The timeless Mass
Every Mass takes place across the boundaries of time. Every Mass is one with Christ's one sacrifice on Calvary, every Mass unites us with the saints in Heaven and hence with eternity. Every Mass is “the Mass of all ages”.
Of course, each Mass also has its fixture here in earth: 8, 9 and 11.15 am, on Sunday at St Awfully Ordinary, Parknshopcity, or whatever. The church may be a glory of 19th century gothic revival, or a fearsome 20th century blend of concrete and children's artwork, or perhaps an echoing ancient building in some part of Europe where the Faith was not lost in the religious trauma of the 16th century but now seems to be receding fast in the face of the secularism of the 21st. But the Mass, wherever it is, is always and everywhere the Mass of all time.
After the appalling atrocity in Paris, ordinary people, from all walks of life, appeared at impromptu rituals by the wayside. It was very moving to see them light candles and bring flowers to the scenes of the tragedy or to national monuments. At the same time, I could not help but notice the improvisation and the impoverishment of what they were doing. It was very much ‘pick’n’mix and’ make it up as you go along’.
In its essence music is an aural experience. All music shares common elements,dealing with sound: pitch (how high or low), dynamics (how loud or soft), rhythm (the combination of long and short sounds), tempo (how fast or slow) and timbre (the sound produced by combinations of different instruments). In the Western musical tradition these can all be written using a common method known as staff notation. But music has different uses and functions.
We must ask whether, in the early years of . . . [the 20th] century, there was any similar crisis of faith and intellect in the life of the non-Catholic Christian communities. We know very well there was. What was then called ‘Modernism’ in Catholic circles, divided and continues to divide those Churches in the very heart of their faith, witness and moral life. This self-division is the main reason for the loss of faith, practice and Christian in uence in the life of their peoples and nations. A Church without the literal Divinity of Christ is a Church without guiding authority over the life of man.
Without any doubt he is one of the most signi cant thinkers of the 20th century - and as a theologian the greatest pope of all times. As a thinker he intrigued and inspired the world with his timely re ections and diagnosis about the change of society. And he proved to be right - though unfortunately his words weren’t adequately heeded.