Bringing up a child in the TLM: a challenge worth accepting

The following is an excerpt from an essay by Professor Peter Kwasniewski of Wyoming Catholic College entitled “Helping Children Enter the Traditional Latin Mass.” As with all of Professor Kwasniewski’s writings, we recommend it without reservation.

I think it’s fair to say that it will always be a challenge to initiate children into the richness and intricacy of traditional Catholic worship. It can never be taken for granted in any age that the next generation will be liturgically initiated, as if it were an automatic process.

It is a worthwhile challenge to embrace, because the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is your children’s point of contact with the greatest, longest, and deepest religious tradition in the entire world. As the fulfillment of the Old Covenant, the Sacrifice of the New Covenant supersedes Jewish worship and therefore most fully embodies all that God gave to Israel. The Mass is an act of sacrifice that, as the Roman Canon reminds us, circles all the way back to the prefiguring sacrifices of Abel, Abraham, and Melchisedech. Within the Christian tradition itself, the Rite of the Church of Rome is among the most ancient. Its single historic anaphora, the Roman Canon, is older than that of the Byzantine Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. Within the Western tradition, there is no loftier expression of the divine mysteries, no more nourishing access to them. The hard work it takes to enter into this liturgy is repaid a thousandfold in the never-depleted insights and consolations it affords. For this reason, the work of teaching another how to enter into it is a genuine spiritual work of mercy.

All of this presupposes the importance of entering into the liturgy. As Dom Gueranger and the original liturgical movement emphasized, we need to get to know and love the prayer of Holy Mother Church, and doing so requires an effort to become well acquainted with it.

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