Thoughts of a Box-tender
From Lady Hadeock SIR,—I have read with keen interest the letters (August 5) concerning Liturgical reform. As a fellow C.T.S. box-tender, I agree with Mr. Dudley as to the need of providing inexpensive prayer-books, especially the cheap missal, to enable members of the congregation to take their share in assisting at the Sacrifice of the Mass.
In another letter Mrs. Bowran appeals for a definite space reserve for men, which might prove a great advantage. I have noticed in one church a number of young men standing at the end of the church and only just able to genuflect at the Consecration. It must. be remembered that they come with the full intention of fulfilling their duly of hearing Mass, but the desire of the present day is to get back to the knowledge and appreciation of the incomparable prayers of the Liturgy, so that all may indeed participate and offer with the priest the Holy Sacrifice.
At the Orate Fratres the priest exhorts each Catholic present " Pray that this sacrifice which is both mine and yours may be well pleasing to God the Father Almighty." The preceding offertory prayers are so beautiful, and yet one wonders at the custom of sitting down during their recital.
Kneeling or standing is the recognised attitude of prayer, and it cannot be that they sit from fatigue, for the low Mass takes only twenty-five minutes in all; and these special prayers about four minutes. It would appear very unseemly if the servers sat down, and then came to kneel at the Sanctus.
As we are bidden to take equal share in the offertory prayers it seems much more devotional to kneel, and no doubt this will again become customary as the child is grounded in the teaching of the Liturgy and as more Catholics get to know and love the Missal; for it is in the participation in the Rites of Holy Church that devotion is inculcated and retained, and it is in the absence of this participation that slackness is engendered, leading to the many lapses which are so grievous, and which retard the conversion of England to the true Faith.
In a former edition of your paper a Liturgical Priest remarks: " Dare we go on with existing ways in the face of the widespread slackness and dismaying lapses." The important Memorandum of " The Liturgy and Catholic Action " (Csoatoeic HERALD, June 24), with " The Meaning of the Memorandum " by Dom Bernard McElligott, should be read and studied by all, as it so entirely explains how the Liturgy is the basis of Catholic Action. He wrote:
" 2. The chief means of spiritual formation for Catholics is active participation in the Corporate Sacrifice of the Mass."
" The Church has for thirty years been recalling us to the Liturgy; urging us to base our lives of religion on the traditional Catholic Sacrifice and prayer, above all by actively taking part in the Corporate Sacrifice of the Mass, the core and centre of Christian worship and spirituality."
The Society of St. Gregory has been founded for the purpose of promoting and encouraging active participation in the Sacred Liturgy, and all Cetholics interested in this subject should join it. Those who have not yet discovered the beauty of the Missal I would urge to buy at first the cheaper Missal, price Is. 6d., and then save up for the purchase of the Roman Missal in Latin and English, Deed& and Co., price 14s., which would be a treasure for life.
S. M. M. Henc.oca.