Wednesday, August 19, 2015

10 things I love about the New Mass

The following are some of the things I love about the newer form of the Roman Rite when celebrated with dignity. 

1. Worship  

The Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ. There can be no higher form of worship.  Christ is truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist. Christ is also present in the priest, in the proclamation of the Word of God and in the people gathered to worship in His name. 

2. Reverence

The reverence of the priest genuflecting towards the Blessed Sacrament when he passes the tabernacle before and after Mass, after the consecration of the Body and Bloody of Christ and before he receives Holy Communion,  the bowing, the silent prayers, the gestures all turn our hearts and minds to the Lord. The Sanctus bell and incense can also add to the sense of solemnity.
3. Silence. 

The silence commanded by the newer form of the Roman Rite include within the Act of Penitence and again after the invitation to pray before the Collect; there should be silence at the conclusion of each reading and homily so that all may meditate briefly on what they have heard; then after Communion, there should be silence so that we may praise and pray to God in our hearts.

4. History continuity. 

The Mass retains some of the gestures, prayers and ritual that the saints would have been familiar with back through the centuries. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults has restored some ancient liturgical practises such as the dismissal of catechumens etc which have also been retained in eastern liturgies. 

5. Music

The preferred music at Mass should be Gregorian chant. I find that this music is powerful, easy to sing and unites the congregation in worship. It brings to mind the continuity of the Catholic Faith and reminds us we are not alone. If Gregorian chant is not used then preference should be given to singing the Mass itself either in Latin or a local language rather than to a collection of hymns. 

6. Gestures

When we make the sign of the cross using holy water we are reminded of our baptism, the incarnation, the Trinity and Christ's sacrifice. When we strike ourselves in the confiteor, bow profoundly at the words of the incarnation in the creed; bow at the name of Jesus, Mary or the saint of the day, when we stand for the Gospel and kneel for the Eucharistic Prayer, our whole bodies are involved in worship. 

7. Doctrine

Every single Catholic teaching is included in the newer form of the Roman rite - our need to worship, confess our sins, praise, give thanks. I love the fact that the modern version of the Confiteor reminds us that we sin in what we fail to do as well as in our thoughts, words and deeds. The Mass should reinforce our belief in the real presence and our understanding of the Communion of the Saints. The newer form of the Roman rite includes prayers for the dead and prayers to protect us from Satan. 

8. The focus of the priest and people. 

The priest and people should all focus on the altar and a crucifix should be nearby. This is more obvious where Mass is celebrated ad orientem as in this photo of Pope Francis but should also be the case when Mass is celebrated facing the people. These all bring us out of ourselves and  focus our minds and hearts on God. 

9. Language

Latin is still the language of the Latin Church and has a beauty and poetry that expresses clearly and succinctly our faith. Local languages are usually used in the newer form of the Roman Rite - but thanks to reforms in recent years, these are now faithful translations. 

10. Unity

It is unusual for the whole of the Mass to be offered in Latin in the newer form of the Roman Rite but when parts of the Mass are sung in Latin, there's a powerful sense of inclusiveness and unity of spirit with one another.  Even if we don't understand the language and cannot take part in the responses due to so many languages being used, we are united in faith. 

1 comment:

  1. How far can you get your tongue into your cheek? Very good.......