In article one, the mass explained we discussed the reason for the mass, including what the priest wears and why. Everything in the mass has meaning.
Article two delved into the first half of the mass; we call it the liturgy of the word and we learned what happens at mass from the moment we walk in through the prayer of the faithful, which is prayed after the readings, homily and Creed.
Now, here in article three we begin the second half of mass called the liturgy of the Eucharist, which starts with the Offertory.
OFFERTORY – Critical part of Mass
In the early Church the faithful provided bread and wine; very similar to bring your own as we call it today (BYO).
The offering of collection and bread and wine = offering ourselves. We participate in offering; ask “What will I place on the altar?”
We make up the body of Christ, all of us, the faithful, the clergy and the laity. We, the laity are kingdom priests as well offering ourselves on the altar. We place our needs as well as our loved ones on the altar offering. What will you place on the altar? The good and bad, all of it. God wants all of you and me including our good and bad.
BLESSING – BEROKAH PRAYER – Jewish Blessing Prayer – prayed by Jesus
Mingling of wine and water:
Practical – not too much wine and only a drop of water
Theological – divinity and humanity of Christ – sign of Jesus offering Himself
LAVABO – PASSOVER connection
Lavabo means washing of hands
“Pray my brothers and sisters that my sacrifice and yours is acceptable to God…”. Invites the people into the sacrifice.
“The Lord be with you”. We enter dangerous territory #3. The most profound part of mass is coming up.
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY
We join with the Angels and Saints in worship and praise of God. Heaven and Earth together crying out in adoration, praise and worship of God.
Center of whole mass – kneeling reflects humility, adoration and worship. This is the action of Christ’s body, the Church at mass.
The Eucharistic Prayer is the heart of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In this prayer, the celebrant acts in the person of Christ as head of his body, the Church. He gathers not only the bread and the wine, but the substance of our lives and joins them to Christ’s perfect sacrifice, offering them to the Father.
EPICLESIS – means invocation or calling down from on high
Calling on the Holy Spirit to come down upon these gifts; through the power of the Holy Spirit, WORD WAS MADE FLESH in MARY; through the power of the Holy Spirit, and the words of the priest, the bread and wine become FLESH on our altar. Like the dewfall from the Old Testament.
WORDS OF INSTITUTION
The priest speaks the words “in persona Christi” – in the person of Christ.
THIS IS MY BODY – THIS IS MY BLOOD
This is the height of Mass; A miracle, the world has changed.
My Lord and My God!!!
GREAT AMEN – walls should shake!
In Him, with Him and through Him
The early church shook the walls in the Catcombs at this point in the mass with their crying out in adoration, praise and worship.
Let the walls of your heart shake!
We stand with dignity. At Our Saviour’s command, we dare to say…Address God as Father…We are His children…Daily Bread—suprasubstantial bread (Greek word meaning above and beyond material form); only in The Eucharist.
SIGN OF PEACE
Desire for reconciliation; reconcile with your brother before coming to the altar. Sign of peace before martyrdom. Become…who God made us to be!
Priest breaks off piece of sacred host and places in chalice: mingling brings eternal life—sign of unity to universal church—reuniting Body and Blood of Christ.
Historically; unity with the bishop and the universal church as the bishop breaks off piece of host and places in his chalice and places the rest of the host in a cloth and hands to a runner who brings it to the local priest in another town to use and the priest in turn does same and so on.
LAMB OF GOD
Freedom comes from the blood of the lamb. Jesus is the lamb of God. The priest elevates the lamb of God. We are called to the Supper of the Lamb.
Our response is the centurion’s prayer – “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof; only say the word and my soul shall be healed”. Jesus marvelled at the centurion’s prayer.
We receive, we do not take! It is better to receive on tongue. If receiving in hands, your hands make up a throne to receive your KING! Reverence, bow fully or genuflect before receiving.
AMEN – “I stake my life on that belief” (that this sacred host is The Body of Christ, that this community is the Body of Christ).
If this is not Jesus, I am dead!
Confession before communion, humble confidence, not perfect, but never receive unworthily.
Thanksgiving for each individual making up the Body of Christ.
Mary… a living tabernacle…we are now living tabernacles after receiving.
Respond: Magnificat prayer or Anima Christi prayer. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour…” and/or “Soul of Christ sanctify me, my family and the whole world, body of Christ save us, Blood of Christ inebriate us, water from the side of Christ, wash us, passion of Christ strengthen us…”
Every cell in our body is to become Jesus. Remain in me Jesus and let me remain in You!
So much care by the priest or deacon. Purifying vessels-no particle or precious blood to remain.
The women at the foot of the Cross stayed to wipe up the precious Blood of Jesus. Every drop of His precious Blood was collected before His burial.
FINAL BLESSING AND DISMISSAL
“The Lord be with you”… dangerous territory #4!
We are to be like water balloon launchers going out bursting and dripping Christ into the world! Be transformed and transform others!
Zeal for His house has consumed Him!!!
As a priest friend once explained the mass – we stand to pray, sit to listen and kneel to witness a miracle!!!
In the name of the Father who created us, and the Son who redeemed us, and the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us, AMEN.
God bless and keep walking!!!
I encourage you to go back and read part’s 1 and 2 and I hope and pray that this 3 part series on The Mass Explained has given you a better understanding of and deeper appreciation for the mass.
Thanks to Mary Ann Corcoran, DRE at Saint Pius X, Broomall, PA for bringing us Altaration, the mystery of the mass revealed, narrated by Reverend Father Mike Schmitz and all the people who make up Acsension Press. Thank you.
This post is written by Mr. Charles A. DeFeo, O.P.