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Echoing Nina and Luc, this is fantastically well done. Masterful use of sensory cues to paint a sensual, immersive experience.

A few years ago, I attended a traditional Latin mass, just to see what it was like. I'm not Catholic but was intrigued. It was a remarkable experience, the contrast with the staid and somewhat tawdry, mundane disingenuousness of the Anglican services of my youth an almost tangible thing. The ancient rituals, despite their novelty to me, felt somehow deeply familiar, as though a resonance with something ancient and warm and transcendent was established.

Something else I noticed were the types of people in the pews. They seemed entirely more dignified and put together than the common person on the street, or the average parishioner at other churches. The men were fit. The women modest, but elegant. The families large and beautiful. These were people who respected themselves, who held themselves apart from the muck and grime of the modern sewer. Or, perhaps more accurately - these were people who honored something higher than themselves, humbled themselves before something eternal and glorious, and in that service elevated the divine spark within their own souls, becoming more than mere animate matter. How different was our civilization, when this regular reinforcement of the connection to the divine was pervasive, a thick, healthy umbilical cord pulsing with energies from on high? Rather than the tenuous thread keeping barely alive a guttering flame that barely illuminates the gathering shadows.

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I started quoting this, but it started to feel like dog-wagging. Yes, I've noticed these things as well. I even noticed it there on that day. Except for the "large families" part; most seemed to be individuals. In fact, it was striking to see how many appeared to shown up on their own. But they looked strong. Even the old women looked strong. If a kung fu fight *had* broken out, I would wager serious cash on our side.

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Mark Bisone

I remember those days, not in a Catholic church, but in Church. Everyone dressed nicely, not just to impress others, but out of respect to the place they were, Who's presence they were in.

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Sep 14, 2022·edited Sep 14, 2022Liked by Mark Bisone

I agree with Nina, that was so well-written. Honestly, I don't really want to analyze it, this text should just be what it is.

Since you asked on my stack, however, a few thoughts: from a Pauline perspective, everything can be seen in terms of the material world ("flesh") and the higher, spiritual world. So for example, someone can look perfectly fine, but in the spiritual realm be literally a demon, or aligned with a demon, or a representative of "demonness". With our subtle spiritual vision, we might be able to discern this, and in a sense literally see the demon. In the "fleshly" mode of vision, focussed entirely on the material world, on the other hand, we just see a regular man or woman. However, these worlds are interconnected, and sometimes, as seems increasingly the case today, the evil part of the higher world can manifest almost directly. (I don't discount cases of literal, in-your-face possession, either. Many things are possible.)

As for the "magic", I tend to think that the power of the Latin mass lies in its beauty, and its symbolic representation of an opening up to the good part of the higher world, which can evoke a real opening up to it on the part of the congregation (or at least those with "eyes to see", who "walk according to the spirit"). It is almost always a subtle affair though, I think, and a process that plays out over time.

The same is true for your example of "casting out the twerker" (absolutely great contrast you worked out btw.) - I wouldn't think they would be literally chased away in the way you described. But from the higher perspective, in the higher world, this might be exactly what happens! Spiritual vision again. Often it takes some time though between the spiritual world and the material world to connect, to congeal. Time works differently in the higher planes. So for example, the "woman" in question might exit the church and still be gleeful, but over the next few years completely self-destruct. Or maybe she will feel unwell in the evening, not knowing the reason. Or maybe she will suddenly see clearly on her deathbed and be absolutely crushed by realizations. Many possibilities. Point being: perhaps it IS possible for the higher world to "crash into" our material world occasionally, i.e. paranormal phenomena, wonders, things that look like magic etc. But most often, it is a very subtle affair where we need "eyes to see and ears to hear" to develop "spiritual vision".

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Thanks for this, Luc. I especially appreciated this:

"However, these worlds are interconnected, and sometimes, as seems increasingly the case today, the evil part of the higher world can manifest almost directly. (I don't discount cases of literal, in-your-face possession, either. Many things are possible.)"

'There are more things in Heaven and Earth', as the Bard would say. Anyway, I'm thankful you and others who have commented seem to have open minds about this subject. I agree that much of this world is (and perhaps has long been) subtle, requiring special modes of perception to witness. But I don't think that is so much the case as it was in most of the pre-digital era. I hope you will stick with me a little longer while I explore this subject, and forgive any blasphemies I may commit along the way. I am much more the student than the adept, particularly when it comes to matters of religion.

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Sep 16, 2022Liked by Mark Bisone

I don't think honestly trying to figure things out can never be "blasphemy". In fact, going your own way to a certain extent (as opposed to just repeating an authority verbatim) seems to be a prerequisite to growth on a soul level.

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Interesting post. Perhaps you do know that the British ceremonial magician, Dion Fortune, said that the Traditional Latin Mass was the last ceremonial magic rite in the West. The priest faces the Sacrament because it's not supposed to be about him, or a kumbaya moment, like some modern Catholic rites. I'm not Catholic, but have attended w relatives. I have found that TLM attendees are actually often more independent thinkers than mainstream Catholics, for whatever reason.

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" I have found that TLM attendees are actually often more independent thinkers than mainstream Catholics, for whatever reason."

I strongly suspect you are right about this.

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Sep 16, 2022Liked by Mark Bisone

I was attending a Latin mass by accident during the height of Covid (just wanted to visit the church), and lo and behold: NO masks. But plenty of well-dressed people (though not over-the top and actually with some style), and a gorgeous organist and choir. So yes, they seem to be more independent in their thinking.

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Same here - I was even still believing in masks (but already reading dissenters like boriquagato) when I first visited after SARS-COV-2 was announced, but they were already maskless. The schola is beautiful in Columbus also, for High Masses - I attend, when I do, less for doctrinal reasons than appreciation of music/theatre/mystery. The Kyrie from Eleanor of Brittany, 1300's (per one online source) is particularly haunting.

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One of the strangest parts of the experience for me was the lack of music. I was even a choir boy (sort of) in the masses of my youth. The Low Mass felt even more alien as a result, I figure.

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Mark Bisone

I think I'd much rather hear it in Latin than English. In my heart I think it would be more powerful, more meaningful, like speaking to God in his own language.

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"I did not read the manual, and I suspect others in regular attendance haven’t done so either." In my Tridentine Mass experience, the majority were hard-core who followed the Liturgy using their own personal Missals.

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I immediately resonated with: "If you’ve ever heard a full rosary circuit, the chanting voices eventually begin to sound like the working of a magical spell. The words untether from their literal meanings in their monotony, becoming something reminiscent of a sinusoidal resonance wave. The rosary being prayed in this church reminded me of that aspect of prayer, almost immediately as it entered my eardrums."

I will now return to read the rest of this piece, thank you for writing it!

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"On returning to their pews, no set of eyes challenged our presence. Not directly, at least; there was one fellow, roughly my age, who may have squinted slightly in our direction, but that was all. Perhaps such alien invasions were commonplace: tourists, curiosity seekers, university students, long-lapsed Catholics on the hunt for a way back inside the tent. Perhaps they’d even been visited by alethiologists before (a concept first introduced to me by John Carter, and which I’ve been warming to as a self-descriptor)." I suspect we are fellow alethiologists, brother. Personally, I love it.

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Ahh. Then either find a church w a schola and/or look online - before the destruction, Notre-Dame de Paris had online Latin Masses. I have a professional musician/theatre director/former opera singer friend who likes these Masses solely for the music - religiously she prefers the Orthodox Church.

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Thanks. I will do my homework! :-)

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Oct 20, 2022·edited Oct 20, 2022Liked by Mark Bisone

Come on back. The Latin Mass is where heaven and earth meet.

At my parish (which I discovered during COVID, as part of a dramatic conversion experience in Spring of 2021), we have three different priests. Each has their own cadence, with one being of the "turbo" variety you encountered. The other two speak slower.

Tons of young large healthy families who trek in from all over the region. No masks.

The St. Michael prayer you encountered was one of the newest things you witnessed. It was authored by Pope Leo XIII, who lived long enough to be captured on video and audio recordings. He wrote it after a prophetic vision he had in Mass, during which his confreres thought he was dying at the altar. He then promulgated a short version of it (the one you heard) to be said after every low mass all throughout the world, along with a few other prayers. They're called the Leonine prayers, after Leo XIII... Pius X (I think) added a couple more... All of them were scrapped during the Vatican II era, but like lots of things cast aside in the 1960s, many lay faithful (and priests) have become fond of them again.

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That's interesting, thanks. I am curious to read the full form of Michael's prayer, now that I know the backstory.

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Oct 21, 2022·edited Oct 21, 2022Liked by Mark Bisone

https://luisapiccarreta.co/?page_id=1958

Plenty of versions online, but this is one of the better ones I've come across, and it includes an account of its origin.

Keep in mind that Pope Leo XIII composed the original in Latin, so this is a translation.

Exorcists still use the long form of the prayer frequently to great effect, but I've read in some places that lay persons are allowed to pray it as well. I've prayed it personally in front of the blessed sacrament. Each + sign in the prayer text is where you make the sign of the cross.

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deletedSep 14, 2022Liked by Mark Bisone
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Thanks so much, Nina. It's beautiful where we are, and we are realizing a vacation was probably long overdue.

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deletedSep 13, 2022·edited Sep 13, 2022Liked by Mark Bisone
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Done.

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Emailed you a couple days ago; just leaving this here in case you miss it due to being on vacation.

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I just read it. I think I'll do that, but gotta catch the after-credits of summer first. Thanks for everything, man.

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Cool.

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