I was for a long time a Catholic with very little practice.
I found the ordinary Mass called Paul VI boring, corny, flat.
I tried, however, to go to the most beautiful cathedrals, in vain.
I don’t know what the trigger was, maybe a reading or a video.
The traditional Mass? Oh well, there would be such a Mass!
Like many Catholics, educated by the post Vatican II church and its Mass of 1969, I did not know the evolution of the church in the 1960s. Vatican II spoke to me, without knowing the content and the consequences.
I was looking for a place where I could experience the traditional Mass. I had a choice between two churches and two fraternities. It was the geographical proximity that decided.
So I went to the traditional Mass on a Sunday morning. I was greeted with smiles and other politeness. I took a song book and I noticed that those of the day were written on a small board with the numbers of the pages concerned.
The faithful came, of all ages, from the infant to the very elderly. It was a moment of great freshness and joy to see so many young couples and their children.
How beautiful it is to see little ones of 3 or 4 years old making their signs of the cross and their genuflections!
A small bell rang. The choir sang a beautiful polyphonic song. The priest followed the servants of Mass.
He was clothed in his black cassock on which he wore a surplice and a magnificent chasuble. The servants of Mass also wore a black cassock with a white surplice. The whole was very beautiful and tended to show us that we were entering the sacred.
The priest stood in front of the altar and the Mass began.
Latin helped to give a sacred impression, it magnified the mysteries of faith. I knew I would find the meaning of the words after simple research. So I abandoned myself.
Everything was precise and beautiful. The songs alternated between polyphonies and Gregorians.
This sacred song has always lifted my spirit. In such a Mass, it is even stronger.
The priest gave a beautiful sermon in French. The intensity increased during the elevation of the Body of Christ and the chalice. The priest was always facing the altar and the host and chalice were seen rising above him, just below the altar cross. Then came the moment of the Eucharist. A large Prie-Dieu was laid before the choir. Three faithful could kneel. The priest carefully placed the hosts on the tongue of the faithful while a Mass servant carried a small tray under the chin of the recipient. The solemnity was at its height. The Mass ended with the sound of Latin and songs. I left, astonished, delighted, questioning. Many questions were outstanding.
I came back 3 or 4 Sundays in a row before feeling the need to take a step back and think.
For several months, I read a lot. I went back twice to the modern Mass in a small town near my home. My feelings were even worse. This Mass is not at the same spiritual level I told myself! The age of the faithful began at 50, not young. What will this Mass be in this place in 20 years? I wondered.
I quickly returned to the traditional Mass and the desire to go there every Sunday and feast day and sometimes more has not left me since. I bought myself a missal where each page contains the Latin text and its translation. I was ready. My thinking had matured. Since then, I have been part of the choir, learning Gregorian and making myself available for the apostolate. The traditional Mass made me a true practicing Catholic, with the inherent daily personal approach. Very imperfect, of course! But on the way.
This journey is very personal to me, to each his own. But I really think that all Catholics should discover the traditional Mass that took so many centuries to evolve.
I wish you all the best. May the Lord and Our Divine Mother guide you.