Monday, November 28, 2011
The New Translation: Skepticism and Hope (Mostly Hope!)
And then I learned the slow moving truth. It wasn't coming in 2009. These things take time. I apparently wasn't as up on Catholic-News reading at the time, because the same disappointment came in 2010 when I thought: "Advent! It's almost here! Are we going to start practicing?" and realized that it was Advent 2011 and we'd be waiting an entire additional year (I'm glad I didn't know that in fall 2009 when I first heard about it).
But, after attending so many Masses where the words "Near Occasion of Sin" would not be inappropriate I have to say I was skeptical as to how much any change, short of a great big smack over the head by the Holy Spirit, would really help. I thought of the Masses that make this seem, not all that unrealistic, Masses with Ad-Libbing Liturgies of the Eucharist, where we had to repeat parts because we didn't say the Agnus Dei with enough gusto and Masses where the priest starts to say the Our Father and the choir got louder and louder because someone had decided we'd be singing the... modified... words... and so they drowned him out until he finally gave up and joined in (let me say that that was one of the saddest things I ever saw at Mass... I think Near Occasion of Sin crossed over into outright rage at that point... I could have thought of a good use for that missal if I'd had a better throwing arm... without a baby in it...).
Could any change so small, really help those situations? the small pessimistic voice that's formed over the past few years asked. I mean if they're changing the words anyway, who says they'll even use the new translation? Those little old ladies had been writing the Bishop for years... and it never changed anything...
Which makes me feel a little bit torn. I love the Latin Mass. The beauty and reverence of it touches a chord in my heart that vibrates through the week... and I know where the focus of the Mass will be, even when my own focus is distracted by a fussy toddler. But I'd also really love to see the implementation of these changes, and the amazing effects that are possible when we really take a close look at the words that we're saying and the meaning that they convey.
After Mass yesterday the girls and I strolled around the big church next to the little chapel where Latin Mass is held and watched as the crowd of Mass goers poured in for the next Mass of the day. I was tempted to join them to see the changes first hand (I would have been more tempted if I hadn't just survived a fairly smooth 90 minutes with Sadie and Mae at the EF Mass). But then the giant cement building began to vibrate with blasting music that we could hear outside, some fifty yards away, and the idea didn't seem quite as compelling. Maybe we can find someplace a little quieter for our first taste of the new translation...
What was your experience of the new translation? Since I've read about it but haven't actually seen it in action, so to speak, I'm hoping I can live vicariously through you all! I hope it was a beautifully beginning to your Advent season!