Good evening from a bus where Rayne and I are off to Manchester for a few days.
It’s hard to believe that only last Friday we had the Medjugorje evening as so much has happened since and today in our little church in Notting Hill we had a beautiful afternoon devoted to the divine mercy.
As Fr. Keith was unavailable we had a lovely elderly American priest who celebrated a beautiful mass for us in latin.
Minutes before the mass however there was a little problem, there was nobody to serve mass!
Serving the latin mass is a whole different ballgame and the person who was supposed to come didn’t make it.
A last minute sub was needed!!
As providence would have it I served mass in latin for 2 years shortly after my conversion in France.
It began in Paris when I had no place to live and didn’t know what to do. I did what any normal person would do…I went to mass!
That Sunday I had been invited to a ‘Latin mass church’ for the first time and after the mass there was a party or some sort. The parish priest overheard me speaking in French and hearing a slight accent asked me where I was from!
Within minutes he offered me a room to stay in and the opportunity to serve mass in his parish, Saint Eugène.
At the beginning it was all new to me but I immediately fell in love with the profound sense of the sacred. Jesus blessed me with many extraordinary experiences too that opened my eyes to the extraordinary sacredness of the mass.
And so for the next two years I served mass in latin both there and in a community in the south called Toulon and by the end of it I actually knew what I was doing!
Jesus made sure that I got ample opportunity to serve because I wasn’t able to either sing or play music….what to do with Michael?! Tell him to serve! They might have thought that I got the short straw but it’s not how I saw it.
Serving allowed me to be next to the altar and beside the priest and it was the best position in the house especially as the only thing I seemed to be any good at was praying!
The mass is the most sacred thing in the universe and all the books in the world couldn’t sum it up. All we can do is participate as humbly and as fully as possible by preparing ourselves in prayer and also by educating ourselves about the mass through relevant books etc.
A group of people who know all about the power of the mass and of the spiritual are those in the occult and particularly satanists.
Yesterday I went to see the film ‘The Conjuring” which is based on a true story. It was an excellent film and showed how satanists work and at the same time how they can be defeated through the power of Jesus.
We live in times when there has never been more interest in the spiritual and the supernatural and yet never less interest in the most spiritual of them all, Jesus.
We have a catholic church full of saints and mystics, we have a Jesus who desires to pour out the Holy Spirit on us and to fill us from the inside out with His love and power and yet most churches are struggling to stay alive.
What is the solution?!
Is it more study and more evangelisation techniques? Is it new technology and music?!
Certainly all these things can help but surely the answer is actually much more simple, to go back to the basics and to understand what we actually have!
Certainly in the past people didn’t understand latin and many rabbited off their prayers but this doesn’t mean that the mass should be compromised because I’m not sure that people understand it any better now even though it’s in english or whatever the native language.
Jesus is surely calling us out of an attitude of “going to mass” and into an attitude of “participating in the mass” and ever deepening our personal relationship with Him and our understanding of the power and need of prayer.
And so as I sit on the bus I thank Jesus for a wonderful day and once again his foot soldier Brenda Walsh for organising it. I thank Jesus also for the beautiful old priest and my prayer (and mass intention) is for all seminarians, that they fall in love with the mass, that they believe in the mass and that they will teach as many people as possible how to participate fully in the mass when they become priests.
Thanks for reading,