Saturday, 2 January 2016

Catching Up With Myself...

20151208_202221On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception we were blessed to have a Solemn High Mass at St. Austin & St. Gregory's. Fr. Marcus Holden came over from Ramsgate to be deacon and Fr. Bernard McNally was subdeacon.

I wasn't needed to sing, as we were even more blessed to have some members of the wonderful Victoria Consort to provide the music. We had Palestrina's Missa Brevis among other things - the first time I've heard it, and it was gorgeous.

20151208_194042Not having to shuffle bits of paper and work out what note to start on meant that I was free to let the music lift my heart and mind to God, and watch as the liturgy unfolded in front of me - the ritual movements and gestures, so carefully choreographed over centuries, are supremely satisfying. I have heard "bells and smells" referred to in disparaging tones by those who dislike the resurgence of the traditional Latin Mass, but there is a certain amount of truth in the phrase. Our faith is an incarnational one - we are not spirits trapped in a physical body, we are created body and soul, together from the first moment of conception. Furthermore, at the end of time, body and soul will be reunited. Death, that separation of body and soul, is so awful to us because it was not meant to happen... it happens because of Original Sin. The Mass addresses both the physical and spiritual aspects of our nature, and this is why beautiful music and vestments, and careful observation of the rubrics are so very integral to the worthy celebration of the Mass.


I took photos to try and capture some of this beauty and dignity, to share with people unable to attend a traditional Latin Mass for themselves. I haven't had much opportunity to work out the best camera angles at St. Austin & St. Gregory, but I don't think the results are too bad. You can see more over on my Flickr page.

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