Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Juventutem London urge you to pray for those Christians suffering persecution

It is a great honour and priviledge that we are able to celebrate the Mass this Friday, 24th April 2015, the first of a series, 4 a year, for the intentions of the persecuted church.

You will no doubt be aware of the sufferings of the church around the world: this is of course nothing new. Our Lord warned that the Church would suffer persecutions, trials and hatred; G. K. Chesterton described it as “the Halo of Hatred around the Church of God”.

Juventutem London urge you to pray for those Christians suffering persecution, both for their deliverance, and for their perseverance. It must be very easy to fall into the temptation to renounce the faith in face of such persecutions, please pray that those who are called to it will persevere to the end, as so many have before them.

We welcome Fr. De Malleray, FSSP as our celebrant and preacher, and we are very grateful Una Voce International for sponsoring the Mass, especially the music. The setting for the Mass is Byrd’s Mass for four voices, whcih was written during a time of church persecution in this country.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Polyphonic Solemn High Mass for the Persecuted Church - Friday 24th April, 2015

We are very pleased to announce, thanks to the generosity of both the Latin Mass Society and Una Voce International, that from the Mass on Friday, 24th April, we will be able to have Masses with Polyphony 4 times a year. This is part of a project of Una Voce to sponsor Masses celebrated for the intention of persecuted Christians. This first Mass will use the proper Mass “In defence of the Church”. There will be other Masses later in the year, and into next year, roughly once a quarter.

Solemn High Mass for the Persecuted Church

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Sermon given by Br. Stephen at the Juventutem London Mass, 24th October 2014 St Raphael, Archangel (E.F. Calendar)

Sermon given by Br. Stephen at the Juventutem London Mass, 

24th October 2014 St Raphael, Archangel.

Reprinted here by kind permission of Br.Stephen

First of all, may I thank Juventutem London for inviting me yet again to participate in this your monthly High Mass – whenever I am invited, it is always the highlight of my month, so thank you – it is a great pleasure to be here. Our thanks too go to Canon Newby, the Rector of this Parish, for his usual hospitality. There will be a social after this Mass to which you are all warmly invited. 

“The Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son’s wife from the devil. For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord.” (Tob. 12:14-15) 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. The Canonical books of Sacred Scripture give us the names of three Archangels, while stating that they are seven in total, adoring before the throne of Almighty God. Michael and Gabriel appear often, and in ways that we are very familiar with – the Nativity story and the depiction of the Battle between Michael and Lucifer being the two best-known examples. 

Raphael [RAH-phi-el, RAY-phee-el, or Raffle – however you wish to pronounce it], whose feast we keep today, is the holy Archangel of Healing and Protection on journeys. We know about him from the Book of Tobias (or Tobit). I wonder, have many of you read the Book of Tobias all the way through? It really is a wonderful read, and it only has 14 short chapters, so I do urge you all to read it as part of your prayers. First – a word of warning – for those of you used to the Douai-Rheims version, the book of Tobias can seem, at first reading, to be rather complicated, because both father and son are called Tobias, and both mother and mother-in-law are called Anna. The Catholic Edition of the RSV follows the convention whereby the parents of Tobias are Tobit and Anna, while Tobias’ eventual mother-in-law is called – somewhat amusingly to our ear – Edna. These differences are also explained by the fact that this book is handed down to us in a Greek version – but the Vetus Latina and Vulgate translators seem to have had access to other older sources, including some in Aramaic, and so the Old Vulgate and its translations have a few extra verses and variations. So much for the scholarship. The book of Tobias is one of my favourite books of the Old Testament, because it has so many touching and even funny moments in it. For example, old father Tobias is an honest and hardworking man, who, even in exile under the pagan Kings Salmanasar and his son Sennacherib, kept to the Law of the Lord by fasting, prayer and almsgiving, by avoiding forbidden foods, and principally by burying the Jewish dead – dangerous work, burying the bodies of his brothers who had been executed, but a corporal work of mercy and a great act of devotion. Once, he even left a wonderful dinner to get cold, while he wept and undertook this morbid duty. It was in the course of this midnight grave-digging that something very unfortunate happened to him – being defiled by touching corpses, he had to sleep outside against a wall, but some swallows above him decided to relieve themselves over the side of their nest, and the “calida stercora” (we had better leave that in Latin) fell into old Tobias’ eyes, leaving him with white films over his eyes, and rendering him blind. Rather funny to us, but he was not at all amused. Then there is Raguel whose daughter Sara is being molested by a demon named Asmodeus. This demon has killed all of Sara’s seven husbands on every one of her seven wedding nights. Her rather sceptical maid decides to lock herself away, clearly having decided that the seven men couldn’t all have died of natural causes while performing their nuptial duties, so Sara, rather like the she-spiders who are known to seduce their mates only to kill them afterwards, is therefore shamed as a murderess. Both Tobias and Sara pray to the Lord for help – and, so the Bible tells us, since their prayers went up simultaneously before the Lord, God sent his holy angel Raphael to heal them both – one of blindness and the other of a demon. The way in which the archangel does this then forms the bulk of the book of Tobias. Young Tobias is sent out on an errand from his Father, with his companion Azarias (who is actually the Archangel Raphael under the disguise of a distant relative) – and they have a dog with them – the only real example of man’s best friend, a pet dog, in the Old Testament. The archangel rescues young Tobias from an enormous fish, which they then eat – saving various internal organs for the all-important healings of Sara (from the demon) and Father Tobias (from his guano-induced blindness). Young Tobias and his heavenly companion reach the house of Raguel, and Tobias is to marry Sara. Unaware that his daughter Sara is to be delivered from the attack of the demon, Raguel has an attack of nerves, and thinks that maybe young Tobias – after all, he’s Sara’s eighth husband – will die on his marriage bed too… so, in spite of the bliss of the wedding celebrations, he goes outside and begins to dig a grave for him! Of course, the Archangel’s help is forthcoming, the demon is conquered, and Tobias and Sara live, praying together devoutly before they consummate their marriage. When they return to father Tobias – who himself has almost despaired of their safety – it is the archangel once again – still disguised as a travelling companion – who heals him of his blindness. Finally, it is only when young Tobias suggests that he and his father pay his travelling companion, and take him aside to try and persuade him to take some gift from them, that Raphael reveals himself, as we heard sung in the Epistle. He is an angel, “one of the Seven” that stand before the Lord. They of course are terrified, and bow down before him, but he says “Peace be to you, fear not. For when I was with you, I was there by the will of God. Bless ye him, and sing praises to him.” Unlike Michael and Gabriel, whose roles are played out in the great battle of good and evil, and in the wondrous mystery of the Incarnation, our Archangel today shows us the great companionship that the Angels show to us men. We too are exiles from our promised land, on a dangerous journey from earth to heaven – and we have need of the Angels to guide us in the narrow path of salvation. We too are blinded by the original sin of our first parents, and though we may do good and praise God as best we can, we are nonetheless weak, and grope in the darkness, in need of heavenly vision. The healing grace of God, through the Sacraments, and through the protecting help of his Angels, comes to deliver us and to save us. We are not alone – just as God is not alone. He is surrounded by the whole hosts of heaven, Angels and Saints, and principal among those are the Seven Archangels – mentioned first in the book of Tobias, and then in chapter 8 of the Book of Revelation. God is not alone – he made creatures – both angels and men – to return love to Him who loves them so much. He made man in his own image, and then took on our human flesh, raising our humanity to untold dignity, a wonder before which even the Angels and Archangels bow. More than that, God gives us the angels as our helpers and guides; they are not only his messengers of grace, they are also our defenders against the devil and his fallen angels; and they offer us inspirations and sight, for when we find ourselves in darkness and blindness. The Archangel St Raphael personifies that healing power of God. That is why the Gospel passage we heard at this Mass, the trembling of the waters of the Pool of Bethsaida, is sung on this day. Our Blessed Lord himself goes up to Jerusalem – God Incarnate enters the Temple made for Him by human hands, the Temple of Jerusalem – and yet the Angel (traditionally always seen as St Raphael) still comes, as always, to heal the first sick person to be dipped into the pool when the waters are trembled. God still acts through his angels – they are how he chooses to act. The way we are healed is also prefigured by the fish guts and water – these are types of the Sacramentals now dispensed by Christ’s Church – water and oil, used of course in the Sacraments of Baptism and Extreme Unction, but also for blessings and for devotional use. God provides these things for our use – and, when we use them, they are channels of grace for us. We do something angelic when we avail ourselves of Sacramentals, such as Holy Water, blessed objects, blessed oil – we honour the healing power of God when we use them well, as the Church directs us. The Holy Mass itself puts before us the holy Angels in several places, to remind us of their closeness to us and to God. In the Preface and the Sanctus, we are reminded that, in the eternal liturgy of Heaven, the Lord God of Hosts, “Dominus Deus Sabaoth” is continually praised by the Cherubim, the Seraphim, the Virtues, Powers, Dominations, and the whole chorus of Angels as they sing their “Sanctus” before the Throne of the Lamb who was Slain. In the Confiteor, we confess our sins not only to God and to his Blessed Mother, but also to Blessed Michael the Archangel – he who did battle with Satan is on our side when we do battle against evil; and so, whenever we fall into sin, we become deserters in Michael’s army, and we need to ask him to pray for our pardon, and restore us to the ranks of the blessed. We also see Michael as the angel in the Book of Revelation standing at the right of the Altar of incense, with a golden censer in his hand, adding to the incense the prayers of the whole Church, rising like smoke before the presence of God. The prayers the priest says at the offertory incensations make this clear to us. Just as we prefigure here on earth that worship of God in heaven, so we follow the example of the Angels who never cease to worship God, presenting our prayers to the Most High. And finally, we have that supremely moving moment in the Canon where the priest bows down and asks that an Angel might take this sacrifice to the Altar of God on high, into the sight of his Divine Majesty, so that as we receive from our participation at this Altar the Sacred Body and Blood of His Son, we might be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing. The Angels are with us tonight at this holy Mass. The Seven who stand before the Throne of God are here with us tonight. Look at the sanctuary – look at the gaps between the pillars, the empty spaces… Look at the gaps in the pews around you… They are NOT empty spaces. Every inch of this holy place is filled with Angels. Our own Guardian Angels are here with us, delighted to see us honouring God, praying for forgiveness, grace and blessing, happy to inspire us to even greater fervour. When we sing our Sanctus tonight, we are only joining our little voices in chorus with a countless number of heavenly spirits. This is true even at a Low Mass celebrated by a priest on his own in a dusty corner of an empty Church… The Angels and Saints are there. High Mass is meant to make us even more aware of this fact. We are surrounded by the heavenly host. Are we aware of it? Do we remind ourselves of it? We should, I think! It is a great comfort, and it should also spur us on to give God the very best worship we can. The angels offer him worship, but nothing comes near to the worship of the Mass, which we offer to the Father together with Christ, through his priest, each time we come to the Altar. When we receive communion, St John Mary Vianney used to say, the angels envy us with a holy awe – for while they gaze upon the face of the Almighty forever, they do not have bodies in which to receive His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. How they marvel to see us come to the communion rail and be filled, healed and touched by the most Sacred Body of our Saviour! Just as our angels are pleased to see us make a good holy communion, how they must be saddened and ashamed of us when we make a bad communion, a rushed thanksgiving, a thoughtless communion, a communion by rote rather than by devotion! Like Raphael, they would say to us: “When I was with you, I was there by the will of God! Bless ye him, and sing praises to him! Bless ye God, and publish all his wonderful works.” Let us then praise the Archangel whose feast we celebrate tonight. Let us ask him to pray for us to God, and obtain for us that companionship and healing which he once gave to Tobit, Tobias and Sara. 

We know that our sins wound us and wound the Body of Christ, the Church. Let us ask God to heal us. Let us beseech Christ our Redeemer to heal the wounds of our sins, to “patch up” the tears we have made to the Body of Christ, the Church, and to bring healing and peace to our souls, bruised and scarred as they are by our sins. May the Seven Archangels come to our aid and direct our thoughts and prayers up to the Throne of the Lamb. May the prayers of the healing Archangel Raphael assist us. May he come down to us at this Mass, stir the still waters of our lukewarm souls, heal our weaknesses, and raise our minds up to the vision of heavenly glory that awaits us at the end of our journey. Then we shall indeed follow his command, and sing the praises of God in the words of Tobias: “Thou art great, O Lord, forever, and thy kingdom is unto all ages. For thou scourgest and thou savest; thou leadest down to hell, and bringest up again, and there is none that can escape thy hand… As for me, I will praise him in the land of my captivity: because he hath shewn his majesty toward a sinful nation… My soul, bless thou the Lord, because the Lord our God hath delivered Jerusalem his city from all her troubles. The gates of Jerusalem shall be built of sapphire and of emerald, and all the walls thereof round about of precious stones. All its streets shall be paved with white and clean stones, and Alleluia shall be sung in its streets. Blessed be the Lord, who hath exalted it, and may he reign over it for ever and ever. Amen.”

St Raphael the Archangel, Pray for us.

Juventutem London Match report 24th October, 2014

Juventutem London Match report 24th October, 2014

An highly successful Mass & social!

Mass was in honour of St. Raphael, whose feast we celebrated in great style.

We were pleased to welcome back Fr. Cyril Law as celebrant, with Br. Stephen Morrison, OPraem as Deacon, and preacher (we are hoping the text of his sermon will be available in the next few days) and Fr. Gregory Pearson, OP as Subdeacon. All three are under 35, so the average age of the Sanctuary must have been in the high 20s; no mean feat. All three have been most kind and generous supporters of Juventutem London: please pray for them!

Various things did conspire against us: our confessor was unavoidably detained in his parish, so had to cancel at the last minute, and also the hall was double booked, so our social moved to the upper room of the Red Lion on the corner of Eldon Street. We were even heckled by a local drinker, which was exciting.

We were pleased to see so many new faces, which is an encouraging sign that word is getting around. At the Mass there were approximately 70, and the upper room of the Red Lion was crammed solid with people mixing around; again, very encouraging.

Hopefully things will be back to normal next month, when our meeting will be on Friday 28th November. It will be a Requiem Mass, with the celebrant being Fr. Patrick Heywood, CRL. There will also be a talk after the Mass, in place of a sermon during, by Abbé Scott Tanner of the Institute of Christ the King, on the work of the Institute and its charism. Please do come along if you can!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Sermon given by Fr. Cyril J. Law for Ember Friday 26 September 2014.

Sermon given by Fr. Cyril J. Law at the Juventutem London Mass for Ember Friday 26 September 2014. 

Reprinted here by kind permission of Fr. Law

+ What we have witnessed today in the gospel passage, is how this woman, this sinner, gate-crashing at the Pharisee’s mock banquet, performed such a tactile, intimate yet genuinely penitential act of worship – she brought perfumed ointment, she humbled herself, she wept profusely, wiped Our Lord’s feet with her hair, and, unexpectedly yet perhaps mystically, anointed the Messiah. ‘I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.’ Remittuntur ei peccata multa, quoniam dilexit multum.I remember seeing this scripture verse carved in Latin on a confessional box in the Sicilian Church on the Via del Tritone not far from the Trevi Fountain. The image of that confessional gave me a lasting impression of the unfathomably entwined mystery of Love and Sin, the unlikely partner of Grace and Shame, the awesome balance of Justice and Mercy, and the valiant battle between Life and Death. The immense love of this woman, which merited the cancellation of her innumerable sins, was theatrically ‘acted out’ as it were, by the banquet table in a stranger’s house. This pitiful woman was elated when she found her Saviour and there were no qualms whatsoever in her heart that at her first contact with the Lord, she will do her utmost to respect him, to honour him, to pay him the homage fitting for a Sovereign King and Master. Such audacity, such profound and spontaneous intuition into the nature of true worship, in which there is no mental separation between adoration and atonement; there, in true worship, our bodily acts speak for our innermost disposition, not as an act of display, but as a fully integral expression of our heart’s desire to let God reign in our lives, where the pride of place is no longer occupied by our false ego and our petty, self-serving feelings. Again, such courage, such plain power of confidence that this woman has in allowing True Love to squash all squirms and unease in showing her unadulterated Faith. 
Sacred Tradition wisely informs us that True Worship, majestic and awe-inspiring as it is, must by nature always be tempered by asceticism and humility. The penitential seasons and the seasonal ember days, in which we find ourselves today, are instructional in instilling in us a disposition characterized by sobriety and single-mindedness. With its origins lying deep within the human psyche and in accord with the vital agrarian and social practices that respect the God-given natural rhythm of nature and culture, the Ember Days are periodical reminders of the bounty of creation and a time of intense liturgical preparation for the ordinations to the various grades of the Holy Orders. Incidentally, I found this rather straightforward and succinct description of what Embers Days are all about in the last Anglican Sermon of John Henry Newman, entitled the Parting of Friends, where he said, “We keep the Ember-days for the fruits of the earth, in self-abasement, as being unworthy even of the least of God's mercies; and now we are offering up of its corn and wine as a propitiation, and are eating and drinking of them with thanksgiving.”

Speaking as a newly ordained priest, I confess that I did not have the fortune of being ordained in the traditional Ember Saturday once appointed as the day of ordination, but offering the Sacrifice of the Mass today does remind me of the august duty that a priest is bound to carry out in rendering the blessings of creation fruitful for the salvation of souls, and most importantly, to be a harbinger of peace and reconciliation between God and sinners, among whom I count myself.

Here may I boldly ask: for all these weeks, months or years, what has been holding you back from going to the Sacrament of Confession? Could there be anything worse or more embarrassing than what this woman we met in the Gospel was known for, being a sinner that everybody knew in the city? You are not being asked to bring an alabaster flask of ointment nor even a pair of tearful eyes every time you come to Church. You are but invited to come with a repentant heart, to kiss the feet of our Lord as you do every Good Friday, so that you can start afresh and be once more in the embrace of this Loving Guest at each Holy Eucharist, this Guest ‘who even forgives sins’.

Dear brothers and sisters, I would be happy to give you my first blessing as a new priest after Mass, though sadly I do not have sufficient numbers of my ordination card to give you, so allow me to read what’s written on it, which is a verse entitled The Priestly Office from St Gregory Nazianzen, translated into English by Cardinal Newman.  

IN service o'er the Mystic Feast I stand;
I cleanse Thy victim-flock, and bring them near
In holiest wise, and by a bloodless rite.
O fire of Love! O gushing Fount of Light!
(As best I know, who need Thy pitying Hand)
Dread office this, bemired souls to clear
Of their defilement, and again made bright.
+ Amen.  
Pe. Cyril J. Law, Jr.


Friday, 26 September 2014

Praying the Mass Part 1 - Preparation for the Holy Sacrifice: the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar

Preparation for the Holy Sacrifice: the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar

The first prayer we consider in this series is in fact not strictly speaking a part of Mass at all but rather a preparation for the Mass: the prayers at the foot of the altar, especially Psalm 42, Iudica me. In fact, this is something that should be very familiar to regular Juventutem Mass-goers, since this is the psalm containing the line which gives Juventutem its very name:
 Introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam 
I shall go up unto the altar of God, to God Who giveth joy to my youth

This line, which occurs in the middle of the text of Ps. 42, is used as an antiphon, said before and after the psalm is recited. This is a way in which Holy Mother Church directs our attention to it as something important, as a focal point for our meditation as the psalm is recited.

The psalm itself concerns David, who fleeing from Absalom’s revolt and under attack from his enemies, longs for the day when he will return to the sanctuary of the Lord and offer joyful sacrifices. There is, therefore, a tension throughout the psalm between present miseries, hope in the Lord, and an expectation of future joy. We can easily perceive a parallel with our own spiritual lives. 
Now it seems that originally the sacred ministers would say what we now know as the prayers at the foot of the altar while still in the sacristy; the Introit was then chanted as they processed into the church. Over time it evidently became more convenient to say it upon arriving at the foot of the altar; but we may also note that this position only serves to reinforce the sense: the priest stands at the bottom of the steps and prepares to ascend them to approach the altar of God. This idea of ‘going up’ is an important one in the language of Jewish sacrifice: the high priest goes up, firstly ‘up’ to Jerusalem, which is situated upon a hill; ‘up’ to the Temple; finally ‘up’ to the altar of sacrifice in the Temple. Our Blessed Lord prepares for His passion by going up to Jerusalem; He then ascends mount Calvary to go up to the altar of the cross. We should, then, have these images in mind as the priest stands at the foot of the steps, and says ‘I shall go up unto the altar of God’. 
But the priest is not worthy of this commission. The high priests of the Old Testament would go through a most elaborate ritual of cleansing, not to mention periods of fasting and so on, before they performed sacrifices (for more detail about this, see especially the classic of Fr. Meagher, How Christ said the First Mass). 
The Sacrifice of the Old Covenant, by Peter Paul Rubens 
Are we, who offer the true sacrifice, the very Body and Blood of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to prepare less than they who offered only signs and shadows of what was to come? It is fitting, then, that the priest reflect on his sinfulness and unworthiness, and beseech the forgiveness and help of God, while we, the faithful, join him in earnest supplication to ask God to look not on our sins but the faith of His Church. 

And so the psalm opens, ‘judge me, O God, and distinguish my case from that of an unholy people; from the wicked and deceitful man rescue me’. In the context of the Jews, the ‘unholy people’ suggests the gentiles; for the high priest, it suggests anyone ‘unclean’, among whom he begs not to be counted. But what does it mean for the Christian? It means ourselves, our sinful nature. St Paul, we remember, admonishes us to put on the ‘new man, who according to God is created in justice and the sanctity of truth’, while discarding the ‘old man’. The Christian life is one of a battle against our fallen nature, with its perversions, falsehoods, and concupiscence. We require the constant help of God’s grace to defeat the wicked and deceitful man within us, which always threatens to count us among an ‘unholy people’.
In our sins it may seem that we are deserted: we are afflicted by the enemy of our soul. But God’s strength (quia tu es Deus, fortitudo mea) suffices for us and prevails.  The temptations and sins, and the pain of the punishments for our sins, constitute a great trial, but with faith this is turned into a purification and renewal.
Our intellect has been darkened by original sin, but God enlightens us with His grace. He is our guide, leading us on His holy mountain and tabernacles, that is, to the Holy Sacrifice, to Christ really and substantially present in the Eucharist; and to the heavenly liturgy of the life to come.
We rightly are sorrowful over our sins, but in recreating us according to His image, God restores to us true joy. Our sinfulness, we remember, was the old man; but God’s grace makes us new, so that whatever our age we can proclaim, ‘God, Who giveth joy to my youth’. It is that true and eternal youth of blessedness, a youth nourished here on earth by the Most Holy Eucharist, which gives to our soul an ever-new vigour (cf. 2 Cor. 4:16).
God has not rejected us; the theological virtue of hope points us beyond the present valley of tears; we will sing His praises forever.
This psalm therefore encapsulates all that the priest, and with him, the faithful, should reflect upon in preparation for the holy sacrifice: sorrow for our past sins, and our reliance on the grace of God. Having recited it with his sacred ministers (or the acolytes at a Low Mass), he then reaffirms that ‘our help is the name of the Lord’, and ‘liturgically’ confesses before the Blessed Virgin Mary, St John the Baptist, Ss. Peter and Paul, and all the saints, and implores their intercession. We are aware that every liturgical act, even a ‘private Mass’ said with only one server (or even, if necessary, no server at all), is witnessed by a great crowd, the saints and angels, among whom there is more joy at one repentant sinner than at ninety-nine just. And they are surely ready to help the priest and the faithful be disposed for the holy sacrifice. Let us not neglect their help; and confident in the everlasting mercy of the Lord, we are finally ready to go up, up to the altar of God, God who gives joy to my youth.

Praying the Mass

Juventutem London is delighted to present a new series of posts about praying the Traditional Mass. We will be looking at some of the prayers found in the Missal, and discussing a little about their history and theology, and offering some brief reflections which may be helpful in understanding and praying the Mass. 
This isn’t intended to be an exhaustive commentary on the Mass. If anyone is eager for something like that, then I can recommend these books to start with (some of which can be found on the internet for little or no cost):

N. Gihr, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Dogmatically, Liturgically, and Ascetically Explained [a really marvellous study, which doesn’t shy away from the spiritual interpretations largely shunned by twentieth-century scholars. A little ‘heavy’ and ‘dry’ at times in terms of theological content, however, so it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea].
C. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, in 2 volumes [this is a comprehensive history of the Mass. Jungmann’s scholarship is second to none, but be warned! Jungmann was a major player in the liturgical movement of the twentieth century, i.e. an advocate of liturgical reform, and this attitude is not entirely absent from his book].
A. Fortescue, The Mass [less detailed than Jungmann, but very readable and scholarly. Caveats apply: Fortescue tends to be rather snooty about certain mystical interpretations of the rites, assuming that only practical origins count as an explanation of the liturgy]. 
G. Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy [written by an Anglican with Catholic sympathies. There are some questionable parts, but it is still a valuable resource].
M. Müller, CSSR, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass [a very engaging read, full of pious reflections on the Mass and inspiring anecdotes rather than scholarly history. The first section on the Mass as a sacrifice is especially valuable in my own opinion].
Alcuin Reid, The Organic Development of the Liturgy [if what floats your boat is a discussion of liturgical change throughout history, but especially in the twentieth century before the Second Vatican Council, then this book is one of the most important written on that subject].

There are of course many other books and articles around, all with their own strengths and weaknesses: these are simply mentioned as a few fairly accessible sources for anyone who wants to make a more in-depth study of the liturgy.
Our intention here is to draw attention to a few points of interest and especially of devotional value to Juventutem members, and of course any other readers who may be interested. In the future we plan to have various series on other topics that touch on the traditions of the Church.
We’ll be beginning this series of posts shortly with the prayers at the foot of the altar, in particular the psalm Iudica me, which is the psalm that contains the line ‘to God Who giveth joy to my youth’, and therefore lends Juventutem (‘youth’) its name. After that, the plan is to make some general comments concerning methods of praying the Mass for lay people, before turning specific prayers of the Mass where we will see these principles applied.