Tag Archives: The Mass

Where Did the Mass Come From?

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

Participating in Mass with Your Heart

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

Commentary on the Tridentine Mass

by Fr. James Chelich
July 2007

Religion 122

Click here to download The Tidentine Form and the Post Vatican II Form Comparison

MASS IN THE TRIDENTINE FORM

The “Tridentine” Form for the celebration of Mass is the Mass as it was celebrated when I was a boy (up until 1962). At that time the Form for celebrating the Mass was revised, according to the directives of Vatican Council II, into the Form in which we celebrate the Mass today. Pope Benedict XVI has recently allowed for a “wider celebration” of the Tridentine Form.

Does this mean a change in the way we will celebrate the Mass?

For a good number of years now, individual Bishops have had the discretion to permit the Tridentine Form of the celebration of Mass to be celebrated in their Diocese. Here, in the Diocese of Grand Rapids, our bishops have permitted the Trindentine Form to be celebrated weekly since 1990 – first at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Grand Rapids and currently at Sacred Heart Church in Grand Rapids. Any Catholic who wishes, is free to worship at Mass in this Form. What is different now, as a result of the Pope Benedict’s initiative, is that bishops may not prohibit the Tridentine Form from being celebrated in their diocese, but are called to make provision for its celebration if requested. Pope Benedict’s initiative will mean no change in the way we celebrate the Post Vatican II Form of the Mass in our parishes. And, as Bishop Hurley has publicly indicated, Pope Benedict’s initiative will mean no change in our diocese, as we are already providing for the celebration of the Mass in the Tridentine Form commensurate with the expressed need. Perhaps the next and more important question might be:

What does this development have to say to the way we celebrate Mass today?

I intend to share some thoughts about this; but before I do, I would like to help you see what the Tridentine Form of the celebration of Mass looked like and how it differed from the Form of the celebration of the Mass of we use today.

Part I
The Form and Shape of the Mass

First, let me explain that the Mass has an essential shape that cannot be changed and is permanent. Around this essential shape other ceremonies and prayers of the Mass are formed, that with the passage of time can be changed:

The liturgy is make up of unchangeable elements divinely instituted,
and elements subject to change. These latter not only may be changed
but ought to be changed with the passage of time, if they have suffered
from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature
of the liturgy or have become less suitable.

The Constitution on the Divine Liturgy,
Vatican Council II, Chapter 1, #21

The Essential Shape of the Liturgy of the Word:
The essential shape of the Liturgy of the Word is made up of three elements:

  1. readings from the Bible,
  2. a homily or sermon on the readings,
  3. prayers offered by the community.

This service is actually older than Christianity. It comes from the Sabbath Morning Service used in the Jewish Synagogue. Jesus, himself was a devout, religiously practicing Jew (see Luke 4:16ff), and the apostles and first disciples of Jesus were also religiously practicing Jews (see Acts 3:1;10:9-14). They attended the Synagogue for this worship service each Saturday morning. Obviously, when they participated with their fellow Jews in the Synagogue Morning Service, the apostles and disciples 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). When they were expelled from the Synagogue for doing this (c. 85 AD), they held their own service of Scripture Reading, Reflection and Prayer on Sunday morning. These early Christians also began to make some changes in the character of the service. The three elements remained the same, but changes took place that made each of the elements Christ-centered (Christian). Christian worship has Jewish roots.

The Essential Shape of the Liturgy of the Eucharist

During the meal,
Jesus (1) took bread, (2) blessed and (3) broke it, and (4) gave it to them.
‘Take this,” He said, “this is my body.’
He likewise (1) took a cup, (2) gave thanks, and (3-4) 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 essential elements of the Liturgy of the Eucharist is made up of four elements drawn directly from the passage quoted above:

  1. the taking and preparation of gifts of bread and wine
    (called the Offertory or Preparation of the Gifts),
  2. pronouncing the words Jesus used at the Last Supper
    over the bread and wine that change them into what Jesus
    says they are: His Body and His Blood (called the Consecration),
  3. the breaking the bread that is now the Body of Christ in preparation
    for Holy Communion (called the Breaking of the Bread),
  4. the sharing of the Body and Blood of Christ (called Holy Communion).

Each of these four elements is in direct continuity with the four actions of Jesus at the Last Supper – the first Eucharist. Immediately after Jesus ascension, the Eucharist was celebrated on Sunday evening (see Luke 24:13-35). After being expelled from the Synagogue the apostles and disciples joined the Eucharist service to the Word service now held on Sunday morning (see Acts 2:42-47).

There are three pronounced differences between
the Form of the Tridentine Mass and the Form of the Post Vatican II Mass:

First, in the Tridentine Form the prayers of both the priest and people were spoken entirely in Latin. Children grew up with a Missal. It was our own and we brought it to Mass with us. This Mass Book had the Latin prayers printed on one side of the page and the English translation on the other side. Adults used these Mass Books as well, but with more sophisticated reflection aids inserted throughout. It bears emphasizing that we knew the Latin responses by heart and we also knew the meaning of what we were saying and praying. In other words, it was a very intelligible worship for those who chose to be intelligently engaged.

Second, in the Tridentine Form the priest led most of the Mass standing in front of the altar; and, when addressing prayers to God, he turned toward the altar to pray them. This included the words of Consecration pronounced over the bread and wine which then become the Body and Blood of Jesus. Often people refer to this by saying that the priest “had his back to the people” (something that hints of intended rudeness or indifference to their presence). Actually, the intent was to have the whole people of God facing God together, in the same direction, with the priest leading the prayers. Others refer to this as “the altar faced the wall.” Actually, the intent was to have the altar and the whole church face East, from which Christ says that he will come in his Second Coming (see Matthew 24:27-33); and toward which, with the eyes of faith, we look with expectant joy. Saint Augustine says in City of God, “here we have no permanent city.” We are a pilgrim people. We are on a journey. We are here for a season and a purpose, and we have a destination beyond the horizon of death – in eternal life with Christ. From of old, the Form of the celebration of Mass was filled with such Bible-rich and faith-expressive nuances. They formed part of the rich mysticism of the celebration. One of the criticisms often made of Mass in the Post Vatican II Form that it has far too few of these Bible-rich and faith-expressive nuances, or that those there are, are too diluted to be recognized and fully enjoyed.

Third, the number and order of prayers and actions said and done by the priest and people in the Post Vatican II Form are now, at points, different from the Tridentine Form. I have printed here the order of these prayers and actions, side-by-side, for you to compare. I will also note and make some commentary on the differences.

Part II
The Introductory Prayers and Rites

(Here examine Comparison Sheet #1: The Introductory Prayers and Rites)

Notice on the comparison sheet that much of the Tridentine Introductory Prayers and Actions were a quiet private dialogue between the priest and the altar servers. These prayers were spoken to each other in a voice not audible to the assembled congregation, at the bottom step in front of the altar, and facing the altar. While our religious training

and our Missal prompted us to follow along and to make these prayers our own, the Form of the Tridentine Mass did not call for the congregation to be part them. The congregation’s part did not properly begin until the Entrance Hymn. After that point the introductory prayers and actions between priest and people in the Tridentine Form have a remarkable resemblance to those between the priest and people in the Post Vatican II Form.

One element taken from the Tridentine Mass’ private prayers between the priest and servers and now placed in the Post Vatican II Mass’ Introductory Prayers between the priest and congregation is the confession of sinfulness: “I confess to Almighty God and to you, my brothers and sister, that I have sinned…” This inclusion helps to make the “Lord, have mercy / Christ, have mercy / Lord, have mercy” a full rite (action) of repentance for sin.

The “Lord, have mercy / Christ, have mercy / Lord, have mercy” was once the people’s response to an ancient litany of petitions which was prayed the beginning of the Mass.

The full litany is still used in the Liturgy of the Eastern Catholic (Byzantine) Church.

One can examine the Tridentine Mass’ Bible-rich introductory prayers between the priest and server, and ask if today, before Mass begins, some personal, prayerful preparation needs to take place on the part of those assembled to celebrate Mass in the Post Vatican II Form. A prescribed order of quiet personal prayer and recollection might dispose many to a more fruitful participation in the communal prayers and actions of the Mass.

Part III
Liturgy of the Word and Offertory

(Here examine Comparison Sheet #2: The Liturgy of the Word and Offertory Rite)

In its instruction on the Liturgy (Worship) of the Church, Vatican Council II called for a much more generous use of the Sacred Scriptures (the Bible).

The Post Vatican II Form of the celebration of Mass calls for no longer two, but three readings at Sunday and Holy Day Masses: one from the Old Testament, another from the New Testament and one from the Gospels. Further, the readings would no longer be on a repeating annual cycle, but on a three year cycle – allowing for a three times larger reading of the Bible than before (actually covering the majority of the Bible every three years.) Prescribed readings are important, otherwise the preacher tends to draw only from preferred passages to address preferred themes and topics. Clearly, the message is “Enter into the riches of God’s Word!” One of the criticisms of both the Tridentine and the Post Vatican II Forms is that many preachers still don’t. Instead the congregation gets an account of the preachers last vacation, a humorous story, a thought for the day, or an admonition not grounded in the Scriptures on one of the preacher’s favorite social issues.

The Prayers of the Faithful were restored in the Post Vatican II Form.
This litany of petitions with the congregational response, “Lord, hear our prayer,” has an ancient history. I has long been and continues to be part of the Mass in the Eastern (Byzantine) Catholic Churches, and was in earlier times also a part of the Mass in the Roman Catholic Church.

The Post Vatican II Form introduced the Presentation of the Gifts of bread and wine by members of the congregation. In the earliest Forms of the Mass, people brought gifts of bread, wine, and other food stuffs, along with money to worship. These gifts were received by the Deacons at the door of the Church as they arrived. The Deacons then set aside some of the bread and wine for use in the Mass. In the Post Vatican II Form members of the congregation bringing forward the bread and wine to be used in the Eucharist during Mass, often along with the collection.

The Post Vatican II Form introduced two new prayers at this point. Upon placing the gifts of bread and wine on the altar, the priest pronounces (aloud, if there is no singing at the moment; silently, if the congregation is still singing the Offertory Hymn) two blessings (one for the bread and one for the wine) taken directly from the Jewish ceremonial for the Passover Meal. The inclusion of these blessings emphasize the tie between the Old Passover (from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land) with the New Passover (from sin and death to life with Jesus in the Kingdom of God). The First Eucharist took place during the Passover Meal which Jesus was celebrating with his apostles the night before he died.

Another great emphasis found in the instruction on the Liturgy of Vatican Council II was to increase the participation of the congregation. The entire congregation is now called to sing the hymns, not just the choir (if one were present). From ancient times, the psalms were the text of priority, but other hymns with Bible or faith themes were also embraced. One of the enduring critiques of the Post Vatican II Form is the weak, if not sometimes silly, text of the hymns selected. Songs are not “filler” in the Liturgy of the Mass, they are sung prayers. Their text needs to express cogently and artfully the Bible themes of our relationship with God or the action of the Mass at the point where they are being sung.

Part IV
The Consecration & Preparation for Communion

(Here examine Comparison Sheet #3:
The Consecration, Our Father, Breaking of Bread and Kiss of Peace)

Prior to the liturgical reforms of Vatican II there was only one Prayer of Consecration: the Roman Canon. In the Post Vatican II Form there are three additional prayers for regular use on Sundays and Weekdays, as well as two for Masses of Reconciliation and three for Masses with children. A response by the congregation was inserted in the Post Vatican II Form after the words that consecrate the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus. The priest says: “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.” The congregation responds with one of four brief responses. This calls the congregation to engage the presence and saving action of Christ in the prayer.

In the Tridentine Form, the Our Father with its sequel prayer, the Sign of Peace, and the Breaking of the Bread while singing the ‘Lamb of God’, were interspersed in one another in a confusing mix. The Post Vatican II Form simply drew together the pieces proper to each action and set the actions in a sensible sequence:

First, the Praying of the Our Father

with its sequel prayer, “Deliver us, Lord, from every evil…” (now spoken audibly),
followed by the newly added “For Yours is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory…”

Second, the Rite of Peace

with the priest praying (now audibly), “Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles…,”
followed by the priest saying, “The peace of the Lord be with you,”
and then concluded by the invitation for all to share the Sign of Peace.

Third, the Rite of Breaking Bread

with the priest breaking the consecrated bread
while the congregation says or sings the Lamb of God.

The Sign of Peace is NOT a new element. It was in the Tridentine Form, but only in the Solemn Mass (with Deacon and Subdeacon), and shared only by the clergy present.
A persistent problem with the Sign of Peace in the Post Vatican II Form is that people assume that it is a time for greeting people. In fact, it is nothing of the kind. It is a time for expressing our desire to be reconciled and at peace with our brothers and sisters before we approach the altar to receive Holy Communion – especially those with whom we are angry or “on edge.” Jesus’ explicitly calls for this (see Matthew 5:23-24). He sees Peace-Making flowing directly from praying the Our Father (see Matthew 6:9-15). The people we are angry or “on edge” with may not be present at Mass, but we are called to consciously have them in mind as we turn to those around us to exchange the Sign of Peace. The Sign of Peace is a serious (not, however, somber) expression of heart-felt desire to be at peace with all in our lives.

Part V
Communion and Concluding Rites

(Here examine Comparison Sheet #4:
The Communion Rite and Concluding Rites)

Here, once again, we find the Post Vatican II Form brings the elements in the Tridentine Form into a sensible sequence.
Notice that in concluding the Mass in the Tridentine Form the priest, after praying the
Post Communion Prayer, dismisses the congregation with the words: “Go, the Mass is ended!”, to which the congregation answers: “Thanks be to God.”

But the Mass actually continues. The priest goes on and

  1. prays a private prayer, “May the homage of my service…”
    during which the congregation kneels, and
  2. invokes a blessing over the congregation: “May almighty God bless you,
    Father, Son and (+) Holy Spirit…”.
    But even then the liturgical action of the Mass is not yet ended, because the priest
  3. addresses a greeting to the congregation: “The Lord be with you.”
    to which the congregation answers: “And with your spirit.”
  4. and introduces a reading of the Gospel: “The beginning of the holy Gospel according to John” the reading of which then follows.

The Post Vatican II Form drops two of these elements and brings the rest into a logical sequence. After Post Communion Prayer, the priest:

  1. addresses the congregation: “The Lord be with you;”
    to which the congregation answers: “And also with you.”
  2. invokes a blessing over the congregation: “May almighty God bless you,
    Father, Son and (+) Holy Spirit…”
  3. says farewell to the congregation, “Go, the Mass is ended!”;
    to which the congregation answers: “Thanks be to God!”
  4. The priest then departs, usually while the congregation is singing the optional Recessional Hymn.

In the Trindentine Mass, the priest’s private prayer (“May the homage of my service…”) and the reading of the Last Gospel (John 11-14) at the end of Mass were originally private meditations recited by the priest after he left the altar and on the way back
to the sacristy (vesting room). By now you will have noticed several elements in the Tridentine Form that originally were either private prayers or meditations of the priest and assisting ministers but which subsequently came to be part of the action of the Mass. In the Post Vatican II Form most of these elements have been removed.

One of the most significant developments in the Post Vatican II Form is that both the Body and the Blood are offered to the members of the congregation who approach for Holy Communion. This is a restoration of the common practice in the earliest Forms of the celebration of the Mass. One can appreciate the profound sense of it if one reflects on the words of Consecration. At Mass, through the instrumentality of the priest acting in His person, Jesus’ explicitly says to his disciples present:

“1) Take this 2) all of you and 3) drink from it…”

Liturgical Worship should make it possible for Jesus’ disciples present to fulfill the command and invitation they hear Jesus giving them. It is important to note that in the Catholic faith there can be no question that a person receives the whole Christ whether they take just the Body of Christ or just the Cup of the Blood of Christ or both.

The Post Vatican II Form reintroduced the option of receiving the Body of Christ in the most ancient form known: in the hand. The earliest description of how to receive Holy Communion indicates that the Body of Christ was to be received in the hands, formed together as a throne, and then taken by one hand from the other into the mouth to be eaten:

Coming up to receive, then, do not have your wrists extended or your fingers spread, but making your left hand a throne for the right, for it is about to receive a King,

and cupping your palm, receive the body of Christ, and answer, “Amen…” then partake, taking care to lose no part of it…

After partaking of the body of Christ, approach also the cup of His blood. Do not stretch out your hands, but, bowing low in a posture of worship and reverence as you say, “Amen,” sanctify yourself by partaking of the blood of Christ.

Cyril of Jerusalem (c 313-387) Mystagogical Caetchesis 4, #21-22

It might be interesting to mention that in the Post Vatican II Form there is nothing I can find requiring or prohibiting a Communion Rail. It seems to logically follow that in new churches, they need not be installed; but in old churches, they need not be removed. Despite all the curious arguments to the contrary, it really offends nothing that people might receive Holy Communion on their knees at a Communion Rail.

Part VI
Some Final Thoughts

1.

I am old enough to remember worshipping at Mass in the Tridentine Form. As a boy and a young man I found this Form beautiful, moving and meaningful. I was blessed with priests who conducted themselves with reverence at Mass and spoke the prayers with clarity and grace. I was also blessed with a pastor who was an effective preacher of the Scriptures. I can, however, also remember priests who could tear through a Mass in 13 minutes, and people who found this acceptable as worship because it proved convenient to getting on with other things. I also watched a quarter of the congregation come in just before Offertory (missing the entire Liturgy of the Word) and a third of the congregation leave Church directly after receiving the Body of Christ. Many in the first group were also in the second. They really thought they had worshipped at Mass. These things scandalized me as a boy and young man.

In the Post Vatican II Form, I have known priests who could “do a Mass” in 16 Minutes, and people who wanted to know why I couldn’t hustle along too. I had the good sense and bad memories to ignore them. I have also know priests who presented themselves in the style of Jay Lenno and conducted the Mass as if it were Saturday Night Live. There was little in their manner that drew attention to the presence of Christ or His saving sacrifice. Facing the people can be a temptation to perform in a self-aggrandizing manner that some priests cannot resist. Never-the-less, it is just not honest to blame either the Tridentine or the Post Vatican II Form for the excesses (even abuses) of either the ministers or the congregation at Mass.

2.

A more recent problem with worship stems from the drift of our contemporary culture. People are pressed to do more and more. As a consequence, they have less and less time, or even desire, to pause and reflect. Their lives leave them exhausted and depressed. They welcome being entertained. In both Protestant and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Catholic Worship there has been a growing tendency to entertain and call it worship. In Catholic teaching, the Liturgy of the Mass is the expression of the real presence and work of Jesus for our salvation. The Liturgy is also the work of the people responding to His presence and work with praise, adoration, thanksgiving and heartfelt petition. The Liturgy should be artful, reverent, joyful, readily comprehensible, and easy to participate in. It should not be “creative,” novel or gimmicky. There is a pronounced difference between worship and entertainment. Worship is not entertainment, and the Liturgy of the Mass is not a place for entertaining.

3.

The pertinent question to ask about the Form of the celebration of the Mass is:

Does it effectively point to Jesus presence
and His action in the Mass?

In this regard, I find that the Post Vatican II Form of the Mass has been a development for the better:

  1. It much more fully lays open the Sacred Scriptures
    (whether they are preached or not is another question).
  2. It enhances comprehension both by being in the native language of the people and by placing in a sensible order the prayers and actions of the Mass,
    especially before Holy Communion and at the conclusion of the Mass.
  3. It calls for greater participation on the part of the congregation (in both song
    and prayer) in responding to Jesus’ presence and action in the Mass.
  4. It welcomes the communicant to participate in the full outward sign of Holy Communion by receiving from the cup of the Blood of Christ.
  5. It restores the ministry of the Deacon and Lector.

4.

Let’s now return to the question I left unanswered at the beginning of our examination of the Tridentine Form:

Pope Benedict XVI has recently allowed
for a “wider celebration” of the Tridentine Form of the Mass.

What does this development
have to say to the way we celebrate Mass today?

The introduction and implementation of the Post Vatican II Form of the Mass in the mid 1960s was done terribly – and with sad consequences. A transition that should have unfolded over several years, took place in a couple months. In most places the explanation given for the change and instruction on each of the changes was dismally poor or non-existent. One Sunday the new “portable altar” was there, and the priest was standing behind it facing the people. Further, there was absolutely no expressed awareness that this change would be traumatic to people who had grow old with the Tridentine Form. No provision was made for them to continue to worship in that Form. People who found the transition painful and difficult were at best ignored and at worst dismissed as backward.

Because of this, an untold number of Catholics were alienated from their Faith, abandoned its practice, and died in resentment. Others who “Stuck with it” were attacked for their personal devotional practices – practices that from their childhood they had been encouraged to pursue. People were rudely told to put away their rosary at Mass. They were told: “Vatican II got rid of those things.” Religious sensibilities were trampled in every direction, and the Tridentine Form was increasingly labeled, “defective,” and anyone valuing it, “reactionary.”

Pope Benedict’s initiative vindicates these individuals lost to the practice of their Faith, as well as those who were mistreated. It says that the Form in which the Church taught them to worship was not backward or a hallmark of reactionary Catholicism. It was and is a legitimate Form of the celebration of the Mass at one point along the ancient history of the development of the Mass’ Form. This vindication was long overdue.

In the 1970s the Post Vatican II Form became in common parlance, “The New Mass,” an expression suggesting that the old one was cast away and a new one was made up. For many, this signaled their freedom to have a hand at reinventing the Mass for themselves. The kinds of silliness that were thrown in to make the Mass “interesting” and “more relevant” ran the full spectrum of the imagination. If I had not lived through it, I would not have believed it. Pope Benedict’s initiative reminds us that the Post Vatican II Form is in continuity with the Tridentine Form and other Forms that came before it. I hope this study has helped you recognize this.

Pope Benedict stresses that the Form is not for an individual or a group of individuals to invent for themselves. It belongs to the Church which is from the Apostles – continuous in it Worship and consistent in its Faith. If the Form of celebrating the Mass where you go to Church looks and sounds like the Post Vatican II Form, then it is the Post Vatican II Form. If it looks and sounds like “The New Mass,” “Father Jim’s Mass,” or “This or That Group’s Mass,” then it is not the Post Vatican II Form. There is a reason why it is important to hold to the Form faithfully and with careful attention. Unity of common usage in the required elements of prayer and action at Mass is important to maintaining an atmosphere of hospitality, courtesy and ease of participation among Catholics and between Catholic churches. A Catholic should be able to move from church to church for the celebration of Mass and be able to participate, both in word and gesture, as confidently as if they were in their own parish. “We don’t do that here” or “We change that here” has nothing to do with an honest reading of the teaching of Vatican II or the celebration of the worship of the Universal Church.