Encountering the Words of Christ in the Mass Christopher Carstens reflects upon the third edition of the Roman Missal, giving particular attention to the changes in the Mass texts. http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/BlogId/14.aspx en-US dknott@ltp.org Sat, 19 Mar 2016 17:21:15 GMT Sat, 19 Mar 2016 17:21:15 GMT http://backend.userland.com/rss Blog RSS Generator Version The Gloria's Heavenly Overtones http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/86/The-Glorias-Heavenly-Overtones.aspx <p> </p> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">Over the past few entries we have been examining the Gloria. Similar to the “little doxology” or “Glory be,” in this “greater doxology” the Mystical Body gives voice to her love and devotion to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"> </div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">Because the object of our speaking is God, and because the purpose of our speaking is to glorify him, our song is, in its parts and on the whole, soaring, grand, and lofty. Consider, by way of comparison, how the groom answers the question on his wedding day: “John, do you take Mary for your lawful wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?” If John so agrees, he says “I do,” and not “Yea,” “Yup,” or even simply “Yes.” The words, syntax, and style—what is called the “linguistic register”—is suitable to the occasion. So, too, when we speak to God: the register matches purpose.</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"> </div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">In addition to those human devices found in high linguistic registers, there are divine elements as well, namely, the words of the angels and the saints found in sacred scripture. Together with the natural and human elements of the Gloria, the supernatural inspiration provides a hymn worthy of its purpose.</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"> </div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"><i>Source 2: The words of divine revelation. </i>(For <i>Source 1: The Best in Human Speech</i>, see the blog entry of January 19, <i>The Gloria’s Return</i>). Consider the following texts, and see how the Church has incorporated them into this great doxology:</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"> </div> <ul type="disc" style="margin-top: 0in"> <li>“Glory to God in the highest / and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14, NAB)</li> </ul> <p>These words are spoken by the angels to the shepherds on the night of Christ’s birth. As these words are among the first to praise God at the beginning of his incarnate work, so now are they employed as the first phrase to God in this “most ancient and venerable hymn” (GIRM, 53). Human words struggle to do justice to God’s glory, so the angels lend us theirs.</p> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"> </div> <ul type="disc" style="margin-top: 0in"> <li>“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29, NAB</li> </ul> <p>Saint John the Baptist, whose entire life and mission is to point us to Christ, also speaks to us in the <i>Gloria</i>: “Lord God, <i>Lamb of God</i>, Son of the Father.” And also, twice: “you take away the sins of the world.” John reveals to us the Lamb whom we glorify and entreat (see GIRM, 53), asking him to take away our sins.</p> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"> </div> <ul type="disc" style="margin-top: 0in"> <li>“Great and wonderful are your works, Lord God almighty. Just and true are your ways, O king of the nations. / Who will not fear you, Lord, or glorify your name? For you alone are holy.” (Revelation 15:3-4)</li> </ul> <p>In the last post, we learned that the acclamations “we praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory” were originally spoken to the earthly emperors of the Roman Empire. “Emperors”—in the plural—is noteworthy. When the Church took these words to herself, she qualified them, for there are not <i>many</i> emperors (who happened to think they were gods) but one God. Hence, after the citizens of the Heavenly City we repeat: “you <i>alone</i> are the Holy One, you <i>alone</i> are the Lord.”</p> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"> </div> <ul type="disc" style="margin-top: 0in"> <li>“Show them you alone are the Lord, the Most High over all the earth. (Psalm 83:19)</li> </ul> <p>The psalmist, like the heavenly inhabitants, also knew God to be one, but adds that God is the “Most High.” Animated by the same Spirit, the Church echoes him: “you alone are the Most High.”</p> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"> </div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">“The <i>Gloria in excelsis</i> (<i>Glory to God in the highest</i>) is a most ancient and venerable hymn by which the Church, gathered in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb” (GIRM, 53). Unlike most of our daily speaking, the language of the <i>Gloria</i> has the highest of callings, crying, as it does, to God in words of prayer and praise. It should be no wonder, then, that this hymn—one of the oldest in Christian history—is composed of great elements. Men and women give the best of their speech, and the divine speech of Revelation combine to produce a Great Doxology, a hymn of praise that rises up to the heavenly places.</div> <p> </p><br /><a href=http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/86/The-Glorias-Heavenly-Overtones.aspx>More ...</a> dknott@ltp.org http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/86/The-Glorias-Heavenly-Overtones.aspx#Comments 422 http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/86/The-Glorias-Heavenly-Overtones.aspx Thu, 17 Feb 2011 17:43:00 GMT http://revisedromanmissal.orgDesktopModules/BlogTrackback.aspx?id=86 The Gloria's Return, Part II http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/79/The-Glorias-Return-Part-II.aspx <p>In our last post (<em>The Gloria’s Return</em>), we asked how it was that we could “glorify and entreat” the Persons of the most Holy Trinity with the lowliness of human words. What characteristics would such a language have?<br /> These questions may be rephrased into that single question asked so often today as we familiarize ourselves with a new translation of a new Missal: Why does the Church speak like she does when praying the Mass?<br /> In answer to this question, we saw in the Gloria the application of the linguistic device of anaphora, the repetition of beginnings: “We praise you, / we bless you, / we adore you, / we glorify you, / we give you thanks for your great glory.” There are, in addition to the rhetorical anaphora, other compositional methods employed to give the hymn an exalted tone, such as the following:<br /> <br /> • <em>lengthy sentence structure:</em> The Gloria itself is only four sentences. Rather than the usual fragmentary and abbreviated phrases we usually use (an extreme, yet popular, example is “texting”), elevated speeches often incorporate fully developed and expressive sentences. Consider, for example, President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address (1865), which contains a memorable 74-word sentence, or President Kennedy’s Inaugural Address (1961) and its 80-word line.<br /> • <em>series without conjunctions:</em> Most of us are taught to use a conjunction before the last item named in a list. The American flag is red, white, and blue. With lunch we are offered coffee, tea, or milk. When this last conjunction is not used—as in Caesar’s lapidary “I came, I saw, I conquered”—it is called <em>asyndeton</em> (use that word to impress your friends!). Its use adds a different “flow” to the expression. It can also serve to equate the items in the series, as when the Gettysburg Address says that “government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” The Gloria incorporates asyndeton twice: once in the sequence of acclamations—“We praise you, / we bless you, / we adore you, / we glorify you, / we give you thanks for your great glory”—and later in the list of entreaties to Christ: “you take away the sins of the world, / have mercy on us; / you take away the sins of the world, / receive our prayer; / you are seated at the right hand of the Father, / have mercy on us. (Incidentally, the “check grammar as you type” feature in Microsoft Word is currently suggesting the addition of the word and before the last phrase “we give you thanks for your great glory,” above.)<br /> • <em>human acclamations:</em> The acclamations to the Father—“we praise you, / we bless you, / we adore you, / we glorify you, / we give you thanks for your great glory”—predate the institution of the Church. Originally these acclamations were spoken not to God, but to a false god, the Roman emperor. Why did (and does) the Church think these misguided sentiments are appropriate for orthodox doxology? While missing their mark, they are, nevertheless, an expression of humankind’s natural and innate for the supernatural. “Grace,” say the theologians, “builds upon nature.” Our natural desire for God—or in this case, our Roman ancestors’ desire for God—is elevated, “baptized,” and redirected to the true God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. (Notice the asyndeton?!)<br />  </p> <p>The point being made here is <em>not</em> that one needs to have studied inaugural addresses, be familiar with asyndeton and the other hundreds of figures of speech, or be a classics major. It is, rather, to uncover some of the sources of meaning that have made the Gloria (and other texts of the Mass) what it is. Often, and rightly, we may hear or say of a prayer that “I don’t talk like that! Why does this text sound so foreign?” Part of the reason is that most of our daily discourse does not include those features that are traditionally reserved for most important dialogues. The dialogue with God is the most important one men and women can have, and it is natural that this conversation contain the best we have to offer.<br />  </p> <p>In addition to lofty elements of human speaking are those of divine speaking, or revelation. It’s to these that we’ll look next time.<br />  </p><br /><a href=http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/79/The-Glorias-Return-Part-II.aspx>More ...</a> dknott@ltp.org http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/79/The-Glorias-Return-Part-II.aspx#Comments 1532 http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/79/The-Glorias-Return-Part-II.aspx Thu, 27 Jan 2011 17:13:00 GMT http://revisedromanmissal.orgDesktopModules/BlogTrackback.aspx?id=79 The Gloria's Return http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/78/The-Glorias-Return.aspx <p>One of the most common Catholic prayers, right up there with the Our Father and the Hail Mary, is the <em>Gloria Patri</em>, or “Glory be”: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.” It is a prayer used not only by the faithful in their individual prayers, but it is one used also in the liturgy, when the Church prays as an assembled body. In the Liturgy of the Hours, for example, the “Glory be” is said as a part of the introductory verse and at the end of each Psalm and Canticle. The Mass, too, incorporates this prayer: it is heard at the conclusion of the Entrance and Offertory Chants, and it is also incorporated at the end of many hymns.<br />  </p> <p>But this “little doxology” (<em>doxology </em>means roughly “speaking praise” or “speaking glory”) is writ large in the hymn we call—you guessed it—the Gloria. The Gloria expands and elaborates on the “Glory be,” saying in high and lofty tones what we express more concisely in the simpler “Glory be.”<br /> By the Gloria “the Church, gathered in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb” (GIRM, 53). How so? What words are there that are capable of “glorifying and entreating” the Trinity rightly? Asked another way, where do we find the speech—the Greek word for speech is <em>logos</em> and is the root of <em>doxo-logy</em>—to praise Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?<br />  </p> <p>The Mystical Body of Christ, founded by Jesus and animated by the Holy Spirit, has, over the course of her divine and human life, formed a language singularly suitable for such a monumental task. Drawing on both divine and human sources, she has cultivated a new song worthy of God. Let’s look at these sources, the one, human: the other, divine.<br /> <br /> <strong>Source 1: The best in human speech</strong>. One of the most memorable speeches in our County’s history is called “Normalcy, Never Again.” Have you ever heard of it? It was delivered on August 28, 1963, by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The speech’s more common name—and this surely you will have heard—is “I have a dream.”<br />  </p> <p>The content of Dr. King’s speech is itself substantial and memorable, but that alone may not have entered the presentation onto the list of great American Orations. In addition to its content, it is the style, the tone, and the rhetorical devices that contribute to its greatness.<br /> Its popular title—“I have a dream”—results from a rhetorical device called “anaphora.” Some may be familiar with the term anaphora from its association of the so-called “eucharistic prayers” of the Eastern Churches. The Eucharistic anaphora, which means to “carry back” or “bring back,” stems from a section of the Preface Dialogue: “Lift up your hearts,” “We lift them up to the Lord.” In this instance, anaphora signifies the “bringing back” of the heart to God.<br />  </p> <p>The linguistic anaphora, similar to the eucharistic anaphora, indicates a return, this time to the beginning of the sentence. In short, the linguistic anaphora indicates a return or repetition of beginnings. Dr. King applies this device so successfully in his speech—he repeats the beginning phrase (“I have a dream”) eight times—that the entire oration has come to bear the same name.<br />  </p> <p>The Gloria, which is meant by the Church and Holy Spirit to “glorify and entreat God the Father and the Lamb,” incorporates this same anaphora, for by its use it gives to the words of the hymn an elevated, beautiful, and memorable character, much as it did for Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech.<br /> Consider the following examples:<br /> <br /> <strong>We</strong> praise you,<br /> <strong>we</strong> bless you,<br /> <strong>we</strong> adore you,<br /> <strong>we</strong> glorify you,<br /> <strong>we</strong> give you thanks for your great glory.<br /> <br /> And again:<br /> <br /> <strong>you take away the sins of the world,</strong><br />      have mercy on us;<br /> <strong>you take away the sins of the world,<br /> </strong>     receive our prayer;<br /> <strong>you are seated at the right hand of the Father,</strong><br />      have mercy on us.<br /> <br /> Surely it would be much more efficient, much more in keeping with our customary practical and efficient way of speaking, simply to say, “We praise, bless, adore, glorify, and thank you,” but it would not be as worthy of the Trinity. This is also true with the second example. “You take away the sins of the world, / receive our prayer” and “are seated at the right hand of the Father, / have mercy on us.” This rendering is good shorthand, but it is not suitable for the one seated at God’s right hand.<br />  </p> <p>We’ll look at some of the other uses of syntax and composition in the next post.<br />  </p><br /><a href=http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/78/The-Glorias-Return.aspx>More ...</a> dknott@ltp.org http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/78/The-Glorias-Return.aspx#Comments 413 http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/78/The-Glorias-Return.aspx Wed, 19 Jan 2011 20:03:00 GMT http://revisedromanmissal.orgDesktopModules/BlogTrackback.aspx?id=78 The Penitential Act http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/75/The-Penitential-Act.aspx <p>At the beginning of the Mass, the Penitential Act prepares us to hear the word of God and to respond fully to that word in offering the sacrifice of the Eucharist. The Confiteor—which is the first of three options—assists the Mass’ participants to achieve this goal by bringing a number of realities before us.<br /> <br /> <strong>The Call to Active Participation</strong>. Confessing one’s sins at the beginning of the Mass seems to have existed from the start. A first-century order of liturgy, the <em>Didache</em>, speaks of the breaking of bread taking place after “confessing your faults beforehand.” The Confiteor itself appears to have originally been said by the priest in the sacristy before Mass, but later it moved to the “prayers at the foot of the altar” and was said first by the priest and then by the servers. Its current place is in the Introductory Rites of the Mass, and it is said by all.<br /> <br /> Why? As one theologian put it, because each of us in the Church has work to do, and, consequently, each of us needs to be prepared to carry out that work. In some sense, God the Father is the only spectator at the liturgy (although he is the source and goal of all things, liturgical and otherwise): all others—Christ, the Holy Spirit, Mary, the hierarchy of angels, the heavenly host, the Bishop, the priest, the deacons, the servers, the musicians, and everyone in the church building—participate in the work of their salvation. The Confiteor is a reminder of this right and duty resulting from our Baptism, and it prepares us to undertake it successfully.<br /> <br /> <strong>The Example of humility</strong>. Also aiding our preparation to listen and respond to the Word—who is Jesus—is the example of two figures from sacred scripture: King David and the tax collector of Jesus’ parable in the Gospel according to Luke (18:13). We will now say in the Confiteor that “I have greatly sinned.” More than being the actual translation of the Latin <em>nimis</em>, the word “greatly” here is found in the confession of King David: “I have sinned greatly in doing this thing. Take away your servant’s guilt, for I have acted very foolishly.”<br /> <br /> We also pray “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault,” and while do so we strike our breasts. Here we follow the example of the tax collector. Jesus tells us that the tax collector—unlike the proud Pharisee—“stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ”O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” In saying these words and making this gesture, we should have before us the examples of David and the tax collector and be inspired by their own humility and contrition.<br /> <br /> <strong>The Reality of the Mystical Body of Christ</strong>. The words of the Confiteor also make us aware that the Mass that we celebrate—including the confession we now make—is a corporate activity. At the Confiteor’s beginning we say, “I confess to almighty God / and to you, my brothers and sisters”; at its conclusion we ask “blessed Mary ever-Virgin, / all the Angels and Saints, / and you, my brothers and sisters, / to pray for me to the Lord our God.”<br /> <br /> No sin is private: each transgression not only offends God but wounds and weakens each member of the Mystical Body. But the “upside” of our close communion in the Church is that, while each member suffers from another’s sin, all members assist and intercede for one another. The Confiteor expresses this truth of the Mystical Body: we ask all members in heaven and on earth for intercession, and we also pray for those who have fallen.<br /> <br /> Like the other words of the Mass, those of the Confiteor contain a great wealth and are—or can become—a source of grace and an encounter with Christ. But for their potential to be efficacious, our ears need to be attuned to them. When we hear sacramentally, the words we say and hear become a most effective means to hear the Word, Christ himself.<br /> <br /> <br />  </p><br /><a href=http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/75/The-Penitential-Act.aspx>More ...</a> dknott@ltp.org http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/75/The-Penitential-Act.aspx#Comments 3828 http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/75/The-Penitential-Act.aspx Wed, 22 Dec 2010 21:20:00 GMT http://revisedromanmissal.orgDesktopModules/BlogTrackback.aspx?id=75 The Penitential Act, Part I http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/70/The-Penitential-Act-Part-I.aspx <p>In the Penitential Act of the Mass, the Roman Rite gives three options: the Confiteor, a short dialogue between priest and people, and the invocations followed by Kyrie eleison and Christe eleison.<br /> <br /> In general, what is the purpose of the Penitential Act? What does it mean? And in our sacramental consideration of the Mass’s text, what reality is presented before us when we participate in these words?<br /> <br /> Taken together, the Introductory Rites have as their purpose that “the faithful who come together as one establish communion and dispose themselves to listen properly to God's word and to celebrate the Eucharist worthily” (GIRM, 46). Our preparation to receive the word of God and to offer ourselves in the Eucharist includes the readying of our ears and our hearts.<br /> <br /> Our ears? Recall that Adam and Eve’s first sin was one of “not listening.” In Latin, “to listen” is audire, and this is the core of the English word “obedience” (<em>ob-audire</em>, “to hear or listen to”). Satan tempted Eve to be disobedient—<em>dis-ob-audio</em>—and not to listen to God’s creative and life-giving Word: “Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees . . . ? You certainly will not die!” (Genesis 3:1, 4, NAB; emphasis added). In other words, this true “Father of Lies” (John 8:44) basically says, “Don’t listen to God! He is lying to you! His Word cannot be trusted!”<br /> <br /> Like our first parents, our sin today consists of not listening to God’s Word. Pope Benedict XVI tells us the same thing in the recently published exhortation Verbum Domini: “man’s sin is essentially disobedience and refusal to hear.” As the reality of the Mass is Christ himself—who is the Word of the Father, now spoken with his body, the Church—we take this time in the Penitential Act to prepare our ears to listen to and receive this Word with care.<br /> <br /> Our hearts also need preparation to receive the Word and the respond to it fully. Saint Benedict, in fact, speaks of listening with “the ear of the heart.” Not only must our ears be open to the Word, but our hearts, upon hearing and receiving the Word, respond to it with love. The striking of the breast during the Confiteor symbolizes the desire to purge the heart of its sin, much as the tax collector in Luke’s account of the Gospel (see Luke 18:9-14). The first invocation in the third form of the Penitential Act says, “You were sent to heal the contrite of heart, / Kyrie eleison.”<br /> <br /> “To celebrate the eucharist properly,” which is one of the purposes of the Introductory Rites and the Penitential Act, is to offer our entire selves in purity of heart. Psalm 51 (verses 18 and 19; NAB) speaks of the purity of heart needed to offer acceptable sacrifices: “For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept. / My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.”<br /> <br /> When we celebrate the Penitential Act, in any of its three forms, let the truth of the matter be the purification and preparation of ears and hearts: ears that we might hear the Word, and hearts that we might respond to him with humility and love.<br />  </p><br /><a href=http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/70/The-Penitential-Act-Part-I.aspx>More ...</a> dknott@ltp.org http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/70/The-Penitential-Act-Part-I.aspx#Comments 414 http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/70/The-Penitential-Act-Part-I.aspx Wed, 24 Nov 2010 17:48:00 GMT http://revisedromanmissal.orgDesktopModules/BlogTrackback.aspx?id=70 The Meaning of the Greeting: The Assembly’s Response http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/58/The-Meaning-of-the-Greeting-The-Assembly-s-Response.aspx <p>We saw last time that the priest’s greeting to the people—“The Lord be with you”—is loaded with symbolism, and that by hearing his greeting sacramentally and mystagogically we can hear not only the voice of the priest but the voice of Jesus and the Church along with him.<br /> <br /> The people’s response to his greeting is no less significant, especially if—and perhaps <em>only</em> if—considered as a sacramental sign.<br /> <br /> As the greeting of the priest is found in scripture (see Ruth 2:4), so too are the words of the people. Saint Paul concludes his letter to the Galatians with “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen” (6:18). His second letter to Timothy similarly ends with “The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all” (2 Timothy 4:22).<br /> <br /> Referring to the spirit of the priest is a literal translation of the original Latin phrase, <em>Et cum spiritu tuo</em>. By translating <em>spiritu</em> literally, the English translation follows the translations of the other language groups: in French, <em>Et avec votre esprit;</em> in Spanish, <em>Y con tu espíritu</em>; in German, <em>Und mit deinem Geiste</em>.<br /> <br /> On the surface, the fact that “everyone else is doing it” doesn’t seem a good argument (my mother, in fact, used to say a similar thing to me as a child!). Nor is the reasoning “it’s what the Latin says” that convincing. But recall that the Latin text is the product of centuries of growth, the development of a lexicon unique to the activity of the Church, one singularly effective in expressing the Word of the Father. Staying close to the Latin, then, is meant to safeguard theological truths.<br /> <br /> And what about unity with other language groups? For the Latin Church, unity is both a mark of identity and the work of the Holy Spirit: “Communion with the Holy Trinity and fraternal communion are inseparably the fruit of the Spirit in the Liturgy” (<em>Catechism of the Catholic Church</em>, 1108). One of the stated goals of the Second Vatican Council is effecting unity, and the <em>General Instruction of the Roman Missal’s </em>final word on the Roman Rite is that “the <em>Roman Missal</em>, even if in different languages and with some variety of customs, must be preserved in the future as an instrument and an outstanding sign of the integrity and unity of the Roman Rite” (399).<br /> <br /> The reference to “your spirit” also has theological meaning. For the Church Fathers, the “spirit” began to refer “not to the soul of the priest but to the spirit he has received through the laying on of hands” (Narsai of Nisibis, fifth century). By means of the sacramental character of Holy Orders, the ordained (bishop, priest, or deacon) shares a conformity to Christ and his priesthood in a way that the laity do not. To <em>sacramentalize</em> this reality, our words make reference to the spirit of ordination. Many times during Mass the priest speaks in his capacity as head of the Church. While we might simply call him “Father Smith” outside of Mass, we acknowledge with different words the ontological change that comes with ordination.<br /> <br /> The initial dialogue between the priest and the assembly, like all other words of the Mass, are sacramental. That is, by fully, actively, and consciously participating in them, we are given the chance to hear Christ. These words signify many supernatural realities, such as the universality of the Church, the conformity of the priest to Christ, and, together with him, the unity of the gathered assembly in Christ’s body.<br />  </p><br /><a href=http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/58/The-Meaning-of-the-Greeting-The-Assembly-s-Response.aspx>More ...</a> dknott@ltp.org http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/58/The-Meaning-of-the-Greeting-The-Assembly-s-Response.aspx#Comments 572 http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/58/The-Meaning-of-the-Greeting-The-Assembly-s-Response.aspx Mon, 20 Sep 2010 19:41:00 GMT http://revisedromanmissal.orgDesktopModules/BlogTrackback.aspx?id=58 The Meaning of the Greeting: The Greeting of the Priest http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/53/The-Meaning-of-the-Greeting-The-Greeting-of-the-Priest.aspx <p>Following the Sign of the Cross at the beginning of the Mass, the priest greets the gathered assembly in words taken from the sacred scriptures. The first two options come from the letters of Saint Paul:<br /> <br /> The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,<br /> and the love of God,<br /> and the communion of the Holy Spirit<br /> be with you all. (see 2 Corinthians 13:13)<br /> <br /> Or:<br /> <br /> Grace to you and peace from God our Father<br /> and the Lord Jesus Christ. (see Romans 1:7; see 1 Corinthians 1:3; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; Philemon 3)<br /> <br /> The second option, “Grace to you,” appears at the beginning of a number of Saint Paul’s letters. The first option, however, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father,” appears at the end of Saint Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians; it is, in fact, the very last verse of these letters. It may seem odd (at least it did to me) that we should be using a <em>farewell as a greeting.</em> Yet, on the social level, there are a number of expressions that are used as both. While in this day we reserve “Good morning” to our meeting of another, not long ago one could end a conversation and depart with “Good morning” (one can imagine Carey Grant signing in this way in an old black-and-white movie). The priest, in fact, greets the people at the end of Mass, immediately before the blessing and dismissal.<br />  </p> <p>Recall for a moment some of the sources of sacramental meaning: nature, culture, and scripture. It is <em>natural</em> to greet one another, and the liturgy has taken this natural meaning and elevated it to the supernatural level. Each of the Mass’ greetings, moreover, is somewhat formal and conventional, just as our <em>cultural </em>greetings: “Good morning,” “Hello,” “Greetings,” or “Welcome.” So, too, have the Mass’ greetings attained a degree of formality and convention. Finally, words themselves derive great meaning and efficacy from <em>sacred scripture</em>. Saint Paul, Boaz, and Jesus himself (in the greeting used by a bishop) teach us how to greet one another, and by imitating their efficacious words we can be transformed to their image.</p> <p>The third option for the priest’s greeting comes from the book of Ruth. Boaz, a landowner near Bethlehem, greets those who are harvesting his spring crops of wheat and barley with “The Lord be with you” (Ruth 2:4). It is immediately after his greeting that he notices Ruth, herself collecting the grain left by the harvesters.</p> <p>There’s a great deal of “food for thought” in the story of Boaz and Ruth. (In fact, the rather short book of Ruth—only four chapters—should be read in its entirety.) Elimelech was Ruth’s father-in-law, and was himself originally from Bethlehem. Due to a famine, Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons move to Moab, on the other side of the Jordan River and Dead Sea. While in Moab, the two sons marry, one to Naomi, the other to Orpah. Before long Elimelech and his sons die, leaving only Naomi and her Moabite daughters-in-law.</p> <p>Hearing that “the Lord had visited his people and given them food” back in Bethlehem, Naomi plans to return, but only her one daughter-in-law, Ruth, accompanies her. The road from the land of Moab to Bethlehem, presumably, has to pass over or through the Jordan River. Upon their arrival in Bethlehem, Ruth begins to collect grain from the barley and wheat harvests (see Ruth 1:22, 2:23). When Boaz notices her, he invites her to eat with him and his harvesters, and “she ate her fill and had some left over” (Ruth 2:14).</p> <p>In this short story, these above-named details lend great meaning to Boaz’s greeting that we use today. When the priest says, “The Lord be with you,” we must hear:<br /> <br /> • Bethlehem: the “house of bread” where Jesus, our food, is born.<br /> • Passover: as the Chosen People “pass over” the Jordan into the Promised Land (see Joshua 3), and as Jesus himself will “pass over” the Jordan on the way to Jerusalem and to the Father (see John 10:40), so, too, are we to pass over with them in the Mass.<br /> • Abundance: the time of the barley and wheat harvests is in the spring, and these natural markers coincide and add further meaning to the supernatural Passover of the Jews and of Jesus. The springtime harvest is one of abundance: Ruth, who ate in abundance from Bethlehem, foreshadows the true Bread who gives himself in abundance in the Mass.</p> <p>The book of Ruth ends with her marriage to Boaz. Together they have a son, Obed, who is the father of Jesse, who is the father of King David, Jesus’ line.</p> <p>The opening words of the Mass have great sacramental meaning, meaning coming from both human and divine sources. The basic premise needed to understand the words of the Mass is that they are sacramental signs of the Word, Jesus. The Mass’ words “sound like” the Word, and our participation in them is a real and efficacious encounter with Jesus.</p> <p>Our next entry will take a closer look at the response of the people, for it, too, has great significance.<br />  </p><br /><a href=http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/53/The-Meaning-of-the-Greeting-The-Greeting-of-the-Priest.aspx>More ...</a> dknott@ltp.org http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/53/The-Meaning-of-the-Greeting-The-Greeting-of-the-Priest.aspx#Comments 1770 http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/53/The-Meaning-of-the-Greeting-The-Greeting-of-the-Priest.aspx Mon, 30 Aug 2010 19:15:00 GMT http://revisedromanmissal.orgDesktopModules/BlogTrackback.aspx?id=53 The Meaning of the Greeting: The Sign of the Cross, Part II http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/45/The-Meaning-of-the-Greeting-The-Sign-of-the-Cross-Part-II.aspx <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">In the beginning of the Mass, the first words spoken are greatly significant:  “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.”  The greatest source of meaning here comes from Christ himself:  his command to baptize in these divine names, as well as the cross that our gesture emulates.</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"> </p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">But the meaning of sacramental words and gestures originate from more sources than the historical commands and circumstances of Christ (even if these are their greatest source).  “The liturgical celebration,” says the <i>Catechism of the Catholic Church </i>(CCC), “involves signs and symbols relating to creation (candles, water, fire), human life (washing, anointing, breaking bread), and the history of salvation (the rites of the Passover) . . . ” (1189).  The Sign of the Cross, then, is “related” to more than the historical Christ, for nature—as in “creation” as well as “human nature”—and history also contribute to its meaning.  Last time (see “The Meaning of the Greeting:  The Sign of the Cross, Part I”) we saw how the divine persons and the cross were present at creation.  To invoke the Trinity and sign oneself with the cross, consequently, is to become a new creation, now in Christ and the Trinity.</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"> </p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">History—that is, <i>salvation</i> history—also adds a layer of meaning to the Sign of the Cross, thus giving Christ’s words even deeper sacramental symbolism.</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><i></i></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><i></i></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><i></i></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><i>Divine Identity and Protection.</i>  Prior to the Tenth Plague in Egypt—the passover of the angel—God tells Moses to slaughter a first-born and unblemished lamb.  Next he says, “Take some of its blood and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel of every house in which they partake of the lamb . . . . Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; thus, when I strike the land of Egypt, no destructive blow will come upon you” (Exodus 12:7, 13).  Here the doorposts (the vertical) and the lintel (the horizontal) form a cross (of sorts) with the blood of the lamb, and it is this sign that identifies the household as God’s and protects it from death.</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"> </p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">The prophet Ezekiel reports another saving cross.  Prior to the fall of Jerusalem, Ezekiel tells of a vision of God’s destroyers—and his savior.  In the account, the prophet hears God’s voice to six destroyers and one “man dressed in linen” (Ezekiel 9:3).  God says, “Pass through the city (through Jerusalem) and mark an X on the foreheads of those who moan and groan over all the abominations that are practiced within it. <a name="v5"> </a>To the others I heard him say:  Pass through the city after him and strike!  Do not look on them with pity nor show any mercy!  Old men, youths and maidens, women and children—wipe them out!  But do not touch any marked with the X” (Ezekiel 9:4-6).  The mark of Christ—the X—protects those who bear it.  The book of Revelation likewise identifies the “servants of God” as sealed or marked on the forehead (Revelation 7:3).</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><i></i></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><i></i></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><i></i></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><i>Blessing.</i>  The account of Jacob’s blessing of his grandsons also finds an X on the spot.  Shortly before Jacob’s death, his son Joseph brings his eldest sons (that is, Jacob’s grandsons), Ephraim and Manasseh, to Jacob for his blessing.  This is how the book of Genesis describes the encounter:  “Then Joseph took the two, Ephraim with his right hand, to Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand, to Israel’s right, and led them to him.  But Israel, crossing his hands, put out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, although he was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, although he was the first-born” (Genesis 48:13-14).  Jacob’s arms, crossed in blessing, prefigure the later cross of Christ, the ultimate blessing of the Father.</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"> </p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">What, then, does the gesture of the Sign of the Cross and the naming of the divine persons mean?  These sacramentalize—and in so doing make <i>real</i>—a new creation, identification with God, divine protection, the promise of God’s blessing, and the saving act of Jesus himself on the cross.</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"> </p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">Sacramental words make present and active unseen and supernatural realities.  The meaning of such words is not artificial, given by some committee of pious experts.  Rather, “in keeping with the divine pedagogy of salvation, their meaning is rooted” in creation, the old covenant, the person and work of Christ, and the glories of heaven (see CCC, 1145).</p><br /><a href=http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/45/The-Meaning-of-the-Greeting-The-Sign-of-the-Cross-Part-II.aspx>More ...</a> dknott@ltp.org http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/45/The-Meaning-of-the-Greeting-The-Sign-of-the-Cross-Part-II.aspx#Comments 301 http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/45/The-Meaning-of-the-Greeting-The-Sign-of-the-Cross-Part-II.aspx Mon, 09 Aug 2010 18:40:00 GMT http://revisedromanmissal.orgDesktopModules/BlogTrackback.aspx?id=45 The Meaning of the Greeting: The Sign of the Cross, Part I http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/41/The-Meaning-of-the-Greeting-The-Sign-of-the-Cross-Part-I.aspx <p><img width="200" height="300" align="left" class="img-margin-r" style="float: left;" title="Photo © John Zich" src="/Portals/9/Mundelein_465.jpg" alt="" />Examining the texts of the Mass through sacramental lenses yields the greatest insights to their meaning. For example, the Mass begins with the Sign of the Cross and the Greeting:<br /> <br /> <strong>Priest:</strong> In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.<br /> <strong>People:</strong> Amen.<br /> <br /> <strong>Priest:</strong> The Lord be with you.<br /> <strong>People:</strong> And with your spirit.<br /> <br /> A sacramental approach to the liturgy’s signs and symbols finds in them their true and grace-filled theological reality. It does this by uncovering the “roots” of the texts, roots that extend into a multilayered and “organic” soil.</p> <p>The <em>Catechism of the Catholic Church</em> says it this way: “A sacramental celebration is woven from signs and symbols. In keeping with the divine pedagogy of salvation, their meaning is rooted in the work of creation and in human culture, specified by the events of the Old Covenant, and fully revealed in the person and work of Christ” (1145). Over the next few entries, we’ll look at these sources to see—or, if I can put it this way, to hear—the deep theological meaning in the words spoken at the open of the Mass.</p> <p>Let’s start with the Sign of the Cross. The words themselves are those spoken by Jesus to his disciples after the Resurrection: “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18b1–20).</p> <p>Accompanying these words is the gesture of signing oneself with the cross, here reflecting the cross “on which hung the salvation of the world” (showing of the Holy Cross, proposed translation in the revised Roman Missal). We bring to mind, then, the command of Christ and the Cross of Christ at the beginning of Mass. Christ is the meaning of all sacramental signs, even—and especially—of sacramental words. But if the <em>Catechism </em>is correct—that sacramental meaning extends even beyond Christ—then we can expect to find greater richness to these words and gestures.</p> <p>Does creation have anything to say about the Sign of the Cross? In the first verses of scripture we also hear of a Trinity of Persons as at Christ’s command to baptize: “In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:1–3). The Church’s tradition hears in these opening lines about creation the work of each person of the Trinity: the Father who “created the heavens and earth”; the Son who is the Father’s spoken voice, “Then God said”; and the Holy Spirit who is the “mighty wind [sweeping] over the waters.” In all, the creative power of the Trinity acts at the natural creation of the cosmos, the supernatural re-creation of individuals at their baptism, and now “in the beginning” of the Mass, which is our sharing in the “new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1).</p> <p>The wood of the cross which our <em>gesture</em> emulates is likewise seen—at least by some—in creation. The philosophers Pythagoras (of Pythagorean Theorem fame) and Plato saw the entire cosmos in the shape of the cross: the plane of the orbiting stars intersecting with that of the earth like the letter X (see Ratzinger, <em>The Spirit of the Liturgy</em>, p. 180). And like the Divine Persons themselves who are present at creation, so too is the an image of the tree of life: “Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow that were delightful to look at and good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and bad” (Genesis 2:9). After eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, Adam and Eve were banned from the garden and thereby prohibited from eating from the tree of life. By participating in the cross, which is the true tree of life, at the beginning of the Mass and, in a most excellent way, in the Eucharist, we are given the chance to enter the restored garden and its fruit: “To the victor I will give the right to eat from the tree of life that is in the garden of God” (Revelation 2:7b).</p> <p>The Sign of the Cross is rich in meaning for one who knows to pray it. More than simple words or mere gesture, the Sign of the Cross leads us to encounter Christ who has given the cross its definitive meaning. But the meaning of this Sign is rooted deeper still in creation itself. By encountering the cross at Mass—and in a real and sacramental way this is precisely what we do—we meet the Trinity, recall its work at creation’s beginning, and anticipate its new creation in paradise.<br /> There’s much the Old Covenant reveals about the cross as well, and well look at these roots next time.</p><br /><a href=http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/41/The-Meaning-of-the-Greeting-The-Sign-of-the-Cross-Part-I.aspx>More ...</a> dknott@ltp.org http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/41/The-Meaning-of-the-Greeting-The-Sign-of-the-Cross-Part-I.aspx#Comments 82 http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/41/The-Meaning-of-the-Greeting-The-Sign-of-the-Cross-Part-I.aspx Mon, 26 Jul 2010 17:35:00 GMT http://revisedromanmissal.orgDesktopModules/BlogTrackback.aspx?id=41 A Symbolic Greeting http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/35/A-Symbolic-Greeting.aspx <p><img width="205" height="286" class="img-margin-l" style="float: right;" title="Photo © John Zich" src="/Portals/9/1_Zich8June08_071.jpg" alt="" />The first of the newly translated texts in the Order of Mass is the greeting of the priest and the response of the people:<br /> <br /> <strong>Priest:</strong> “The Lord be with you.”<br /> <br /> <strong>People:</strong> “And with your spirit.”<br /> <br /> Why are these texts translated as they are? Where do these words come from? (There are, it should be added, two other greetings that the priest may use.) It’s anticipated that the translation of this opening greeting will be used for the first time in Advent in the year 2011: what can be done between now and then to make these words truly meaningful?<br /> A number of approaches can yield insights into the meaning of these words at the greeting, including:<br /> <br /> 1) According to the rubrics, the rubrics indicate that “When the Entrance Chant is concluded, the Priest and the faithful, standing, sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross, while the Priest, facing the people, says: ‘The Lord be with you.’ The people reply: ‘And with your spirit.’” In short, what’s directed by the red print is said with the black print.<br /> <br /> 2) According to authority, norms for the use of vernacular languages are given at number 36 in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy: “the competent, territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in art. 22.2 is empowered to decide whether and to what extent the vernacular language is to be used. The enactments of the competent authority are to be approved, that is, confirmed by the Holy See. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, following the guidelines given it from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has provided a translation that has been subsequently approved by the Holy Father. This translation will be used by all who fall under the authority of these hierarchs.<br /> <br /> 3) According to the translation process, having discussed the proposed translations of the Order of Mass found in ICEL’s “Green Book” at the June 2004 and November 2005 USCCB Plenary meetings, the United States Bishops received ICEL’s “Gray Book” proposals (which had taken into account the many comments from English-speaking bishops from around the world) in February 2006 and voted on them at the June 2006 Plenary meeting. Following the Bishops’ affirmative vote, the USCCB submitted the translation of the Order of Mass to the Holy See, which, after input from the Vox Clara commission, granted its approval in June 2008. The greeting and response, as a part of the Order of Mass, were among the texts under discussion by these various deliberative bodies.<br /> <br /> 4) According to sacramentality, liturgical language, like every other liturgical element, is <em>sacramental,</em> that is, by means of externally sensible symbols—in this case, the audible and spoken and sung words of the Mass—the interior Christ-life, or grace, is made really and truly present. By hearing and engaging in the greeting and response, to use our present example, an unseen supernatural reality opens up before us.<br /> <br /> Each of the above approaches (and there are more) helps us to understand the meaning of the greeting and response. It is true that the rubrics direct the priest to begin in certain words and the people to respond in equally particular words. It is true that the texts of the Roman Missal have been translated under the authority of the Pope and Bishops. It is true that this initial dialogue is the fruit of a long and collegial translation process. But it is the sacramental approach that leads priest and people nearest to the Truth, who is Jesus himself.</p> <p>The <em>General Instruction of the Roman Missal</em> reveals the sacramentality of the greeting and response: “When the Entrance chant is concluded, the priest stands at the chair and, together with the whole gathering, makes the Sign of the Cross. Then he signifies the presence of the Lord to the community gathered there by means of the Greeting. By this Greeting and the people's response, the mystery of the Church gathered together is made manifest” (GIRM, 50).</p> <p>We’ll look more in depth about the sacramental approach in future posts, as well as apply the method to many other of the Mass’ sacramental language.</p><br /><a href=http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/35/A-Symbolic-Greeting.aspx>More ...</a> dknott@ltp.org http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/35/A-Symbolic-Greeting.aspx#Comments 1359 http://revisedromanmissal.org/Blogs/EntryId/35/A-Symbolic-Greeting.aspx Wed, 14 Jul 2010 20:19:00 GMT http://revisedromanmissal.orgDesktopModules/BlogTrackback.aspx?id=35