Thursday, April 9, 2020

Holy Thursday in quarantine

Today is the first Holy Thursday ever that I could not go to Mass.

I found myself looking back on Holy Thursday Masses past. When my mother was around I would go to Mass with her, usually to Christ the King, our home church. Those Masses were in English and since getting into the Latin Mass, my patience with it was sometimes short.

Now I think: I would like any Mass at this point!

I have thought sometimes in the last weeks that maybe this is what some of this is about, to make us grateful for what we have. There is something sinister and frightening about being denied it because of the Coronavirus.

People say, services are being streamed online, but for a Catholic it is not the same thing. You do not receive Communion. And that is just the first thing. When you go to a beautiful Mass it is so sensual. There is the aroma of the incense. The music -- maybe you are singing it, maybe you are listening to it, but it is all around you. There is the participation -- even at a Traditional Latin Mass, you kneel at a certain point, you stand, you kneel again -- It is all so beautifully choreographed. How are you to do that in your living room?

And in the last few years, I began visiting the Seven Churches on Holy Thursday. I miss that.

It is a strange custom, not unique to Buffalo but not that common either. You visit seven different churches after Mass on Holy Thursday and at each church there is Adoration, and there are other people, doing what you are doing, visiting, praying. The idea is, you keep this vigil with Jesus, because His disciples did not. Whatever the reasoning, it is insanely beautiful. You do not get home until midnight or something.

In the three years I have been visiting the Seven Churches it has become part of me, to the extent that I forget I did not grow up with it. One thing is the chant in the video I posted up above. It is called "Pange Lingua." We sing it at Mass on Holy Thursday and as you visit the Seven Churches sometimes it is playing. In any event it is playing in your head. You do not forget it.

Just listening to that chant, Pange Lingua, I mistakenly think it goes back to my childhood. It brings with it the feeling of Holy Thursday. The early spring. The mud, the puddles as you go from church to church. One year, I dropped my veil in a puddle. Leave it to me!

The feeling of spring in the air, the wet leaves. The end of Lent. You are sick of Lent, it has gone on forever, finally you are nearing the end.

Also on Holy Thursday, the Mass starts -- or in my experience it has started -- with the chant that leads off "The Sound of Music." When the curtain rises on "The Sound of Music," the chant Richard Rodgers used ... the chant we sing on Holy Thursday. Hahahaha... I interrupted the pre-Mass rehearsal a couple of years ago to say that. I said, "Guys! This is the chant that opens 'The Sound of Music'!" And everyone stared at me. LOL.

Gloria Patri et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

I miss this, when I cannot have it!

I think of all the churches we would have been visiting, deserted.

Next year, God willing, we will be back to normal!

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