Latin – I don’t know Latin, but I think it is a fine language. It sounds noble, clean, crisp and dignified. The fact that I don’t speak the language doesn’t matter to me. At that point in the liturgy the Latin helps me to transcend the ordinary, everyday speech I usually use. I hope no one will be offended, but I experience the same thing as when I speak in tongues. I use a language that transcends language.
Reverence – People really are reverent at a Latin Mass. They are attentive and pious and even their kids have a prayerful and attentive attitude for the most part. They show great reverence when they kneel to receive communion on the tongue and that reverence produces a wonderful atmosphere of worship.
Altar Boys – The Latin Masses I have attended have altar boys who really know what they’re doing. They’re not slouching and picking their nose or chewing gum. They’re not wearing da-glo sneakers and they show true reverence. Nice.
Ad Orientem – I could write a whole book on why this is best, but Fr Lang has saved me the trouble. Ad orientem turns us toward the Lord rather than towards ourselves. There’s more to it than that, but that’s the bottom line.
Music – I have to admit, sometimes the Gregorian chant has been pretty dreary, and I’ve sometimes got the impression that the music director would prefer to do the right piece badly than the “wrong” piece well, but on the whole the sacred music is beautiful, good and true.
Tradition – The Latin Mass connects us with the worship of our church from the last 500 years and beyond. The roots are alive and help to ground our modern lives in the riches of the past.
Vestments – I like nice vestments. They dignify the Mass and lend glory and beauty to the celebration. They also help to blot out the priest’s individual personality. I see the vestments and I see the office of the priest…not Father so and so.
Incense – What’s not to like about incense? The ceremony of censing the altar takes you beyond words like all good ceremony and ritual does. It is also a connection between our faith and not only the faith of the Jews so long ago but many other religions. Incense is a universal and its Biblical too.
Mother Mary – The Latin Mass often ends with a hymn to the Mother of God. That’s good.
Beauty – Beauty, Truth and Goodness. It’s a little Holy Trinity.
Altar Rails – Kneeling at the altar rail gives people a few moments to be there in the Lord’s presence rather than the move it along assembly line of standing to receive. There’s dignity and simplicity and humility in that.
Example – The Latin Mass offers a kind of gold standard for the celebration of the Mass. Those of us who celebrate the Novus Ordo are informed and enlightened by those brothers and sisters of ours who celebrate the Extraordinary Form. and do it so well. Good for them!