When offering the traditional Mass for those who may be assisting for the first time, Fr Hugh Thwaites SJ distributes a short text which explains what the old rite expects of the laity. The text is a powerful meditation on the redemptive work of Our Lord and Our Lady and is fitting reading for all who wish to unite themselves with ‘the Passion of the Christ’.
For some of you, this may be the first time you have come to a Mass in the old Latin rite, and you may be feeling some frustration.
You may be wondering what you are meant to do. You may be wishing you could at least come up to the sanctuary with the offertory procession, if not give one of the readings or even help with Holy Communion. But you are not going to be allowed to do anything. You have just got to sit there. Or maybe kneel or stand. But you cannot do anything.
However, I will try to show you that there is indeed something you can do, something indeed you are meant to do, something that will relieve your frustration and make you very like Our Lady on Calvary.
On Calvary she also must have felt frustrated. She would have given anything to have been allowed to brush the flies from her Son’s face. Or moisten his lips with a damp sponge. Or even kiss his feet.
But the soldiers were there on crowd control duty. Their job was to keep people away from the men on the crosses.
And so our Blessed Lady could only stand there in silence. And she prayed.
She and her Divine Son were the only ones who knew what was actually happening.
She knew that He was the world’s Redeemer. She knew that He was offering a Sacrifice, the Sacrifice. He was offering the Sacrifice that would once more open to us the gates of Heaven. Being God as well as Man, the price He was paying for our salvation was of infinite worth. Though our sins are great and innumerable, they must always be quite outweighed by this ransom of infinite worth.
So she joined with Him in offering this sacrifice to the Father. And loving Him as she did, she united her own suffering heart to His divine Heart.
She offered herself in union with Him, immolating her heart on the altar of her love.
So in this Mass, try to be like Our Lady on Calvary. Our Lord told us that we have all to be like little children if we wish to have the right approach to salvation. And little children look to their mother to learn what to do.
In this Mass, look at Our Lady, and try to do what she did on Calvary. Offer Jesus to the Father, as she is doing. And offer yourself in union with Him.
Words are not needed. You do not need to do anything, outwardly. But inwardly you need to do much. You need to be “actively engaged”, as Vatican II says, trying to be like Mary on Calvary, your heart filled with love, offering the Divine Victim on the altar to the Father, and offering yourself to God in union with Him.
[Taken from the Latin Mass Society’s May 2004 Newsletter.]