From a reader:
I am a great fan of your blog and I learn a lot on a regular basis.
However, I am new to WDTPRS- have you in the past given tips and hints on how to start out in the 1962 Missal?
This seems like it would be good not only for me but for many other readers as well. For a Catholic like me, who knows the modern Church well but nothing pre-Vatican II, I would benefit from even more basic info.
The first thing I can suggest is going to Mass in the Extraordinary Form as often as you can. Looking at the texts ahead of time will help. Don’t sit in the front, at first. If you sit a little farther back you can see what other people are doing in regard to posture.
There are often booklets available at churches where the older Mass is offered. They are helpful too.
You could also look for resources online. There are many places on the web which give the whole order of Mass and the day’s prayers. For example, you could go to Divinum Officium and see the day’s Mass in Latin and English side-by-side. You might want to use a missalette for the Novus Ordo and then compare them to each other, for the order of Mass at least, before going the first time.
There are also numerous videos on line and on DVD. For a really solemn Mass, a Pontifical Mass with commentary, the Paulus Institute has a DVD of a spectacular Mass that was broadcast on EWTN. There are a great number of videos on youtube.
After that, just try to experience Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form.
Another thing. You may be coming from a parish where you have been told that “active participation” means that you have to be doing something outwardly. If you aren’t singing everything or saying everything or looking at the priest look at you, then you aren’t participating. Critics of the older form of Mass claim that the congregation is forced to be “passive”.
That’s simply false.
True active participation is active receptivity to what Christ, the true Actor during Mass, wants to give us through Holy Church’s liturgical worship. Our baptism makes us capable of participating at Mass and then we engage our will and minds to follow carefully the words and gestures of the sacred action. This culminates in the perfect form of active participation, which brings the outward and physical and the inward and spiritual together: the reception of Holy Communion in the state of grace.
What I am aiming at here is that you may need a deeper view of what “active participation” means so that you are not from the very first moment left scratching your head about what to do or why people aren’t more outwardly expressive. They aren’t passive, friend. Not in the sense critics use.
I don’t think this should be seen as hard or daunting. After all, lots of people over the centuries got along very well with the older form of Mass, people of every age and level of education. It isn’t a mystery, even if it is the mystery, if you get my meaning.
Perhaps some of the readers here will have their own suggestions, based on their own experience.