The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Divine Liturgy, the representation of Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross in unbloody manner. A gesture first posed by Jesus at the Last Supper, an act that transcends time and space, in which the setting was a seder meal. What is my point throughout all of this, well an attempt (ATTEMPT) to briefly underline the nature of the Mass, and to a certain extent, its evolution. Vatican II reformed the Rite, much to the chagrin of many Faithful, however an authentic conversation must be undertaken between the intent as opposed to what actually is transpiring. There is a reason that Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI initiated a ‘Reform of the Reform.’ This blog post will concentrate on the Roman rite, which has not just two but nine rites inside of it. Many so-called ‘Traditionalists’ seem to think that the older form of Mass was perfectly celebrated all the time, and that Vatican II’s Reform came out of left field, when in actuality, Liturgical Reform was underway before VII came into anyone’s radar screen. Well,.the reality of this assertion is not the case. Examples? Communion-rite drive by ‘liturgies’ with no Mass while the other priest is at the foot of the Alter beginning his Mass (picture almost a baton race, whereby the baton is passed to the next racer. Parish announcents during the ‘Offertory,’ (instead of after the Communion concluding prayer…) and a Liturgical spin cycle which repeated the same Gospel sequence, inaudible most of the time, and a faithful assisting at Mass praying the Rosary,.(Sorry Michael Voris, this is wrong, despite the fact that the intent is good, and yes good and holy people recite the Rosary.)
The Mass that my generation grew up on is what is properly known as the ‘ordinary’ Form of Mass. Once again to be fair, did we really implement Sacrosanctum Consilium?,..The answer is obvious. The ordinary form of Mass is in actually the more ancient rite of celebrating the Eucharist, despite what the so-called Traditionalists claim. (here) Okay so now that you’ve seen words from Justin Martyr,..we can move forward. We will now attempt to break down the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Sunday style!)
What we need:
1. A Bishop or priest and an Assembly
2. Missel and a Lectionary
3. A Place suitable for worship, with the Alter at the Centre
4. Proper Matter, (ie bread, wine, Chalice, ciborium, paten, corporal, purificator)
Just like in boxing/MMA let’s break down the Liturgy!
First off we have the opening Rites. Usually an announcement is made or a bell rung to signal the Assemble to rise (Standing is the proper position for prayer). ‘Let us stand to begin our praise and worship of God.’
**Abuse Alert number 1.** The master of ceremonies says ‘Let us stand to welcome our celebrant.’ Uhh noooo,..
Next up we have the penitential Rite,..Where the community collectively anticipates to prayerfully prepare themselves by acknowledging their (our) sinfulness. After this we have the Gloria, and the opening rites are concluded with an opening prayer.
**Abuse Alert number 2** Priests saying ‘Good Morning,..’ There is nothing wrong with that except, if the congregation has already made the sign of the Cross,..its goofy and hokey,.. Before it? Fine. Once we ‘dial the telephone’ we should be giving our attention to God the Father!
Liturgy of the Word
First Reading, usually from the Old Testament, then a Responsorial Psalm, then the Second Reading. After suitable meditation time between them. The Alleluia starts and the priest or deacon, should there be one, makes his way to the Ambo, carrying the Book of the Gospels. The Gospel is read to the Assembly and next up, the Word is broken open with the homily.
Abuse alert number 3. The Responsorial Psalm is replaced by some crappy syrupy protestant song, or campy Catholic song from the 1970s.. Or still the Gospel read by a layperson or nun (woman religious…) or my favorite the homily given by a layperson or nun having NOTHING to do with the Gospel of the day,.. Some nutty ‘so-called social justice leftist nonsense regarding fair trade coffee with funds going to pro choice movements...
Next up we have the profession of Faith, the Nicene Creed, and the Universal prayers, (Church Universal, local, world and regional.) We finally conclude the Liturgy of the Word.
Liturgy of the Eucharist
Priest goes to the Alter as bread and wine are brought forth. The priest will prepare the gifts, and position them on the Alter, then will begin to spiritually prepare himself. This is done quietly or in a low voice, and usually at this time the collection is taken up. The priest while offering the bread and wine elevates a little,.why? Because its bread and wine! Jesus isn’t sacramentaly there yet!
**Abuse number 4.** This one drives me batty, because sometimes I feel the priest is acting in a theatre and just really being silly. During the offertory prayers, he says them loudly,.(people should be praying, those that aren’t can respond with the ‘Blessed be God forever..’ again though quietly) and his arms are extended to the ceiling.
Next up the Eucharistic Prayer, inside of which is the Consecration. After the words of Institution are pronounced, the Eucharistic presence is venerated so that the kneeling assembly realizes the Real Presence. It is a veneration with elevation, because the prayer continues. A bell is rung to call the people’s attention. The Eucharistic prayer concludes with the Doxology, ‘Through Him With Him,…’ At this point is when the Sacrifice of the Son is offered to the Father. This is the part where the priest should be completely elevating! This is followed by the great Amen. Then the Our Father, the kiss of peace and the Agnus Dei, (when the fraction of the Eucharist occurs.)
**Abuse Alert 5** Where to begin?, ‘standing’ at the consecration is a start. The priest not following the words as they are written. Ad libbing, and my another one that ‘grinds’ my gears, the priest breaking the Host, when he is consecrating,..once again, not theatre time.. The Our Father where everybody holds hands turns the Eucharist into a celebration of the people,..and the kiss of peace looks like a backyard chat with the neighbour over the fence. The priest rushing off the sanctuary to shake hands with everyone!
The Communion Rite begins, where communion is given hierchically beginning with the Presider all the way to the Assembly.. (Do we need 325 ‘Extra ordinary ministers usually all women?) …
Prayer after Communion concludes the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Then we can read the parish announcements. There are some parishes which do the announcements before the concluding prayer, and it just doesn’t make sense,..it breaks up the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Finally the final Blessing and dismissal.
St Jean Vianney,…………….Ora pro nobis!