The Epic Advent Lesson of the Traditional Latin Mass:
Abominations vs. The Unchanging Word of God
Traditional Catholic liturgies teach in a way that the new liturgy cannot. Previous to 1969, all Catholic liturgies, both in the East and in the West, followed a one-year cycle of readings. This seasonal repetition, so natural to the whole of human life, teaches us not only the truths contained in Scripture, but teaches us when we ought to think about which truths. The words become not only a lesson to be learned, but life to be lived, a yearly cycle of physical and spiritual life harmoniously blended with the natural seasons.
The first Sunday of the Liturgical year is the first Sunday of Advent. The last Sunday is named “the 24th or last Sunday after Pentecost.” What does the Liturgy teach us during this most important time? The Gospel which ends each year speaks to us of the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place, the horrible tribulation of the end times, the flight of the just, and the false prophets who will deceive (if possible) even the elect. It goes on to speak of the terrors in the heavens, the horror of men, and the final coming of Christ.
The Gospel which begins each year is the parallel passage from Luke. Again, we hear about the terrors of the final days and the second coming of Christ.
Both Gospel readings end with Jesus himself saying, “heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35 and Luke 21:33). Here again, the placement of the words adds an additional weight to the basic meaning of the words. For an average, Sunday-mass-attending Catholic in the ancient rite, these words will strike his ears as the final passage from the Gospel, both at the end of every year, and at the beginning of each year. The divine truth that Christ’s words will never pass away will be woven into the very fabric of his cyclical life.
Before considering the importance of these passages, we might ask where these words of Jesus show up in the New Mass. In the Mass which was created in the late 1960s, the bible readings were edited into a three-year cycle and a concurring two-year cycle. Very often, important verses are skipped over intentionally. These passages which have ended each year and begun the new year for centuries were edited out of the new lectionary. Matthew is completely removed. The reading from St. Luke skips over verse 33. The parallel passage from St. Mark (13:31) is heard only once every three years on the 33rd Sunday. This “skipping over” of important passages occurs often in the new mass.
Why does the traditional Catholic Liturgy stress the unchangeableness of Christ’s words? To glimpse the power of the Word of God, turn your mind to the vision of St. John, recorded in the apocalypse:
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed which no one knows but himself. He is clad in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.
And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, followed him on white horses. From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh, he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords. (Apocalypse 19)
As the antichrist will lie and his followers will follow, it is fitting that the King of Kings, The Word of God, will come to smite the nations with a sword coming from His mouth, “For the word of God is living and effectual and more piercing than any two-edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow: and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4)
The Word of God is a sword which divides, which will come to smite the nations at the end of time! How wonderful and pertinent to the abominations we see today!
Those who attack the old mass claim that it is divisive, and in the name of inclusivity, they welcome the most horrific abominations into the holy places of God.
During these past few years, we have witnessed abominations never before seen: The very highest members of the Church praying to western Grandma; a synodal sham pretending that the unchanging words of Christ can change with the times; a world-wide ban on Easter Sunday mass; Bishops, Cardinals (and even the Pope) encouraging politicians to receive sacrilegious communion, claiming that this is “pastoral”; the same men insulting truly pastoral bishops who try to help these politicians avoid eternal torture. The dreary, tired list goes on.
While all of this weighs on the soul, our Holy Mother the Church repeats to us each year that abominations of desolation must come! But the Word of God will last forever! As the distinguishing mark of the end times will be apostacy, this loving and salutary warning is one more reason to love the mass of the ages.
In Advent, we prepare to receive the graces made available through Christ’s coming as a baby, but also to receive Christ himself at the end of time. Mary is a perfect model for this preparation. We find our blessed mother living entirely from the word of God. Repeatedly in the Gospel of St. Luke we she is described as one “keeping the words of God in her heart, thinking about them.” And her last words in the Gospel of St. John are “do whatever he tells you.” This is nothing other than what she did when hearing the message of the Angel “behold, be it done unto me according to thy word.” Listening to the word of God and obeying. This is the life of Mary, and we should imitate this as much as possible.
Keep the word of God in your heart! Use it to divide yourselves from anyone who wishes to change it, and to divide from your heart any attachment to sin which God will have to cut away on the last day. Purify yourselves now so as to prepare for Christmas and for the second Advent of Christ.
Pray for us, that we might do the same.
Yours in Christ and Mary,
Fr. Peter Miller OSB
Monks of Mary, Mother of the Word