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The Benefit of Not Knowing Latin

We don’t have to understand or know any Latin to benefit from its use. Actually, it may even beneficial if we don’t know any Latin. For most of Salvation History the worship of God was veiled and few if any people ever saw what was going on in the liturgy. This was the case in the Jewish Temple and remained the case for centuries in the Catholic Church.

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It reminds us that we can not fully grasp God here on earth. He is a mystery and mysteries are not always meant to be fully understood. Mysteries create in us a sense of humility, but also a sense of awe and wonder. The Latin language is very beautiful if we allow it to penetrate our modern hearts. We need to stop looking at the liturgy as a lecture and start appreciating its mystical character.

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To draw an analogy, there are two approaches to star-gazing. We can either step outside our door, look up at the sky and say, “Look at all of those luminous spheres of plasma,” or we can appreciate their beauty and proclaim, “How wonderful and beautiful are the stars!” We don’t necessarily need to know what the stars are and how far they are from earth to appreciate them. We can simply gaze at them and stand in awe of God’s creation.

Latin is a great gift and once we begin to understand that and appreciate its ability to veil the mysteries of God, our hearts will be open to a much more profound way of prayer.

—from the blog post The Case for Latin: Why Worship Benefits From a Sacred Language by Philip Kosloski

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