Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hymn For Pentecost

Veni, Creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia
quae tu creasti pectora.

Qui diceris Paraclitus,
altissimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.

Tu, septiformis munere,
digitus paternae dexterae,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura.

Accende lumen sensibus:
infunde amorem cordibus:
infirma nostri corporis
virtute firmans perpeti.

Hostem repellas longius,
pacemque dones protinus:
ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne noxium.

Per te sciamus da Patrem,
noscamus atque Filium;
Teque utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio, qui a mortuis surrexit,
ac Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula. Amen.


Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God's hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father,
Thou Who dost the tongue with power imbue.

Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o'erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.

Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.

Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.

Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven. Amen.


Originally posted 6/4/2006.
Part of post "Tongues Of Fire posted 5/27/2007.
Re-posted 5/23/2010.
Re-posted 6/12/2011.
Re-posted 4/18/2013.
Re-posted 6/8/2014.

Pentecost Sequence

Veni, Sancte Spiritus,
et emitte caelitus
lucis tuae radium.

Veni, pater pauperum,
veni, dator munerum
veni, lumen cordium.

Consolator optime,
dulcis hospes animae,
dulce refrigerium.

In labore requies,
in aestu temperies
in fletu solatium.

O lux beatissima,
reple cordis intima
tuorum fidelium.

Sine tuo numine,
nihil est in homine,
nihil est innoxium.

Lava quod est sordidum,
riga quod est aridum,
sana quod est saucium.

Flecte quod est rigidum,
fove quod est frigidum,
rege quod est devium.

Da tuis fidelibus,
in te confidentibus,
sacrum septenarium.

Da virtutis meritum,
da salutis exitum,
da perenne gaudium.

Amen, Alleluia.


Come, Holy Spirit,
Send forth from on high
The radiance of thy light.

Come, thou, father of the poor,
Come, dispenser of all good gifts,
Come thou, light of our hears.

Supreme Comforter,
Beloved guest of our soul,
Its most desirable nourishment.

In the midst of labor, rest.
A cool breeze to temper the heat,
Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed light,
Fill the innermost being.
The very hearts of they faithful.

Without thy divine strength
No good dwells in man,
Nothing but what turns to ill.

Wash away every stain,
Irrigate all dryness,
Heal every wound.

Make supple all that is rigid,
Give ardor to things grown cold,
Straighten every crooked path.

Grant to thy faithful
Who put their trust in thee,
The blessing of thy sevenfold gifts.

Grant us the reward of a virtuous life,
A death which leads to salvation,
To the gift of eternal joy.

Amen. Alleluia.


Originally posted 5/23/2010.
Re-posted 6/12/2011.
Re-posted 5/19/2013.
Re-posted 6/8/2014.

Prayer To The Holy Spirit

V. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful.
R. And kindle in them the fire of Your love.

V. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray:

O God, Who did instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by this same Spirit, we may be always truly wise and ever rejoice in Your consolation. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.


Originally posted 6/4/2006.
Part of post "Tongues Of Fire" posted 5/27/2007.
Re-posted 5/23/2010.
Re-posted 6/12/2011.
Re-posted 5/19/2013.
Re-posted 6/8/2014.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Let's Talk Liturgy: Part 15

This concludes the series of reflections about the liturgy as requested by the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, for the education of the people of the diocese. This was read at the Masses celebrating the Fourth Sunday of Easter and printed in the Intermountain Catholic the following Friday.


The Concluding Rites

How do we know when the Communion Rite is over? Some people leave the church after they receive Communion; is this acceptable practice? To close our series of reflections on the Mass, let’s investigate the ending of the Communion Rite and the Concluding Rites. 
As we move forward to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, and return to our seats, a period of calm prayer follows. We may offer a song of thanksgiving and praise. Sometimes we rest in the Lord’s Presence and simply enjoy the silence. The Communion Rite ends when the celebrant offers the “Prayer after Communion” in which the celebrant invites us to recall that the Lord is with us and we respond. This grace-filled ending expresses our gratitude for the great gift we have just received. It offers our hope that we will go out into our daily lives and continue to build the Kingdom of God. 
The time between the Prayer after Communion and the Rite of Dismissal is the proper time for making very brief announcements to the community. In the past, announcements often occurred immediately before or after the homily and this practice interrupted the flow of the Eucharist. Following the liturgical reform in the late 1960s, announcements were placed in the Concluding Rites. Many parishes have since discovered that their weekly bulletins, emails, websites or message boards communicate best. Indeed, it is preferable not to have announcements except in special circumstances or special need.  
During this time, the presider may choose to comment on the sacred rites we have just experienced. We may hear brief thoughts about the value of a Confirmation retreat or suggestions about choosing suitable godparents. Or we might listen to a brief appeal for refugee resettlement or special aid to a diocese that has been hit by a massive flood. As the parish family, we receive this information and we allow our hearts to be moved by appeals to assist our brothers and sisters in Christ. 
In the Final Blessing, the priest speaks of the Lord’s presence to the community. He uses a prayerful gesture with his arms extended. We respond back, “And with your spirit.”  The priest makes the sign of the cross and says, “May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”  We respond, “Amen.”  
On some occasions the Mass may end with a solemn blessing, which is a bit more formal. The deacon, if there is one, asks us to bow our heads and pray for God’s blessing. The priest then offers a prayer that consists of three parts. As he prays, his arms are extended and he encompasses all the People of God. The deacon again speaks and instructs us to go in peace to love and serve the Lord. The original Latin, Ite, missa est actually instructed us: “Go; your mission begins.” The deacon will say; “Go forth; the Mass is ended.” This is the absolute conclusion of the Mass. As God gives us precious gifts, there is new work for us to do. We prepare to leave with gratitude for all that has been given to us. We leave now to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others.  We respond with our grateful hearts: “Thanks be to God.” We watch the priest go through the same beautiful ritual that began the Mass. He kisses the altar, a symbol of Christ, and we sing a final hymn or listen to an instrumental selection.  
In our original question, we wondered whether it would be acceptable to leave after the Communion Rite. We have learned that the Concluding Rites assist us to offer our humble thanksgiving and gratitude to the Lord who has invited us to this banquet and given us gifts to take with us. Who among us could leave without accepting these precious gifts?

Mindful that Judas was the first person who left Mass early, this is a thoughtful reflection on why Mass is not over until it's over. There are still graces to impart and blessings to receive. (Which begs the question why people come up to receive a blessing during Communion when it is given at the end of Mass.) It is my understanding that in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass the Homily is a tolerated interruption of the Mass; it makes sense to have announcements there. I have come to the conclusion there really is no good place in the Mass to inform the parish of local activities; but modern media is still not available to all. And just to nit-pick--at least on paper, both forms of the Final Blessing could have been in one paragraph and the Dismissal have its own.

If there are some concluding thoughts from the Diocesan Liturgical Committee, I will post them when they become available. Irregardless, I may have some closing thoughts of my own; I will post them later.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Even More Intercession

Once again, I seek stable, suitable employment.

Back to this prayer again (this will be the fourth time I've used it in a post).


Prayer to Saint Anthony of Padua: 
Good Saint Anthony, in God's providence you have secured for His people many marvelous favors. You have been especially celebrated, good Saint Anthony, for your goodness to the poor and the hungry, for finding employment for those seeking it, for your special care of those who travel, and for keeping safe from harm all who must be away from home. You are widely known also, good Saint Anthony, for securing peace in the family, for your delicate mercy in finding lost things, for safe delivery of messages, and for your concern for women in childbirth. In honoring you, Saint Anthony, for the many graces our Lord grants through your favor, we trustfully and confidently ask your aid in our present need. Pray for us, good Saint Anthony, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 
May it be a source of joy, O God, to your Church that we honor the memory of your Confessor and Doctor, Saint Anthony. May his spiritual help always make us strong, and by his assistance may we enjoy an eternal reward. This we ask through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen. 
(This post will remain at the top until further notice.)

May 2015 Morning Offering Prayer Intentions

Here are the intentions for this month when reciting the Morning Offering:
Universal Intention - Care for the suffering. That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbors who suffer, especially the sick and the poor. 
Evangelization Intention - Openness to mission. That Mary’s intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be open to proclaiming Jesus.
Reflections for these intentions are found here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The (Soon-To-Be) Empty Chair

Well, this was quite the surprise upon waking this morning.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Let's Talk Liturgy: Part 14

This continues the series of reflections about the liturgy as requested by the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, for the education of the people of the diocese. This was read at the Masses celebrating the Third Sunday of Easter and printed in the Intermountain Catholic the following Friday.


The Communion Rite, Part III
When we share a meal with family and friends, we are likely to hear at some point a welcome invitation to dine – Come to the table … a comer [co-mair] … mangia! [man-jeeh] The same happens at Mass. Over the past several weeks we have seen how the Eucharistic meal is prepared, and how we prepare to receive it. Now, the invitation comes as the priest elevates the chalice and host and proclaims, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). He then proclaims words from the book of Revelation, “Blessed are those who have been called to the Supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9). We respond in words that express both humility and confidence: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed” (Matthew 8:8). We are invited to look at the Eucharistic Bread and to express reverence, confidence and faith. 
The celebrating priest receives the consecrated bread and wine first before distributing the Lord’s body and blood to each communicant. When distributing communion, the priest, deacon or extraordinary minister of holy communion shows the host to each person and says, “The Body of Christ,” to which the communicant responds, “Amen.” A similar formula – “The Blood of Christ” – precedes reception from the chalice. It is important to remember that we always receive communion; it is never permitted for a communicant to simply take the Body and Blood of Christ from the altar. It is received from a priest, deacon or extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. 
Up to the eleventh century, the norm was to receive communion under both kinds: both the Precious Body and the Precious Blood. Over the centuries, a practice developed of not receiving from the chalice, except in special circumstances. The Second Vatican Council initiated a gradual extension of the ancient practice of receiving the Eucharist under both kinds. Thus, receiving both the consecrated bread and the chalice is now permitted at all Masses. 
Another ancient practice - receiving the Eucharistic bread in the hand – has been revived in recent years.  Communicants now have the option of receiving either in the hand or on the tongue. Receiving from the chalice brings out the fuller meaning of the Eucharist. 
In the United States, the norm is for communicants to receive Communion while standing, although kneeling, while not encouraged, is permitted by those who choose it. As a sign of reverence, we make a slight bow before receiving the Eucharistic Bread and the chalice. No genuflection should be made. 
Since the earliest centuries, it has been the custom to sing a psalm during the Communion procession. The communion song, expressing unity, encounter with the Lord, and joy, should begin when the priest receives the Sacrament and should continue as long as is convenient. When there is no song, the antiphon found in the Missal is recited by the faithful, a lector or by the priest himself. To foster participation of the faithful, there should only be one hymn during the Communion Rite, although if the Communion procession is lengthy, an additional piece of music may be permissible. There may be a choral piece during the period of reflection.

After every meal, someone must do the dishes. After Communion, there must be a reverent cleaning of the vessels used during the Mass. Any consecrated hosts that remain may either be consumed or placed in the tabernacle. Any consecrated wine that remains must be consumed by the priest, the deacon or the extraordinary ministers. It may never be disposed of in any other way. In the Diocese of Salt Lake City, the priest or deacon purifies the vessels with water, at the credence table. Care must be taken that no fragments of consecrated hosts are left on the altar. 
The Eucharistic meal concludes with the Prayer after Communion. It should be preceded by a period of silence and is introduced with the words, “Let us pray.” This prayer is not a prayer of thanksgiving but, rather, asks for the spiritual effects or fruits of the Eucharist.  It always concludes the Communion Rite, and only after this prayer may other activities follow, such as brief announcements.

Of all the reflections, this is the one which just doesn't sit well with me at all. Not that it isn't an adequate description of what is happening. My objection is the same as some of the faithful who show a more pious attitude and have a better understanding of what the Mass is than I. It is the seemingly deliberate obstructing of the Mass as sacrifice in favor of a meal. The obscuring of Calvary in favor of the Upper Room. The emphasis of the horizontal expression of this liturgy over the the vertical. The focus on the temporal instead of the spiritual. It is the complaint of Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani echoing since 1969.

It also highlights two other contentious issues. The first is reception under both kinds and how it has made some kind of a comeback. (It also ties into the abuse of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, but that is another issue.) The second is the physical postures of receiving the Body of Christ. Are the both anachronisms? I leave a thought about that for later, for there are some other tie-ins.

Yes, this reflection is told as an analogy. But it is as accurately told as possible?

Let's Talk Liturgy: Part 13

This continues the series of reflections about the liturgy as requested by the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, for the education of the people of the diocese. This was read at the Masses celebrating the Second Sunday of Easter and printed in the Intermountain Catholic the following Friday.


The Communion Rite, Part II

The Liturgy of the Mass is rich with signs of communion with Christ and each other. One ancient sign of unity that comes right after the Sign of Peace is “the breaking of the bread.” In fact, the entire Eucharistic rite was once simply known as “the breaking of the bread.” By participating in the one bread that is broken and shared, we express symbolically the reality of being one in Christ. 
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul says: “The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for all partake of the one loaf.” (1 Cor. 10:16b-17) 
The unity Paul speaks of is highlighted by the priest breaking the large consecrated host and sharing at least some of the fragments with those present. The deacon also may assist in the breaking of the bread. While it is desirable that as many as possible share in the bread that is broken, the use of the smaller hosts consecrated at the same time is a practical necessity at most Masses. 
The sign of our unity with Christ expressed by the breaking and sharing of bread continues as the priest adds a small piece of the consecrated host with the consecrated wine. This gesture, introduced in the eighth century, signifies the unity of the Body and Blood of the Lord in the work of salvation. A prayer, dating from the middle of the eighth century, is spoken inaudibly by the priest and requests the fruits of Communion for everyone present. 
Because the breaking of the bread was especially lengthy in the earlier celebrations of the Mass, it was accompanied by a chant. This later became what we call the “Agnus Dei” – the Lamb of God. The words “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world” are taken from the acknowledgment given Jesus by John the Baptist (John 1:29). It acknowledges that Christ is the Paschal Lamb who has conquered death. The chant was originally sung by the people and was repeated for as long as necessary. As the time required for the breaking of the bread became briefer, it gradually was reduced to the text as we know it and is usually sung only three times, although it may be repeated, if necessary. From the tenth century on, it has always ended with the words “grant us peace,” linking it to the Sign of Peace. Today the “Agnus Dei” is a litany-song of the choir, cantor and congregation, and may be repeated as often as necessary, but does not include the priest who is engaged in breaking of the bread. 
After the Lamb of God concludes, the people kneel and prepare to receive Communion. The priest prepares himself by a prayer said quietly while those celebrating with him do so by praying silently. With these prayers, all are ready to receive Communion.

My apologizes for not posting this on time. I had a little difficultly finding the article on-line (the search engine at the newspaper's website doesn't seem to work that well) and then life got in the way of 'blogging. Again, props to those who make their living by writing.

Interesting information regarding the liturgical history of this section. The "breaking of the bread" actually first refers to the Gospel passage of the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). The development of the Agnus Dei would also explain why I have encountered "extended" versions of it in some Mass settings in the past twenty years. Anachronism rearing its ugly head again?

Still, it's good information.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

The "Other" Prayer

As mentioned in a previous post, the Regina Coeli now takes the place of the Angelus when the church bells peel morning, noon, and night during the Easter Season. This is a wonderful reminder of our salvation during the next 50 days.


V. Regina cæli, lætare, alleluia:
R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,

V. Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia,
R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

V. Gaude et lætare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Oremus.  Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum lætificare dignatus es:
præsta, quæsumus, ut per eius Genitricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuæ capiamus gaudia vitæ.  Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Queen of Heaven, rejoice. Alleluia.
R. For He Whom thou was made worthy to bear. Alleluia.

V. Has risen as He said. Alleluia.
R. Pray for us to God. Alleluia.

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary. Alleluia.
R. For the Lord hath risen indeed. Alleluia.

Let us pray: O God, Who through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, hast vouchsafed to make glad the world, grant us we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may attain unto the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.


Originally posted 4/16/2006.
Re-posted 4/4/2010.
Re-posted 4/8/2012.
Re-posted 3/31/2013.
Re-posted 4/20/2014.

Easter Sequence

The Resurrection of Christ, by Peter Paul Rubens

Victimae Paschali laudes immolent Christiani.
Agnus redemit oves: Christus innocens Patri reconciliavit peccatores.
Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando: dux vitae mortuus, regnat vivus.
Dic nobis Maria, Quid vidisti in via?
Sepulcrum Christi viventis, et gloriam vidi resurgentis.
Angelicos testees, sudarium et vestes.
Surrexit Christus spes mea: praecedet suos in Galilaeam.
Scimus Christum surrexisse a mortuis vere: Tu nobis, victor Rex miserere.
Amen. Alleluia.


Christians, to the Paschal victim offer sacrifice and praise.
The sheep are ransomed by the Lamb; and Christ, the undefiled, hath sinners to his Father reconciled.
Death with life contended: combat strangely ended!
Life's own Champion, slain, yet lives to reign.
Tell us, Mary: say what thou didst see upon the way.
The tomb the Living did enclose; I saw Christ's glory as He rose!
The angels there attesting; shroud with grave-clothes resting.
Christ, my hope, has risen: He goes before you into Galilee.
That Christ is truly risen from the dead we know.
Victorious King, Thy mercy show!
Amen. Alleluia.


He Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed!

Happy Easter, Everybody!


Originally posted Easter Sunday 2006.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2007.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2008.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2009.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2011.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2012.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2013.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2014.

Some messages never change.

2015 Easter Card

May our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, having freed us from the power of sin and death, bring us everlasting joy. May we, His adopted sons and daughters, find in Him the peace that surpasses all understanding. May we continue to know, love, and serve Him all the days of our lives.

He is risen! He is risen, indeed!

Happy Easter, everybody!

April 2015 Morning Offering Prayer Intentions

Here are the intentions for this month when reciting the Morning Offering:
Universal Intention - Scientists. That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person. 
Evangelization Intention - Contribution of Women. That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.
Reflections for these intentions are found here.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

"...A Pillar Of Fire..."

Tonight is the most glorious liturgy Holy Mother Church has to offer. With its unique opening, the multitude of readings, and the conferring of the Sacraments of Initiation, this is what is meant by the Eucharist being "the source and summit" of our Christian living. Everything flows from and to the happenings of this night.

St. John in the opening chapter of his Gospel, mentioning Christ as both Word and Light, especially comes into play during this continuation of the Triddum Liturgy. Picking up where we ended at the Good Friday Liturgy, in darkness and silence, both are broken. Prayers of blessing over the fire and the Pascal Candle and the lighting of both are experienced. A procession, different in substance from any in which we have participated during Holy Week, yet similar to the Procession of the Cross from Good Friday, is undertaken, interrupted with interjections of thanksgiving.

Finally, when the Pascal Candle is situated in its proper place, a hymn of adoration and thanksgiving is intoned on behalf of the People of God, the New Israel.

This is the Christian's completed joy.

This is the Exultet.

The Latin and English texts are provided for your contemplation.

Let's Talk Liturgy: Part 12

This continues the series of reflections about the liturgy as requested by the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, for the education of the people of the diocese. This was read at the Masses celebrating Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord and printed in the Intermountain Catholic the following Friday.


Reflection 12 – The Communion Rite, Part I 
The Liturgy of the Eucharist might be compared to a great symphony, with one movement leading harmoniously to the next, rising and falling, only to rise again to a new level. In the Eucharistic Prayer we reach a spiritual crescendo as the words of consecration are spoken, followed by the Great Amen as we prepare to receive Communion – the Body and Blood of Christ. The transition to the next high point of the Mass is the Lord’s Prayer, and it is fitting that it should be a part of our liturgical worship since it is the prayer Jesus gave us. 
The petitions of this model Christian prayer are closely linked to the Eucharistic Prayer – asking for bread and forgiveness. We ask for the bread of the Eucharist as well as for bread to satisfy our daily needs, both physical and spiritual. And we ask to be reconciled with one another so that we might share our bread worthily at the Table of the Lord. The Lord’s Prayer helps us look forward to Communion where we will receive the Bread of Life. 
After the final petition of the Lord’s Prayer, the priest offers a petition for perfect peace. This additional request is referred to as the “embolism” from the Greek meaning an “insertion” and acts as a transition to the doxology – “for the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours …” proclaimed and sung, if possible, by all the faithful. These words were probably added at an early date so that the Lord’s Prayer would end on a positive note, rather than “deliver us from evil.” 
In recent years, different postures for praying the Lord’s Prayer have appeared – some prefer to pray with hands raised in what has traditionally been called the orans or praying position, harking back to early depictions in the catacombs at Rome. Some prefer to hold hands, symbolizing unity, while others prefer to keep a respectful distance, perhaps praying with hands folded and eyes closed. None of these ways of praying is either recommended or forbidden by the instructions for the Mass. 
The reconciliation and unity that we ask for in the Lord’s Prayer find further expression in the Rite of Peace, or what has been traditionally called “the kiss of peace.” This rite, which the priest initiates with the words “Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles …” has over the centuries been placed at different points in the liturgy. It is closely linked to the reception of the Eucharist and has always been viewed as a sign of mutual love required by Christ. 
After the priest extends the sign of peace to those assembled and the words “And with your spirit” are heard, the deacon or, in his absence, the priest, invites everyone to share the sign of peace with one another. But it must be kept in mind that the Rite of Peace is a sign, a sign that need not be exhausted by trying to give this greeting to everyone or even a great number of those present. The celebrant must be especially mindful of this limitation, since a more elaborate or extended exchange of peace can become a distraction. It is best to limit the sign only to those who are nearest. Except on special occasions, such as a wedding or a funeral, the priest should remain within the sanctuary so he does not disrupt the celebration. 
The exchange of Christ’s peace is not of value if we see it as simply a “Hello” to people we know and care about. It is more than that; it continues our preparation for Communion by reminding us that we desire for others the perfect peace that Christ promised us. This simple gesture is truly a complex sign – a greeting, a prayer, and a reminder that we are always seeking for the unity that we are about to experience when we receive Christ’s Body and Blood. Indeed, the sign of peace symbolizes that just as Christ gave himself for us, so too I desire to give my life for you.

Of all the parts of the Mass in the Ordinary Form, it is this section which seems to cause the most distraction within this rite, and because of it, controversy. The Diocesan Liturgical Committee sees fit to include these observations in their discussion. That just makes it easier for me to comment, since I was going to mention these topics as well.

As Fr. John Zuhlsdorf has noted, there is nothing in the way of rubrics for the congregation during the Our Father other than to stand. I remember growing up when the Ordinary Form was in its infancy people would adopt the "orans" position here because they had no idea how to behave and looked to the priest during the Mass for guidance. (Another strike against "versus populum", perhaps?) The holding of hands probably grew out of that, as well as some raising their hands either as an individual or a group at the Embolism. My question about all these practices would be if the "orans" position is really proper for the laity to use in the context of a liturgy or could it symbolize an ever so slight blurring of the line between the ministerial priesthood and common priesthood of the baptized.

I might have to cut the Committee a little slack about the Rite of Peace. This series of reflections were probably written about the same time as the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments came out with their circular letter regarding this rite. This section may or may not have been edited to reflect the current wishes of the CDW-DS. My point is not that but the statement this rite has moved around in the liturgy. Is this true or another anachronism?

I can understand why people believe these are distractions. We are in our final preparations for the ultimate act of "full, conscious, active participation"--the receiving of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How does what some consider to be extraneous movement help our focus on what is to come?

Seven Last Words: Waiting And Trusting

Crucified Christ with Saint John the Evangelist, the Virgin, and Saints Dominic and Jerome
by Fra Angelico

This concludes a series of short meditations upon the statements made while Jesus hung on the Cross.


"Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit." (Luke 23:46, cf. Psalm 31:6)
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus realized that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had loved his own in this world, and would show his love for them to the end.

John 13:1
His final acts. One last attempt to reveal Himself to the world (again, a fragment of a Psalm which would be familiar to all, another one which portrayed His Passion). And then, He dies.

"What wondrous love is this, O my soul?" A love which takes a soul a lifetime to understand, much less appreciate, much less articulate, much less emulate. A love eternal.

And now comes the ultimate act of trust. In His humanity, He can no longer do anymore. In a sense, He has become a child again--placed in His Mother's arms, wrapped in cloth, laid to rest in a place not His own. He has now placed His trust in the Father, a trust that the plan of salvation would come to fruition.

His work on earth is done. His job--to re-create the world--is completed. The six days from Palm Sunday to Good Friday are over. "Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken." (Genesis 2:2)

And so He rests.

And so we wait.


Originally posted 4/15/2006 as "Seven Last Words: Trusting".
Re-posted 4/7/2007 as "Seven Last Words: Waiting."
Re-posted 3/22/2008.
Re-posted 4/11/2009.
Re-posted 4/3/2010.
Re-posted 4/23/2011.
Re-posted 4/7/2012.
Re-posted 3/30/2013.
Re-posted 4/19/2014.