Over the past few years, as I have become more entrenched in the Traditional Latin Mass, I have made the suggestion on more than one occasion to not a few friends and family members that they also “give it a go”, as the Brits say.
“Come with me to Latin Mass,” I have offered. “Come and see what I have found!” It is truly a beautiful thing to discover one’s heritage. Realizing that this heritage was stripped from you unceremoniously by malicious actors, well that’s just another sad dimension in the very sad recent history of the Church. But the least I can do, I figure, is to encourage others to do what I have been given the grace to do – that is, to discover anew the ancient treasure of my Rite.
You see, I am a ROMAN Catholic. My father was a Roman Catholic and his father before him. My father’s mother, on the other hand, was an Anglican who converted to marry my grandfather. To her credit, when my grandfather’s drinking became too problematic to deal with effectively, and she (my grandmother) civilly divorced my grandfather; both of them continued to live (though apart) as though they were man and wife. That was in the early 1940’s. My dad was seven years-old and these things simply were not done. To her further credit, my grandmother embraced the Catholic faith. She sent my dad to a Benedictine prep school in New Jersey where he learned not only to love the faith but to sacrifice everything for his family and to do so chiefly through the daily attendance at the Holy Sacrifice. He married at the age of 21, fathered sixteen children, and gave to me, his youngest son, the gift of that devotion to daily Mass. This wouldn’t be possibly had it not been for the faith of Florence Nightingale Millican. I’m laying it on the line, folks. That was her actual name. Please pray for the repose of her soul.
So she is just one of many people to thank for the safety I now enjoy in the traditions of the Church – my Church, the ROMAN Church.
There are others. It’s Christmas time so I will name them. An old friend from college named Michael Hichborn has been putting out videos and articles for years. He sure helped (though I don’t know if he knows it). I’d read his posts on Facebook back in the day and, curiosity being what it is, I would search the internet for what he was talking about. Another voice in the wilderness was Taylor Marshall. In the summer of 2018 I was working as a courier, taking long drives from Dallas to Lubbock or Houston or Memphis. Someone turned me on to his content and I’d listen to his videos while I drove. I have to say that he has the capacity to be a great teacher, something I respect because I am also a teacher. Though I do not always agree with some of the more click-batey titles of his content, I appreciate what he does and I thank him here for helping me to see the Truth. Then there is my nephew. He’s also my godson. Around the same time I was discovering tradition, he was about a half-step ahead of me owing to his wife. We’d talk with each other on the phone and the conversations couldn’t help but lead me to where I am. Thank God for him! I know it should be the other way around – the godfather coaching the godson, but he has more than lived up to his end of the spiritual bargain. My mother-in-law and brother-in-law, too, played a tremendous role in my life. Knowing people who truly lived the Catholic faith the way I knew I wanted to live it, who went to daily Mass, this was a huge help.
So when I invite others I am sometimes shocked at the standard reply I get. It always seems to be the same thing. Granted, there are the handful who say, “Sure! I’ll check it out!” and actually mean it. But the majority of the time I hear this. “Yeah… Sorry. Latin Mass just isn’t my thing.”
To these people I want to say the following: If you are Roman Catholic – as in, not Byzantine of any stripe – then Latin Mass absolutely IS your thing. It is the Mass of your fathers and grandmothers. It is the tradition of your faith. It IS your heritage. Latin Mass is what the saints heard every day. When Benedict XVI (still reigning by the way) introduced the language of “ordinary form” and “extraordinary form” in 2007, I think I know what he was attempting to do. But I also think he got the terms reversed. The default (ordinary form) ought to be the one that was in use going back to at least the 6th century and likely well before that.
I recently had a debate of sorts with another nephew who is getting married in the next year. He asked if Novus Ordo was valid. I said what I’ve said many times before. I believe it’s valid but horrible. It is not edifying. It is not beautiful. It is certainly not ancient nor is it traditional. And that is why I believe Our Lord is none too thrilled to be called down on the
altar table. But to that same nephew I asked the following question: “Why don’t you come to my parish and check out the TLM? Again the response, “It’s just not my thing.” Look, dude, if you were having this conversation with me sixty years ago, that statement would sound ten times more retarded than it does in this moment; and believe me, it sounds pretty gay.
So, to all my trad friends, I issue this challenge. In the coming year of grace, try to get at least five people to come to a TLM with you. Pray for me and I will pray for you. Pray for our priests. They are high value targets to Satan and they need our support. Pray for the friend or sibling or parent or child who is on the fence and says “it’s not my thing” like this is an option between pleated and flat-front pants. We’re talking about the eternal Sacrifice here. It IS that important.
It is your thing and it is my thing. But more than that, it is Christ’s thing. We owe it to Him to make this happen.
Our Lady of Good Counsel, pray for us!