Monday, January 4, 2010

Magical Mass

We have a new priest at our Chapel.

This is the first Mass he's offered that I've attended; he's an older man (in his late 60s, I would guess, based on some comments he made during the sermon), and at first I was a little disconcerted by the way he conducted the service.

He hurried through parts that some other priests usually performed with great ceremony (such as the censing of the altar); he did not wear the cope when performing the asperges; the choir sang the Kyrie, Gloria and Sanctus without the rest of us (though I doubt he had anything to do with this, it was a loss to me - the music was lovely, but it feels more like the typical modern Catholic "performance" Mass.

But when he got to the Consecration, his loud (and granted, electronically amplified) whisper had a magical quality to it that surprised me. Normally, there is little if any sound from the altar during the Consecration, except perhaps for the few words, "hoc est corpus meum," and the equivalent for the Consecration of the wine.

In this case, the entire prayer was whispered loudly, though not loudly enough to be made out word for word. It had an odd, magically invocational quality to it. I was not exactly sure what I thought: was the "magic" quality a good thing, or a bad thing?

I'm still not sure.