I'd never attended a "High Mass" before and actually asked some online friends if that was actually what the Mass we attended actually was and then started googling for confirmation. It fit the descriptions I found perfectly.
When we arrived there were five altar servers in the hallway, with incense and candles and Father had just announced that a monsignor was visiting. Then Mass began and there were three priests, all in the most beautiful vestments I've ever seen, the sort of vestments that made me want to break out some gold thread and figure out how to use the embroidery setting on my new sewing machine, in a feeble attempt at imitating the beautiful garments.
Most of the Mass was sung (that was my clue that it was a high Mass, because I remember reading somewhere that a High Mass is sung) and I'll admit that I spent a good deal of time marveling at how everyone knows to do everything at the exact time, and how it's so graceful and beautiful and almost resembles a sort of dance (in a not liturgical dance sort of way!) because everyone moves together so perfectly.
We were in the Narthex, which ended up being a very good thing, because while Mae Bae did "alright" (and by alright I mean: pulling my snood, and my nose and trying to poke my eyes, while putting her feet on my stomach to try and push off and dive towards the floor... but at least doing all these things quietly), Sadie had a less than stellar day, in which she repeatedly stage whispered: "Is it over yet?!?!" This would have been slightly understandable since this Mass was a bit longer, if it hadn't begun 30 minutes into Mass, which is definitely inside the timeline that she normally sits still for.
Now if I had to guess the reason for the scene I would have to say it's probably because there were not one but two new priests at Mass, and Sadie seems to think that new priests mean a chance to convince them that she's really of an age to receive (I've noticed lately that she only does it with new priests, who she doesn't recognize, and she's stopped trying to pull one over on the priest that usually says the EF Mass at our Chapel, because she knows he won't be fooled.). But being held by Daddy pretty much lets everyone know she's not big enough, and she was outraged.
After a talk outside she sat quietly for the remaining few minutes, and things went fairly smoothly, despite a threatened Mae Bae tantrum.
A few hours later we were sitting on the couch when she told me: "You can't warn me at Mass. We have to be quiet. Shhhhhh!" followed by: "And you can't yell at me either. We have to be quiet!" I'm sure that my whispered: "Shhhhs" probably do feel a bit like yelling since she knows that she's doing something she's not supposed to be doing when she hears one. But I digress... back to the reason for this post...
While my understanding frequently falls short, there was something about this Mass that spoke to my heart, that drew me in, despite the distractions that are normally more than enough to leave me ready to pull out my hair by the end of an hour. This is surely my own shortcoming. But I've been to too many Masses that ended up being a near occasion of sin for me, with a completely ad libbed liturgy, or a guitar with an ever increasing volume playing over a priest who's resisting the words of a prayer being changed into a happy clappy song, to not appreciate the difference.
Oh how I hope we end up settling somewhere where this Mass is held, at least occasionally! Or more than occasionally! Is it something that's usually rarely done, even in parishes that have EF Masses? Or do some parishes have it regularly?