A while ago, I wrote an entry explaining why there are changes in the mass and explained a couple of the changes. You can read that entry by clicking here. Well now I am going to share some more specifics about what will be said. (I will also be describing some of the meaning behind some of the words that we will continue to say.)
Priest: "The Lord be with you." (This part isn't changing.)
Have you ever thought about what that means? I hadn't! It is something spoken by God and His angels to those on a special mission. To share a few of the occasions in the Bible.:
- Judges 6:16a: "I shall be with you," the LORD said to [Gideon].
- Exodus 3:11-12a "But Moses said to God, 'Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of Egypt?' He answered, 'I will be with you.'"
- Luke 1:28 "And coming to [Mary], [the angel Gabriel] said, 'Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.'"
Beginning on November 27th, we will respond to the priest by saying: "And with your spirit." By saying this, we are referring to the core of the priest- his spirit. The Holy Spirit works within him so that he can do what he is ordained to do.
Later on, during the Confiteor, we will confess, "I have sinned through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault." By saying this we have greater acknowledgement that we have sinned. Actually, Dr. Sri wrote the following article about this: "Through My Most Grievous Fault."
Then we will sing the Gloria. The Gloria is a Christmas song.
Wow! I hadn't thought about this either:
Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." - Luke 2:8-14
Why are we singing a Christmas song? The Son of God comes to us in the Eucharist! So if we go to daily Mass, it's like Christmas everyday.....
During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the priest says, as always, "Lift up your hearts." We respond, as always, "We lift them up to the Lord."
The heart is at the center of all our attentions, so when he says this, he is saying, "Give God your full attention." The Fathers of the Church knew it was hard to pay attention. In fact, in his 23rd Catechetical Lecture, St. Cyril of Jerusalem (ca. 313-386) preached:
"After this the Priest cries aloud, 'Lift up your hearts.' For truly ought we in that most awful hour to have our heart on high with God, and not below, thinking of earth and earthly things. In effect therefore the Priest bids all in that hour to dismiss all cares of this life, or household anxieties, and to have their heart in heaven with the merciful God. Then ye answer, 'We lift them up unto the Lord:' assenting to it, by your avowal. But let no one come here, who could say with his mouth, 'We lift up our hearts unto the Lord,' but in his thoughts have his mind concerned with the cares of this life. At all times, rather, God should be in our memory but if this is impossible by reason of human infirmity, in that hour above all this should be our earnest endeavour."
Wow! To think he preached this in the 4th Century!
Later on in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the priest says,
"Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb."
This is from Revelation 19:9- Then the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These words are true; they come from God."
This is something really important: we are getting a wedding invitation. Christ is the Bridegroom and the Bride is the Church. When we come for Communion, we are the bride going to be united with our Bridegroom. It is recommended that we take time after Mass just to rest with Jesus.
After the priest says this, we respond: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." (See Matthew 8:8)
This are the words of the Centurion. A Centurion is in charge of Roman soldiers. At this point in time, the Romans were seen as oppressors, so being a Centurion was even worse. He was saying that he is a sinful Roman Centurion, but had profound humility and faith that God would heal his servant. Great faith is the one thing that amazes God in the Gospels. Jesus had not yet performed a long distance miracle, yet the Centurion believed that He could. May we all have this faith.
As I wrote in my last entry, none of us are worthy. That is the point. God in His infinite love and mercy meets us where we are and heals us.
God love you.