“I Got Scared!” – Holy Fear at the Vetus Ordo

Detail of The Resurrection of Christ, Coypel (c. 1700)

We write only sparingly of Easter before the glorious day itself, but it being the Triduum, we wanted to share some thoughts jotted down after one fellow’s first Easter Vigil per the traditional Missal:

Until recently, I only went to the ordinary form of mass. But I found the old mass about an hour away in 2016 and started going. I decided to do the easter vigil there last year for my first time.

The church was only half-full and noisy kids. The choir was good but not great, and the priest had to keep wiping his face because there was no AC. It wasn’t quite a “feast for the senses” like some people describe. Plenty of distractions.

Then the strangest thing happened. I was reading along in my latin-english missal pretty well with the priest chanting, but when he got to the part about the angel descending and the earthquake and the lightning face, I kid you not, I got scared! All the sudden its like I was there, or it was here, but something was seriously happening around me, and I was actually afraid.

Now I don’t scare easy or get stirred up much. And I know emotions aren’t the point of mass, but that was the last thing I would have expected at the ordinary form… I suppose I could go back to it for an easter that’s a little more understandable. But after that?

I know I don’t pray enough and I’m no saint or genius, but I think something different is going on at the old Mass. I’ll stick around.


We suggest that “something different” may be the mystical signification of the rite, which we discuss here.

Many blessings to all, in these holiest of days!

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