Is 35, 4-7; Ps 146, 7-10; Jam 2, 1-5; Mk 7, 31-37
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen!
Normally my Sunday reflections take a verse, and instead of doing biblical exegesis on the verse, I’ll take a doctrine of the Church and attempt to explain it…I think for the next few weeks, I’m going to break down the Mass from beginning to end for what will hopefully be a faithful catechesis on the Mass.
0. Entering the Church
So many people enter the Church without knowing what to do, or why they do it….Most Catholics should be embarassed if they can’t explain these things to their children or protestants.
a Holy Water
The Holy Water Font recalls our Baptism, as well as the water being a Sacramental (not to be confused with Sacrament). We make the Sign of the Cross with our right hand recalling our Trinitarian Baptism as well as our Faith in the Trinity…
b Entering/Exiting a pew
Depending on the location of the Tabernacle (that’s where Jesus is), you GENUFLECT with the right knee to the ground (unless you’re physically not able) to the ground as an act of Adoration to God. You always genuflect to the Tabernacle, not to the altar (insturction on that later). SO if the Tabernacle is in the center, no problem, if it’s to the right, turn inward, left, genuflect outward. If the Tabernacle is not located in the Parish, you make a profound bow to the altar as the place where the Sacrifice will take place, but do not genuflect for the simple reason that the altar isn’t God. (see Phil 2, 8). You do the same on your exit of the pew, but not during Communion.
c. Collecting thoughts
Kneeling is a common posture of prayer, and as mentioned, during kneeling you should be praying to participate well in Mass, and for the intentions that you’ve brought to Mass. Praying a Rosary during this time is excellent. :)….Please do so QUIETLY, remember that you’re in the presence of GOD and that God only talks when you zip it and listen 😉
For those of you that go to the EF Mass, you know the first reply is “Et Introibo ad Altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meum” (I will go unto the altar of God, to God I give joy to my youth)…The word Introit comes from that very word Introibo.
The Introit is a Psalm verse or a text from other parts of Scripture. This Scripture usually outlines the “theme” (I really don’t like that word, but I”ll use it anyway) for the Mass. That is to say each week, a Mass expresses a part of the Catholic lex credendi in each of the Scripture readings.
In many Churches, there’s an entrance hymn that’s used, which is a licit option in the Roman Missal, but not the perfered option. As a hymn is listed last in the general instruction options. If there is a hymn that replaces the Introit, the hymn and the introit must be connected to one another. That is to say you can not replace for example “I will go unto the altar of God” with “Gather US in” The two have nothing to do with one another. One expresses a transcendent reality, while the other is horizontally focused.
During the Introit, one should prepare one’s self for Mass by coming with Mass intentions (similar to a priest) as well as reflecting upon the verse that’s being chanted. (or recited)…
In the OF Next comes the sign of the Cross. (This catechesis will be on the OF Mass). Where we recall our very baptism and our Trinitarian Faith….
Then comes the invite as the priest opens his hands (no, not a secular greetings, such as good Morning, but the Church has perscribed texts that the priesst is to use and can not altar for any reason.
“Dominus Vobiscum/Pax vobis” (The Lord be with you/Peace be with you (Ru 2, 4; Jn 20, 20)…This is the traditonal invite that the Western Church has used for a long enough period of time.
There are no rubrics for the latity to extend their hands like the priest in return when they reply “et cum spiritu tuo” (and with your spirit) (or the currenct ICEL translation “and also with you”). Why “et cum spiritu tuo?” St. Albert the Great roughly says “We say “et cum spiritu tuo” because the priest is supposed to be entirely in the Holy Spirit when offering Mass. St. Augustine had heavy theology on the Mass as well….You has a very casual meaning in the English language, and even when Latin was the “vernacular” Church Latin was always slightly more elevated than the Latin that was being used in the street :)…
a. “As we come together to celebrate these sacred mysteries, let us call to mind our sins” Thanks to our good friends Eve and Adam, we have something called Original Sin, and even though this has been washed away through Baptism, we still see the effects of a fallen nature. During this moment we call to mind our sins that we’ve committed (i.e. an examination of conscience)…and if we remember any mortal sins since our last Confession that makes us inelligible to receive Communion at this particular Mass until we go to Confession. (You don’t want to receive our Lord in Sacrilege 😉 (1 Cor 11, 27-30)
2. Penetential Rite
Very important to remember that the Penetential Rite is NOT absolution for the forgiveness of mortal sins. Yet this action DOES forgive venial sins….
“Confiteor Deo omnipotenti (I confess to almighty God) et vobis fratres (and you brethren) quia peccavi nimis cogitatione verbo opere et omissione (That I have sinned in thought, word, work and omission (Doing my own translating here, not using the lame ICEL one)…mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa (through my fault, through my fault, through my greivious fault)…Ideo precor Beatam Mariam semper Virginem, (Therefore I ask the Blessed Mary ever Virgin), omnes sanctos, omnes angelos (all the Saints, all the Angels), et vos fratres (and you brethren) orare pro mei ad Dominum Deum Nostrum (to pray for me to the Lord Our God)”
This is a much simpler form of the longer form that’s used by the priest in the TLM. If I had my way I’d restore the old one for the Laity and the old one for the priest. We recognize that we are sinners dependent on the Mercy of God to function. I just love when some protestants use that “have you ever lied” line of reasoning. To say such and to not allow the Mercy of God is beyond my own comprehension.
Then the priest will say the Misereatur which will forgive our VENIAL sins….(I only covered option “A” since that’s the only one that really has the mention of sin in it)…Then comes the Kyrie, which is another begging for the Lord’s mercy and the only Greek words in the Mass (Latin for Lord Have Mercy is Domine, miserere)
Next week I shall cover the Gloria, the Readings and the Gradual
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit..Amen!