Today, I went to my first Latin Mass with my wife. I have been reading a little on the history and was able to follow along about 80% of the time through their Missal booklet. I have seen some live streams as well, but didn't try to follow along, so the ambiance wasn't something that shocked me.
I also have some of the similar incense at my house, so the smells weren't entirely unfamiliar.
What did surprise me was the fact that most of the women had white shawls over their heads. That was quite impressive. You don't really see that in Protestant denominations and it means that they take the Word of God quite seriously in regards to Paul's teachings on this subject. Or it could be a cultural thing.
When they first began the ceremony, I was struck by feeling a part of the richness of Christian history. I am connected with such a larger family besides just the people sitting in the pews that stretches across time to the first Christians under Apostle Peter. This feeling would probably be emphasized if I became fluent with Latin Mass, and then found I could attend any Latin Mass in the world and always feel connected. I'm guessing that if I memorized and understood the words of the Latin Mass, that I would be able to more easily communicate with any other Catholic in the world who also had the same understanding of Latin Mass. Our common tongue would be the Latin spoken in Mass.
The Latin Mass form has been going on since the 1570s. There is probably more about the history that I will discover considering the timing is just after 1517, when Martin Luther sparked the Protestant movement.
Tom Woods mentioned a couple of times in his podcast, when I listened to him quite religiously, that he converted to Catholicism, from Protestantism, because of the history of the Catholic Church. God who is eternal, isn't just something that can change on the whims of cultural shifts and preferences.
The unchanging, timelessness of Truth is emphasized in Latin Mass.
Though most can't hear all the prayers the Priest says, I was able to read through it in the handbook Missal. It is about 45 pages of theology. It's like a Cliff's Notes of the Christian Faith if you were illiterate and could not read the Bible. The entire mass is dripping in Truth, unlike most Protestant services.
It made me think of my Protestant upbringing, and their liturgy consisted of Hillsongs and whatever sloppy sermon the preacher threw together with three points, and then drone on about funny, and interesting stories that may or may not have anything to do with the actual referenced verse.
There is so much more meaning and value in a Latin Mass than most Protestant Sunday services which try to be "seeker friendly."
The layers of depth and meaning in Latin Mass, I'm sure, will only grow with my understanding of each portion.
I have some anger at my Protestant upbringing for all the richness I could had been experiencing. Especially, in comparison to the Charismatic circles I was in.
The homily by the Priest was reassuring. He basically stated the Pope's opinion (on the permissiveness of civil marriage for gays) was contrary to the Church's teaching on the Natural Law of Marriage, and emphasized the unchanging nature of Doctrine of the church. Customs, habits, and outward appearances may change, but Doctrine never changes, nor the Truth. He even quoted the 5th century Pope Innocent, for which he also stated that the 5th Century was his favorite. I'm guessing priests who administer Latin Mass tend to be more versed in the history of the Church than even the rest of the clergy, and definitely more than Protestant pastors.
They closed out the Mass by reading the first couple chapters of John, which emphasizes Logos.
Truth is unchanging.
Had I been going to a Latin Mass the 12 years of marriage with my wife, and the unchanging nature of Truth, including the Sacramental nature of marriage, I do not think that she would had ever been fooled into believing that "emotional abuse" was grounds for Divorce.
She certainly would not had found any help from the Catholic church to steal the children from my household, like she did with her Protestant church.
One of the core arguments that I have with many "modern" Christians is that they don't believe that Scripture applies today as it did in Apostle Paul's time. That's how they are able to ignore so many parts of it. Then, I have to use logic and philosophy to explain how their views do not make sense in the face of the eternal Truth of God.
God cannot change. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. This is something I feel like I'm fighting all the time with Protestants. I hate trying to fight the fact that the Bible is true today as much as it was true when it was first written.
The sense I'm getting by being in the Latin Mass, is that the eternal nature of God and Truth is intrinsically present and taught with every word in Latin.
The other side benefit is that Latin is much easier to understand for my wife (who only knows Spanish), than if we were to go to an English mass.
My biggest frustration is that Latin mass is so difficult to find but I am fortunate because at least there are some Latin masses available in Puerto Rico, where I live, though not as frequently or at times convenient as the Protestant counterparts.