After wanting to for years but never making any sort of real effort, I went to my first EF (Extraordinary Form - TLM) Mass this afternoon.
If I'm completely honest (which I try to be), I was pretty sure I would go, think "hmm.. that's interesting," and that would be the end of it. Yes, Jesus is there just like at any OF (Ordinary Form - NO) Mass, but everything I knew about it just sounded stuffy. The picture in my mind was a bunch of little old ladies sitting in the pews muttering their rosaries while the priest mumbled for an hour with his back turned. Even having gotten a "play-by-play" from a friend last night so I would know what was going on, I was expecting to be sitting there not really knowing what was happening. Not the best mindset... but, nevertheless, there I was, walking into the Parish Church of Our Lady (around the corner... about three blocks from my flat) just in time for noon Mass.
Funny how God takes expectations and completely busts them up sometimes.
I could not have imagined how beautiful, ritualistic, and reverent it was. Far from sitting in the pew twiddling my thumbs, I was so drawn into the prayer. A couple of things I really didn't expect
~ We did actually say some of the responses, sing part of the kyrie and all of the creed. I was most glad that the end of the doxology was audible and so we all chanted the Amen - my second favorite part of the Mass. --It's part of my whole view of the Mass as a love story.... you've got the early relationship/love letters through the introductory rites and liturgy of the Word, a proposal at the Consecration and then the Amen is like vows before the full unity of receiving the Eucharist.... seems funny to not actually say "I do (believe)" before that. (Yes, this probably isn't exactly "correct" theology ... but beyond sharing it here I'm not teaching it or expecting anyone to get the same insight from it)
~The music was all sung by a quartet that I've heard occasionally at daily Mass at the Franciscan church. They specialize in 15th-16th century Hapsburg sacred music. My friend, Liz, and I were sitting in the back and were right next to them.... Heavenly.
~The reading from Ephesians and the Gospel were both chanted in Hungarian. I understood bits of the first one but couldn't make out what the Gospel was about beyond that it was Hungarian and not Latin. I wasn't sure what language they would be in because I've heard different things from different people about the readings being done in Latin and/or English (in this case, Hungarian).
~Next time (yes, I will definitely be going again sometime), I'm going to sit closer to the front so I can see better. I'll also look up the readings ahead of time!
~After receiving the Eucharist, I felt Christ's presence more strongly than I can ever remember. I know it's not about "feeling" but it was as if He was with me saying "BAM! ... Hey, Rose, I'm right here. Not just somewhere around here but right here."
~The movement (priest and servers) was so carefully "choreographed." It just ran so smoothly -- that's the kind of thing I notice with all my theatre training. (And not just onstage ... if I'm running a quick change that isn't properly choreographed my performer may not end up on stage to do the "actual" staging)
~On a similar note, the purple vestments with gold brocade were simply beautiful and even matched the chalice veil.
Anyway, not at all what I expected and I'm sure I'll be going again.