Category Archives: Catechism

The Two Offering Prayers Before the Consecration

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Graciously, accept, then, we beseech Thee, O Lord, this service of our worship and that of all Thy household. Provide that our days be spent in Thy peace, save us from everlasting damnation, and cause us to be numbered in the flock Thou has chosen. Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Do Thou, O God, deign to bless what we offer, and make it approved, effective, right, and wholly pleasing in every way, that it may be for our good, the Body and the Blood of Thy dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord.

These two prayers come immediately after the three remembrance prayers. As the priest prays the first of the two offering prayers, he spreads his hands over the bread and wine. It is at this time the bells ring once. The bell tells us that it is time for the Consecration, for the bread and wine to be changed into the body and blood of Our Lord.

In the first offering prayer we again ask God to recieve our gift. The words “this service of our worship” mean the offering of Jesus to His Father. Jesus is our gift.

We know that our gift is most pleasing to God because it is Our Lord Himself. But, at the same time, we know the truth about ourselves. We know we are not worthy to offer this gift. For this reason we ask God “graciously” to recieve it.

In the first offering prayer we pray for peace during our lives on earth, to be saved from the never-ending punishment of hell, and to be happy forever in heaven.

As the priest prays the second prayer of offering, he makes the Sign of the Cross five times over the bread and wine. In this prayer, priest and people ask God that the bread and wine may become the body and blood of His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. A number of different words are used in this prayer to tell God our desires about the offering. We pray that God may bless it, and that it may be pleasing to Him in every way.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

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The Three Remembrance Prayers Before the Consecration Lesson 2

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The Preface is recited aloud by the priest. If we listen, we can hear it. But after the Sanctus everything is quiet. The priest prays in a very low voice. We are almost at the most holy part of the mass.

You already know that the Preface is the introduction to the Canon. You know, too, that the Canon is the Consecration part of the Mass.

The first three prayers of the Canon are called remembrance prayers. In these prayers the priest and people are remembering to pray for special persons and blessings.

The First Remembrance Prayer

In the first remembrance prayer, after asking Almighty God to accept our gift of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we ask Him for blessings on the Church.

Therefore, most gracious Father, we humbly beg of Thee and entreat Thee, through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, to deem acceptable and bless these gifts, these offerings, these holy and unspotted oblations, which we offer unto Thee in first instance for Thy holy and Catholic Church, that Thou wouldst deign to give her peace and protection, to unite and guide her the whole world over; together with Thy servant N., our Pope, and N., our bishop, and all true believers, who cherish the catholic and apostolic faith.

The Second Remembrance Prayer

In the second remembrance prayer, we pray for those near and dear to us. We also pray for all present at Holy Mass.

Be mindful, O Lord, of Thy servants and handmaids, N. and N., and of all here present, whose faith is known to Thee, and likewise their devotion, on whose behalf we offer unto Thee, this sacrifice of praise for themselves and all their own, for the good of their souls, for their hope of salvation and deliverance from all harm, and who pay Thee the homage which they owe Thee, eternal God, living and true.

The Third Remembrance Prayer

In the third remembrance prayer, we ask Almighty God, because of the holiness of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, please to hear their prayers and protect us.

In the unity of holy fellowship we observe the memory first of the glorious and ever virgin Mary, mother of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ; next that of Thy blessed apostles and martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Thaddeus; of Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Thy saints, by whose merits and prayers grant that we may be always fortified by the help of Thy protection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Secret Lesson 8

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Sanctify, O Lord, the gifts we offer, and cleanse us from the stains of our sins. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the union of the Holy Ghost, God world without end. Amen. (Secret for the Second Sunday after Epiphany).

The priest prays the Secret or Secrets right after the Orate Fratres. Sometimes there is one Secret, sometimes two, sometimes three. The priest reads the Secrets from the Missal. These prayers change day to day. The priest prays the Secrets in a voice which the people cannot hear.

The Secret is the tenth and last prayer of the Offertory.

The Secrets are almost always about the bread and wine that are to be changed into the body and blood of Our Lord. The Secrets always ask a favor of God.

The Secret for the Second Sunday after Epiphany speaks of the bread and wine as “the gifts we offer.” When we ask Almighty God to cleanse us from the stains of our sins, we are thinking about the most pleasing offering our Blessed Lord will make to Him at the Consecration of the Mass. At that time He becomes our great gift to God. In a most special way He is making up for our sins.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Orate Fratres Lesson 7

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Priest: Pray, brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may become acceptable to God the Father Almighty.
Response: May the Lord accept the sacrifice at thy hands, unto the praise and glory of His name, for our advantage, and that of all His holy Church.

When the priest finishes the prayer to the Most Holy Trinity, he kisses the altar. Then he turns to the people and makes a request of them. His request begins with the words “Orate, fratres.” These two words are the Latin for “Pray, brethren.” In language of today “Pray brethren” would be put in words something like “Pray, all of you who are members of the Church with me.”

In the “Orate Fratres” the priest asks the people to pray that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass may be pleasing to God the Father Almighty. He reminds the people that the sacrifice offered to God is both his gift and theirs.

The altar boy answers for the people. He prays that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which the priest is offering may be accepted by God. He asks in this short prayer that the Mass may give God the adoration we owe Him. He also asks that it may help us and all Catholics throughout the world.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

Mass…In Latin? Why In Latin?

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It has been said that the use of any language in itself was immaterial, but in its consequences, or in view of the commands of the Church, it is by no means immaterial. The Church has wisely ordered the Latin tongue only to be used in the Mass and in the administration of the Sacraments, for several reasons.

Latin was the language used by St. Peter when he first said Mass at Rome. It was the language in which that Prince of the Apostles drew up the Liturgy which, together with the knowledge of the Gospel, he or his successors the Popes imparted to the different peoples of Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Hungary, and Poland.

From the time of the Apostles down, Latin has invariably been used at the altar through the western parts of Christendom, though their inhabitants very frequently did not understand the language. The Catholic Church, through an aversion to innovations, carefully continues to celebrate her Liturgy in that same tongue which apostolic men and saints have used for a similar purpose during more than eighteen centuries.

Unchangeable dogmas require an unchangeable language. The Catholic Church cannot change, because it is the Church of God, Who is unchangeable; consequently the language of the Church must also be unchangeable.

Mass is said in Latin because a universal Church requires a universal language. The Catholic Church is the same in every climate, in every nation, and consequently its language must be always and everywhere the same, to secure uniformity in her service.Variety of languages is a punishment, a consequence of sin; it was inflicted by God that the human race might be dispersed over the face of the earth. The holy Church, the immaculate Spouse of Jesus Christ, has been established for the express purpose of destroying sin and uniting all mankind; consequently she must everywhere speak the same language.

It is a fact well known that the meaning of the words is changed in the course of time by everyday usage. Words which once had a good meaning are now used in a vulgar or ludicrous sense. The Church, enlightened by the Holy Ghost, has chosen a language which is not liable to such changes. The sermons and instructions, and in short everything that is addressed directly to the people, are all in the language of the country; even the prayers of the Mass are translated in almost every Catholic prayerbook, so that there can be no disadvantage to the Catholic worshipper in the fact that the Mass is celebrated in the Latin tongue; especially as the pastors of the Church are very careful to comply with the injunctions of the Council of Trent, to instruct their flocks on the nature of that great Sacrifice, and to explain to them in what manner they should accompany the officiating priest with prayers and devotions best adapted to every portion of the Mass. 

In the second place, faithful Catholics know well that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the self-same sacrifice that Jesus Christ offered to His Father on the Cross, because both the Priest and the Victim are the same; their faith in the Real Presence is abundantly sufficient to enkindle devotion in their hearts, and to excite in their souls appropriate acts of adoration, thanksgiving and repentance, though they may not understand the prayers which the priest is uttering. For this reason it is that the faithful, pressed by different wants, go to the adorable mysteries of the Mass, never thinking of the language in which they are celebrated. Some, moved by the force of calamities, hasten thither to lay their sorrows at the feet of Jesus. Others go to ask for some grace and special mercy, knowing that the heavenly Father can refuse nothing to His Son. Many feel constrained to fly thither to proclaim their gratitude, and to pour forth the love of a thankful heart, knowing that there is nothing so worthy of being offered to God as the sacred Body and Blood of the eternal Victim. More press forward to give glory to God and to honor His saints, for in the celebration of these mysteries of love alone can we pay worthy homage to His adorable Majesty, while we bear witness to our reverence for those who served Him. 

Lastly, men hasten to Mass on the wings of charity and compassion, for it is there that they can hope to obtain salvation for the living and rest for the dead. Thus to the thirsty pilgrims through the rocks of the desert do the fountains of water appear. Thus do the generation of those who seek justice received benediction from the Lord and mercy from God their Savior.

Pity for those who know not this heavenly Sacrifice! What a misfortune to see one driven from this Eden, and yet to do nothing to obtain the favor of readmittance! How unhappy too are those Catholics who, though knowing it, by their unpardonable indifference deprive themselves of this exhaustless mine of inestimable riches.

The above was taken from Chapter 37 of the book The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Fr. Michael Muller, C.SS.R., available from TAN Books.

Objection: If the Mass is in Latin, no one can understand a thing because it is said in a language that is no longer spoken.

Response: It is true that Latin is no longer spoken ordinarily, but in order to follow this Mass without difficulty, bilingual missals are available which have on one side the text of the Latin prayers which the priest says and on the other side the translation in the every day language of the people. With a bit of practice, it is within the reach of everyone to unite himself with the prayers that are said. In addition, to want to understand everything of the Divine Mystery, which is the Sacred Mass, is impossible, mystery by definition is a truth that one cannot fully comprehend.

Conclusion:

“The Church is without question a living organism, and as an organism in respect of the Sacred Liturgy also, she grows, matures, develops, adapts and accommodates herself to temporal needs and circumstances, provided only that the integrity of her doctrine be safeguarded. This notwithstanding, the temerity and daring of those who introduce novel liturgical practices, or call for the revival of obsolete rites out of harmony with laws and rubrics, deserve reproof. It has pained Us grievously to note, (…) that such innovations are actually being introduced, not merely in minor details but in matters of major importance as well. They are, in point of fact, those who make use of the vernacular in the celebration of the august Eucharistic Sacrifice; those who transfer certain feast days – which have been appointed and established after mature deliberation – to other dates; those finally who delete from the prayer books approved for public use the sacred texts of the Old Testament, deeming them little suited and inopportune for modern times.

The use of the Latin language, customary in a considerable portion of the Church, is a manifest and beautiful sign of unity, as well as an effective antidote for any corruption of doctrinal truth.” (Pius XII: Encyclical Mediator Dei, November 20, 1947)

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Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity Lesson 6

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Accept, most Holy Trinity, this offering which we are making to Thee, in remembrance of the passion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, Our Lord; and in honor of Blessed Mary, ever virgin, blessed John the Baptist, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and of these, and of all saints; that it may add to their honor and aid our salvation; and may they deign to intercede in heaven for us who cherish their memory here on earth. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

As soon as the priest has washed his fingers, he goes back to the center of the altar. There he bends over the altar and prays to the Most Holy Trinity.

In this prayer the priest says that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is being offered to the Most Holy Trinity. He says it is being offered in memory of the passion, resurrection, and ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He says also that it is in honor of the Blessed Virgin, St. John the Baptist, and the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints.

At this time, priest and people pray that the Most Holy Trinity will accept the offering that they are making. They ask that the Blessed Virgin, St. John the Baptist, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints may be honored by the Mass, and that they who offer it, priest and people, may save their souls. At the close of the prayer priest and people ask that those in whose honor they are offering the Holy Mass will please pray for them. All the favors asked of God in this prayer are asked in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Lavabo Lesson 5

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After the prayer to the Holy Ghost, the priest goes to the Epistle side of the altar. There the altar boy pours a little water over his fingers. As the priest washes his fingers, he says a Psalm from the Bible that begins with the words, “I will wash my hands.” This part of the Mass is called Lavabo, because lavabo is the Latin word for “I will wash,” and the first word in the Psalm as the priest recites it in Latin.

The Psalm speaks of two things in particular, desire of pardon for sin and God’s glory. Long ago, the priest washed his fingers because they often became soiled as they received the gifts the people brought. Today, the priest continues to wash his fingers, but as a sign that he wishes his soul to be made clean from sin. The people say the Psalm for the same reasons as the priest, to ask pardon of God for their sins and to tell Him that they wish to honor Him.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Prayer to the Holy Ghost Lesson 4

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Come, Thou Sanctifier, almighty and eternal God, and bless this sacrifice prepared for the glory of Thy holy name.

As soon as the priest has made the short prayer in which we offer ourselves to God, he raises his head. At the same time he raises his hands toward heaven and prays to the Holy Ghost. He asks the Holy Ghost to bless the offering he is going to make to God at the Consecration of the Mass.

Thou Sanctifier is a name for the Holy Ghost. In the Catechism you learned that the Holy Ghost makes our souls holy through the gift of grace. This is another way for saying that the Holy Ghost sanctifies us.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Prayer in Which We Offer Ourselves to God Lesson 3

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In a humble spirit and a contrite heart, may we be accepted by Thee, O Lord, and may our sacrifices so be offered in Thy sight this day as to please Thee, O Lord God.

Just as soon as the priest has offered the chalice to God, he makes the prayer that begins with the words, “In a humble spirit.” At that moment you will see the priest bowed a little over the altar. This prayer gives us a time during Holy Mass to offer ourselves to God. In this prayer we offer to God our thoughts, words, and deeds.

In the lesson in the meaning of sacrifice, you learned that the victim of sacrifice is not only an offering but a sign. It is a sign that those who offer the sacrifice desire also to give themselves to God.

The prayer, “In a humble spirit,” asks God that the priest and all those who are offering the Mass with him may be received by God. It tells almighty God that when they offer His Son to Him at the Consecration of the Mass, they are also offering themselves.

What does it mean to offer ourselves to God? It means that we desire to give Him everything we think and do and say all day long. Now if it is our purpose to do this, then we must try to please God in everything we think and say and do. We must try our hardest not to do anything that will displease Him.

We please God most when we do things that show Him we love Him and love our neighbor for His sake. How can we be sure we are loving God and our neighbor? We can be sure we are doing this if we obey the Commandments of God and of the Church, and if we help those in need as much as we are able.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Offering of the Chalice

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We offer unto Thee, O Lord, the chalice of salvation, humbly begging of Thy mercy that it may arise before Thy divine majesty with a pleasing fragrance, for our salvation and that of all the world. Amen.

It is easy to see the priest offer the wine to God. Before he does so, the people have seen him pour the wine and a little water into the chalice. As the priest offers the chalice to God, he is holding it in his hands.

In the prayer, priest and people offer to God the wine that is to be changed into the blood of Christ. In their prayer they pray not only for all faithful Catholics, but for everyone in the world.

In simple English, the prayer of offering the chalice to God would read something like this: “We offer to You, O God, the wine that is to be changed into the blood of Christ. We know we are not worthy to make this offering, but we pray that it may be pleasing to You. We offer it to You, asking Your help to live a good life here on earth, that we may be happy with You one day in heaven. We ask this same help for everyone in the world. Amen”

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!