This evening we attended a beautiful Missa Cantata for All Souls’ Day. It was a Requiem Mass celebrated by Fr. Altman.
If you’ve never attended a traditional Requiem Mass, I promise it’s worth whatever sacrifice one needs to make to get there–time, travel, enduring tired children, etc. The prayers alone are striking and heartrending. I’m thinking in particular of the Sequence, or the Dies Irae (Day of Wrath). Tonight, I was struck by verse 14, “Worthless are my prayers and sighing, Yet, good Lord, in grace complying, Rescue me from fires undying.”
For those of you who are interested, I will post a few photos and captions below.
A few weeks ago I was present at a Mass that I’ll never forget. I don’t think the children will either.
It was during Lent, when our country quickly began shutting down all around us, and our bishops began closing churches and denying the sacraments. It was surreal to be abandoned like that. I mean, to have bishops willingly label the Church as “nonessential” overnight, for a virus.
The Mass, however, the Mass we attended that morning was beautiful. We hiked up a hill in the rain with our umbrellas, knowing that we would only have to remain in the rain, as the government had deemed the church “unsafe” and “nonessential.” And so we stood with about 15 other people in the pouring rain.
The old friar celebrating the TLM had set up a screen in the piazza, under an overhang, so that we could pray along with him. We all knelt on hard concrete in sopping puddles. At communion time, a different friar came outside and distributed Holy Communion to a wet, cold flock.
It is difficult to tell you how I felt. I was thinking of Abraham pleading for Sodom and Gomorrah. Oh, Lord, here are about 25 faithful people! Relent! But I was thankful too–so very, very thankful–that those friars understood what was important. They were doing everything they could to administer to our souls. Indeed, another friar was hearing confessions during the Mass. Deep emotions of gratitude welled up within me. I felt so blessed; I knew the love of God in that moment–I felt it through those holy friars.
Furthermore, I wanted to embrace those other 15 people, who were willing to suffer for Jesus and endure that dismal, penitential rain. And I loved my husband, for he held the baby and took the brunt of the weather, sheltering us as best as he could.
Who would ever have thought that we’d be in a situation like that? And how, O Lord, will it end?
Ah, but life will never be the same. A line has been drawn.
Today I offer a Photo Post of last week’s Traditional Latin Mass. A friend of mine had a professional photographer there and graciously shared these photos with me, and I thought I’d pass them along to any who might be curious.
Our fourth child, Johnny, just celebrated his First Holy Communion this last Sunday. He was very happy and proud.
This was the first time we’ve had one of our children receive First Holy Communion at a Traditional Latin Mass, and it was simple and beautiful.
The two first communicants knelt at the altar rail while Father lifted the host and said, “Corpus Domini Nostri Iesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen.” This means, “May the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your soul unto life everlasting. Amen.” Then they received Him on the tongue and were forever changed.
I’m often quite distracted at Mass attending to the children or foolishly forgetting what I’m doing. But that day, after I received Jesus and was kneeling in the pew, I was so thankful. I felt the love of Jesus surrounding our family. As the chant schola moved into the Communion Antiphon, my heart soared. He is so good to us!
Lately it’s been a little difficult to be thankful, as I seem to be falling into this trap again, and it only seems to rain around here. My yard is a muddy mess! Seriously, we can’t get even plant the grass, because it just rains and rains.
But my tulips are beautiful.
And my children are too.
If you’ve been experiencing some hard times, you might want to listen to Sterling Jaquith’s brief 20 minute podcast, “Hardship & Discomfort.” It’s part three of her “Less Stressful Summer Series.” Click HERE for it and scroll down a bit. It was just what I needed the other day.
Welcome to the month of May! And to celebrate, I’ll offer a few of my favorite things.
My May Favorites:
Every year I forget about May Day and May Day baskets, but my children don’t. They gave my husband some of their own money and directed him to buy a particular chocolate turtle, found at a local chocolate shop, knowing it’s my favorite. Then they wove a basket from construction paper and lined it with drawings and notes.
That night, while my husband and I were enjoying a Brandy Alexander, and I was losing at Gin Rummy, they snuck out of their window, ran to the front door, rang the bell, ran back laughing, and I had a May Day basket waiting on the front steps.
2. I love drinking wine. And lately, I’ve been enjoying a wine named Josh. Their merlot is fabulous, especially when I can get it on sale. I think it runs around $16 normally, but I found it for about $11.
3. Speaking of wine, I also enjoy drinking Dreaming Tree, but when I crack that bottle open, my husband just rolls his eyes and barely deigns to drink it. For you see, this wine is a collaboration of Dave Matthews and Sean McKenzie. Dave Matthews is, of course, the famous lead singer of the Dave Matthews Band, and my husband can hardly tolerate him after spending his college years being forced to listen “to that sappy crap” all day long from his obsessed roommate.
Me? I only ever listened to his song “Crash Into Me.” While it’s not highly offensive, I don’t recommend it. But I do recommend the wine.
4. The other day, I got sick of the Magnificat. I had been using it to read the Mass readings to the children every morning, but I wanted something more beautiful. I wanted the Old Mass readings and prayers. So I grabbed my 1962 Missal and haven’t gone back. Wow, are these prayers beautiful.
So, the 1962 Missal is one of my May Favorites. In fact, when I’m forced to attend the Novus Ordo, I just bring it along and pray the the TLM prayers instead.
5. Since we cancelled our Magnificat subscription, we had funds available for a different publication. What do subscribe to? The Remnant. Seriously, this newspaper is a hidden gem. It’s based out of St. Paul, MN, and is pretty traddy. Some of you may not care for it, but for the rest of you, click HERE for their website.
6. The other Sunday, as we were sitting through another banal Novus Ordo Mass, complete with horrible music, we were accosted with a particularly bad song called, “Somebody’s Knocking at Your Door.” (Click HERE for it on YouTube, if you dare.) Anyway, after Mass my husband hopped in the van with a big smirk on his face, and I asked, “What’s so funny?”
“You know that terrible song about knocking on doors at Mass?”
I groaned, “Yes.”
“Well, all I could think of was the Guns N Roses’ 1990 song, “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.”
Naturally, we pulled that song up on the phone, plugged it into the van, and blasted it for the posterity and education of our children. Just picture it – a white, 15-passenger van, spilling over with kids with crazy parents, windows down, while THIS graced the streets of Mandan.
In between singing as loudly as I could and laughing uncontrollably, I had to thank God for my insightful husband. He’s my All-Time May Favorite.