• By Beth Ko

Many Languages Same Love II

Its been a long time since my last post. Its just that, there are ideas that take some time to develop, to sink in. Some findings that, for one reason or another, need time to mature or prove right. So today, (no better occasion than the birth of Christ), I will tell about my experience while attending the Christmas mass this afternoon.


I am in Hungary and after a while, and failed attempts to communicate the question arise: What kind of language is this? Who can speak it? I mean, besides the millions of people inside the country. Do they even understand each other or they just pretend and inside are clueless of what they have been saying? I am joking of course, because I am very interested in learning it, but seriously, for an European language it is really complicated.


Anyway, once preparing for the mass, I found an app with texts and tried to follow from my phone, but I realized after the "Glory" prayer that, I couldn't do both, repeat like a parrot an unpronounceable pile of letters and accents, and pay attention to what was happening in the altar while looking at my mobile. At that point, I needed to choose, and I did.


I relaxed and started responding in my own language at the dialogs, almost whispering not to bother my bench neighbor, and I entered very quickly in the mystery of the rite.

When the time of the Gospel came, I used the app again, but it choose Lukas, a different Evangelist for the date. So I felt something was not in tune at that moment between the reading of the priest and my reading, and suddenly I picked a word from what the priest was saying, (in Hungarian, yes!), and immediately searched on the internet "readings of the day" and went to the prologue to the Gospel of St. John:


"In the beginning was the Word ,and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him,and without him nothing came to be.

What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it..." Jn 1:1-18.

And everything was right.

What a beautiful text. It was like a shooting stars shower in a dark night. And even if I did not catch a word of the Homily, I got the message loud and clear from the Gospel of Christmas. The Great Priest speaking right to my heart. In my own spiritual words.


Then, I didn't need more, but to let the mass with its universal meanings go on. I even closed my eyes at some points and I felt like one of those little shepherds of the biblical story, adoring the baby.



Or understood a sentiment similar of what Christina Rossetti wrote in her song back in the end of 1800

"What can I give Him, poor as I am? ... Yet what can I give Him? Give Him my heart".


After the mass, I went to see the crib and there were few children asking and pointing about the Bethlehem scene and adults taking pictures. The picture adorned with a veil of pure tenderness. Before returning to the car, my last glance was to notice the angel over holding a ribbon in which written "Gloria in Excelcis Deo" and I received it repeating it with the lips of my soul "Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to His people of goodwill".


Then at home, as a trivia, I counted with my fingers that I have attended mass in Japanese, Chinese, Tamil, German, Polish, French, Spanish, Norwegian, Hungarian, Italian and Latin, to conclude that,

one mass is every mass. And every language spoken there only one, Love.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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