T IS ALWAYS THE SAME RESPONSE: “The Reverence.” When asked why we started going to the Traditional Latin Mass, we have a hard time putting this idea of “reverence” into words.
When holy priests celebrate the Ordinary Form to the best of their abilities, it is often very difficult to describe the difference in “reverence” when comparing it to the Extraordinary Form. But I think it’s in the custody of the eyes. It is hard to explain the contrast in “reverence” when there are no liturgical abuses or extreme examples of silliness. To our curious friends, we explain further, concede, and then qualify by adding that there is “more reverence” at the Extraordinary Form. We double down for emphasis, “It’s hard to describe, but there is a different kind of reverence.”
Here is a small moment to highlight that difference. Cardinal Dolan celebrating without any liturgical abuse, a deacon making a tiny mistake, parishoners adjusting. Technically nothing “wrong” with any of this according to the Ordinary Form. But why does this short video stop me in my tracks and make me feel despondent?
As I wrote this brief note today, Fr. David Friel posted this quote about custodia occulorum:
“By the raising of the eyes,
the celebrant, following the example
of our divine Lord, more expressly
directs his prayer of offering,
thanks, or petition to God;
and so his eyes are to be raised…
to the image of the Crucified.”