This article appeared in the National Catholic Reporter. The following is an excerpt from the article by Jane Stannus.
“William Shakespeare’s exquisite Sonnet 23, about the difficulty of expressing profound love, begins, “As an unperfect actor on the stage …” One of the lines in this brilliantly complex poem seems to sum up everything that is most powerful about the traditional Latin Mass: “the perfect ceremony of love’s rite.”
What does that line conjure up for you? For me, there’s a hushed sense of participation in something important, something mysterious, profound and beautiful. There’s the swish of silk and the stiffness of brocade, the glow of candlelight, the warmth of hardwood, perhaps the sheen of marble columns — unusual and decorative externals prepared, like a beautiful banquet hall, to honor some event of great magnitude. The attendants, intent and concentrated, clothed in ceremonial dress, have forgotten themselves in the careful accomplishment of grave and formal movements, each one an actor with a particular role in the intense drama unfolding.”
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