Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King
Thou art the King of Glory, O Lord Jesus Christ; when Thou didst take upon Thee to deliver man, Thou didst not abhor the Virgin's Womb

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Holy Mass Dilemma: Ordinary Form or Extraordinary Form?

Am I allowed to enjoy anything? 

I've been thinking.  So, I've decided a couple weeks ago that for the Seasons of Septuagesima and Quadragesima (Lent), I would try to attend Sunday Mass in the Extraordinary Form in Pittsburgh.  Multiple reasons.  The Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite fosters and caters to my spirituality much more than does the Ordinary Form.  Being in God's Presence for worship is a very solemn occasion and the atmosphere and "feel" of the Liturgy is very conducive to prayer and meditation.  It's frustrating wondering when the next time I'll be able to go to Latin Mass will be.

There are a few problems standing in the way.  Gas is pretty expensive and the church is a good hour and 20 minute drive from my place.  The roads are awful right now.  Money is very tight, but I have been looking forward to Sexagesima Sunday all week.  I don't want everything to go to waste really.  I should also say that there is a Catholic church next door to me [that I don't hate; I enjoy it sometimes], but it's difficult having to constantly adapt my spirituality and relationship to the Mass on Sundays.  During the week, Mass is fine there, easier to concentrate and pray.

Why would God give me such a desire and thirst to worship Him with the Extraordinary Form, but then place so much distance between it and me?  It's tantalizing.  I'm not unreasonably far away from it, yet I don't go more often.  There is a closer EF in another diocese, but I've stopped going to that church for social reasons.  It was starting to be an occasion of sin for me because I would often leave extremely upset.  I miss that church though because the priest is the best predicator I know.  He's such a man of God and so holy.  He's tough, but that's what souls need.  I always feel blessed just being around him.  Not to mention, the church is gorgeous... 

I usually went to Pittsburgh for the high holy days like the Solemnities of the Nativity and Resurrection of Our Lord.  It's a larger community and I'll be able to blend in more and it'll be a fresh start.  I won't have to talk to anyone and I can pick a corner and be in my own little meditative, prayerful world.  Me and God.  No one knows me.  I don't know them.  I don't have to have the anxiety of making a good impression or not because after I'm done with my Thanksgiving After Mass, I'll be leaving. 

Since I'm Black and gay, like I said in a former post, I do naturally feel uncomfortable and "different" but I try to pray those feelings away and tell myself that I am bought with a price (First Epistle of the St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians VII, 23) and have every right to be there.  They can't really kick anyone out of church unless they're being disrespectful can they? 

It's hard not to wonder what people think of me there.  I'd rather not know honestly.  That's the other thing I wonder, why would God allow me to struggle with homosexuality and gender identity and race and then give me such a thirst for Him and be drawn to a way of worship that is like the antithesis of all those things, traditional Catholicism? 

This is just putting tremendous amounts of stress on me.  I feel like because I want to go to the Extraordinary Form so badly, I'm being unreasonable and really should just go to Holy Mass next door if I really do not disdain the Ordinary Form like I say I don't.  It's not that I hate going to St. Thomas More, it's just I really wanted to do this and experience Septuagesima kinda sorta (I'd need the breviary and what not to really get the whole dose of it).

Which would be more sanctifying do you think:  Go to Latin Mass? or go to Mass next door and offer it up?


  1. tough question - on one hand spiritual things are more profitable when they involve a Cross -- such as the problems of getting to Latin Mass, but on the other hand I think you are right to try to accept the NO Mass more. If you're going to be Catholic you have to accept all of its Rites. Talk to a priest about this. Do you have a specific spiritual father?

    1. I have been corresponding with him by e-mail (although I need to make a General Confession and would like to receive the Sacrament of Penance and the priests around here are very busy). I think what I'm looking for more than a particular Rite is a parish community that is very spiritual and encourages and nurtures piety and orthodoxy. The church next door seems to function more as a corporation/business than a place to make spiritual progress. It's got lots of families so it's not very intimate. The people are really nice and the music is pretty good. The other church here is much more traditional, but really boring and a much older demographic, the people aren't as friendly (but they aren't bad), the music isn't as good, but I can pray in there usually. It also has Adoration every week. It's not in walking distance. The Byzantine church is beautiful, but the Liturgy is boring and it's hard to pray. The people are pretty friendly, but complain too much about how the Roman Rite bishops persecuted them too much. The Orthodox churches here are nothing compared to HTOC. The one Extraordinary Form parish I used to go to (the closer one) became an occasion of sin for me because I only got along with two of the people around my age and in that clique while the others ones made me really frustrated or were too superficial, and they weren't helping me spiritually (but seemed to help each other...). I miss that priest and all of the older people there, and the church is the most beautiful of all of them (my goodness, what a House of God!) and the music was pretty good too (some Eastern vibes as well) and it's the best Latin Mass I've ever gone to. The church in Pittsburgh seems to be where I can concentrate the best and keep my mind focused on the Liturgy instead of having to pray to tone out all these externals and the music is great! My favorite of them all and although I don't know anyone there, it's nice to go where I'm unknown (although I'm sure I stand out being Black, gay, and veiled) but it is where I can just be with God and He can minister to me and me to Him, even though that is the largest community of all the churches. I'm distracted the least there.

      The priests I have discussed this with don't really have much to say about it, but they just say that if I feel more comfortable at the Extraordiary Form and that's what I need spiritually, then go.