Cooks and food critics can't enjoy a good meal. They're always judging the texture of the food, the flavours and freshness of the ingredients and the composition of the plate. The distant lands and exotic places evoked by the explosion of tastes are instead reduced to a mixture of under cooked and stale ingredients, badly combined.
Music conductors and musicians can't enjoy a concert. They can pick up the slightest fault, the slightest flat or sharp note, the slightest instrument out of tune. They'll notice when the trumpeter comes in late and the violins are out of sync with the violas and the double basses and the tubas are all over the place. The mystical experience of the soaring and majestic harmonies and melodies become for them a jumble of notes and jarring instruments with incompetent players at the business end.
Music, food, poetry and prose. For the connoisseur, the sense of enjoyment is lost, overpowered by the critic within shouting out condemnations and anathemas, pointing out the things done wrong, ruining the fantasy.
This is a risk that those who are involved in the Liturgy often fall prey to as well. The more we study the liturgy and its minutiae, the more we concern ourselves as to whether the Lenten shade of purple should be darker than the shade for Advent and whether liturgical rose is pinkish or a deep blood red, the more we are drawn away from the transcendent mystery before us and the more we are focussed on the trivia.
Too often, the liturgically aware have let these distractions and temptations distract them from participating in the the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Their attention wanders and often, anger wells up at the irreverence and incompetence shown by the priest or the various other ministers in the sanctuary.
We want our priests to look like this.
What our priests actually look like.
When this happens, if this describes your experience of the Mass, the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary, then stop. Take a step back. Detach yourself from being a critic, a judge of the liturgy, evaluating the priest and the music as if you're picking out oranges looking for defects. Stop.
What we think Eucharistic Adoration should look like.
What it really looks like.
What we expect a Pontifical High Mass to look like.
What it really looks like.
We need to find joy in the presence of God. Relive the joy you first felt when you came to know the Lord Jesus, when you realized that He is present in the Eucharist, when you realized He gave Himself up on Calvary and continues to give Himself in the Sacred Host, for you and for me.
Let the Mass, when it is being celebrated, be a moment of grace, a moment of mystical and corporal union with the Lord Jesus Christ, a moment of prostration before God's throne with the angels and all the company of Heaven.
During the Mass, come what may, despite all the temptations, try to find joy in His presence, try to worship Him. Try.
The temptation of St. Anthony. Sometimes, I feel like St. Anthony when attending an irreverent Mass. Sometimes, I feel like one of the demons attacking St. Anthony when I think of what I'm going to do the priest celebrating that irreverent Mass.
Let this be our resolution this Lent.
When the Mass is over and after you've said your thanksgiving prayers and when you've spent some time before the Blessed Sacrament and lit a candle before the altar of Our Lady, then rush home and write a letter of complain to your Bishop and to Rome.
Remember, photos and videos help =)