GIRM paragraph 77 cont.
So . . .
The GIRM is so, so, so carefully worded. There is no punctuation, no comma, no part of a comma that has not been carefully thought out. But I have a little - “problem” would be too big of word for it - maybe just “question” with the end of this paragraph.
Concerning the entering into the Eucharistic prayer it says, “The Eucharistic Prayer requires that everybody listens to it with reverence and in silence.”
I get the silence (save for the crying babies who are our future kindergarten class. If they aren’t crying, you are dying.) Music shouldn’t be playing, conversation shouldn’t be going on, other prayers should not be taking place, our focus is on this most august of prayers. Okay.
I also get the “listen” part even though it is NOT the congregation that is being addressed. It is the Father to Whom we are speaking. (This is made a little confusing by the priest facing the people and saying, “Take this all of you,” which, at that point, is still being addressed to the Father, not the congregation. The priest is speaking on behalf of all to the Father like Moses leading the people through the wilderness. The way we do it seems like a docent walking backwards and saying, “we’re walking, we’re walking.” See first 30 seconds of movie clip. Sorry for the commercial.)
So, while the directives may be true, do not think that the laity are passive participants in the Eucharistic Liturgy. Remember we just finished praying, “My sacrifice and yours.” Pope Benedict, God rest him, pointed out that the role of the priesthood of the people is a very important one. That is why we may not take on more than one ministry at the Mass. A person cannot (or should not) be lector AND extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, for example. It takes the person too far away from the more important role of prayer. Those who perform these ministries are not doing MORE, they are being taken away from their primary duty to perform a task on behalf of the community. So they are limited on taking more than a fair share of BURDEN.
The reason we are quiet and listening is to take part in the Eucharistic prayer. We are to PRAY it. It is not prayed AT you or in spite of you, it is something into which you are to enter, to make your own, and offer that Father. You are not there to receive, you are there to WORK. Otherwise, why not just let the priest pre-sanctify everything and just show up for the readings, homily, and Communion service?