When I was a young child, the Catholic Mass was celebrated only in Latin. The language of the church.
Few knew the literal meaning of each word in the prayers unless they followed along in their missal with Latin on one page and English on the opposite page. But it didn’t matter, at least to me. There was something in the Latin Mass that spoke to my soul in the same way as beautiful music without words. I loved the Latin Mass.
Music itself, has been called the language of the soul. There is no question that it connects us, not only by lyrics sung but by the intangible yearning, joy, and even the pain that we hear in a melody.
These emotions were absorbed by many upon hearing the Traditional Latin Mass, the essentials of which had remained constant since the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great (590-604). Today, it is still around and commonly known as the Tridentine Mass.
The Tridentine Mass is a name often applied to the Mass promulgated by Pope St. Pius V, on July 14, 1570, through the apostolic constitution Quo Primum, which standardized the traditional Latin Rite Mass. Then in 1969, it was replaced by the Mass of Pope Paul VI in 1969, called the Novus Ordo.
The Novus Ordo is the new Mass that Pope Paul VI introduced in 1969 after Vatican II, but it was already being revised before and during Vatican II. The desire of both the Council Fathers and Paul VI was to simplify the liturgy in order to make it more accessible to the average layman. While the Novus Ordo retains the basic structure of the Traditional Latin Mass, it removes a number of repetitions and simplifies the language of the liturgy.
This simplification is, of course, very good, but sometimes we appreciate more the ‘not so simple’ things. Those things we have to put additional effort into, those things we have to really think about and meditate upon to understand the awesome mystery in them.
For it is within the quiet depth of our hearts that we come to know the greatest of mysteries –God’s love for us, shown by the sacrifice of His son.
All there for us in the gift of The Mass.