Home -> Liturgical Changes - Part 2
Well Hello again, everybody. As promised last week, I am here once again to continue our discussion of the 3rd edition of the Roman missal. Before we begin, a side note… if you were not here this past weekend, you can find a copy of last Sunday’s talk on the parish website.
In today’s talk, we are going to dive right in to the new texts, and really get at the meat and potatoes of the changes that we are going to notice. At this time, I invite you to secure a pew card for yourself, there should be a stack at the end of each pew; please distribute them accordingly. Now, we ask that you don’t take these home with you at this time. Please leave them here at Church, because Fr. Pat will be using them during his homily next week.
If you look at the section marked Greeting, you will notice that our first change in the translation occurs right at the beginning of Mass. The people’s response changes from, ‘And also with you’ to ‘And with your Spirit.’ Now, while it might not seem like much, this simple sentence captures the very essence of what the new Missal is all about, and we would be remise not to delve a bit deeper.
The first goal of the new missal is to translate the Latin literally, word for word. Most Catholics are familiar with the Latin response; Et cum Spiritu tuo. And with your Spirit is the literal translation of that Latin passage. But even more importantly, the new missal wants to restore the theological significance behind the words and phrases, and this gives us more insight into the power of the translation.
What does, “and also with you” really mean? To me, it sounds like an average, run of the mill greeting. The emphasis is on me… Fr. Mike. The Lord be with you… ahh, the same to you. Or, Hi everybody; Good morning, Fr. Mike! Notice, its about me! But, you see, when the priest stands in front of this altar, dressed in these fancy robes… its not him that is standing in front of you; its someone even more special! It’s the great miracle of the Sacrament of Holy Orders; when the priest is ordained, his very essence is now changed; he is now conformed to Christ in a special way. When I serve as a sacramental minister, Christ is able to take over… and so it is not Fr. Mike that is ministering to you; it is Christ the head working through me to bring about grace. So in confession, I do not say, Jesus absolves you from your sins; I say I absolve you from your sins. When I consecrate the Eucharist, I don’t say take this all of you and eat it, this is Jesus’ body; I say, this is my body! Jesus is working through me, through the grace of Ordination that has conformed my soul and spirit to him in a very special way.
So when you respond, “and with your spirit,” you are not saying, “Hi Father Mike!” You are saying, we recognize that your Spirit has been conformed to Christ through the Sacrament of Holy Orders. We recognize that Jesus is able to work through that Spirit of yours to give himself to us. So come be our priest now… don’t be Father Mike… come and be Jesus for us! What a beautiful prayer!
The next section down is the Penitential Rite. Now, as you can see, there are three forms of the penitential rite that we are able to use, but we can simplify this even more! Form B, while it is an option, is almost never used; I think I have used it two times in my two and a half years as a priest! Form C is our most familiar form, it is the one with the tropes, (Lord Jesus, you are mighty God and prince of Peace), and the words are not changing at all! So really, the only one we need to look at is the Confiteor; form A.
Now, as you look over this new translation, one thing becomes quite obvious: why is there such an emphasis on our sinfulness?! Well, what we are trying to do with this prayer, is not focus on our miserable failings, but on the wonderful, forgiving power of God. Even as I greatly sin, and I do this whenever I offend God: God is still God, and he can make me whole, no matter what it is that I have done! This prayer is about humility, our submission to God. And of course, there is the wonderful poetic repetition from the Latin that is spelled out for us: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa; through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault! When we say that part, we are to strike our breast three times. Just as Peter denied Christ three times, just as Jesus was in the tomb for three days, so this repetition calls to mind God’s mercy for us whenever we call upon him.
Our next passage is the Gloria. As you can see, the first part is changed to say, “on earth peace to people of good will.” This of course comes straight out of the Gospel of Luke. After Gabriel tells the shepherds about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, a multitude of Angels appear in the night sky, and this is the song that they sing! So, now, we join the angels in this great display of our love for God.
As the text continues, you might be tempted to think; boy they sure made this a whole lot longer! Actually, nothing is added: what you are noticing is that our previous translation abbreviated this great prayer. The new missal does a great job of re-capturing the poetry and cadence of the Original Latin: instead of rushing through the song as quickly as we can, we take our time, savoring our love and affection for the Triune God.
The Gospel Dialogue does not change except for that pesky “and with your Spirit” clause. Once again, the people are telling the priest or deacon, through that grace bestowed on you through your Ordination, come now and be Christ for us. Allow us to hear the word of God, and help us to understand it better through the words of your homily.
Finally, the last section that we will discuss today is the Profession of Faith. Unfortunately, we do not have another 10 hours to break down this text, so let’s focus on the highlights.
Instead of saying, ‘we believe,’ the translation now reads, ‘I believe.’ So now there is no more hiding! Just like on the day of our Baptism, so now each of us are being called to assess our personal relationship with God. But there’s more to it than that. St. Paul tells us that although we are many parts, we are all one body – the Mystical Body of Christ. So as each member of the Body professes the faith, these voices all join together to form the one voice of the body. Although it seems like a wild paradox: by responding individually, we actually being drawn into a much deeper unity, and the importance and prominence of each individual member is emphasized. None of us are expandable; we are all necessary for the fullness of God’s love to be made manifest.
Ok, let’s call it a day. Next week, our good pastor will take us through the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Thanks so much for putting up with me these past couple of weeks. If you have any other concerns or questions about the rest of the Creed or anything else we covered today, please feel free to call or visit Fr. Pat or me. God bless!
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