There’s a first time for everything.

The other day I repeated my Novus Ordo and Vetus Ordo food analogy.  I’ve often compared the shift from attendance at the Novus Ordo to participation in the Traditional Latin Mass as a kind of growing up and out of the need for soft baby foods and into more substantial things like steak and cabernet.   Mind you, there is nothing wrong with baby food… for the very young.  That’s what they need.  Hopefully, they won’t have to have it forever.  On the other hand, while adults can survive on baby food, they won’t thrive.   It’s just a matter of what different people need at different times.    For the last few decades a lot of our people have been infantilized by lousy catechesis (if any), lousy preaching, and lousy liturgy.   They are just ready and waiting to thrive.  But the introduction to something better might have to be a process.

All analogies limp.  You get my point.

Anyway, I was sent a video of babies having their first taste of lemon.  It’s a hoot.  It reminded me that some people find the TLM to be a real shock to their system.  They have to get used to it.  Some take to it more quickly than others.

There’s a first time for everything.

Just don’t YOU be the sour element in their first taste of the TLM.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Cafea Fruor says:

    Great video! That’s hilarious. I needed that little pick-me-up today. :o)

  2. Gab says:

    Hilarious! Reminds me of the first (and only) time I tried kale.

  3. teachermom24 says:

    Too funny!!! But the analogy to the taste of one’s first TLM is quite apt. When I went with my children (3 teenagers) to our first ever TLM (St. Francis de Sales in St. Louis–the REAL deal!), two of them ended up in tears, not for joy, but for something more like fear and shock. It was a lot to take in! But were were smitten and have continued to seek out and love the TLM ever since.

  4. JakeMC says:

    I think the funniest part of that video was the fact that, after the initial shocked reaction, most of those kids seemed to LIKE the lemon! So I can see that as part of the analogy, too: Most Catholics, once they get over the “culture shock” of the TLM, prefer it.

  5. William Cody says:

    On the other hand, my 10 month loved lemons the very first time he tasted them. He grabbed it and started sucking hard from it. Some need no time at all.

  6. mo7 says:

    No lemons for me! Baptised in the old rite, but with no memory of it, when I first went to Traditional Mass, as an adult, I was on my own to figure it out. I knew immediately I was not going back to Sunday NO, though I didn’t admit this out loud. After 50 years of NO, it required some perseverance. I was driven by this:
    how could this beautiful thing, the reverence, the dignity of the priest, etc. have been taken from us?? And why did the people accept it??
    Lol in retrospect, it was like a reconnaissance mission, 7 years later, most of the family has joined me.

  7. teomatteo says:

    Reminds me… “Lemon treeee very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet…but the fruit of the poor lemonnn is impossible to eat”

  8. I would also posit that, even for those who taste a lemon for the first time (I find a sprinkling of salt on it actually sweetens it a bit…), after the initial shock has worn off…enjoy it.

    At the EF Mass I’m lucky enough to attend regularly, a few weeks ago, I espied a woman struggling with the ‘red book’ that father makes available for those without hand missals (those really have outlived their usefulness…the parish sells Angelus Press missals which are quite useful). After Mass, I caught her eye, and she came over…and I handed her my own missal and we sat down for a few moments to go through how it’s arranged and gave it to her with all the ribbons where they needed to be (at least for the fixed portions). She looked relieved that SOMEONE took the time to at least point out that, while helpful to know that Mass is going on, if you follow everyone else when to kneel, when to sit, when to stand, and what responses to make when called for (as well as, at our Mass, some in the congregation chant the Gloria and Credo with the schola), you are ACTIVELY PARTICIPATING in the Mass.

    Participation doesn’t mean doing ‘stuff’. It means paying attention, reflecting on what you’re witnessing on your behalf, and immersing yourself in your proper role before the throne.

    I think if more of us who are familiar with it look around at the new folks and help them feel welcome to this august sacrifice…whether it’s encouragement, gentle guidance, or just plain helping them find their way…our numbers will increase as the biological solution takes care of the rest.

  9. ex seaxe says:

    mo7 – it was generally not a beautiful thing, reverent and dignified that was taken from us. It might be more like this :- . [The horror of his Latin….] Of course usually it would not have any dreadful music, just either silence or the gabbling of the priest mangling the Latin as fast as he could get through it. In our parish on Sunday there were 5 Low Masses (with at most two servers), one Solemn Mass and a competent choir. But most parish choirs were no more competent than the singers at OF usually are now.

    I once grew a lemon tree on my office windowsill, south facing, and let two of them get to the point of feeling squishy. They were beautifully sweet.

  10. teomatteo says:

    I know… this thread is dead … but… be careful with lemons (and limes) the acidity can quickly (especially with dry mouth conditions) dissolve the enamel on the teeth. (replacing enamel is $$$$$ i.e crowns)

  11. JakeMC says:

    I have to agree, at least partially, with Ex Seaxe. While I was not yet in my teens when the NO was foisted on us, I do remember the old Tridentine rite, and there were plenty of liturgical abuses going on, with priests taking shortcuts, sloppy Latin, etc., etc. But even at that, there was still a great deal of beauty in the rite itself, regardless of how the priest may have “messed with it.”

  12. Katherine says:

    I shared this post with the three of my kids who have an appreciation for the TLM–all in their twenties. One response:
    “I’d say the Novus Ordo is more like prison food protein loaf.”
    That’s a deeper statement than you might think it is at first reading.

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