Tag Archives: Eucharist

The New Liturgical Translation: What is Changing, What Can We Expect? Part 1

A friend of mine asked if I could post about the new translations to be used for the Mass and so am happy to share the beauty that we are going to be experiencing in the parishes in just a few weeks time.  My goal is two-fold: to discuss the new translation and then to discuss the emphases of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (something that helps priests and the faithful know what to do and when during the Mass).  I may make this into two posts depending on the length of the New Translation section.

1. The New Translation

Before I say anything else I want to say this: IT IS NOT A NEW MASS! 🙂 Many people have been speaking about “the new mass” that is coming to us at advent.  The Mass is never new in the sense of being completely different from something before, though the form of its expression changes.  We can say “the new expressions of the Mass”, “the new translation of the Mass”, but we can’t say “the new Mass”.

Getting that out of the way, I want to speak about translations in regards to the faithful and translations in regards to the priest.  For the faithful, not much is changing, and so will go through the changes one by one since there is only a few of them.  For the priest, EVERYTHING changes in that there is a new translation for virtually everything the priest says.  If there is anyone who needs to make and adjustment, it is the priest.

Let me begin with the responses, and then I will give a couple of examples of parts that change for the priest.

1.1 Responses of the Faithful

1.1.1 And With Your Spirit

Perhaps the most well known change – and probably the hardest one to change simply because of human habit – is the response “and with your spirit” which is said in response to “The Lord be with you”.  We all know very well the original response: And also with you.

So, why the changes?

When we say “and also with you” it gives the sense that the Mass itself is simply an act of the community, that what is happening is our work alone.  This is not the case.  We do not come to Mass to worship.  Rather, we are moved to Mass by God’s grace and it is God Who initiates the Mass through His Spirit which witnesses to His Son.  So, when we are at Mass, we are responding to the movements of God’s grace.  As one Russian Orthodox theologian wrote once, Mass, in a sense, begins when we wake up and decide, with God’s help, to respond to His grace which moves us to Mass by the very power and attraction of God’s loving Presence.  Mass is the formal beginning of that response.  It is God’s initiative, not ours.  This is why, as a sidenote, I get frustrated by the comment “why do I need to go to Mass if I can just worship God in nature?”  I have a LOT of problems, actually, with that comment, but the one I find most frustrating is that it presumes that going to Church is our work and our work alone, that we are doing God a favour.

“And with your spirit” however, has a very different meaning than “and also with you”.  First and foremost, it is a much more accurate translation in comparison to the Latin “et cum spiritu tuo”.  But it is also more theologically accurate and is in accord with the principle that God is the principle actor of the liturgy.

When we say “and with your spirit” we are acknowledging that it is the Spirit Who works in the priest or bishop: even the priest is responding to God’s invitation to celebrate the liturgy.  We are acknowledging that God is the one working in the priest.  By saying it, too, we are acknowledging the priesthood of the celebrant: it is an act of the Church declaring “this person is celebrating on our behalf.  He is leading us to the Father.  He is bringing us to participate in Christ’s paschal mystery.”  In short, it is the Spirit that guarantees that this is a Mass according to the mind of God, and we are acknowledging the presence of the Spirit in the priest.

1.1.2 The Penitential Rite

This has some slight changes so I am going to post them side by side for you to see (changes are in bold):

I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned
through my own fault,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and in what I have failed to do;
and I 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.
I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done
and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;

therefore I 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.

First, we acknowledge the gravity of our sin.  Sin is no laughing matter, and while the word sin does acknowledge our sinfulness – obviously – ‘greatly sinned’ demonstrates the gravity (and is more faithful to the Latin.  The consistency of the gravity continues in the triple-acknowledgment that we have sinned.  It is to really get it in our head that sin is our fault and it demonstrates our contriteness.  When we say sorry to someone and we really mean it, we need a method to make that known.  We don’t just say “sorry”.  Thus the triple-expression is a means of demonstrating our true repentance and sorrow for our sin.  This is to prepare us for the redeeming mystery we are partaking and, through our acknowledgment, we are anticipating the saving power of Christ’s death, descent, and resurrection which we celebrate in the Eucharistic Rite.  It is a humbling act which opens us up to be redeemed by the Lord.  Jesus did not come for the righteous, but for the sick and the sinner.  It is an act of humility, of acknowledging our sinfulness – which is a reality for every human being – so that we can take the sweet medicine of the Eucharistic Lord.

On a side note: these words, to an extent, only have an effect in so far as we embrace them as true.  Thus we must ever-grow in embracing the words and prayers of the Mass.  By doing so, our hearts are made more open, more receptive, to the saving graces that are made present to us by the Lord’s passionate love on the Cross for us.

I am going to have to end there because we are already at 1200 words.  I will continue on Friday (though it is looking more probably that it will be Monday) with the next part: the Gloria.  We will see how far along we get and then move on from there.

in Christ

-Harrison

 

 

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The Glory of Scripture

I just returned from a wonderful retreat in which we had Fr. Dominic Borg as our retreat master.

I had encountered Fr. Borg when I lived and worked at the Cathedral prior to entering the seminary.  I remember liking him, but forgot about just how good he really is until I heard him this week.

What made him so good was that Scripture simply flowed from his heart.  He knew so much Scripture, but it simply flowed from his heart.  He was convicted by the Word, by the Church, and, most importantly, by Christ.  It simply came from him and it was contagious, you wanted what he had.  That is, to me, the sign of the saint: they have Jesus, and they let him flow out of them, and you want the Jesus that they love.

It has inspired me to really begin to immerse myself into the life of Scripture, to let the Word permeate my being in my prayer.  I have experienced in the past that when I allow the Scriptures to flow into me through quiet prayer, I begin to be transformed and it is no longer me, but Christ who lives in me.  I am planning on redoubling my efforts to allow Scripture to form my life, I hope others will as well.

I do find, however, that many people in the world have a hard time accepting Christian beliefs, or they have a hard time being obedient to the teaching of the Church, or living a particular aspect of the moral life, etc.  What I have discovered, though, is that many people in the world do not have a listening spirit: they are unwilling/unable to open up their hearts to let God speak to them.  They have made up their minds before encountering their Maker, and refuse to be docile to God’s Spirit in their lives.

I have, myself, in the past, entered into arguments.  Many people, for example, will find that the Church’s belief in the Eucharist is weird and crazy (though, first off, they tend to completely misunderstand the doctrine of the Eucharist).  But I have realized that it is totally pointless to enter into such arguments.  It is not a knock against said people, but in order to understand the Catholic doctrines, one needs to have a docile spirit, a receptive soul, a listening ear.

I am becoming more and more a believer in the idea that the best argument is sanctity: the best argument is a heart convicted by the love of Jesus Christ.  The heart convicted allows Christ to take form in you, and the best means to do that is to read Scripture and to spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  These two elements of the spiritual life are so important, so central, and they are the means through which we allow Jesus to be formed in us.

In Scripture, the words and actions of Jesus take form in our soul, while in adoration, in reception of the Eucharist, we allow the very Person of Jesus to radiate upon us: we are “tanned” by the rays of Jesus.  By these two means, we allow Jesus to take us over completely, thus becoming most ourselves.  Thus, we no longer speak with our own words, but the words of Scripture, the words of Jesus, become our words.  When people call us crazy, we can show through our lives, by which the Scriptures and the Eucharist have become incarnated in us, that we are not crazy, but living a life fulfilled.

So, let us become Saints.  Let us spend time with Jesus, in the Eucharist and in the Word, and allow Him to take form in our lives.

In Christ

-Harrison

 

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Key Elements of the Spiritual Life

For aid in my meditation, I have, of late, returned to a small book I encountered last summer while I was doing CPE in Toronto. The name of the book is “Time for God” by Jacques Philippe, a priest of the Community of the Beatitudes.

It is a wonderful book and I am happy I am reading it again. In fact, all his books are well worth the read, they are great guides to aiding you in the practice of the spiritual life.

I just read the section on faithfulness in prayer and I found it to be very moving and helpful in my prayer life. He states that if we love someone, then we want to spend time with them regularly. It doesn’t matter how long: the more we grow in love with them, the more we will want to spend time with them. Nor, he says, does quality matter because the important thing is to be with that person and not the eloquence of your words to that person. Being creates communion, words are simply an expression of the inner working of our soul. He states that even if it is time that is poor, distracted, and not producing any sense of accomplishment that this type of prayer is, in fact, more beneficial to our souls than the times when we can wax eloquence in our words or are lifted up into the most sublime feelings and sense of peace. The former is more important than the latter because in the latter, we stay despite the circumstances while in the latter we tend to stay because it feels good.

This has had me pondering further about the nature of prayer because I know that I can be quite weak when it comes to prayer. I am, to an extent, a man of great practicality. I want to know how to do what is necessary, to get the methods down right so as to ensure that the effects of an activity bear fruit for me and others. This is helpful in day to day life to an extent, but I have struggled for such a long time to overcome this tendency with regards to prayer. Why? Because prayer is not our work, but God’s work.

The way to begin the life of prayer is to accept and realize that it is God Who is inviting you into His intimate communion of love.  Until this is realized, no real progress can be made in the spiritual life.  I recall from January, when we had the seminary winter retreat, Bishop Corriveau quoted St Bonaventure’s “Journey of the Mind to God”.  In this, Bonaventure begins with a prologue begging God for aid as he attempts his work.  One of his intentions is that God grant him “grace, not understanding.”  I remember hearing this and being blown over by the power of such words.  Grant me, Lord, grace, not understanding.  I prayed on those five words all weekend long.  What does it mean, why is it that it hit me so very hard?  I then came to realize something: when I have approached the spiritual life, I have approached it as if it were a method, as if it were something I had to do certain things in order to attain certain ends.  When we pray for grace, not understanding, we are praying for God to do the work in us.  When He gives us His grace, it moves us to a response (which, as Augustine would say, is also graced).

This led me to realize that when we pray for grace, we are praying for the guidance necessary in our spiritual life.  God will give us the answers, we simply need to be obedient to them.  I have been growing in the awareness over the past year of the absolute centrality of the concept of obedience.  Obedience means that when God gives us something, we do not question it, we do not enter into discussion, we simply follow.  If God has the best intentions for us, then we can only say “yes” to Him.  We often think that God is not giving us what we need.  I know I have fallen into that trap.  What I have realized over the years is that this is a total lie.  God always gives us what we need, we just choose to ignore it, usually because we enter into conversation with temptation instead of listening to God’s still small voice.  Am I still weak in not being obedient to God?  You betcha!  But I know, thanks be to God, that I am growing, day by day, in the realization that His love is what gives me peace, His presence is what grants me stability, His patience which brings me to freedom.  The key, I am discovering each day, is to seek out His will in things and to simply say “yes”.  It doesn’t need to be complicated, because God is not complicated.  Our sinfulness is what complicates things.

So what does this all mean for us?

I have discovered that there important things that are fundamental to every Christian:

  • Silent Prayer: we live in a noisy world, but Christ went up a mountain or into the desert to pray.  We need not even go to the Church: find a space in your house and put a holy image or icon there.  Give God 10 minutes a day.  It is small, but it is sufficient.  Bring to God your heart for the day.  Sometimes it will seem like nothing happened, but, at the end of the day, you will notice that there is a quiet peace about you.  It is because you  have given God your heart for a small part of the day.  Do this every day, though.  I know that when I haven’t done this for a day, or even a couple days, my life gets out of whack and I go through all sorts of crises.  Root yourself in Christ, He is the rock of your salvation.
  • Mass:  This almost goes without saying.  If you can, try and find a weekday Mass you can go to.  There is too much to say about the Mass, but it is also self-evident, so I will leave it there.
  • The Rosary: I have, myself, had a love-hate relationship with the rosary.  But the more I pray it (and the more reading I do), the more I realize its importance.  The rosary is the school of Mary, the place where we see the mysteries of the life of Christ through her eyes.  In the rosary, we are in communion with Our Lady.  The more you pray it, the more you take on the characteristics of Mary and the more you realize how much you don’t have the faith she had, bringing you to a deeper desire to be formed in the image of her Son.
  • Reconciliation: I am so very convinced that this is the great neglected sacrament!  This sacrament is where Christ enters our being through the Cross and renews us completely and totally.  Bring everything to Him, He will heal you.  It is a great sacrament because it reminds us that we are sinners and are in need of God’s healing love.  I have never understood people’s fear of the sacrament.  It is a sacrament!  It is a place where we encounter the Christ in His very Person!  Ought we not to avail ourselves of this sacrament?  I would recommend it at least once a month.  We all make mistakes, we all fail to live up to the image of Christ.  Let us go to Him to be renewed in His image.

There is much more I could say, but that is enough for today.  I know that when I live out those 4 simple things each day, I am rooted in Christ Who supports me in the day and, day by day, aids me to be a little bit more like Him and a little less like my sinful self.

in the Risen Christ

-Harrison

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