The Church, in her Wisdom has given us the Ordinary Form of the Mass. We, as a Church, are currently blessed with the option (in most places) to attend Mass using the Ordinary Form or the Extraordinary Form. Both are valid in the eyes of the Church and both have beauty and both can be done well or done horribly.
I’ve been to both forms and to be honest, I prefer the Ordinary Form, when celebrated reverently. I have been blessed to see the Ordinary Form celebrated with great reverence and love. I’ve seen it celebrated ad orientem, with many of the parts in Latin, and all the focus on Love Himself.
That is not to say that I do not love the Extraordinary Form, I also an very drawn to it as well. However, if I had the option here, where we are, I’d still pick a reverently done Ordinary Form Mass.
That being said:Â It pains me when I see/read fellow Catholics who do not see the beauty and/or the validity of the Ordinary Form. On a discussion group I belong to, members make it sound like the most horrible place in the world is a Ordinary Form Mass. There is talk about how glad they are for being able to escape the Ordinary Form for the Latin Mass. (Note: the OF is the Latin Mass as well.)
Sometimes I feel as though a wedge is being driven between those of us who are faithful Catholics because of the Mass we attend. Many times I feel as though I am judged to be less faithful because I prefer the Ordinary Form. I’ve actually been pondering this for a few weeks now.
Yes, both forms are valid, and yes, abuses can happen in both forms. However, both forms bring us the Source and Summit of our faith, Jesus in the Eucharist.Â Jesus, Love Himself. God made flesh, come to Earth to die on the Cross for our Salvation. He is present in both forms! He comes to us, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity at each and every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
We, as Catholics, need to realize that even if the priest celebrating Mass seems to want to be anywhere but there, if the people in the pews around us seem more interested in chatting that praying, or (and this is one I struggle with) if the hymn choices are suspect at best, heretical at worst, the Mass is still the Mass and Jesus has come to us in the Blessed Sacrament.
So please, let us put aside the judging over what form is attended and look to see the beauty that is present in both!
I really appreciate what you have written. I grew up in the O.F. and until a few years ago had never attended the E.F. I agree 100% with what you have written. Unfortunatly, at my old parish there is so much distraction, too many lay people overly involved and poor catechisis. I felt like so much was watered down in the Liturgy…we were very unhappy. I was always feeling guilty because I felt like I was a part of the irreverence going on. Not with the Priest, but the parishoners. On the other hand, the E.F. just drew us in so much. The incense, the beauty of the Church, the candles, the SILENCE, just drew us in. The beauty of the organ and music….from the back of the church….drew us in. I feel as if I truely have worshipped. I cannot say that with the O.F. But, I know God is present in both forms, and I am grateful to recieve Him either way. When we decided to attend E.F. regularly, I was afraid people would think I was judging their choice to attend O.F. I hope I never give that impression to anyone at my old parish! We are all Catholc and as long as the Holy Church offers both forms, we should be free to attend which ever one we want…WITHOUT judgement. I also want to add that I have been “looked down” on(family and non family) because we have chosen the E.F. It goes both ways. May God bless us all in our journey with Him. Christine
I definitely agree with you! I, too, prefer a reverent Ordinary Form Mass (preferably with Latin parts!) to the Extraordinary Form, but they are both beautiful (when celebrated as the Church intends) and BOTH valid! I must admit, unfortunately in our area we don’t have the Extraordinary Form offered anywhere nearby, and the Ordinary Form Masses are not very reverent, nor are the music choices theologically correct (or, frankly, what I prefer) but it’s good to always remember that even though we don’t have the best liturgical atmosphere, Our Lord is STILL present, and that’s something worth putting aside any annoyances/preferences and just be GRATEFUL.
In La Crosse, Catholics have a choice: a reverent Mass in O.F. or in E.F. This, my friend, is the Land of Milk and Honey. I’ll give you one guess which one my husband prefers. 🙂