To help further my understanding of the Extraordinary Form I recently got hold of a copy of ‘The Mass In Slow Motion’ by Msgr. Knox it contains a series of sermons he preached which explore the Mass step by step, to show what it means to be a priest offering the Mass and what it means to the congregation offering it with him.
I have not read very much yet but it is turning out to be a fantastic read and just wanted to share with you a tiny bit of information a small little detail that you have probably never noticed before when attending Mass but which I found fascinating and am going to be sure to watch out for next time I attend an Extraordinary Form Mass. Here we are:
When the priest turns to the congregation to say Dominus vobiscum he is not allowed to lift his eyes from the ground to prevent him from getting distracted.
I know it is only a small detail but I do find them so fascinating I went to a Novus Order Mass today and watched the priest closely and he did not look up. I am not sure if the same rule applies for both forms of the Mass or if it were simply the personal choice of a more conservation priest or perhaps he simply was not looking anywhere (but he seemed to me to be purposely keeping his eyes low while his head was raised).
To me this little jester which more than likely goes unnoticed by nearly everyone emphasises the importance of the Mass and how it simply won’t do to be distracted from performing such an important task. I would even go as far to say that to allow oneself to be distracted would be to dishonor and disrespect God.