1. This is going to be about liturgy
2. I do not believe there is such a thing as a ‘bad’ mass. (That does not mean I can’t question certain liturgical principles.)
I went to Mass in western Massachusetts this morning. Around communion time I finally pinpointed the feeling that had plagued me since the opening rite: I felt rushed. Here is a pet peeve of mine: when presiders rush through the ritual and then take their sweet time with their tropes and announcements and remarks. I do not go to church to hear you ramble! I know you told all the visitors how welcome we were about 4 or 5 times, but what would really have made me feel welcome would have been to have had time to breathe during the speed-spoken Gloria.
I just want a little time to process! I just want a little space to absorb. I remember going to a mass out in Ohio, where the pace is much different from in New England, and they put a LOT of space in the mass. I remember thinking how brave it was, to allow stillness and silence to be a part of the ‘music’ of the mass. You can’t have music without rests, right?
So once again I betray my liturgical bias when I beg all you celebrants out there to Let the Ritual Alone. It works on its own. It doesn’t need constant comment. Just slow it down, give us space to breathe, and preside without being domineering.