Stand up, sit down, turn around, ‘The Mass is ended, go in peace’…

I read the this article in ‘Mass of Ages’ a while back and it certainly sums up how constricted I feel if I ever happen to find myself at the Novus Ordo Mass.

I’m not so interested in the hand missal angle here. I often use the propers and readings from the Mass of the day for my Letio Divina in the morning and continue this while they are read at Mass. The ordinary of the Mass however, I read almost daily at Mass for the first six months of attending the Traditional Rite and now I am able to unite my own prayers and devotions with the liturgical action.

While routine helps us to avoid restlessness and a tendency to flit from one thing to another, the demands made on the faithful in the new Mass restrict our freedom to enter into anything beyond the vocal prayer of the responses. Even if the Canon of the Mass were to be said silently, the second that the silence leads one into prayer, one’s neighbour is standing expecting a handshake. These are not abuses of the Novus Ordo but are inbuilt. One could rite a Screwtape letter along these lines: ‘My Dear Screwtape, prevent them from meditating on the sacrifice of the cross at all costs. Punctuate every sixty seconds with an imposed change of posture or a demanded response. ‘

Once used to the Traditional Mass, I would recommend using a  hand Missal for the propers and the readings but also praying the rosary in union with the Mass. A rather cheeky modernist Canon of my diocese once mocked the Traditional Mass saying ‘It is not good enough for people to just sit click through their beads at Mass, they have to be involved!’ Well, dear Canon, those who pray the Rosary at the Latin Mass are doing so because they are saturated in their participation.

Who could not pray the first sorrowful mystery during the Confiteor and not see the Alter Christus bowed down as if in agony in the garden or the fourth joyful mystery at the offertory and not see the host in the hands of the priest as the Christ-child in the hands of Simeon being offered to God. Is this not a greater participation in the Holy Sacrifice than moving around and shouting out?

“Moreover, the needs and inclinations of all are not the same, nor are they always constant in the same individual. Who, then, would say, on account of such a prejudice, that all these Christians cannot participate in the Mass nor share its fruits? On the contrary, they can adopt some other method which proves easier for certain people; for instance, they can lovingly meditate on the mysteries of Jesus Christ or perform other exercises of piety or recite prayers which, though they differ from the sacred rites, are still essentially in harmony with them.” Pope Pius XII Mediator Dei, 1947