Notes from Mass

Here are some notes from today’s* Traditional Latin Mass for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, offered at St. Norbert’s Parish in Roxbury, WI:

1.) During my Confession, the priest told me to say Psalm 50 (aka 51) for my penance. That’s King David’s famous psalm of repentance. I went to the parish bookshelf in hopes of finding a Bible, but one didn’t turn up. Then I tried the table at the back of the church covered in devotional literature. I saw a small, antique-looking volume entitled “Extensionist Manual.” I figured it was put out by Catholic Extension**, which is an outreach organization directed at small rural parishes like the one I grew up in. Without knowing precisely what an “Extensionist Manual” would contain, I cracked the book open. It opened immediately to Psalm 50, in a section entitled “Penitential Psalms.” So a big thank you to Catholic Extension.

2.) As I passed a table at the back of the church before Mass, I noticed a new holy card in honor of Blessed Michał Tomaszek and Zbigniew Strzałkowski, two Franciscan friars. The priest who heard my Confession and offered the Mass was also a Franciscan friar, fulfilling his duty as a mendicant to beg for our support. He preached on how the two blesseds had been martyred by the Shining Path Marxist guerrillas in Peru in 1991. The guerrillas claimed that by offering the Mass and reading Scripture, the friars had “tranquillized” the villagers and turned them away from revolution. I thought that it was an interesting turn of phrase, as today’s Collect reads in part:

“Da nobis, quaesumus, Domine: ut et mundi cursus pacifice nobis tuo ordine dirigatur; et Ecclesia tua tranquilla devotione laetetur.”

“Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the world may be regulated in its course by Thy governance for our peace, and that thy Church may with tranquil devotion rejoice.” (trans. from the Baronius Press Missal)

3.) I declare this Sunday, the fourth after Pentecost, to be Oxford Sunday. The Introit begins, “Dominus illuminatio mea,” which is the motto of Oxford University.

4.) In the Gospel, St. Peter tells Our Lord to depart from him because he is a sinner (St. Luke 5:8). After Mass, I tried to find some prayer in my missal that would help put some distracting thoughts to rest. Flipping through my missal, I landed on “An Act of Humility.” I thought that might work, as pride was one of the sins I had confessed. As I recited the prayer, I saw that it echoed today’s Gospel:

“The consciousness of my unworthiness would prompt me to exclaim: ‘Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinner.'”

*Regardless of the date stamp on this entry, it’s still July 2 as I’m typing this.


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