Flow River Flow

Last Sunday I attended a well planned, very well sung Mass in the Ordinary Form. It began with an English choral setting of the introit, perhaps one of Richard Rice’s, and just continued, smoothly, from that point.

There was no extraneous commentary, and very little of the common feeling of starting and stopping. The altar servers or lectors or priest were often in motion, simply carrying the Mass forward. One could be caught up in it. Except for the homily, which always brings the Mass to a halt (and which in any case was wonderful), the Mass carried one along like a rising tide, deeper into the mysteries, right through the reception of the Sacrifice.

The sense starting and stopping, it seems to me, is one of the unconsidered problems of most Ordinary Form Masses. It is always helpful to be reminded that the problem does not have to happen. Rather, careful planning can keep the motion moving forward in the characteristic swiftness and forward motion of the Latin Rite.