Fr. Michael Rodriguez flew up from El Paso to visit with me and Fr. Saenz. It is great to be together and talk about the reality and suffering traditional priest go through. But it is all worth going through for love of Jesus, His Holy Church and to save souls from hell.
We have organized two nights of talks on the Tridentine Mass. Last night Fr. Rodriguez talked about the four stages in his priesthood. First was trying to be a good priest. Then as the vocation director for the diocese of El Paso. But he became concerned with the seminaries the young men were going to and their poor formation. He wanted seminarians who would uphold the teachings of the church and be holy. He knew that as future priest they would either save many souls or hurt many souls. So he resigned from that position when his bishop didn’t support him in sending them to good seminaries. The third stage was after he discovered the Tridentine Mass. This is when he really understood his priesthood. The following stage was when he stood up against homosexuality and was removed from his parish. This stage has been a purification and growing experience.
In these stages, what he noticed was that there was a great crisis of faith in the church. Also that priests had lost their identity. There have been many books written on the priest’s identity problem. The answer to these serious problems is the Holy Tridentine Mass.
When you go to the Novus Ordo mass, it can be a very human experience. When you go to the Latin Mass it is very divine. He explained it this way. At baptism you see visible human things, the priest, the baby, and the water. We hear the words, I baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. But they are not what is important. What is important is the invisible supernatural action of God. Through the priest, God kicks the devil out by the exorcisms, the baby is cleansed from original sin and the Trinity comes into the soul. That is when we become children of God. But it takes faith to believe in the unseen action of God’s graces.
In the Novus Ordo Mass, there is divine action taking place, but what is emphasized is the music, the readings, the table/altar, the priest and the active participation of the people. This focus does not need faith. It takes faith to enter into the mystery of the Sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary at the mass.
In the Tridentine Mass, the only reason for music is to take the soul to heaven, not to have a nice experience. The long silence and kneeling forces you to have to go beyond the visible to the invisible. The priest has, what looks like his back to the people (he is actually facing God the Father to whom he is offering his prayer) and is in Persona Christi. The priest is not important. The real invisible action and presence of Jesus through the priest is what is important. Many times Jesus has appeared in his passion at the Holy Tridentine Mass. This is where the invisible becomes visible through a miracle.
Then when you approach the altar for Holy Communion and kneel in prayer, you are approaching God and the Holy of Holies (the sanctuary surrounded by the altar rail). This is, through faith, approaching heaven. It only looks like a wafer, it only looks like wine, but through faith we enter into the supernatural reality of receiving Jesus’ Body and Blood. (Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity is all contained in the Holy Host). But to enter into this mystery, you need to have faith.
When you enter into the invisible divine mystery of faith at the Holy Latin Mass, it changes you. You go home trying to be a better father, mother, child, and person. You let the supernatural graces you received change your life. You work on discipline and love.
In the Novus Ordo mass, the emphasis on human elements, can keep us from entering through faith into the divine mystery. We go for the music, the priest, the word of God, the preaching and the friends. I know many go for more reasons than this, but it does not take that much faith to have a good human experience rather than entering into the divine mystery. The danger here is that you go to mass, but never change. You are always the same. Ask people if after you have gone to so many Novus Ordo masses, have you really changed for the better? Ask them if you are becoming more grouchy or more loving.
Father Rodriguez reminded us that there are three things working against us to be holy. The devil, the world and the flesh. So we need a powerful weapon to fight these strong powers out to destroy our souls, families and society. This strong weapon if the Latin Mass.
As to the priests identity crisis, he said when he started saying the Latin Mass, he understood his priesthood. Alter Christus. We priest only are able to offer the Holy Sacrifice. We only, who have consecrated hands, should be touching the Body of Christ. If priest understood their unique role, there would not be an identity problem. Maybe then there would be some native born vocations to the priesthood here in the United States.
Another subject was the veil. Men take off their hats out of respect for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament as when the bishop takes off the zuchetta at the time of consecration. So the women show respect for God by covering their heads.
Also he said that women should wear dresses and not pants. The communist introduced pants for women because they were commodities and could produce more work in the factories dressed this way. They do not believe in God and people are just instruments for the common good and of the state.
Thank God for good priest like Fr Michael Rodriguez. Please pray for all of us traditional priests who are going through great trials. Your prayers are very important. Again it goes back to faith. Do we believe in the invisible action of a powerful God on the side of those who want sacredness and conversion. God is helping all of us. We are helping God by caring about what is good and loving for all. Holy Spirit we trust in you.