Help me answer this question from a Baptist on the Latin Mass

Got this question via e-mail from a Baptist friend of mine concerning the Latin Mass.
He’s not hosile to the Catholic Church, but there are many things he is trying to understand.

I thought I’d take the devil’s advocate role today. I’ve heard of folks who loved opera so much that they decided to learn Italian. However, once they could understand what was being sung, they found the words to many operas are silly beyond belief and their enjoyment actually waned. Of course there’s nothing silly about mass, but I have to wonder if part of our enjoyment (Yes, even this Baptist appreciates a limited amount of formal Catholicism!)isn’t from the exotic nature of a language we don’t understand. Not knowing the words also allows us to concentrate on the flowing SOUND of the mass, or the FEELING it evokes in us. What do you think?

My answer:
Understanding the words in Latin enhances the spirituality of the Latin Mass. I would not use the word ‘feeling’, it can generate emotion, but that is not it’s purpose (kind of a side-advatage). But I will agree that the ‘flowing sound’ of the Latin Mass creates a comfort within that is hard to explain in a human sense. But I would say that even of a Mass said in English as well. The liturgy itself is more than ‘routine’, it has an effect on the brain, and as a result on the spirit as well.

Liturgical languages have the advantage of bringing about unity. There is no need to have a separate English Mass, a Polish Mass, or a Spanish Mass etc…all can go to the one Mass and pray in the same language.
This also applies to when you are abroad. You do not need to seek out a Mass in English (or whatever).

You friend may be right to a degree in that having the Mass in Latin encourages an otherworldly and awe-inspiring, and yes, perhaps emotional response. Often time that emotional response is awe… which is what the Mass should do anyway.

Of course, having the Mass in a dead language like Latin accrues other benefits.

A dead language has words whose meaning is static. In a living language, the definition of words can change over time, and words can take on new meanings. This is why strict constructionist Supreme Court justices in the US often have dictionaries from the late 1700s and early 1800s on their shelves.

This makes a dead language (like Latin) PERFECT for a thing like the Mass or Scripture, because the meaning of the words stays static, and therefore the Mass or the Scripture is somewhat protected from taking on new and heterodox meanings/interpretations.

SOmething to consider when considering Latin in the liturgy.

\Liturgical languages have the advantage of bringing about unity.\

**Actually, anything the Church uses for her liturgy becomes liturgical by that very use, including modern languages.

But the Liturgy properly understood and entered into transcends language because it also embraces action, items, and other non-linguistic elements.**

Actually, anything the Church uses for her liturgy becomes liturgical by that very use
[/quote]

I think one has to be very careful here lest a misimpression be drawn: just because a practice is used in the context of liturgy does not necessarily mean that the practice is either (a) liturgical or (b) recognized by the Church. It is only when the Church officially recognizes a practice as being liturgical that it is liturgical.

And including the ancient and venerable liturgical languages of both East and West.

Yes, but one must bear in mind that language is a major factor. In a way, it’s a bit like opera, e.g., where English translations of Aida just don’t cut the mustard.

=JustaServant;6288511]Got this question via e-mail from a Baptist friend of mine concerning the Latin Mass.
He’s not hosile to the Catholic Church, but there are many things he is trying to understand.

My answer:
Understanding the words in Latin enhances the spirituality of the Latin Mass. I would not use the word ‘feeling’, it can generate emotion, but that is not it’s purpose (kind of a side-advatage). But I will agree that the ‘flowing sound’ of the Latin Mass creates a comfort within that is hard to explain in a human sense. But I would say that even of a Mass said in English as well. The liturgy itself is more than ‘routine’, it has an effect on the brain, and as a result on the spirit as well.

***Dear friends in Christ,

It seems to me that the Catholic “apporoach” to Worship differs signifiantly [even more so in the Latin “Extrodinary” form of the Mass, and it is indeed, Extrodinary.

Catholic Worship [when properly understood an applied] is FIRST and FOREMOST GOD CENTERED WORSHIP. “In Him, with Him and through Him.” Catholic Eucharist is “from God, by God and for God” and the word Eucharist of course means “thanksgiving.” It’s about knowing, loving, serving God and giving thanks for the opportunity to do so.

Th Community aspect, so important in Protestant worship services seem to have a goal of making the community “closer to God,” whereas Catholic Worship stresses bringing God closer to the community.

Certainly both are good, even necessary. But we must be ever mindful that it is as Archbishop Sheen tells us in his book; " The Life of Christ" "it is God who first desires a personal relationship with us, His Created. From Adam, “where areyou?” " to calling Abram, Noah, Moses, David, Solomon, the prophets, Mary His Mother, John the Baptist, Peter, Saul and the Apostles to you and me. Its God Intoning, “where are you?” that demands a reply, a thank you, and in gratitude, God centred Worship.

The Latin in its “mystery” allows one to focus more on God than self and community. One who attends a Latin Mass regularly, soon knows enough translation to actively participate and to understand and be present to our Lord.***

Love and prayers,
Pat

****+Many years ago the Lord introduced me to the spiritual monastic practice of “lectio divina” (divine reading) . . . which is perhaps the clearest most well lit holy pathway for the soul to “listen” to its God . . . essentially it is encountering God in the reading of a literary level of holy writings in Christendom believed to be especially blessed and anointed of God . . . first order and always primary of which is God’s **Holy Word **. . . Sacred :bible1: Scripture . . . and which group of writings can also include The Holy Rule of St. Benedict . . . The Catechism of the Catholic Church . . . etc., . . . and as such . . . when prayer:gopray2:fully read the . . . **Holy Spirit **. . . Wonderful Counselor of Our God . . . is abundantly available to help regarding the reading, discernment and understanding of same.

The holy monk Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki , O.S.B. of the Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania here in the United States recommends that we . . . *slow down radically *. . . when reflecting on inspired material . . . so as to . . . ***open up freely ***. . . to the treasury of insights contained therein . . . he goes on further to share with beautiful simplicity:

Lectio Divina (divine reading)
Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki , O.S.B. (Order of St. Benedict)

[INDENT]“It is the **monastic insight **that reading, if it be authentic, cannot be undertaken simply with the eyes and the mind. Rather it must involve the whole person: mind, heart, body and spirit. It is reading not so much for information as for formation, that is, for encounter with the living God in this moment in such a way that one’s heart :heart: catches fire and one’s life is transformed … In St. Benedict’s day reading a sacred or spiritual text was practiced not so much for the sake of ‘information,’ but rather in order to be ‘formed’: that is, to be inwardly changed or shaped.

Thus the aim of lectio divina (divine reading), i.e., pondering the material in a slow, prayer:gopray2:ful way, is to dispose ourselves to welcome God’s ever-present grace and His efforts to conquer our hearts and transform us more and more into a holy people.”
[/INDENT]

Using the common ground of Sacred :bible1: Scripture . . . I believe there may at least be a partial answer to your friend’s question in **God’s Holy Word ** . . . in particular in relationship to the spiritual gift of the. . . “gift of tongues”. Over the years I had heard many teachings on the I Corinthian Chapter 14 passage . . . all of which in general kind of just surfed along on the surface . . . concentrating on learning the list of the individual gifts . . . then one day the Lord allowed my soul to encounter a down-to-earth teacher of the Faith who practiced “lectio divina”.

In a very practical manner this gifted teacher contrasted the . . . “gift of tongues” to a “nickel” (its worth being 5 cents) . . . having caught our attention by this application . . . he continued and added the “gift of interpretation of tongues” . . . valued also as a nickel . . . and then had us do the math . . . 5+5=10.

Carrying this further on along into further revelation in Scripture he took us to the below passage . . . wherein the teaching is on how God’s children can soundly and most effectively utilize the two “nickel” gifts . . . **“tongues” **and “interpretation of tongues” . . . in community . . . which instruction contains a blessing if obeyed . . . and a . . . caution . . . if obedience is not possible . . . in community. . .

**. . . :coffeeread: . . . **The Holy :bible1: Bible
[INDENT]"26 … Let all things be done unto edifying. 27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

[quote]28 But if there be NO

interpreter,
let him keep silence in the church;
and let him speak to himself,
and to
God.[/INDENT]
[/quote]

If our Holy Catholic Church would just “mind” the holy instruction of Sacred Scripture . . . writing the translation is fine . . . so much controversy would just melt away . . . and rich blessings made available . . . in relation to opera . . . music of itself is essentially a language also . . . when words are added . . . interpretation ensues (5+5=10) . . . Example: Handle’s “Messiah” . . .

[RIGHT]. . . thank You Lord Jesus+
:signofcross:[/RIGHT]

I’m failing to see the connection between Ist Corinthians 14 and the Latin Mass.

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