The Beauty and Spirituality
of the Traditional Latin Mass
by David Joyce
(The Holy Mass as referred to in this essay is the traditional Latin Mass
of the ancient Roman rite, as celebrated until 1965 in the Latin Church)
It is the Mass that Cardinal Newman, the leader of the Oxford movement into the Church, said that he could attend forever, and not be tired. Father Faber, priest of the Brompton Oratory in the last century, described the Mass as the "most beautiful thing this side of heaven", and he continued:
"It came forth out of the grand mind of the Church, and lifted us out of earth and out of self, and wrapped us round in a cloud of mystical sweetness and the sublimities of a more than angelic liturgy, and purified us almost without ourselves, and charmed us with the celestial charming, so that our very senses seemed to find vision, hearing, fragrance, taste, and touch beyond what earth can give"Father Adrian Fortescue, a great English liturgical historian, has said that the Mass of the Roman rite is the most venerable rite in Christendom.
Pious Popes, too, have often wondered at the majesty of the Mass. Pope Clement VII said in 1604:
"Since the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist by means of which Christ Our Lord has made us partakers of His sacred Body, and ordained to stay with us unto the consummation of the world, is the greatest of all the Sacraments, and it is accomplished in the Holy Mass and offered to God the Father for the sins of the people, it is highly fitting that we who are in one body which is the Church, and who share of the one Body of Christ, would use in this ineffable and awe- inspiring Sacrifice the same manner of celebration and the same ceremonial observance and rite"and Pope Urban VII in 1634 said:
"If there is anything divine among man's possessions which might excite the envy of the citizens of heaven (could they ever be swayed by such a passion), this is undoubtedly the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by means of which men, having before their eyes, and taking into their hands the very Creator of heaven and earth, experience, while still on earth, a certain anticipation of heaven.The Mass! What a treasure! Christ's very own sacrifice on the cross left for us wrapped in an act seeping with beauty and divine celebration. Below I describe a few of its important qualities that set it apart in this day and age, that truly make it "the most beautiful thing this side of heaven".READ...
How keenly, then, must mortals strive to preserve and protect this inestimable privilege with all due worship and reverence, and be ever on their guard lest their negligence offend the angels who vie with them in eager adoration!"