Thursday, June 4, 2009


So, there is no little argument about this next part of the Mass. Depending on the liturgist I listen to or read the, “Dominus vobiscum,” (or “Lord be with you or its variants) is either a friendly but Christian specific greeting (hence the suggestion of not saying, “Hi!” after this greeting,) a recognition of the fact that Holy Spirit is in fact among us, or is an actual yet mini epiclesis (calling down of the Holy Spirit.) Perhaps it is all three. But one, two, or all three meanings it is easy to see the importance of this exchange.

A brief introduction of the Mass may follow which leads us into the penitential rite. Before we begin this great act of worship we call to mind our minor faults and sins and then (as was beaten into us at the seminary) CELEBRATE God’s mercy. This cleansing of our sins does not have the efficacy of the Sacrament of Confession and certainly does not take care of mortal sins, but for those in a general state of grace with the usual hang ups that come from being human – those things that we call to mind and are sorry for (which is why there should be at least a moment of silence so that people have time to participate) then this rite prepares us to engage in this great act of community prayer in purity of heart.

So, to recap, we have had the first opportunity to worship God and gather as community in the opening song, we have stated that what we are about to do is in the name of our One yet Triune God, we have recognized the presence of God among us, had our minor faults forgiven, and now, in what should be a high – pregame hype if you will – we break out into song. The Gloria! The song that the angles sang when Jesus was born. “Glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on earth.” Listen (or read and recall) the passionate praises this song proclaims: “Lord, God! Heavenly King! Almighty God and Father. We worship You, we give You thanks! We praise You for Your glory . . .” On person described the Gloria as, “What lovers do.” It should burst forth from our hearts if not actually, then at least with a mindful attention. You have no doubt heard a computer generated computer say, “I love you” with a dead lifeless voice. How silly it must be to somebody from outside our tradition to hear us say or sing such beautiful words in a monotone, board voice. And how wonderful it is when we put our heart into it, at least reciting it like we know what we are saying.

Finally the preliminaries are almost done and before we get into the meat of things the celebrant says, “Let us pray.” This is not a call for the Sacramentary to come over. It is an instruction to the congregation to call to mind things that are important for you to pray for during the Mass. Then the priest collects all the prayers in a pray called the Collect and presents them to God. This is not something to missed out on! God always hears our prayers but here is a special moment in which to present them as part of the Mass.

FINALLY! Notice to Whom the prayer is addressed AS ARE MOST OF THE PRAYERS OF THE MASS. They are directed to the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit. “We ask this THROUGH our Lord Jesus Christ Who lives and reigns with You and Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.” The whole Mass is one great prayer made by the Body of Christ (which you are), through Him, with Him, in Him, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit to our Father in heaven. An important point to keep in mind as we continue our hike through the Mass.


Kevin said...

Faster please.

Fr. V said...


Will try.

Warren said...

Yeah, I think this is going to be a 12 part one at least. The central part (Canon of the Mass) deserves at least a dozen posts, right? :-)