TOOLS FOR MARRIAGE Father James Chelich 1990 The Word of God… “Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, it is not snobbish. Love is never rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries. Love does not rejoice in what is wrong but rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to love’s forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure.” 1 Corinthians 13 This is perhaps the most frequently chosen passage of Scripture at weddings. Rightfully so. It expresses a beautiful sentiment. But there is a way of employing this passage so as to open it up to its deeper meaning and the profound invitation contained within it. Read the passage aloud but every time you come across the word “love”, replace it with your name. Both of you do it — first one, then the other — using your own name in place of the word, “love”: “N_____ is patient; N_____ is kind. N_____ is not jealous, N_____ does not put on airs, N_____ is not snobbish. N_____ is never rude, N_____ is not self- seeking, N_____ is not prone to anger; neither does N_____ brood over injuries. N_____ does not rejoice in what is wrong but rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to N_____’s forbearance, to N_____’s trust, N_____’s hope, N_____’s power to endure.” Now if you have done this little exercise at all carefully and thoughtfully, you may find yourself feeling a little embarrassed. Your name doesn’t seem to fit comfortably, does it? Take note but don’t fret, none of our names do. We all fall short of what is wanting in love. We all fall very short of what is needed in a marriage. The outlook for the future of your relationship and marriage would be pretty dismal if we left the passage at this point. But we won’t. I want you to read the passage once more, but this time replace the word “love’ with the name “Jesus”: “Jesus is patient; Jesus is kind. Jesus is not jealous, Jesus does not put on airs, Jesus is not snobbish. Jesus is never rude, Jesus is not self-seeking, Jesus is not prone to anger; neither does Jesus brood over injuries. Jesus does not rejoice in what is wrong but rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to Jesus’ forbearance, to Jesus’ trust, Jesus’s hope, Jesus’s power to endure.” I hope you will agree that his name fits well. I also hope you see my point. Without this kind of love your relationship and your marriage will never endure. At best it has a 50/50 chance of survival. Neither you nor your intended spouse possess the kind of love needed in the measure required. Be humble enough to admit it. Jesus, however, does. If your relationship and your marriage are to have a future, Jesus must be brought into your relationship in a living, personal way. He must become a full partner in everything your marriage is about. …and a Couple of Crosses I give you these two little crosses to use on a day I pray never comes. But the day may come when you find yourselves driven or drifting apart. You will be able to feel the distancing taking place inside you and between you. Perhaps it will be some little thing said or done. Perhaps it will be something unsaid or neglected. Perhaps it will be a major offense that takes place; or perhaps it will just be a lot of little things that have piled up on top of each other. Whatever it might be, should you find yourself at the point where either of you feel the distancing or experinece injury, go immediately and find your cross. Place it on your spouse’s pillow. Now, if you should come home one evening and go into the bedroom and see this little cross on your pillow, take pause. You may well want to be angry with your spouse for putting it there. But it is not your spouse’s image on this cross. It is the image of the crucified and now living Jesus — the living Jesus to whom you are vowed accountable in love and in marriage. It is Jesus who is summoning you. Take the cross from your pillow and place it in your pocket until bed time. Then sit with your spouse by your side on the edge of your bed and be silent a moment. Let the one who placed the cross on the pillow be the first to speak — but not to the other. Speak to Jesus. Speak aloud so that the other can hear, but address Jesus. Speak to him as if he were actually present. He is! Tell Jesus what you are feeling. Tell Jesus what has happened or what you perceive happening between you and your spouse. Don’t worry about the right words, just make sure you are talking to Jesus when you say them. If you do this, I guarantee that Jesus will give you the right words to express your feelings clearly — without rancor, without wounding or angering the one sitting next to you. When you have finished, be still. Now let the one who found the cross speak. But, again, not to your spouse. Speak aloud and directly to Jesus. Tell Jesus what you are feeling about what you just heard your spouse telling him. Then tell Jesus the full content of what is in your own heart. If you do this, I guarantee that Jesus will give you words that will faithfully express the burden of your heart — words that will not further wound or distance you from your spouse. When you have finished, pause. Now turn to each other and begin to talk with each other. Be mindful that Jesus is still present. It is Jesus who will give you ears to hear each other, eyes to see each other in a new light and a heart to perceive what has led you away from one another and the way back to each other. If you do all this, I guarantee that you will go to bed that night more in love with one another than ever before. Jesus gives you a Choice not a Chance As I showed you above, you can read the Word of God sentimentally or your can read it in such a way as to allow it to penetrate you to the very core, to bring you face to face with the truth, to invite you to accept Jesus himself as a living partner and source of the love needed for the future of your marriage. I hope I have also shown you that your marriage need not be a 50/50, “maybe it will work and maybe it won’t”, stab in the dark. Your relationship need not fall victim to the moods of the human heart, the wounding circumstances of life or the human inadequacies that we all carry. Jesus is more than ready and more than willing to be a very real and effective partner in your marriage. But you have to decide. You can’t have it both ways. Jesus as a sentiment can offer your marriage nothing substantial. Jesus as a living partner can make all the difference in the world. “A man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become as one.” Genesis 2:24 “Thus they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore let no one seperate what God has joined.” Matthew 19:6
The World and The Kingdom The assumption that most people make, christians and non-christians alike, is that christians are simply “nice” people living in the world. As with all assumptions, this one suffers from being overly simple to the point of being dangerous. And when christians themselves accept it, they sooner or later stumble and their spiritual life takes a hard fall. The “world” is what it appears to be: it is the physical universe around us, the human society of which we are a part, and the press of human activity that surrounds us. But it is also more than it appears to be. The “world” is also the set of values that we are encouraged to assume, the priorities that we are asked to accept, and the standard of judgement that we are told we must employ if we are to find our “place” in “the scheme of things”. As such, the World readily tries to tell us what we should put our faith in, whom we should believe, and what is worth while. The World relentlessly presses us to accept what it holds to be true, beautiful and good. The problem with the World and finding our “place” in its “scheme of things” is that it never brings any peace. There is no point at which we can be content. We never are good enough, beautiful enough, wealthy enough, important enough, valuable enough, or have enough. The World is very short on joy. When Jesus began his public ministry, His first words of Good News announced that the World is not the only “scheme of things”, that there is another possibility for human life: “After John’s arrest, Jesus appeared in Galilee proclaiming the good news of God: ‘This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand!'” Mark 1:14-15 This “other possibility”, this “different scheme of things” Jesus calls the “Kingdom of God”. He invites each of us to come and live in it. He invites us to enter it here and now. “In the World” but not “Of the World” Being a christian means being in the World but not of the World. A christian lives in the World: we live in the physical world, we are a part of human society, and we partake of the human activity around us. But a christian is not of the World: we do not allow the World to tell us what to put our faith in, whom to believe or what is worthwhile. It cannot tell us what is true, what is beautiful and what is good. Our values, our priorities and our standard of judgement are drawn from another source. They are drawn from the “Word of God” and they come from the “Mind of Christ: “Not on bread alone is man to live, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 [Deuteronomy 8:3] “‘Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the Mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16 These new values, priorities and standard of judgement make up a whole “different scheme of things”– a “scheme of things” that christians call the “Kingdom”. Being Different Being a Christian changes your whole relationship with the World — with everyone and everything in it. As a Christian, you will need to “come to grips” with the fact that you will be different from most of the people around you. Explaining the heart and core of the difference, Saint Augustine says: “Both (of you) use temporal goods, both (of you) suffer misfortunes, but with a different faith, a different hope, a different love…” The City of God XVIII.54 Christian Survival To survive as a christian it is essential for you to understand that, while you are in the World, you are not of the World. You need to understand that the World and the Kingdom are different, and you need to gain a clear sense of how they differ. This is the purpose of this short collection of Aphorisms compar- ing the World and the Kingdom. Hopefully, it will give you a sense of how the World and the Kingdom differ, and of what it means to live in the Kingdom as opposed to the World. “…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 You need to be not only aware of how the World and the Kingdom differ, you need to be firmly committed to the difference. For you will soon learn that the World makes you pay a price for being different: “The natural man does not accept what is taught by God. For him, that is absurdity… 1 Corinthians 2:14a “You will suffer in the world. But take courage! I have overcome the world.’ John 16:33 On Action and Character In the World, what a person does (their) actions and accomplishments) are seen as the most important contribution they make to life. Action is primary. In the Kingdom of God, what a person is (the character their form) is seen as the most important contribution they make to life. The character that acts is primary. On the Boundary of Effects In the World, anything a person does is all right as long as it does not affect anyone else. In the Kingdom of God they know that there is nothing that a person is or does that does not affect everyone and all things else. In the Kingdom of God they understand that lives touch, are interrelated and interpenetrate one another and all things. On Which Mind to Live By In the World, a person lives by their own mind and judgement. In the Kingdom of God, a person lives by the Mind of Christ. In the Kingdom of God they know that even the best of human reason and justice still falls short of love. On Things Worth Dying For In the World they hold that, while a person ought to be kind and respectful to everyone and everything, there is probably no one and certainly nothing worth dying for. In the Kingdom of God they believe that there are some things worth dying for — there are people and truths and even “another self” worth dying for. In the Kingdom of God they know that the Art of Dying is the Art of Living, and that the key to fulfillment is to know what to die for. On Freedom In the World, freedom is freedom to do what you want, when you want, and how you want. In the Kingdom of God, freedom is freedom to do that which gives, enhances, preserves and protects life. On Means and Ends In the World, life is a means to power. The lives of others may be manipulated or even destroyed as a means to the end of achieving power. In the Kingdom of God, life is never a means to power. Power (energy, knowledge, force, wealth, learning, influence, etc.) is only a means to the end of giving, enhancing, preserving and protecting life. On the Value of a Person The World locates the value of a person in their soul and body — in the particular combination of talents and abilities they happen to possess (intelligence, artistic ability, force of will, physical beauty and agility). The Kingdom of God locates the value of a person in their spirit — in the unique manner in which they embrace God; and in the unique manner in which God uses their soul and body to touch, handle and love His world. In the Kingdom of God they believe that God is God in one person as He is capable of being God in no other; that He touches handles and loves the world through them as He is capable of touching, handling and loving the world through no one else and in no other way. Hence, in the World some people are expendable. While in the Kingdom of God no one is dispensable. On Values and Virtues In the World there are values: each person decides for himself what is true and what is good. There is no absolute truth or goodness. What is true is what is true-for-me. What is good is what is good-to-me. One person’s values are as good and true as another’s. In the Kingdom of God there are virtues: timeless and absolute truths that are true and good for all and that compel the allegiance of all. On the Human Heart and the Human World In the World, issues of the human heart and the business of the world are seen as distinct and held separate from one another. In the Kingdom of God, issues of the human heart and the business of the world are seen as intrinsically bound up with one another. In the Kingdom of God they know that what is wrong with the human world is what is wrong with the human heart. On Solutions to Human Problems In the World, solutions to problems in the human world are engineered with money and programs. In the Kingdom of God, solutions to problems in the human world begin first with an examination and change of heart. On the Use of Violence In the World, the use of violence is seldom valued in itself, yet it is tolerated and even valued in the pursuit of a just cause. The use of violence is seen as vindicated by the justice of the cause. In the Kingdom of God, the use of violence is not tolerated even in the most just of causes. And if, out of desperation or weakness, the use of violence is resorted to, its use is never seen as vindicated by the justice of the cause but mourned as a tragedy of the human spirit to be atoned for with acts of penance. In the Kingdom of God they know that violence is a monstrous evil that distorts the vision, destroys the sensitivities, and in the end deals death to those who handle it — regardless of the justice of their cause. Unless atoned for with acts of penance, it will certainly visit violence, in another form, back upon those who handled it. On Possessions In the World, a person’s wealth is measured by their possessions. In the Kingdom of God, a person’s wealth is measured by their freedom to be themselves. In the Kingdom of God they know that everything that a person possesses, possesses them. On Forgiveness In the World, forgiving is something you do for someone else — it is a kindness that sets them free from the guilt of having injured you in the past. In the Kingdom of God, forgiving is something that you do for yourself — it is a necessity that sets you free from the burden of anger, resentment and hostility you carry within you because of the past. On Autonomy In the World, autonomy is seen as the supreme personal goal. An autonomous self is the highest of personal achievements. In the Kingdom of God, communion is seen as the supreme personal goal. While autonomy is seen as a necessary stage in personal development, it is a transitory stage. Communion with God, with others, and with the living world around us is the highest of personal achievements. On Seasons and “Dyings” In the World there is but one season to a person’s life and one “dying”. The season is the Season of Self-enhancement: a continuous gathering of people and things to ourself and either the hoarding or consumption of them. The “dying” is the loss of everything in physical death. In the Kingdom of God there are two seasons to a person’s life and two “dyings”. The season of Self-enhancement ends with the first “dying”: the death to Self. The second season is the Season of Self-sacrifice and Self-surrender: a steady emptying of ourself for the life of world around us. It is a season of continuous giving that reaches its climax in the second “dying”, when astonishingly one regains all things in physical death. On Winners and Losers In the World, it is important, in the end, to come out secure and accomplished. Those who are successful are the “winners”, those who fail are the “losers”. In the Kingdom of God, it is important, in the end, to have expended your Self — to have come to the end of yourself. The World’s successful can end up “losers”; the World’s failures can end up “winners”. On Love In the World, love means warm sentiments, strong feelings, aroused expectations: a mutual enhancement of Selves conditioned by the expectation of a balance of returns. In the Kingdom of God, love means acceptance, honesty, understanding, compassion, support, self-sacrifice, faithfulness: an expression and gift of Self unconditioned by the expectation of any return. On the Two Ways The Way of the World is to take counsel of oneself, draw one’s conclusions, and build within their parameters. The Way of the Kingdom of God is Dying, Listening, and Responding. “Dying” is setting aside one’s own conclusions. “Listening” is alertness to new possibilities. “Responding” is co-operation with unexpected Grace. In the World, the scope of one’s action is bounded by oneself. In the Kingdom of God, the scope of one’s action is bounded by Divine initiative.
CHRISTIAN SERVICE Father James Chelich – 1998 Christian Service is the “anointed mission” of Jesus, the Messiah (Savior). The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore He has anointed me. He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord. Luke 4:18-19 This “anointed mission” to the poor, the captives, the blind and to prisoners, Jesus shares with us. It comes upon us in Baptism, it is sealed in Confirmation and it is celebrated when we receive Holy Communion which makes us the Body of Christ. This is the Jesus God has raised up, and we are his witnesses. Exalted at God’s right hand, he first received the promised Holy Spirit from the Father, then poured this Spirit out on us. Acts 2:32-33 God is the one who firmly establishes us along with you in Christ; it is He who anointed us and has sealed us, thereby depositing the first payment, the Spirit, in our hearts. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 The anointing you have received from Him remains in your hearts. 1 John 2:27 The “anointed mission” of Jesus to the poor, the captives, the blind and to prisoners is expressed by his Body, the Church, in Works of Mercy. I. THE CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY Come, you have my Father’s blessing! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world… To Feed the Hungry For I was hungry and you gave me food… To Give Drink to the Thirsty I was thirsty and you gave me drink… To Shelter the Homeless I was a stranger and you welcomed me… To Clothe the Naked I was naked and you clothed me… To Visit the Sick I was ill and you comforted me… To Visit the the Imprisoned I was in prison and you came to visit me… To Bury the Dead I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my least sisters or brothers, you did it for me. Matthew 25:34-40 II. THE SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY To Pray for the Living and the Dead At every opportunity pray in the Spirit, using prayers and petitions of every sort. Pray constantly and attentively for all in the holy company. Ephesians 6:18 To Comfort the Afflicted A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho who fell prey to robbers… A Samaritan came on him and was moved to pity. He approached him and cared for him… Luke 10:30-37 To Forgive Offenses Lord, when my brother or sister wrongs me, how often must I forgive him? Seven times? No, Jesus replied, not seven times; I say, seventy times seven times. Matthew 18:21-35 To Bear Wrongs Patiently Love your enemies and do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you and pray for those who maltreat you. When someone slaps you on one cheek, turn and give him the other. Luke 6:27-35 To Counsel the Sinner If your bother or sister should commit some wrong against you, go and point out his fault, but keep it between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won him over… Matthew 18:15-18 To Encourage the Doubtful We who are strong in faith should be patient with the scruples of those who are weak; we must not be selfish. Each should please his neighbor so as to do him good by building up his spirit. Romans 15:1-7 To Teach the Uninformed Do you really grasp what you are reading? How can I, the man replied, unless someone explains it to me? Philip launched out with this Scripture passage…telling him the good news of Jesus. Acts of the Apostles 8:26-39 WHAT IS CHRISTIAN SERVICE? It is the anointing of Jesus that we share. It is the Works of Mercy we perform for the poor, the captives, the blind and prisoners in Jesus’ name. It is the Ministries of our Parish Community that equip and encourage people for these Works of Mercy. WHAT DOES CHRISTIAN SERVICE LOOK LIKE IN THE MINISTRIES OF SAINT THOMAS PARISH? THE CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY: To Feed the Hungry Thanksgiving and Winter Community Dinners / Food Pantry / Holiday Baskets To Give Drink to the Thirsty Blood Drives To Shelter the Homeless Emergency Rent and Utility Assistance / Habitat for Humanity Projects / Refugee Resettlement (past) / National Relief Network Excursions To Clothe the Naked Clothing Collection / Blanket Sales / Advent Angel Tree To Visit the Sick Hospital Visitation Ministry / Nursing Home Visitation Ministry / Anointing of the Sick / Healing Team Ministry To Visit the the Imprisoned Homebound Visitation Ministry / To Bury the Dead Funeral Luncheon Ministry / Funeral Liturgy Ministry THE SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY: To Pray for the Living and the Dead Sunday and Weekday Liturgies / Healing Service Petitions / Petition Box / Prayer Line Ministry / Sunday Remembrance of the Dead / All Soul’s Celebration To Comfort the Afflicted Stephen Ministry / Project Rachel Ministry / Bereavement Group / Eucharistic Ministry to the Homebound / Noon Hour of Prayer / Evenings Honoring Loss To Forgive Offenses Community Reconciliation Services To Bear Wrongs Patiently Prayer before the image of Jesus Crucified and the Blessed Sacrament / Stephens Ministry / Healing Service Ministry To Counsel the Sinner Sacrament of Reconciliation / Adult Education in Christian Morality / Chastity Education To Encourage the Doubtful Stephen Ministry / On Site Professional Counselling Availability / Mom’s Group / Men’s Group / Faith and Friendship Groups / Youth Ministry To Teach the Uninformed Adult Education Programs / Advent and Lent Book Studies / Bible Study / Women’s Reading Group / Parish School Ministry / Student Religious Education Program / Nursery School / Sunday School / Children’s Liturgy of the Word
All Five Parts By Father James Chelich
WHERE DID THE MASS COME FROM? Understanding the Biblical Origin and Shape of the Mass Father James Chelich – 1987 Part 1 of 5 The central service of Catholic worship is the weekly celebration of the Mass. The service is divided into two principle parts. THE LITURGY OF THE WORD This is a service of the reading of the Word of God from the Bible and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. THE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST This is a service of the Lord’s Supper, in which we remember and become present to the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross; and a service of receiving Holy Communion, in which we share in the bread and wine which we believe becomes the Body and Blood of Jesus according to the authority of His word and command. In this manner Jesus fulfills his promise: “I have given them the glory You gave me that they may be one as we are one — I living in them, You living in me — that their unity may be complete.” John 17:22-23 THE LITURGY OF THE WORD: “Indeed, God’s word is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates and divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the reflections and thoughts of the heart. Nothing is concealed from him; all lies bare and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.” Hebrews 4:12-13 The Liturgy of the Word is made up of three elements: Readings from the Bible A Homily or Sermon Prayers Offered by the Community 1. Readings from the Bible: “Likewise, from your infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, the source of the wisdom which through faith in Jesus Christ leads to salvation.” 2 Timothy 3:15 This is the heart of the entire Liturgy of the Word. Three readings from the Bible are read aloud: a reading from the Old Testament followed by a Psalm recited in response, a reading from the “Epistles” or Letters of the Apostles found in the New Testament or from the Book of Acts or the Book of Revelation also found in the New Testament, and finally a reading from one of the four Gospel accounts in the New Testament. The reading of the Gospel is preceded by a sung acclamation. 2. A Homily (Sermon): “All Scripture is inspired of God and is useful for teaching — for reproof, correction, and training in holiness so that the man or woman of God may be fully competent and equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 The three Bible readings are highlighted and brought “home” to the actual life and struggles of the members of the congregation by the preaching of a homily (sermon) which follows immediately after the Bible readings have been read. 3. Prayers Offered by the Community: “At every opportunity pray in the Spirit, using prayers and petitions of every sort. Pray constantly and attentively for all in the holy company.” Ephesians 6:18 After the preaching of a homily, the congregation rises to recite together the Profession of Faith. The Liturgy of the Word concludes with prayer petitions being read aloud for the needs of the poor, the ill, the well-being of the Church and its missionaries, the good of the country and the integrity of its leaders, the spread of the Gospel and the conversion of all people to Jesus Christ. WHERE DID THE MASS COME FROM? Understanding the Biblical Origin and Shape of the Mass Father James Chelich – 1987 Part 2 of 5: The Liturgy of the Word – Continued The central service of Catholic worship is the weekly celebration of the Mass. The service is divided into two principle parts: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Liturgy of the Word is a service of the reading of the Word of God from the Bible and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Liturgy of the Word is made up of three elements: 1) Readings from the Bible 2) A Homily or Sermon 3) Prayers Offered by the Community. Where did this three-part form come from? This service of Scripture Reading, Reflection and Prayer is actually older than Christianity. It comes from the Sabbath Morning Service used in the Jewish Synagogue. You know that Jesus, himself, was a devout religiously practicing Jew. (Luke 4:16ff) The first apostles and disciples of Jesus were also religiously practicing Jews. (Acts 3:1;10:9-14) They attended the Synagogue for the main worship service each Saturday morning. Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath. What did the service look like? It was made up of three elements. Readings from the Bible: The Jewish Bible is just like our own Bible except they have no new Testament. What we have in the Old Testament of our Bible today is what the Jews acknowledge as the revealed Word of God or “Scripture”. They read several readings and usually end up with an all-important reading from a part of the Old Testament they call the ‘Torah’. The ‘Torah’ consists of the first five books of our Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy). The Jews consider these five Books as reveled by God to Moses and written down by Moses to serve as the religious ‘Law’ of God’s ‘Chosen People’. (Matthew 5:17-20; Luke 2:22-24; Luke 10:25-28) A Homily (Sermon): The President of the Synagogue or a visiting Rabbi (Teacher) would preach a homily on the Bible readings that had been read (ref. Luke 4:14-22). Prayers Offered by the Community: The congregation would pray together using Psalms (from the Book of Psalms in our Old Testament), petitions and invocations. After Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, his apostles and disciples continued to participate in the services of Jewish religion. They continued to participate in the Synagogue service on Saturday mornings as well as in the services held in the Temple in Jerusalem. But they also met together on Sunday evenings (the day of the Lord’s resurrection) for what the Bible calls the ‘Breaking of Bread’ and what we call today ‘The Eucharist’. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ instruction and the communal life, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Acts of the Apostles 2:42 They met for the ‘Breaking of Bread’ or ‘Eucharist’ out of obedience to Jesus’ command: “Do this in remembrance of me” Luke 22:19 They came to know Jesus truly present in the ‘Breaking of Bread’ or ‘Eucharist’: “Then they recounted what had happened on the road and how they had come to know Him in the breaking of bread.” Luke 24:13-35 Obviously, when they participated with their fellow Jews in the Synagogue Morning Service, they announced to them the ‘Good News’ that Jesus was the long awaited ‘Messiah’ of the Jewish People (ref. Acts 2:14-36 and 13:1-6, 13-43). The apostles and disciples continued to participate in the Jewish services of the Synagogue and to announce Jesus as the ‘Messiah’ until the day came when all Jews who were believers in Jesus Christ as the Messiah were expelled from the Synagogue. This happed about the year 85 AD. WHERE DID THE MASS COME FROM? Understanding the Biblical Origin and Shape of the Mass Father James Chelich – 1987 Part 3 of 5: The Liturgy of the Word – Continued The apostles and disciples continued to participate in the Jewish services of the Synagogue and to announce Jesus as the ‘Messiah’ until the day came when all Jews who were believers in Jesus Christ were expelled from the Synagogue. This happed about the year 85 AD. From that point on it appears that the apostles and disciples moved the service of Scripture Reading, Reflection and Prayer that they were accustomed to attending in the Synagogue on Saturday morning, to Sunday morning (the day of the Lord’s resurrection). Almost at the same time, the service of the ‘Breaking of Bread’ (Eucharist) was moved from Sunday evening to Sunday morning to be joined to the service of Scripture Reading, Reflection and Prayer. The combined service came, in time, to be called the ‘Mass’. After they were expelled from the Synagogue and began their own service of Scripture Reading, Reflection and Prayer on Sunday morning, the early Christians began to make some changes in the character of the service. The three elements remained the same: 1) Readings from the Bible, 2) A Homily or Sermon and 3) Prayers Offered by the Community. But changes took place in each of these three elements — changes that made each of the three elements Christ-centered (Christian). Readings from the Bible: The “apostles’ instruction” (Acts 2:42) began to be written down, especially the apostles’ memories of the words and deeds of Jesus. These became the four Gospel accounts of our New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). These written accounts became a new part of the Bible — the New Testament. It was added on to the Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament). The teaching letters written by apostles such as Peter, Paul, James, John and their associates were passed around from congregation to congregation and copied. These too were added as part of this new part of the Bible (New Testament). For Christians, the four Gospel accounts became the most important part of their Bible. Reading from the Gospels was given the greatest dignity during the Christian Service of Scripture Reading, Reflection and Prayer. A Homily: In preaching the homily (sermon), Christian preachers continued to make use of the Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament). But they used them to prove that indeed Jesus was the long expected ‘Messiah’ promised to the Jews and that Jesus fulfilled all that had been foretold about the Messiah in those Jewish Scriptures (ref. Acts 18:24-28). Christian preachers mainly concentrated their preaching on announcing the ‘Good News’ of Jesus Christ and the coming of the Kingdom of God. Preaching became focused on the person of Jesus and the importance of opening oneself to Him in Faith and being formed by His life-giving word. Prayers Offered by the Community: Prayers offered in the Christian service of Scripture Reading, Reflection and Prayer were now addressed to Jesus. They were offered to God (the Father), through Jesus (the Messiah, High Priest, Mediator and Lord) and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Prayer became Jesus-centered. The Service of Scripture Reading, Reflection and Prayer of the early Christians after they left the Synagogue looked almost the same as the Liturgy of the Word that is the first part of the celebration of the Mass in the Catholic Church today. Over the centuries, hymns and prayers were added at the very beginning of the Mass, before the Liturgy of the Word. These were added to make for an easier transition of attitude and attention for those arriving with their mind full of the cares and concerns of the outside world and were designed to help them focus their attention on the presence of Jesus and prepare them to hear the Scriptures and receive the Word of God. WHERE DID THE MASS COME FROM? Understanding the Biblical Origin and Shape of the Mass Father James Chelich – 1987 Part 4 of 5: The Liturgy of the Eucharist The central service of Catholic worship is the weekly celebration of the Mass. The service is divided into two principle parts. THE LITURGY OF THE WORD This is a service of the reading of the Word of God from the Bible and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. THE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST This is a service of the Lord’s Supper, in which we remember and become present to the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross; and a service of receiving Holy Communion, in which we share in the bread and wine which we believe becomes the Body and Blood of Jesus according to the authority of His word and command. In this manner Jesus fulfills his promise: “I have given them the glory You gave me that they may be one as we are one — I living in them, You living in me — that their unity may be complete.” John 17:22-23 THE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST: “During the meal, He (Jesus) took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. ‘Take this,” He said, “this is my body.’ He likewise took a cup, gave thanks, and passed it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them: ‘This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out on behalf of many.’” Mark 14:22-24 The Liturgy of the Eucharist is made up of four elements drawn directly from the Bible in the passage quoted above: 1. The Taking and Preparation of the Gifts 2. The Thanksgiving over the Gifts and Blessing of the Gifts 3. Breaking the Bread and Preparation for Holy Communion 4. The Sharing of Holy Communion Each of these four elements is in direct continuity with the four actions of Jesus at the Last Supper. 1. The Taking and Preparation of the Gifts “He took bread…” “He likewise took a cup…” This has come to be called the “Offertory” or the “Preparation of the Gifts”. 2. The Thanksgiving over the Gifts and Blessing of the Gifts “He took bread, blessed it…” “He likewise took a cup, gave thanks…” This has come to be called the “Eucharistic Prayer” and the “Consecration”. 3. Breaking the Bread and Preparation for Holy Communion “He took bread, blessed and broke it…” This has come to be called the “Lamb of God” or “Breaking the Bread”. 4. The Sharing of Holy Communion “He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them…” “He likewise took a cup, gave thanks, and passed it to them, and they all drank from it…” This has come to be called “Holy Communion” Each of the four elements fulfills the command of Jesus, “Do this in remembrance of me”, by reproducing his actions in the assembled community of believers. WHERE DID THE MASS COME FROM? Understanding the Biblical Origin and Shape of the Mass Father James Chelich – 1987 Part 5 of 5: The Liturgy of the Eucharist – Continued “During the meal, He (Jesus) took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. ‘Take this,” He said, “this is my body.’ He likewise took a cup, gave thanks, and passed it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them: ‘This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out on behalf of many.’” Mark 14:22-24 The Liturgy of the Eucharist is in direct continuity with Jesus’ four actions at the Last Supper (the first Eucharist). 1. The Taking and Preparation of the Gifts “He (Jesus) took bread…He likewise took a cup…” The gifts of bread and wine are brought forward by members of the congregation and placed upon the altar. 2. The Thanksgiving over the Gifts and Preparation of the Gifts “He (Jesus) took bread, blessed it…” “He likewise took a cup, gave thanks…” Following the example of Jesus, the priest offers a prayer of thanks-giving over the bread and wine called the ‘Eucharistic Prayer’. The Greek word ‘eucharistia’ means ‘to give thanks’. During the course of this prayer the priest pronounces the words of Jesus over each gift. Over the bread he says: “This is my body.” Over the wine he says: “This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out in behalf of many.” These words are the words of consecration. Because they are the words of Jesus, who is truly God as well as man, we believe that the bread and wine become exactly what Jesus, who is the divine Word of God, says them to be: His body and His blood. Jesus commanded us to do this when he said: “Do this in remembrance of me. (Luke 22:19) The miracle of the Last Supper is renewed in the celebration of every Mass. The Eucharistic Prayer continues by recalling Jesus’ sacrifice of himself on the cross, once and for all, for the forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 10:10-18). We believe that while this Prayer of Thanksgiving is being prayed, the Holy Spirit permits us to become spiritually present to the One Sacrifice of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus is an eternal High Priest offering an eternal sacrifice. Through faith and by baptism we become members of his body (1 Corinthians 12:27 and Ephesians 1:22-23). We are united and made one with Jesus, the eternal High Priest. (John 17:23a) During the Eucharistic Prayer we believe we are graciously permitted to offer the one and eternal Sacrifice of Jesus through Him, with Him and in Him. The Eucharistic Prayer also asks God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon those assembled, petitions Him for the upbuilding of the Body of Christ, the Church, seeks the unity of Christians in one Body of Christ, remembers those who have died in Faith, and concludes with the praise of Jesus to the glory of the Father. 3. Breaking the Bread and Preparation for Holy Communion “He (Jesus) took bread, blessed and broke it, . . .” Holy Communion is prepared for by the members of the congregation joining together in praying the ‘Our Father’ which asks that God, our Father, give us our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). We ask knowing full well that the true bread from heaven (John 6:51) is Jesus, present with us in His body broken for us and in the cup of His blood poured out for us. The priest breaks the consecrated bread so that it might be shared by all in the congregation, just as Jesus broke and divided it at His first Eucharist on the evening of the Last Supper. 4. The Sharing of Holy Communion “He (Jesus) took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them…” “He likewise took a cup, gave thanks, and passed it to them, and they all drank from it…” The bread that has become the Body of Christ and the cup of wine that has become the Blood of Christ is offered to each member of the congregation. We know and receive the real presence of Jesus in the sharing of each of these gifts (ref. Luke 24:35). After receiving Holy Communion, time is spent in venerating Jesus present within our hearts (1 Peter 3:15-17). The service of the Mass concludes with a short prayer, a blessing and dismissal. WHERE DO YOU FIND THE MASS IN THE BIBLE? The Bible Inspiration Behind Each Part of the Mass Father James Chelich – 1987 Part 1 of 5: The Introductory Rites Passages from the Bible inspire almost every gesture and action in the celebration of the Mass The Introductory Rites as a Whole “Come let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord who made us. For he is our God, and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.” Psalm 95:6-7 “Dismiss all anxiety from your minds. Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude. Philippians 4:6 The Opening Hymn “Sing gratefully to God from your hearts in psalms, hymns and inspired songs.” Colossians 3:16b The Entrance Procession “Send forth your light and your fidelity; they shall lead me on and bring me to your holy mountain, to your dwelling place. Then I will go in to the altar of God, the God of my gladness and joy; Then I will give you thanks upon the harp, O God, my God.” Psalm 43:3-4 The Priest Kisses the Altar The Altar is a Symbol of Christ: “Come to Him, a living stone, rejected by men but approved, nonetheless, and precious in God’s eyes. You too are living stones, built as an edifice of spirit, into a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4-5 The Altar Stone holds relics of the Martyrs: “I saw under the altar the spirits of those who had been martyred because of the witness they bore to the word of God.”Revelation 6:9 The Priest Incenses the Altar “Another angel came in holding a censor of gold. He took his place at the altar of incense and was given large amounts of incense to deposit on the altar of gold in front of the throne, together with the prayers of all God’s holy ones. From the angel’s hand the smoke of the incense went up before God, and with it the prayers of God’s people.” Revelation 8:3-4 “O Lord, to you I call; hasten to help me; harken to my voice when I call upon you. Let my prayer come like incense before you; the lifting of my hands, like the evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141:1-2 Making the Sign of the Cross over Yourself “I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own: Christ is living in me. I still live my human life, but it is a life of faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:19b-20 “Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19 The Priest’s Greeting of the Congregation “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 3:13 “The grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” Galatians 1:3 and 1 Corinthians 1:3 “The Lord be with you.” Judges 6:12 “Peace be with you.” John 20:19 WHERE DO YOU FIND THE MASS IN THE BIBLE? The Bible Inspiration Behind Each Part of the Mass Father James Chelich – 1987 Part 2 of 5: The Introductory Rites – Continued Passages from the Bible inspire almost every gesture and action in the celebration of the Mass The Penitential Rite “Let us call to mind our sins…” “Put to death whatever in your nature is rooted in earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desires, and that lust which is idolatry… You must put that aside now: all the anger and quick temper, the malice, the insults, the foul language. Stop lying to one another.” Colossians 3:5,8-9a “I Confess to Almighty God and to you…” “Hence, declare your sins to one another, and pray for one another that you may find healing.” James 5:16 “Lord, have mercy! Christ, have mercy!…” “As he (Jesus) drew near Jericho a blind man sat at the side of the road begging. Hearing the crowd go by, the man asked, ‘What is that?’ The answer came that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. He shouted out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” Those in the lead sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me!’” Luke 18:35-39 The Rite of Sprinkling with Holy (Baptism) Water (This Rite can replace the Penitential Rite) “I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees…You shall be my people, and I will be your God.” Ezekiel 36:25-28 “Are you not aware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Through baptism into his death we were buried with him, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live a new life… His death was death to sin, once fore all; his live is life for God In the same way you must consider yourselves dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:3-4,10-11 Cleanse me from sin with Hyssop, that I may be purified; wash me and I shall be whiter then snow… A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me.” Psalm 51:9,12 “Glory to God in the highest…” “Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in high heaven, peace on earth to those on whom his favor rests.’” Luke 2:13-14 The Opening Prayer “Again I tell you, if two of you join your voices to pray for anything whatever, it shall be granted you by my Father in heaven. Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.” Matthew 18:19-20 WHERE DO YOU FIND THE MASS IN THE BIBLE? The Bible Inspiration Behind Each Part of the Mass Father James Chelich – 1987 Part 3 of 5: The Liturgy of the Word Passages from the Bible inspire almost every gesture and action in the celebration of the Mass The Liturgy of the Word of God as a Whole “Indeed, God’s word is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates and divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the reflections and thoughts of the heart. Nothing is concealed from him; all lies bare and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.” Hebrews 4:12-13 The Three Bible Readings “Likewise, from your infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, the source of the wisdom which through faith in Jesus Christ leads to salvation. All Scripture is inspired of God and is useful for teaching — for reproof, correction, and training in holiness so that the man of God may be fully competent and equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:15-17 “Let the word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in you. In wisdom made perfect, instruct and admonish one another.” Colossians 3:16 The Homily “Until I arrive, devote yourself to the reading of Scripture, to preaching and teaching. Do not neglect the gift you received when, as a result of prophesy, the presbyters laid their hands on you. Attend to your duties: let them absorb you, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch yourself and watch your teaching. Persevere at both tasks. By doing so you will bring to salvation yourself and all who hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:13-16 The Profession of Faith (The Creed) “For a time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but, following their own desires, will surround themselves with teachers who tickle their ears. They will stop listening to the truth and will wander off to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4 “You, for your part, must remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know who your teachers were.” 2 Timothy 3:14 The General Intercessions (Prayers of the Faithful) “At every opportunity pray in the Spirit, using prayers and petitions of every sort. Pray constantly and attentively for all in the holy company.” Ephesians 6:18 “First of all, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for all men and women, especially for kings and those in authority, that we may be able to lead undisturbed and tranquil lives in perfect piety and dignity. Prayer of this kind is good, and God our savior is pleased with it, for he wants all men and women to be saved and come to know the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4 WHERE DO YOU FIND THE MASS IN THE BIBLE? The Bible Inspiration Behind Each Part of the Mass Father James Chelich – 1987 Part 4 of 5: The Liturgy of the Eucharist Passages from the Bible inspire almost every gesture and action in the celebration of the Mass The Liturgy of the Eucharist as a Whole “How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me? The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the Lord… To you I will offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116:12-13,17 “During the meal, he (Jesus) took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. ‘Take this,’ he said, ‘this is my body.’ He likewise took a cup, gave thanks, and passed it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them: ‘This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out on behalf of many.’” Mark 14:22-24 The Taking and Preparation of the Gifts “He took bread…” “He likewise took a cup…” The Eucharistic Prayer “He took bread, blessed it…” “He likewise took a cup, gave thanks…” The Preface “I received from the Lord what I handed on to you, namely, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread, and after he had given thanks, . . . .” 1 Corinthians 11:23-24a The “Holy, Holy, Holy” “In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne. Seraphim were stationed above. ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts!’ they cried one to another. ‘All the earth is filled with his glory!’ \At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke.” Isaiah 6:1,2,3-4 “The huge crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while some began to cut branches from the trees and lay them along his path. The groups preceding him as well as those following kept crying out: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest.’” Matthew 21:8-9 The Words of Institution (Consecration) “‘Take this,’ he said, ‘this is my body.’” “‘This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out on behalf of many.’” Mark 14:22-24 “I received from the Lord what I handed on to you, namely, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread, and after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper, he took the cup, saying: ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’” 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 The Memorial Acclamation “Every time, then, you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:26 The Great “Amen” “Whatever promises God has made have been fulfilled in (Jesus); therefore it is through him that we address our Amen to God when we worship together.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 WHERE DO YOU FIND THE MASS IN THE BIBLE? The Bible Inspiration Behind Each Part of the Mass Father James Chelich – 1987 Part 5 of 5: The Liturgy of the Eucharist – Continued Passages from the Bible inspire almost every gesture and action in the celebration of the Mass The “Our Father” “This is how you are to pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us the wrong we have done as we forgive those who wrong us. Subject us not to the trial but deliver us from the evil one.’” Matthew 6:9-13 The Exchange of the Sign of Peace “If you bring your gift to the altar and there recall that your brother or sister has anything against you, leave your gift at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24 Breaking the Bread and the “Lamb of God” “He took bread, blessed and broke it…” “The next day, when John (the Baptizer) caught sight of Jesus coming toward him, he exclaimed: ‘Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.’” John 1:29 The Sharing of Holy Communion “He (Jesus) took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them…” “He likewise took a cup, gave thanks, and passed it to them, and they all drank from it…” “At this the Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can he give us his flesh to eat?’ Thereupon Jesus said to them: ‘Let me solemnly assure you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. He who feeds upon my flesh and drinks my blood has life eternal, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood real drink. The man or woman who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.’” John 6:52-56 “Is not the cup of blessing we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one, we, many though we are, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 “This means that whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily sins against the body and blood of the Lord. A man or woman should examine themselves first; only then should they eat of the bread and drink of the cup. They who eat and drink without recognizing the body, eat and drink a judgement on themselves.” 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 The Concluding Rites as a Whole “May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep by the blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus our Lord, furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will. Through Jesus Christ may he carry out in you all that is pleasing to him. To Christ be glory forever! Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 The Concluding Prayer “Pray perseveringly, be attentive to prayer, and pray in a spirit of thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2 The Blessing “May he who is the Lord of peace give you continued peace in every possible way. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 The Dismissal “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world” Matthew 28:19-20
By Father James Chelich 1992
BEFORE MASS: Read the Scripture Readings that will be used at Mass. It is important that you find the time to do this before Mass. Ideally, you should read them the night before or sometime before heading to Church. If you have a family, it is recommended that you read the Scripture readings together — helping the younger children understand what is being read. For some people the only time, peace and quiet that they can find for this preparation is in the Church itself. If this is the case, bring your Bible or Missal with you and plan to arrive at Church as least twenty minutes before Mass is to begin. Use this time before Mass to read the Word of God and place it securely in your mind. Search your heart. Take account of the blessings you enjoy. Let this brief search result in gratitude to God. Select one of these blessings and carry it with you as you come to the celebration of Mass: “How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for me? The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116:12-13 If you are hard pressed by temptation, come to Mass humble, but grateful for God’s acceptance and love: “My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.” Psalm 51:19 If you are burdened by sin, repent, confess your sin, and come to Mass grateful for God’s forgiveness and mercy: “As long as I would not speak , my bones wasted away with my groaning all the day, …my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you, my guilt I covered not. I said, ‘I confess my faults to the Lord’, and you took away the guilt of my sin.” Psalm 32:3-5 If you are hurting and in pain, simply come to Mass grateful that Jesus is waiting for you, faithful to his promise: “Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burden- some, and I will refresh you.” Matthew 11:28 Prepare for Mass by having the Word of God in your mind and gratitude to God in your heart. Pray to the Holy Spirit before Mass begins: Come Holy Spirit, You penetrate all mysteries, even the deep things of God. In this celebration carry me beyond the words and actions of our Liturgy to an encounter with Jesus at His Cross; and there unite me with Him in a Holy Communion of life and love. 1. BEGINNING THE CELEBRATION: When the priest begins the Mass by saying, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”: Trace the Sign of the Cross over yourself carefully and with attention. Be mindful that by Jesus’ cross your life was redeemed and the power of sin over your life was broken (Ephesians 1:7-8). Claim as your own the mystery of the cross by saying in your heart: “I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own; Christ is living in me. I still live my human life, but it is a life of faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me,” Galatians 2:19b-20 We begin with the Sign of the Cross because the Mass is all about the cross. It is about Jesus’ cross: his dying to forgive our sins and rising to give us new life (Romans 6:10). It is about our cross: our dying with Jesus to the sin in our life, and our resurrection with Jesus to a new life — a life for God (Romans 6:11). Saint Paul says: “May I boast of nothing but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! Through it, the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14 2. AT THE PENITENTIAL RITE… Really form your heart in an attitude of Repentance: ACKNOWLEDGE that God is right about sin in your life: Lord, My sinful habits and addictions have more control of my life than I want to admit. They threaten to pull my life apart. I acknowledge that these things in my life are sinful and wrong. I am responsible. DECLARE, without any exceptions: Lord, the sin in my life has to go — all of it! BOW your head and ADMIT: Lord, I am powerless to free myself from my sins and addictions. I need Your help! I am ready to trust You. I am willing to take firm hold of the help you offer. JOIN the congregation and CRY OUT to God for mercy. In your heart, REACH OUT to God for help: Lord, have mercy! Christ, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! This is true Repentance. This attitude of heart invites the power of the Holy Spirit to work in you. When your heart is set in the attitude of Repentance, God’s grace can lay hold of your sinful habits and addictions and work powerful changes within you. God always responds to Repentance with Mercy: “A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.” Psalm 51:19 This is why at the end of the Penitential Rite the priest says: “May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to life everlasting.” Repentance prepares your heart to approach the Throne of Grace. The Throne of Grace is Jesus’ Cross. It is found on Calvary. The celebration of Mass takes you there. But only in Repentance will you truly spiritually “arrive” at Calvary and only in Repentance will you find the communion with God that Jesus makes possible there. 3. WHEN THE PRIEST SAYS: “LET US PRAY…” Open your heart before the Lord and pray: + Tell the Lord that you know that He is present and that His presence is important to you. + Tell the Lord that you believe that He died for you personally and actually rose from death. + Tell the Lord that you are here to claim the power of His resurrection in your life. + Tell the Lord that in Him, and Him alone, is all your hope. Lord, I know that You are here for me. I want to touch Your presence within me. Your love and presence means everything to me. I truly believe that You suffered and died for me personally and that Your resurrection was real. I am here, Lord, because I want to claim the power of Your resurrection in my life. My hope is in You, and You alone! 4. DURING THE READINGS AND HOMILY… Listen for a single WORD that God is sending you either in the Scripture Readings or in the homily. Determine what this WORD (phrase or thought) is. Carry it with you and reflect upon it often. It will serve as a KEY that opens your heart in the week (or day) ahead to the truth about yourself, and to God’s presence with you and love for you. 5. AT THE PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL… Intercede fervently, but not for yourself. Ask for others. Ask nothing for yourself except that which will help you be of greater service and support to others: Lord, I lay before You the needs of others: (Mention them specifically…) And I ask for Your help in loving them and serving them: (Mention your needs…) By praying in this way, you spiritually cut away at your self-centeredness and open a space for God to plant His word and the seeds of a generous spirit within you. 6. AT THE PRESENTATION OF THE GIFTS… As the priest lifts and places the bread on the Altar, place your wounded heart on the plate with the bread. Then place the wounded heart of the world on the plate of offering along with your own. As the priest lifts and places the wine on the Altar, place the pain that you carry in your heart into the cup. Then place the pain of the world in the cup of offering with your own. Present your life and everything you are to God: ** Lord, You know who I am and You know what I am. I spend a lot of time running away from this and hiding it from You and others. No more! I offer the whole of who I am to You. Everything! — the good and the bad, the strengths and the weaknesses, my virtues and my vices, all the sins and addictions I struggle with. I lift them up and place them in Your hands. I trust You to do what I cannot do: to set me free and to help me find joy in my life. We offer a wounded heart; we receive in return a heart in which our own hearts can take shelter and be made whole. We offer the cup of our pain; we receive in return a cup of Divine mercy and healing Love. Two times in the course of the Mass we are called to perform an act of humility, opening our hearts and laying out before God the whole truth about who and what we are — the good and the bad, the strong and the weak, all that gives life and all that deals death within us. The first time is at the Penetential Rite. There we lay our hearts open so that God can speak the truth to us. This makes the Liturgy of the Word “real”. Now, at the Presentation of Gifts, we lay our hearts open again, this time so that God can love us with the Healing Love that comes to us in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:37-39) and that was poured out for us on the cross (1 Pet 2:24). This makes the Liturgy of the Eucharist “real”. 7. AT THE WORDS OF CONSECRATION… ACCEPT Jesus’ invitation to offer his sacrifice with him: Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, In atonement for my sins and those of the whole world. OFFER YOURSELF as a sacrifice to God “through Him, with Him, and in Him”: Lord, my life is in Your hands — take my life and all that I am! During the Eucharistic Prayer, you stand truly and really present at Jesus’ one and eternal sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins and the healing of the world. In and by the power of the Holy Spirit, you stand beneath the Cross on Calvary (Hebrews 12:22-24). 8. AFTER SAYING THE “OUR FATHER”… In your heart, surrender your Self-will to the Life-giving Will of God: ** Lord, I surrender to You the one thing that has consistently brought misery to me and pain to the lives of everyone around me. I surrender to You my Self-will! I renounce my attitude of “I want”, “I expect”, “I demand”. I will not lay this attitude on everyone and everything I encounter, only to add to the load of my life’s disappointments. Instead, Lord, I ask and pray: Show me what You are doing in the lives of the people and in the events taking place around me. Teach me how I can contribute something of myself to what You are doing for them or in them. I give myself wholly to Your Will! 9. AT THE SIGN OF PEACE… First, TURN to the people around you. Look into their eyes and take their hand. NOTICE the pain they carry and the burden within them. BLESS them with the Name of Jesus: “The Peace of Jesus be with you.” Then, in silent prayer, ASK PARDON, through the heart of Jesus, of anyone you have injured: Lord, I reach out through Your loving heart and ask pardon of all those I have hurt by my words, my actions and my neglect. And GRANT PARDON, through the heart of Jesus, to anyone who has injured you: Lord, as You have loved and pardoned me, I now grant pardon to all those who have hurt or injured me. 10. AS YOU SING THE “LAMB OF GOD…” LIFT up before the Lord the pain and burden you noticed in the eyes and felt in the hearts of the people around you. 11. AS YOU WAIT TO RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION… PRAY over and over again in your heart the prayer of the Good Thief on the Cross: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Luke 23:42 There are countless millions of crosses on Calvary and each one of us hangs crucified to one of them — all of us have been crucified to the world! Nor are we simply innocent victims, for we have all done our share of crucifying others. The miracle of this sacred moment is that God hangs crucified with us. He is here to wisper an invitation to the crucified: to open our lives and our pain to His love. The urgent question at this moment in the Mass is whether or not we will open our hearts to that love. 12. AFTER RECEIVING HOLY COMMUNION… Remember the words and the promise of Jesus: “I have given them the glory You gave me that they may be one, as we are one — I living in them, You living in me — that their unity may be complete.” John 17:22-23 “Know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!” Matthew 28:20 Kneel down and open your heart to what Jesus is saying to you in this moment of Holy Communion: “I died for you because I love you. I have given you my flesh and blood to eat and drink because I want to join you to myself as flesh of my flesh and blood of my blood. Accept the grace and freedom I offer you.” Take firm hold of the mercy and grace that Jesus offers you. Do it with a whole and undivided heart. It is the Grace of freedom from the addictive Cycle of Sin that grips and chokes off your life. “In His own body he brought your sins to the cross, so that all of us, dead to sin, could live according to God’s will. By his wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 a Lead Jesus to the places within you where you are hurting (in body, mind, or spirit). Picture Him laying his hand upon your pain wherever it may be. Receive the Grace of Healing He offers you. If you wish this healing for another, then “in the Spirit”, lead Jesus to them, where ever they may be, and ask Jesus to lay his hand on their pain. “…by His wounds you were healed.’ 1 Peter 2:24b Ask Jesus to “come alive” within you: ** Lord Jesus, Alone, I am powerless to lead the kind of life to which you are calling me — a life I very much want. I seem to get no further than my good intentions. But I am not alone! I believe that you are with me. Come alive within me, Jesus! Act on my behalf! By the power of your Holy Spirit working within me, let some small part of your powerful, healing love come alive within me. Transform some part of my attitude, my words or my actions. Defeat the terrible hold that my addictions, my fears and my compulsions have on my life. For my part, I promise to keep my illusions about myself and my Self-will from coming between us, but You, Lord, will have to do the rest. I trust that You can — and will! AFTER MASS DURING THE WEEK AHEAD… “May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, and may charity be the root and foundation of your life. Thus you will be able to grasp fully, with all the holy ones, the breath and length and height and depth of Christ’s love, and experience this love which surpasses all knowledge, so that you may attain to the fullnes of God Himself.” Ephesians 3:17-19 1) Remember to complete the Mass. The celebration of the Mass is never complete until sometime in the following week you break the ‘Bread of Yourself’ in time, attention, or resources, and offer it to someone or to some need in the Name of Jesus. During the Mass, Jesus breaks the bread of Himself and shares it with you in Holy Communion. Now, in His name, you must break the bread of yourself with another. You do this in small acts of Charity extended toward another while in your heart saying: I offer this to you in the Name of Jesus. As He first loved me, so I now share His love with you. When you complete the Mass by breaking the Bread of Yourself with another in the Name of Jesus, you release the full grace and power of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in your life and theirs. 2) The Grace of Freedom that Jesus gives you in the celebration of the Mass needs to be claimed daily. Jesus told us that when we pray, we must ask Our Father for “our daily bread”. At the beginning of every day you must pray and offer God the Truth about who and what you are (**p.7). Every day you must pray and surrender your Self-will to God (**p. 8). Every day you must read the Gospel and ask the Lord to work in you and let His holiness come alive in you (**p. 11). If you find yourself in pain and hurting during the course of the week, claim the Grace you received from Jesus during Mass. It may be the Grace of Healing for the illness or wound you suffer, or it may be the Grace of Sharing in the redemptive sufferings of Jesus. Claim this grace in personal prayer: Jesus, I come to you because I am weary and am burdened with hurt and pain. I claim your desire to heal my illness. But more so I want to place my suffering into your hands. Let this cup pass from me, but not my will, but Yours be done. If my healing will serve the building up of your kingdom, then heal me, Lord! But if in this I am called to share in your suffering for the redemption of the world, then gather me into your wounded heart and console me there. If you find that your sinful addictions rise during the week to tempt or torment you, claim the Grace of Unbinding and Freedom you received from Jesus during the celebration of the Mass. Again, this is done in a moment of personal prayer: Jesus, this old part of myself rises to take control of me again. I stand beneath your cross and claim the power you won for me by your death and resurrection. Your death, “was death to sin, once for all”; I claim the power of your redeeming Love to defeat this temptation and to put this sinful addiction to death. I nail it to the wood of your cross. Let it die in the blood you shed out of love for me. PARTICIPATING IN MASS WITH YOUR HEART A Guide Father James Chelich How to Use this Booklet This guide is intended to help you participate in Mass with your heart. It invites you to join Jesus in the Sacrifice of the Cross, in a deeply personal way. Study this Guide carefully. Read it over before you go to Mass each weekend. It may be helpful to take it with you to Mass. Concentrate on improving your participation in one part of the Mass at a time. Be careful not to be so wrapped up with this pamphlet that you are distracted from the flow of the celebration and fail to participate with the rest of the congregation. Prayers printed in bold print are suggested patterns for the kind of personal prayer that should be offered at that point in the Mass. Use these “pattern-prayers” as they are. After you have used them a good while and understand what they express, you may want to form prayers in your own words. Whether you use these pattern-prayers as they are or express what they say in your own words, the most important thing is that at each point during the Mass you are praying from your heart and personally investing yourself in the worship. The Word of God for what we are about to do in Celebrating the Sacrifice of the Mass: “You have drawn near to Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to myriads of angels in festal gathering, to the assembly of the first- born enrolled in heaven, to God the judge of all, to the spirits of just men and women made perfect, to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood which speaks more eloquently than that of Able.” Hebrews 12:22-24 Copyright 1992: Father James Chelich Basilica of Saint Adalbert 654 Davis, N.W., Grand Rapids, MI 49504