Little Souls and Learning the Language of the Church

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In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen

Oh God, please assist me in writing this letter so that it may be beneficial to others and prevent me, my Lord I pray, from appearing to say that one method of prayer is superior and acceptable alone by You, our Lord, who accepts any petition offered with devotion, faithfulness, and humility. Keep what I write in conformity with the teachings of the church, and when I speak about the beauty of the Latin language, the language of Your Holy and Catholic Church, the language which I have been inspired by Your Mercy, my God, to approach you each day in my daily prayers allow me, please I beg You, to do so with an attitude of profound humility. Allow those who read this letter to understand that I do not write this for any sort of self aggrandizement or in order to esteem myself to them for praying in the language of Your Church but that I do so only that my devotion to You, my Lord, may grow more and more each time that I pray in the Latin language. It is an act of humility, my Lord, and an acknowledgement of my unlearned nature that I am unable to think of you so naturally and fluently in my daily language with any level of devotion. If only I knew You more perhaps I would be able express my love for You as intimately as I would to another creature, but I, in my wretchedness, am lacking in love for you and so I humbly pray to you in the words and the language used by Your Holy Church. May the devotion with which You have so mercifully blessed me be shared – and by Your grace – perhaps inspire others to consider making the humble devotional act of learning and praying in the Language of Mother Church. It is a great blessing you have graced us with that we are able to come everyday and speak to you in prayer. If only we knew how great a blessing this was, my Lord, perhaps we lowly creatures would be more willing to set aside our petty distractions and turn to you in loving conversation. May you never cease to increase the devotion and prayerfulness of Your flock. Oh my God if only every prayer we offer You would be as devout, as humble, and as sincere as a Pater Noster offered by a truly repentant sinner in the language of the Church how much more would the praises and prayers of Your people bring joy and happiness to your Sacred Heart. If only this would be true that Mass was offered with this devotion daily I do not think my soul, in its wretchedness, could bear to continue in my vile ways nor that of any other sinner as lowly and faithless as I. In my weakness, my God, I am often unable to separate my daily thoughts, my daily emotions, and my worldly cares from that which is Divine and Holy when I speak to you in the common vernacular of my country. These petty concerns and worldly emotions distract my attention from settling solely upon You. That is why, my Lord, I have chosen to follow your inspiration and come to you in my Office, in my daily rosary, and all other prayers whenever possible using the language which many of your great saints, your servants, and those whom we should be inspired to follow, after only you Our Lord Jesus Christ, prayed. I beg you Lord, my God, that you inspire more of your flock to take up this beautiful yoke so that they may learn and pray in a language through which you have inspired so many Saints, Holy Fathers, Priests, and Religious; a language which requires such reflection, such deliberate thought, and such emotion to express truly what it is that we wish to say to you, our Lord in Heaven, that our prayers can not help but sing out to you the depth of love for you with which you have blessed us. I pray to you most earnestly as I sit and compose this letter that you, my God, guide my hand to write only that which will help others come to understand why you have given us, through the teachings of you Holy and catholic church, the choice of not only praying in the languages of our daily tongue but those of your church, it’s fathers, her holy saints, and all your priests and deacons of old; and I pray that you inspire and fortify more of your flock that they may take up this most rewarding devotional exercise. Amen.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I write to you today with a different subject than is typical. While I often write on the value of prayer in general today I would like to focus on the value of taking the time to learn and pray in the Latin Language, the language of the Church, and also a language which almost nobody in the world speaks as their first language. The effort one expends, even if done at so young an age that it seems as nothing more than play, if done with the intention of pleasing God, can become a rewarding and lifelong devotional exercise.

Oftentimes, in my wretchedness, I find that I rush through my prayers if I offer them to God in English – my native language. This is because it has always been difficult for me to separate the language in which I think of my worldly and daily struggles from that in which I think of the Divine and God. When I pray in the vernacular of the english language I find that often my words will fall from my head without thought, without meaning, without love, and without true devotion. However, when I separate the language of my daily life from that of my spiritual life that blending of the two is minimal. [[ Post writing note: I would like to clarify that I say this in terms of lessening distraction in mental prayer, at Mass, and when reciting the Office only. I do not mean to imply our daily lives should not also be filled with true devotional acts offered to God in our common tongue as it would be almost impossible to live a life devoted to God if we did not allow ourselves to speak to Him and think of Him as we speak and think of our parents, loved ones, and close friends. Our intimacy would be lacking if we only knew Him by the prayers of others; for indeed we must all learn to pray from the heart, but often this begins with the language of the tongue before the heart begins to sing on her own. End post writing note. ]] However, it is necessary to address the point that praying in Latin and attending the Latin Mass – while indeed spiritually rewarding – is not a requirement nor does it make one superior to any other person. It is a form of personal devotion and a way that one may choose to express reverence for the traditions handed down to us by our Church Fathers as originally practiced for centuries. It is no more valid or less valid than any other Mass, and one must not become so attached to the form that they begin to feel a sense of pride or elitism for attending traditional services or saying prayers in the traditional language. Please, my God I pray, never let one of your sheep begin to feel as if they have become the shepherd because of the beauty of their bleating as it is still just the cry of a lowly and humble sheep. May we whom you have called to pray in the language of your Church never lack humility or charity toward those who either do not, or can not, pray in Latin; but may you, my Lord I beg you, make available to all those who do wish to take upon themselves this great task not find themselves lacking the resources or ability to do so. Amen.

Oftentimes it may appear to those who do not speak Latin that those of us who pray in the language are doing so only to seem like some sort of religious elites who have accomplished something by our own good, and perhaps this creates some sense of lacking in them; however, brothers and sisters, please let this never be the case. We must never cause those who do not understand the language of Mother Church to feel as if they are less a part of our family. Remember, brothers and sisters, if God has graced you with the ability to learn Latin it is a gift freely given by our Lord to you, and you ought not, my dear brothers, my dearest sisters, take a gift given freely by God and use it to bring attention to yourself. Instead, we must use it to bring glory to God. If you can speak Latin never should you think less of those who can not. Just because they do not understand a language – an ability which reflects an effort which many are unable or do not have the time to expend because their vocation is to work, earn a living, and support the families which will bring into this world the future Saints, priests, and brothers and sisters of our Church – says nothing about the devotion inscribed upon their hearts which may be far greater than yours. Do not allow earthly success to cause you to lose yourself to the sin of pride and fall into the clutches of vanity. All comes from God, and all must be given back to God. Keep your eye, and your efforts, directed towards Him alone and worry not about the tasks for which He has called your other Brothers and Sisters. Each should be about their own work and their own task alone unless God has called you to a position which requires otherwise from you.

Never let this be the case that those who seek to practice this form of devotion to our Lord, and whom our Lord has blessed with the ability to do so, use such a great blessing to belittle, shame, or otherwise ostracize any person. It is by Gods grace alone that we are able to pray to Him at all, and certainly even more so when we are able to do so in the language of His Church. What a great grace He has bestowed upon us that we may be able to offer to Him our prayers in the language of the saints who have come before us. Therefore, if you find yourself for some reason bothered by those around you praying in the vernacular – a decision handed down to us by by the declaration of Holy Mother Church – use this blessing which God has given to you and to pray most devoutly for God to call them to pray in the language of the Church. If it is His will that it should be then it will most certainly be so; otherwise, perhaps they are unable to do so for some cause unknowable to yourself. This blessing is no reason to take personal pride in ourselves any more than our salvation should be a cause of personal pride. If we have been graced with the ability to learn, speak, understand, and pray in the language of the church we should use that blessing to offer further service to our Brothers and Sisters. Perhaps, I would say indeed, we have an obligation to help those who would like to share in this blessing to do so by teaching and instructing them in the language itself, and helping them to understand the Extraordinary Rite, Her Prayers, and the Devotions of our Church in this beautiful and sacred language. Of course, the ability to do so for those of us who were not raised in a Latin praying household only comes after great effort on our part; but like most efforts which are expended in order that one may seek to bring Glory to Our Lord God, will encourage and strengthen those of us who undertake the most rigorous of efforts for His honor.

[[ Post writing note: I am aware, Brothers and Sisters in Christ, that it may feel as if I am belaboring this point; however, let it be this repetition which indicates the severity of sin into which we may fall when we allow ourselves to become prideful or judgemental of others because of some grace given to us by our Lord. A little soul such as mine is so prone to these sins that I feel it would be just as beneficial if this entry ceased here and only made this single point come to your attention. Wretched and vile behavior such as the elitism which I have spoken about destroys, corrupts, and turns against itself entire families. I do not wish to see the enemy Satan able to use the beautiful movement towards a resurgence of Traditional worship for these diabolical ends. Shut tight the gates against his attacks. Remember that the only weapon we need against him is prayer, the Rosary, and most of all love. Profound, nonjudgmental, unconditional love for our Brothers and Sisters and for all of mankind. A love which contains even the faintest echo of that Divine Love expressed for us on Calvary goes much farther towards establishing our Lords Kingdom than do all the Extraordinary Masses offered throughout time; however, one single and simple act of pride may lose you your soul and allow the wretchedness of Satan to infiltrate the Church. Against our Church the enemy shall not prevail, but, if God wills it for our spiritual sanctification and purification, He may allow him to enter far enough to cause plenty of harm and suffering. Be loving my brothers and sisters. The language in which you express this matters not to God. Therefore, speak to him in that language which He inspires you to use. Of course, it is natural for us to desire others to share in our joys and inspirations so pray earnestly that your brothers and sisters might join you; but I beg you, my dearest brothers, and dearest sisters, allow not yourself to fall into pride and egotism. If you feel this beginning, I beg you, run fast away from that which makes you feel this vile emotion and commit such a wretched sin. An inspiration from God shall never be an inspiration which leads to sin. Tread carefully, brothers and sisters, and keep your eye firmly on our Lord. End post writing note ]]

Therefore, my God, I pray that any who seek to take onto themselves the challenge of learning the Latin language, the language of Your Holy Church, the language of the Extraordinary Liturgy which has for centuries guided so many holy and pious souls to be in union with you in heaven, I pray my Lord O most earnestly, that you bless every one of their individual efforts. I pray with my entire soul that you fill them with encouragement and love for you so that they may remain steadfast in their efforts against the tide of modernism. Keep them always progressing forward in their efforts and never let the enemy, Satan, convince these faithful little souls that this most holy effort of theirs to learn to pray in the language of your Church is not worthwhile and will bear no fruit. Of course, my Lord, it is not required for worship of you as that language which comes truly from our hearts transcends even the most sacred of human languages; however, until you find us worth to receive this sublime gift of praying truly from our hearts please bless, my Lord I pray, any devout and holy effort your servants make in order to better speak to you in our limited nature as creatures. You have blessed us, Lord, with the great gift of the Latin language and with it you have taught us how to pray to you the most sublime, the most divine, and most heartfelt inspired prayers. My God if only everyone were able to take the time to pray in this language which requires such deep thought and devotion our love for you would grow immensely, our prayers would not be rushed for the language itself by its very nature is not one which is easily rushed even for the most adept of speakers. Our prayers would not be without thought for the construction of every sentence – for those of us who were not born speaking the language – my God takes so much effort, so much care, so much love that it cannot help but express a profound devotion for You on behalf of your humble servants. Oh how earnestly I pray that those who do indeed have the time, the ability, and the education to sit down – and by your grace – learn to offer their prayers in the language of your Church would do so. How much I beg you to increase their devotion to you through their efforts. How much more would they be able to understand and benefit from the writings of the great church fathers, our popes, and our saints who now abide with you in Heaven. How much more would they be able to understand the sacred liturgy which you have passed down to us through centuries. The liturgy which was the only source for so many years and guided so many to holy sanctity with you in Heaven. Lord, may all by your grace come to know the great peace which accompanies the devout recitation of prayers in the language of your Church and the profound spirit of recollection which envelops all who attend your liturgy in the Extraordinary rite with understanding and devotion. Amen.

Brothers and Sisters, if you are unable to attend the Latin Mass with understanding or if you do not have the time or ability to sit down and learn the language of the Church so that you may do so – for learning the language itself is an arduous task for one not formally trained in linguistics – please, I beg you all, shut your ears to anyone who tells you that it is better for you to avoid meeting our Lord in the sacraments, or that you ought to avoid the Ordinary form of the Mass. Never turn from our Lord because of worldly concerns or personal devotional tastes – however, it is of the utmost importance that you do not allow yourself to attend any parish which treats the Mass of our Lord, Extraordinary or otherwise, as anything but the most profound and solemn worship of the Sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Worship offered in the Latin language or common vernacular are truly holy and valid forms of worship as declared by our Holy Mother Church and those whom God has placed in positions to guide Her flock. They both contain the words of consecration, they contain the readings and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, they contain all which our Lord has proscribed be present in the greatest and most divine sacrifice which we are to make continually in union with the sacrifice and suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary. The sacrifice is real. The presence is real. In any rite approved by the Church, regardless of the language used to offer the prayers, we come to meet our Lord and offer ourselves in union with his sacrifice. However, my brothers and sisters, I earnestly implore you to consider at the very least if you are unable to learn the language purchasing a good and quality Missal which has the English and Latin languages placed in tandem, and I beg you to take the leap of faith and attend the Mass in the Extraordinary form even if only occasionally. I believe you will find that the stillness and the solemnity of the rite itself builds within you a spirit of recollection and devotion to our Lord unlike any other Mass.

May we, O God, come to celebrate our union, our bond of spiritual family, and our holy position as servants called individually by you in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. May we come to understand that it is not out of some need to be spiritually superior to others, it is not out of some need to aggrandize ourselves, it is not out of some need to appear more holy and devout, but merely for the fact that we come to you humbly understanding that we wish to become Saints and to walk along the same rigorous yet sure road those whom you have called to enter into your closest and eternal embrace have walked before us. For those of us who wish, My God I pray it is all of your faithful, only to be in Heaven with You may you bless our efforts to follow as closely as possible the example set by the saints who have entered there before us. May you bless our efforts to understand the language of your Church and may you accept, I beg you Lord, the offers made by we little souls of our prayers and sufferings united to the Extraordinary Latin Mass, our devout recitations of the Divine Office, and our many other countless Rosaries, prayers, and petitions said with heartfelt love and devotion in the language of your Church,

The Latin Language allows for some of us the ability to understand – as best as our feeble and human minds are capable – better the prayers which you have composed for us to offer to you, our Lord. In a time when modernity threatens – albeit hopelessly – to destroy the very foundations upon which you have built your Church, while so many seem to treat the teachings of Your Church as things which they can take or leave as they please, with the ever-changing whims of social change and pressure urging our leaders to leave Your Church as nothing but a mere reflection of the society from whom She is to shield us You have, in your infinite wisdom my Lord, given us a liturgy and prayers which have held true to Your teaching and have remained unchanged for centuries. My Lord, if you would but please benefit us all with the blessing of understanding, the ability to attend, and the knowledge to benefit from the Extraordinary Mass it would be the greatest gift you could bestow upon your Church in this time of Crisis. The Mass which as been a weapon to fight against the forces of relativism and modernism, which has kept true to the teachings of the Church, and has allowed us to carry on your faith – by your grace alone, my God – as you declared it for us to follow it. In this time of great turmoil allow us all, even if one is able only occasionally, to return to Your timeless liturgy in the Extraordinary Form so that we, and all those whom you have chosen to be members of your church in these latter days, may never forget from where we came and to where we are bound, by Your command, to work towards. My Lord I beg you, let the language of Your Church and the beauty of Her Tradition accompany the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit as our leaders and laity seek to bring your unchanging message to a ceaselessly changing world. Let us ground ourselves in the traditions of the Church, and not the traditions of the world, as we take up our Rosaries to wage battle against the armies of modernism and relativism – the armies of the enemy, Satan. Only when firmly rooted in the teachings and traditions, only when under the guidance of Your Church, can we truly withstand the temptations and attacks of the world.

My God, please I beg you, bless your Church and her faithful with more devout and holy priest trained in the Latin language and the liturgy of the Extraordinary rite. Send us more priest, deacons, and religious who are willing to take upon themselves the holy task of praying the Divine office in the language of the Church. May you increase the devotion of your laity and inspire them to offer their daily prayers, albeit a simple Pater Noster or an Ave Maria or even, better yet still, an entire Rosary in the language of your Holy and Catholic Church. May your Most Holy and Blessed Mother, take all of these devout efforts of your clergy, your religious, and your people and transform them into beautiful and fitting offerings unto you, Our Lord. May you use these efforts to rebuke Satan and keep him at bay from your church who struggles now more than ever against the efforts of him and his minions to destroy the very foundation of your Church. May our efforts to become more devout and holy servants of you, Our God, always faithful to your church to find itself bolstered against a society of modernism which tells us that Mother Church is no longer relevant, that we no longer need you, my Holy Lord, to become worthy and righteous citizens of this earth. Those who forget their past cease to exist. They are absorbed and molded into whatever current society wishes for them to become; however, my Lord, we do not exist for the world but to serve and love You. Therefore, keep those of us who are able and called by You to do so always faithful to your teachings so that the memory of Your Church may never be expunged – and therefore with it the truths of Your most perfect and unchanging religion be defiled.

Against that most foul and vile whisper of the Devil – that which says we can find some other way than that Holy path which You have laid out for us – Oh my God protect us! If you would but strike these thoughts and temptations from our minds we would be holy and righteous servants of Yours devoted only to that which your Will declares is good for us; but, until then, my God, our prayers must be offered to you continually so that you may purify us from believing that which the world seeks to teach us – that we can save ourselves from our own wretchedness. Protect us Lord ,by rooting us firmly in the teachings and traditions of Your Holy and Catholic Church, from those who seek to make Your Church conform to their fleeting and worldly whims instead of taking up their crosses and conforming their lives to Your teachings – teachings which Your Church upholds, protects, and proclaims for all the world to come to love and understand. My, Lord, may your Churches teachings – as you have declared most gloriously – be protected always against the gates of Hell. We trust most fully in You, Our Lord, that You will protect Your Church, that You will protect Your true clergy, Your devout priests, and Your chaste religious from falling into the debauchery and wretchedness that is so common in today’s modernist societies. It is by our prayers, our God, which we offer most devoutly to You that we pray You keep the flock of Your Church held close to Your most Sacred and Blessed Heart, and keep us all, my Lord I pray, safe from the clutches of those who have sought to seize Her and to defile Her – those, in other words, who seek to change Her into that which is nothing more than an absurd reflection of a depraved and moraless society. How can we, my Lord, stand to wake each morning if we knowingly sit idle while others seek to make Your Kingdom seem to be nothing more than a reflection of the debaucherous kingdom of Satan upon earth. My God, protect we your faithful so that this may never happen, and that we weak and spineless creatures may never succumb to the temptation to make the hard way easy at the expense of our immortal souls. Amen.

Brothers and sisters in Christ if you are able I believe you will find it beneficial to take the time to sit down and learn to say an Ave Maria in the language of God’s Holy and Catholic Church. It is not too difficult a task as the prayer is quite short. I should like to note, however, that it is important to learn the meaning, and have full understanding, of the words which you say and not to merely rattle off your prayer as a pagan would. We are not to think that the prayer itself is that which holds within it the power to change our lives or to bolster the Church – that power alone belongs only to Christ. Our prayers are but petitions which express to Him our profound love and devotion, and which we offer because we faithfully trust in Him to hear our petitions, lamentations, praise, and our pleading. Let us then, Brothers and Sisters, offer our prayers to the Lord most devoutly, no matter the language we feel inspired to use; let us do so that He may know that we trust Him fully by our coming to Him and meeting Him not only in the holy sacrifice of the Mass but uniting ourselves to His sacrifice in our penance, prayer, and fasting. May we, my Brothers and Sisters, become better and more devout servants to our Lord through the sacrifice of our time in learning the holy language of Mother Church, but if we are not able may the Lord bless any effort we exert in order to come closer to His most Sacred and Adorable heart. I implore each of you to seek out the Latin liturgy, seek out the teachers of the language, or if you are unable to do so find an online reference where you can teach yourself this language of the Church. It is not impossible, and with Gods grace all things are truly possible. May the Lord bless us in our effort, we pray, and may He keep us ever faithful to the teachings of His Most Holy and Catholic Church. Amen.

My brothers and sisters in Christ let us close today’s rather unorthodox letter with a prayer from the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A prayer which helps us all to be bolstered and strengthened against the temptation of sin, sloth, and pride. A prayer which aims to bring us closer to following our Lord Jesus Christ – that goal which alone should be the aim of our very lives. May we ask, through this prayer, that all of our efforts which we expend for the great glory of God be received and glorified through the hands of our most Blessed Mother, the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ; and may our Lord, we pray, keep us all humble and faithful in our efforts as we strive to grow closer to Him. Let us pray together my brothers and Sisters:

O most merciful God, grant succor unto our frailty; that as we celebrate the memory of the holy Mother of God, so by the help of her intercession we may rise again from our transgressions. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

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