Tag Archives: Church

The Last Blessing Lesson 9

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The Dismissal: Before the Last Blessing

After the Postcommunion, the priest goes to the center of the altar. Then he faces the people and prays. “The Lord be with you.” The altar boy answers for the people, “And with your spirit.”

The dismissal is next given. The priest, still facing the people, says: “Go, the Mass is over.” Sometimes the Latin is put into other English words – “Go, you are sent forth.” or “Go, you are dismissed.” The altar boy replies: “Thanks be to God.” In the name of the people he is thanking God for the graces they have recieved during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

During Advent and Lent the priest says: “Let us bless the Lord,” instead of “Go, the Mass is over.” At Masses for the dead the people are dismissed with the prayer, “May they rest in peace.”

After making the short dismissal prayer, the priest turns and bows before the altar. Silently he prays:

May the tribute of my worship be pleasing to Thee, most Holy Trinity, and grant that the sacrifice which I, all unworthy, have offered in the presence of Thy majesty, may be acceptable to Thee, and through Thy mercy obtain forgiveness for me and all for whom I have offered it.

This prayer speaks of some things about Holy Mass that Catholics desire always to remember.

The Mass is, first of all, an act of worship of the Most Holy Trinity.

An act of worship tries to give to God the honor that is due Him.

Holy Mass is a sacrifice.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the all-perfect sacrifice. In the Mass Our Lord Jesus Christ, through the priest, offers Himself to God under the appearances of bread and wine.

The priest is speaking for himself. He says how unworthy he is to have offered the Holy Sacrifice.

The words of the priest remind the people to have the same thought. They know how unworthy they are to unite with the priest in offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. They know how poorly they have done so.

The priest asks for forgiveness for himself, and for all those for whom he has offered the Holy Sacrifice.

Many times during Holy Mass the priest and people pray for two things. The first is forgiveness or pardon. The second, not mentioned in this prayer, is God’s grace and help. Priest and people pray for these blessings for themselves and for others.

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The Last or Final Blessing

When the priest has finished the prayer that he says bowed over the altar, he kisses the altar. Then he raises his eyes and hands toward heaven. Next, he turns to the people and blesses them. He makes the Sign of the Cross and says: May God almighty bless you: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The altar boy answers, Amen.

The words of blessing seem to speak to the people of two things. First, they remind them of the blessings received from the Most Holy Trinity during Holy Mass. Then they seem to tell the people that they have new grace. They have help from God for all they shall do and think and say, as they go forth from Holy Mass.

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 Postcommunion Lesson 8

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Having recieved Thy sacred gifts, O Lord, vouchsafe the more often we frequent these mysteries, the more surely they may avail to our salvation.
(From the Postcommunion for the Second Sunday after Pentecost.)

After he reads the Communion verse, the priest goes back to the center of the altar. He kisses the altar and turns to the people. He says to them in Latin, “The Lord be with you.” The altar boy answers for the people, “And with your spirit.” This greeting of the priest is always a reminder or invitation. He desires them to join with him in the prayer or prayers that follow. At this time the priest wants the people to pray the Postcommunion prayer or prayers with him.

The Postcommunion is part of the Proper of the Mass. It changes from day to day. Often the Postcommunion speaks of the feast of the day. It is made up of one or more prayers that the priest reads from the Missal. The priest is at the Epistle side of the altar as he prays the Postcommunion.

Almost always the Postcommunion prayers speak of Holy Communion that has just been received. These prayers ask God that the graces of Holy Communion may help us to live good lives.

The ablutions, Communion, and Postcommunion are the prayers the Church uses in thanksgiving for Holy Communion.

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 Ablution Prayers Lesson 6

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The First Ablution Prayer

What has passed our lips as food, O Lord, may we possess in purity of heart, that what is given us in time be our healing for eternity.

The Second Abultion Prayer

May Thy Body, O Lord, which I have eaten, and Thy Blood, which I have drunk, cleave unto my very soul, and grant that no trace of sin be found in me, whom these pure and holy mysteries have renewed. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

The word ablution means cleansing or washing. During the ablution prayers the priest cleanses the chalice. He does so that nothing may remain in it of the Precious Blood of Our Lord. His fingers, too, are cleansed, for they have touched the Sacred Host. The ablutions take place immediately after the people have received Holy Communion.

The priest is standing at the center of the altar as wine is poured into the chalice. First, he rinses the chalice with the wine. As he does so he makes the first ablution prayer.

This prayer is very short, but it means a great deal. It says that we received Holy Communion as food: in the words of the prayer, it “passed our lips as food.” Then the prayer asks that our hearts may be pure. This means, may they be cleansed from sin. It also asks that the Holy Communion we have just received may help us now that we may be happy forever in heaven.

When the priest has finished the first ablution prayer, he drinks the wine that was used to rinse out the chalice.

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Then the priest goes to the Epistle side of the altar. There the altar boy pours wine and water over his fingers. As the water and wine are poured, the priest prays the second ablution prayer.

In this prayer we also ask that the blessings of our Holy Communion may remain with us always. Priest and people are making this request when they pray that the body and blood of Our Lord may “cleave unto my very soul.” The word cleave means stick to it or cling to it. In this second ablution prayer we ask that not even a stain of sin may remain in us.

After the second ablution, the priest returns to the center of the altar. He wipes his fingers with the purificator and drinks the water and wine. He dries his lips, and then cleans the chalice with the purificator. When he has done these things, he arranges the chalice as it was at the beginning of Mass. The last thing he does is to place the chalice veil over it.

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 Prayers of the People’s Communion Lesson 5

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The Priest’s Communion

After the priest has made the three prayers studied in the last lesson, it is almost time for him to recieve Holy Communion.

But first he says: I will take the Bread of heaven and call upon the name of the Lord. Then, bowing before the altar, he prays: Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed. Three times the priest makes this prayer that begins Lord, I am not worthy… Each time he says it he strikes his breast. At this time the altar boy rings the bell three times.

The priest next says: May the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ keep my soul unto life everlasting. Amen.

Then he recieves the Sacred Host. For a short time he thinks about the most Holy Sacrament.

Next, he prays:

What return shall I make to the Lord for all He hath given me? I will take the chalice of salvation, and I will call upon the name of the Lord. Praising, I will call upon the Lord, and I shall be saved from my enemies. May the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ keep my soul unto life everlasting. Amen.

After this prayer the priest receives the Precious Blood of Our Lord. Then he gives Holy Communion to the people.

The Communion of the Faithful

Almost immediately after the bell rings, the people go to the communion rail.

At this time, the Confiteor – I confess – is recited by the altar boy in the name of the people. This prayer tells God, our Blessed Mother, and the saints that we have committed sins. We speak of them because we are sorry we committed them.

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The priest, after receiving the Precious Blood of Our Lord, genuflects and turns to the people. He says the last two parts of the Confiteor:

May almighty God have mercy upon you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to life everlasting.

May the almighty and merciful God grant you pardon, absolution, and full remission of your sins.

As the priest says the second part, he makes the Sign of the Cross over the people.

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Then the priest turns to the altar and genuflects. He takes one of the small Hosts, holds it above the ciborium, and turns to the people again. He says in a voice they can hear:

Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who taketh away the sins of the world. And three times he says: Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

St. John the Baptist first said: “Behold the Lamb of God; behold Him Who taketh away the sins of the world.” Our Lord, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, continues to take away the sins of the world.

It was the centurion, during the life of Our Lord on earth, who went to Him and said: “I am not worthy to have You enter under my roof.” But the same centurion also said: “Only say the word, and my servant will be healed.” Our Lord was pleased with the faith of the centurion. He cured the servant by saying just a word. Knowing that Our Lord has power to cure and to forgive, we make the centurion’s prayer our prayer, as we get ready to recieve Holy Communion.

This is what the priest does as he gives Holy Communion to each person receiving. First, he blesses the person, making the Sign of the Cross with the Sacred Host. Then, as he places the Host on the tongue of the person, he says: May the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ keep thy soul unto life everlasting. 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 Three Prayers Before the Priest’s Communion Lesson 4.

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The First Prayer

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who hast said to Thy apostles: Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you, regard not my sins but the faith of Thy Church, and deign to give her peace and unity according to Thy will. Who livest and reignest, God world without end. Amen.

The three prayers before the priest’s Communion are made to Our Lord. It is Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, Whom priest and people will recieve in Holy Communion. These prayers are in preparation for Holy Communion. They are the prayers of the priest offering Holy Mass. In them he uses the words I, my, and me. But they can also be the prayers of the people.

In the first of the three prayers, priest and people pray for peace. This is the fourth time they pray for peacein the Communion part of the Mass. The prayer reminds Our Lord of words He spoke to the apostles at the Last Supper. He said to them: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you.” Then the priest asks Our Lord to give peace and unity to the Church.

When we pray for peace and unity in the Church, we are praying for oeace and unity among the members of the Church. In Holy Communion, we recieve grace to love God and our neighbor. This is the greatest help to peace and unity. Because people do not love one another, there are wars and other kinds of suffering.

The Second Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, Who by the will of the Father, with the cooperation of the Holy Ghost, hast by Thy death given life to the world, deliver me by this Thy most sacred Body and Blood from all my sins and from every evil. Make me always cling to Thy commands, and never permit me to be separated from Thee. Who with the same God the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest, God world without end. Amen.

As the priest says this prayer and the next one, his hands are folded. His eyes are on the Sacred Host, and he goes before the altar. He is speaking to Our Lord Whom he will recieve in Holy Communion. The prayer reminds Our Lord that, by His death, He gave life to the world. This is the life of grace that we first recieve in the Sacrament of Baptism.

This prayer asks Our Lord for four favors. First, each one praying it asks to be delivered from his or her sins. This means the punishment due to sin. At the same time, priest and people also ask to be delivered from every evil. They ask for these favors because of the body and blood of Our Lord which they are about to recieve. Next, they ask for grace always to keep the commandments. Lastly, they pray never to be separated from Our Lord. Mortal sin alone can separate us from Him. Our prayer is for grace never to commit mortal sin.

The Third Prayer

Let not the partaking of The Body, O Lord Jesus Christ, which I, all unworthy, make bold to recieve, turn to my judgement and condemnation, but by reason of The loving kindness, may it be to me a safeguard of both soul and body, an effective remedy. Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the union of the Holy Ghost, God world without end. Amen.

In this prayer, priest and people pray that Our Lord will keep them from making an unworthy Communion. The Catechism says: “To recieve Holy Communion worthily it is necessary to be free from mortal sin, to have a right intention, and to obey the Church’s laws on fasting before Holy Communion.” The Catechism also says: “He who knowingly receives Holy Communion in mortal sin receives the body and blood of Christ, but does not recieve His graces, and commits a grave sin of sacrilege.”

Each one making this prayer asks two other things. Priest and people pray that Holy Communion may protect them and help them, both in body and soul. The prayer says they ask for these favors because of Our Lord’s loving kindness.

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 Last Prayer of the Canon Lesson 7

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Through Him, and with Him, and in Him, is to Thee, God the Father Almighty, in the union of the Holy Ghost, all honor and glory world without end. Amen.

This is the last prayer of the Canon of the Mass. It is a prayer of praise. The Preface, the prayer that introduces the Canon, is also a prayer of praise. The first purpose for which the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered is to give to God the honor that should be given to Him.

This short prayer speaks of honor and glory for the Most Holy Trinity. Our Lord’s sacrifice on the cross, which is continued in the Mass, makes it possible for us to give worthy praise to the Most Holy Trinity.

The priest holds the Sacred Host in his hands as he says this prayer. With it he makes three crosses over the chalice and two crosses before the chalice. Then he raises both chalice and Host. As he does these things he is saying the last prayer of the Canon of the Mass.

The people can hear the last words of this short prayer of praise. The priest raises his voice as he says “per omnia saecula saeculorum.” In English per omnia saecula saeculorum means “world without end” or “forever and ever.” All the other prayers of the Canon, after the Preface, have been recited silently. The Amen is said by the altar boy. He does so for all the people in the church. Amen means “So be it.”

The offering part of the Mass ends with this last prayer of the Canon. During the Offertory, priest and people offered bread, wine, and themselves to God. At the Consecration, Our Lord offered Himself to His Father, just as He did at the Last Supper and on the Cross. Immediately after the Consecration, we joined with the priest and offered Our Lord to God the Father.

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 Consecration Lesson 4

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Consecration of the  Bread

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Who, the day before He suffered, took bread into His holy and venerable hands, and having raised His eyes to heaven, unto Thee, O God, His Father almighty, giving thanks to Thee, blessed, broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying: Take ye all and eat of this, FOR THIS IS MY BODY.

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Consecration of the Wine

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In like manner, when the supper was done, taking also this goodly chalice into His holy and venerable hands, again giving thanks to Thee, He blessed it and gave it to His disciples, saying: Take ye all, and drink of this FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT: THE MYSTERY OF FAITH, WHICH SHALL BE SHED FOR YOU AND FOR MANY UNTO THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. As often as you shall do these things, in memory of Me shall you so them.

The Consecration is the most holy moment in the Mass. It is the time when then body and blood of Our Lord become present on the altar. It is the time when Our Lord offers Himself again to His Father, just as He did on the cross.

At the Consecration of the Mass Our Lord Himself is the priest. The words and actions are those Our Lord used at the Last Supper.

The priest takes the bread into his hands, lifts his eyes toward heaven, bows in thanksgiving, and blesses the bread. Only after he has done these things does he bend over the altar and say the words of Consecration. Jesus Christ, true God and Man, becomes present. Bread is no longer there, only that which looks like bread. The priest genuflects to adore Our Lord. Next he raises the Sacred Host high so that all the people may see it. Then he puts the Host upon the corporal, and again he genuflects.

The priest does the same at the Consecration of the wine. He takes the chalice, and he blesses it. He bends over it and says the words of consecration. Then he genuflects to adore, holds the chalice up so that all may see it, and again he genuflects.

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)

http://www.olrl.org/new_mass/

God Bless BJS!!