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July 15, 2004

Get Ye to Daily [Traditional] Mass

by Thomas A. Droleskey

This is the time of year when many millions of Catholics go on vacation. Plans are made months in advance of trips to various sites in this country and abroad. One of things that a few Catholics, however, might forget to plan assiduously is to plan their trips so that they can get to a daily offering of the Traditional Latin Mass as frequently as possible while they are away from home. Yes, I realize that this is not always possible, especially given the fact that one has to make many sacrifices these days simply to find the daily offering of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition, no less actually get oneself to Mass. Nevertheless, this short exhortation is meant to be a reminder to one and all that daily Mass is very important to the right ordering of our lives at all times, yes, even on vacation.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the unbloody re-presentation of Our Lord's one sacrifice to the Father in Spirit and in Truth on the wood of the Holy Cross. It is the perfect prayer, containing each of the four ends of any prayer (Adoration, Petition, Reparation, Thanksgiving). Indeed, the Mass is a propitiatory offering for sins, offered at the hands of an alter Christus who acts in persona Christi. The Traditional Latin Mass is the most perfect expression of the Faith of our fathers and a beautiful, unsurpassed exercise in the worship of God: Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Who is all beauty and perfection. It is in the Traditional Latin Mass that we find the proper orientation of the priest from the moment he begins Holy Mass with the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and ascends the three steps (signifying the Three Persons of the Most Blessed Trinity and the effort we must make to climb to God in our daily lives) to the Last Gospel, which reminds us of the importance of the Incarnation in our own lives (and thus the life of the world) and that the Mass itself is incarnational. The God-Man, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, becomes incarnate by under the appearance of the mere elements of this earth when a mere man, who is the instrument of the Holy Ghost, utters mere words. The Mass is a miracle, providing us with the opportunity, if we are in a state of sanctifying grace, to be nourished by the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the One Who became Incarnate in Our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb at the Annunciation.

Nothing should be more important to us than trying get ourselves and our family members to Mass every day. Again, this is not always possible, especially in areas where there is no daily offering of the Mass of our Fathers. (I have written extensively about the inherent harm of the Novus Ordo and why we should avoid it entirely, a move I knew I had to make for my own spiritual welfare and for my wife's and daughter's but took definitively only in late-2002) Our whole lives, though, should be built around daily Mass. Indeed, the stories are truly legendary these days of Catholics making tremendously heroic sacrifices to drive many miles and many hours to get themselves to the Traditional Latin Mass. These people just offer the sacrifices up to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, knowing that she will use the fruits of the merit of her consecrated slaves as she sees fit. We can rest in eternity. We should make every effort here in this life to get to Holy Mass as frequently as we can, thus keeping company with Our Lady and all of the angels and the saints at the foot of the Cross of her Divine Son, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Although this is a purely personal and very subjective judgment on my part, it is my belief that one who understands the importance of the Traditional Latin Mass should not plan vacations that might take him too far of a distance away from Sunday Mass or daily Mass. We are creatures of habit. Children need to come to learn at an early age that going to Mass every day is just part of their routine. They get up, they say their morning prayers, their prepare themselves to get washed and dressed--and then they go to Mass. This should be the routine at home. This should be the routine when on the road. And if a particular site is not near the Mass, here's some non-infallible, unsolicited advice: don't go there. You don't have to go to Yellowstone Park or Red China, for example, in this life. You can see all of the interesting sites of this world very well from eternity if you die in a state of sanctifying grace. You don't have to go to the Bahamas or some other exotic locale where the Mass of our Fathers has been taken away entirely. Our leisure trips should revolve around where we can get to the Immemorial Mass of Tradition.

My dear wife Sharon, who converted to the Faith at the hands of Father Daniel Johnson at Saint Mary's by the Sea Church in Huntington Beach five years ago this July 30, has done such a wonderful job with our nearly twenty-eight month old daughter, Lucy Mary Norma, in helping her to look forward to going to Mass every day. Lucy has come to realize that the day is not complete without assisting at Holy Mass. Yes, she wants to leave as soon as the priest has completed the prayers after Mass. "Dada, let's go," she whispers to me very softly. However, she does look forward to going and is learning how to be more quiet and attentive during Mass. I know that this is something Sharon will foster for the rest of Lucy's childhood if it is God's will for me to die a sudden and unexpected death at some point in the near future. Indeed, our drives across the nation in our motor home, which is our sole residence, are premised upon making as much time as we can to get to the next place, whether above ground or in the catacombs, where we know we can get to the Traditional Mass.

(A note for parents with children who have yet to learn how to behave in Mass: you receive graces for spending time in the vestibule or the corridor when you have to remove yourself with your children at some point during Mass. Each of us needs as much grace as we can get. It is important to expose one's children regularly to the daily offering of the Traditional Mass, realizing that doing so will predispose them to continue this throughout the course of their lives, building upon the graces that have surrounded them as children when you took them to daily Mass.)

There are a number of good resources to use when planning a leisure trip. One of them is www.traditio.com. This site has a national registry of Traditional Latin Masses. It's usually quite reliable, listing even the affiliations (if any) of the places around the nation where Masses are offered. There are others, some of which are run by the organizations (Society of Saint Pius X, Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, Institute of Christ the King) that offer the Traditional Mass. (See "Caritas Super Omnia" for my "ecumenical" bent as a traditional Catholic.) The Traditio site, though, is the most extensive. The site also sells a "Yellow Book," as it is called, to provide a hard copy for travelers to refer to, which is quite handy when one is unable to access the Internet.

We are never to have a vacation from the Mass. We should not only plan our vacations around the proximity of the Traditional Latin Mass, we should also plan where we are going to live around the Mass. We have to be detached from the things, people and places of this world. The Mass trumps everything, yes, including family members. It is better to have one's children near the Mass than near their grandparents. I know that this sounds hard-hearted. It is not. It's putting First Things first so that we are prepared for the Four Last Things at the moment we draw our last breath.

Speaking of travel, we are going to be on the road for the better part of the next ten days or so. As neither one of my computers permits me to get online any longer by the use of my cellular phone, the spate of articles being posted today, July 15, will be the last you will see until around July 26, the Feast of St. Anne. We have much work to do in the advancement and promotion of Christ the King College. Thus, we need to be on the road for a little bit before we park for a few months in a new location to launch the College. We thank you in advance for your understanding that there will be a gap in articles on this site from now until then.

Our Lady of the Way, pray for us to get to the Traditional Mass every day.

Saint Christopher, protect us as we travel.

Saint Anthony, help us to find the Mass of our Fathers in areas with which we are unfamiliar.

All of the Guardian Angels and Patron Saints of all of the archdioceses, dioceses, parishes, schools and institutes through which we shall be passing, pray for us to remember to keep close to Our Lady as we travel, understanding that we journey here in this life to find our permanent home in Heaven.




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