Over at the Cornell Society there is an interesting post about having your own hand missal, which you can use when participating at celebrations of Holy Mass. I think people should have a hand missal for either the older or newer form, depending on what you prefer.
I don’t like the idea of disposable missalettes, though I know they are useful.
The comments below are useful if you are thinking about getting such a useful book.
Keep in mind that this focuses on the Baronius hand missal. I think that the Angelus Press has sent one to me for a review, and when I return to the USA I will post about it.
Let’s see the comments posted over at Cornell Society with my emphases and comments.
Get a Missal
Now that the Traditional Latin Mass community in our part of the country has become more established, I’ve been looking about me on Sundays and wondering: why don’t more people buy daily missals?
Quite recently, I was surprised to see Fr. Z of What Does the Prayer Really Say? write a post about the Baronius Missal which he had apparently just seen for the first time. Now, I received a Baronius Missal from my dear Doctor as a baptismal gift in May of 2005, so by now it’s an old friend for me. But, looking around at the congregation on Sunday at the Latin Mass, I note that surprisingly few people have their own daily missal. Many use the small red booklets from Ecclesia Dei, together with printouts containing the propers for the day, but it’s only the rare odd person who actually has a full missal. [I can’t really understand why some people don’t want to follow the proper texts of Mass.]
So here is my word on the matter: if you plan to assist regularly at the Traditional Latin Mass, you really must get yourself a missal! The red booklets are great to have around for the sake of newcomers and beginners, but it is infinitely nicer in the long run to have your own complete hand missal. In the first place, of course, it keeps you from having to refer back and forth between two different documents throughout the Mass (the missals have multiple ribbons for place markers, so it’s quite easy to flip back and forth between the propers and the ordinary.) It also gives you information that isn’t included in the red books (for example, the prefaces for all the different liturgical seasons), and all kinds of other invaluable spiritual aids, such as devotions to be read before and after confession and communion, morning and evening prayers to be used at home, litanies, and all manner of devotions for particular occasions. It has the kyriale in the back with several musical settings of the ordinary, which is great for people who like to sing. For some periods (Lent, for example) it includes not only the Sunday propers, but also the daily ones, and it also includes the propers for all the feast days, so even if you can’t get to Mass every day you can still read the passages on your own at home.
I’m not really sure why more people (including some who assist at the Latin Mass extremely regularly and faithfully) don’t make this investment. [Amen to that, brother.] My husband suggested that, for some people, paying sixty dollars for a book is just not something they would ever do. And I understand that for some, that kind of expenditure might really constitute a hardship. But I would encourage you to consider the benefits. It’s only a one-time cost — with proper care, you should be able to use the same missal for decades and likely your whole life. And in fact, that’s really the best way to do it, because your missal will start to have a real personal significance when it’s been with you for a long time. You can leave it to a grandchild someday. (What a nice keepsake that would be!) But more importantly, as you become familiar with your missal, certain of its contents become important parts of your spiritual life. I don’t even need ribbons for many of my favorite places by now, because I know exactly where they are. At the same time, I sometimes discover new and interesting tidbits that I hadn’t seen before. [I have seen people with hand missals so packed with memorial cards and other holy cards that they need a rubber band to hold it shut. What a great way to remember people at Mass!]
I think it’s particularly funny that I seem to be the only member of our Latin Mass choir who has a regular missal, which is silly, because the missal is especially invaluable for choir members. The pews where the choir sit are already piled with multiple books and pieces of music, and the put-down-pick-up game becomes considerably easier when you have the text of the ordinary and the propers, plus the musical settings of the ordinary all in one book, together with your before-Mass readings and your devotions for before and after Communion! I honestly can’t understand how the others live without this book. So, for all those who don’t have a missal yet, get one. If $60 is too much for you to spend on a whim, put it on your Christmas or birthday list. You won’t regret it.