your family.

My love for God will spill over to my daughter on occasion in the Mass, and I’ll allow her to sit on my lap during the homily and yes, I’ll even let her touch me, heaven forbid, I may even touch her back…it doesn’t take my focus off of God, and my focus throughout my day is on Him (and when I lose sight of Him because of intense work or whatever, as soon as He’s brought back into my mind, I am so happy).

But this endless chatter on one Mass being better than the other, the endless chatter about the N.O. Mass being inferior and now, apparently, less God-centered, has ironically made me feel less exuberant over the Tridentine service.

My goodness, if you love God to the point where you are looking forward to someday being released from this exile and being eternally united to Him forever, I would hope that would spill out into love for your family and neighbors and, yes, maybe even when you are jointly worshipping Him during Mass.

I say this with charity, I really do, but no one is going to convince me that I’m not God-centered because I have contact with my family or neighbor, but as I said, I’m in Mass everyday, adoration nearly everyday, and prayer as often as possible, so maybe my slant is a bit different.

Penitent

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.