Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sacred Heart Mass

In honor of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on Friday, we went to the overnight vigil at our parish.  Both the 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. Masses were in the Extraordinary Form (Tridentine).  We went to the Friday night Mass.

This Mass was one of the most beautiful I've been to.  They had an excellent cantor who sang Gregorian chant for the processional and recessional and the 3 communion hymns.  In the past, they had one or more people singing traditional hymns, but in English.  It was really lovely.  I wish I were more comfortable with the Extraordinary form so I could just enjoy it all and not be flipping through the book trying to find where we are and whether we should stand, sit, or kneel!  There are a lot of "newbies" at the Two Hearts Vigil, so you can't necessarily trust the actions of the people around you!

Two notable things happened on at the Mass.

First, I wore a veil for the first time.  I'd been meaning to get one for a while, or knit one, but hadn't gotten around to it, so I asked Meg to go out to the narthex to see if they were selling any.  They weren't selling them, but they had some to lend, and she got one for each of us.  She didn't keep hers on, but I did. (She ended up sleeping throught it, anyway.)  Having read several essays about veiling or blog posts about wearing one for the first time, I expected to have this other worldly experience where I was more in tune with God, more prayerful.  But that didn't happen.  I was me, with this veil that kept slipping off the back of my head and making me itch!

It did have an effect that I didn't expect:  I felt inappropriately dressed.  I certainly wasn't the least modest woman there, speaking objectively.  I had on khaki capris and a cotton shirt that wasn't tight, but it wasn't baggy either.  Mainly, I felt as if I should be wearing a long skirt and not pants at all!  Almost all my skirts are knee-length and I felt that wouldn't be long enough or modest enough.  So, I'm wondering if that was a prompting of the Holy Spirit, or just me being scrupulous.  I'm sure y'all have opinions out there!

The other thing that happened is that during the Liturgy of the Eucharist I felt for the first time that something really special was happening on the altar.  I go to Mass all the time; I love the Eucharist; I know what's happening up there, but I've never felt the miraculousness of it all as I did Friday.  Now, it's not just the Extraordinary Form of the Mass that did it, because I've been to those before.  Maybe it was because I tried to stop using the book any more than necessary and be a part of it for the first time.  I don't know what happened, but I appreciated it.

I was still having my crazy, distracting thoughts about the veil, my clothing, not experiencing what I expected to experience, what others were doing, etc.  I don't know how I managed to pray at all!  I am glad that we made the effort to go.  It was very late, and we had to leave shortly after the Mass without staying for the prayers or the Saturday Mass.  It was a bit of a struggle to get there, and everyone wanted to go to trivia night, but I'm so glad we went.  It was, dare I say it, awesome.


  1. My most recent Low Mass was very different for me as well (you must have had a High Mass). I didn't expect it to be so quiet. I know if I went more often I would get used to it, but I do enjoy the participation of the N.O. Mass.

    I enjoyed veiling, but no one -- well, sometimes there is one -- at our parish veils at the N.O. Mass. My teens would not want to sit with me. As much as I would like it, it would make Mass unbearable for them. I almost always wear a skirt and long sleeves for modesty though. Maybe someday I'll add that veil. Or maybe I'll start going to the Tridentine Mass more often.

  2. It's not a Catholic experience in my case but one of the most moving experiences I've had was on September 12, 2001 during Community Eucharist at my seminary when we sang the litany acapella at the beginning of worship. The combination of the events of the previous day with the beauty of the litany was moving beyond words.

  3. ---Barb, this morning as we prayed, I wondered where those parts were in the TLM (like the Prayers of the Faithful). I like the participation, too. I know the NO can be beautiful and reverent!

    ---Jen, it's amazing how some things can touch your soul sometimes!


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