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The Mass, the Eucharist

and the Pledge of Eternity

 

The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

I.   What is the Mass?

 

In the winter of Zimbabwe, thousands of people, some of them sick, some of them children, are sleeping on the streets. They have no shelter, no homes, no food. Every day the sisters and people of the local Catholic community, with their priest, try to bring food to as many as they can. They have very little more than those on the streets - but what they have, they give.

In Zambia, our Poor Clare sisters often go hungry themselves so that they do not have to refuse anyone who turns up at the door, begging for food. Once, when the portress was rather slow in coming back from the door, Mother asked her what kept her.  "I was hulling maize" the Sister answered, “for a man who wanted food." Mother answered gently, "Could you not have let him hull it for himself?” “Mother," the sister answered, “He had no fingers."

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The liturgy which culminates in and flows out from the celebration of Holy Mass, is the summit and source of our life as Catholic Christians. 1

The word `Mass' is taken from its concluding words, 'ite missa est', which can be translate not merely as "The Mass is ended", but "This is the commissioning" and "Go! You are sent forth." Our hunger for life and love has been fed on the bread of heaven and we are sent forth to reach out to our brothers and sisters and break with them the bread of heaven - and earth.

But what is it that has co-missioned us? And having fulfilled our mission to what shall we return?

The shortest answer is the gateway of heaven on earth. 2

“The night before he died, he took bread in his hands and said the blessing, and broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, This is my body which will be given for you... This is my blood which will be shed for forgiveness ... Do this ...”

It is because we are fed by God that we can feed each other. It is because we are loved totally by God that we can love each other.

This is the work of God, the opus Dei into which God's love carries us. It is threefold - or if you prefer, fourfold. It is the work of adoration, reception and bestowal - and with it, thanksgiving, which is the root of the meaning of the word Eucharist. 3

In the Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit adore each other, receive each other and give themselves to each other. And the Mass sweeps us into this tide of loving exchange.

The Church believes together, not as an assembly of individuals, but as a living body so tended towards unity that even in her sins and struggles she can say in the Creed, "I  believe." As the body of Christ, the Church (Col 1:18) and as myself, I adore the Lord, the Living God; I receive His Body and Blood sacramentally, and in Him, I receive the gift of all life — of this world and the next — and I bestow on others, freely, in service and love, in breaking and giving away the life given to me.

I am the thanksgiving that I make. Love bends down to earth in the Word that is made Flesh and gathers me up into heaven.

This is the motif of the great evangelist of the Eucharist, St John: the bread comes down from heaven; the Lord goes up to Jerusalem. John's Gospel is punctuated by two directional bearings, in Greek: kata and ana - the going down and the going up. The liturgy is there for us to relive the life of Jesus. The cross is the swing point of the descent to earth. It gathers us to heaven. Cardinal Ratzinger, now our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, viewing this mystery from the perspective of earth, calls this the exitus and the reditus 4 — the going out and the return. "To celebrate the Eucharist means to enter into the openness of a glorification of God that embraces both heaven and earth 5"

In the mass we are caught up in the tide of love; the falling fire and the flowing waters of heaven. The liturgy, as Archbishop Marini describes it, "is the prolongation of the fire of Pentecost, the stream of life giving water flowing from the side of the Saviour which, even now, flows from the throne of God and the Lamb" 6

This pilgrimage of love is not independent of us. It begs for our participation. There is "indissoluble unity between the descending movement of sanctification and the ascending movement of worship” 7 The coming down is the work of God, "the work of the Father through Christ, in the Spirit" and the rising up is the response of humanity who, "through ritual in the Spirit of Christ the High Priest, give all glory and honour to the Father and strive to co-operate in his plan of redemption" 8

This is the liturgy of our poverty. We have nothing worthy to give, nothing possible even to contribute, except ourselves, every fibre of our life and being. This is the exchange of time for eternity of which St Clare speaks. 9 We come to behold, hold and enfold this mystery, this wonder that is totally beyond us, so that we can be caught up in a love beyond description.

 

II.    The Mass as a Sacrifice

 Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan had scarcely been ordained Coadjutor Bishop of Saigon before the Communist Vietnamese government, seized him and kept him in prison for thirteen years - most of them in solitary. He was a man of hope; at the roots of the most terrible desolation there was, for him the seed of hope. To celebrate the Eucharist he used to lie on his side with a few drops of wine held in the palm of his hand and a few fragments of wheat. He never returned to his diocese.

When the government released and banished him he went to John Paul II who appointed him to the Pontifical Council of justice and Peace, and subsequently made him a Cardinal. He died of cancer in 2002.

Elizabeth also lives in Rome. She wears a slim ribbon across her forehead because it disconcerts her if the eyes of the people to whom she is listening, stray to the band of tribal tattooing across her forehead. She loves beautiful and expensive clothes. The long sleeved blouses and the short kid boots she wears are always tailor-made, but there is a reason for it. When she was a teenager Elizabeth was caught up in an African tragedy. She was abused, beaten and crucified on the wall of a church. She is marked with the sign of the cross. Attending Mass with her is an experience; just hearing her say the Our Father is to grow in faith. If you ask her how she managed to forgive, she will look at you, surprised and amused. She will say, "What is there to forgive? I am alive - hundreds of thousands of my people died, but God chose to place his hand over me. I can look at the scars in my hands and feet and side and know how much God loves me...."

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The Mass "is at once the exercise of the priestly office of Christ, of the ordained ministry of bishops, priests and deacons, and of the universal priesthood of the people of God." 10

The Eucharist is something that God does, that our ordained ministers do, that all of us do.

In spirit we all extend our hands in the gesture of Christ as he held the bread on the night before he died. But we, the universal, royal, priestly and prophetic people of God take, not a piece of bread, but our lives, our very selves; we offer our bodies, as St Paul says, as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1).

If I am the father of a family, I offer my work, for I take and break myself in the daily giving of labour for my children and my wife.

If I am a mother, I give life to my children who were nourished on the blood in my womb, and I act out this bestowal of love in all I do: I give my life.

If I am a consecrated person I give my body and my blood, my capacity to work and transmit life for all my brothers and sisters and children in the Spirit. I lay down my life in its totality: I offer my time and space, and God gives me a hundredfold in return. This is God's promise to those who leave all to follow him in poverty, chastity and obedience.

If I am a priest, truly, I bring the offering of the father who serves his family, the offering of a mother who nurtures life, the offering of a celibate who renders all his time and space to God. And I bring God's unique and sovereign gift conferred on me in priesthood: the power to mediate the sacrifice of heaven to earth. I make the offering of a father and a mother and a celibate as my very least response to the gift of God, not because I deserve it or have paid for it. God makes me another Christ: he makes me a mediator between himself and humanity. It is an objective conferral of grace. My priestly gift does not in any way depend on my fine character or moral goodness. But I am offered the chance to live what I give and give what I live.

We all are.

This is our Mass. We are the offertory procession. In our yes to God, a miracle takes place. We become what we receive (ii). We can receive the body of God in a dreary indifference, we can receive it in unbelief and ignorance, and it will still be the body and blood of the Second Person of the Trinity. But it is not advisable to do this - it is more destructive than feeding pure sugar to a sick diabetic who has no insulin. It is a form of death. God's self-giving is absolute and objective, yet it leaves us free. It is a real event in time and space.


The High Priest

We have worked outward from the common priesthood of all the baptised to the priesthood of our ordained ministers - without whom the mass is a non-event /— to our participation, as ordained and non-ordained together at this mystery.

We lift up our eyes and look at the hands of Jesus as they held the bread in that cool upper room, two thousands years ago. It is the same gesture now made by our priests, our bishops and the successor of St Peter. At the heart of the mass is this gesture of the simplicity of love 12

The hands that break the bread do not yet bear the marks of the nails. He says to us, "This is my body and blood," not "This will be when I have offered it up on the cross and laid down my life in death." The gesture does not increase in meaning because of the offering, death and resurrection that is to come. The Lord only has to say the word to bestow himself on us. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was made flesh (Jn. 1:1). St John is not merely the Evangelist of the Eucharist in the sixth chapter of his gospel; the Eucharist is already pre-visioned in the prologue. The Lord came to his own and his own knew (received) him not Jn. 1:11-21. It is we who need the images of the passion and resurrection to drive home to us what we receive.

There is a lot that we can learn from the sacramental system of the Old Testament, but the best place to start in understanding sacrifice is from where we are. A primitive willingness to suffer for love is built into our make, regardless of cultural background. No human child would ever, anywhere, reach maturity if its mother, at least, was not willing to suffer a measure of inconvenience on its behalf.

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A very suffering woman who had endured an abortion, once told me that she did not have space to have her unborn child; her career would not support the time-off entailed; her job depended on constant physical fitness. Her social life was essential to her, both from the employment and personal aspect. Her own psychological wellbeing required a great deal of freedom and space. For happiness she demanded easily accessible, but otherwise uncommitted, sexual relationships. A child, at best, would cut drastically into all these things and would diminish her as a person. At worst, it would destroy her and take away her freedom. If she had told me that the four inch foetus was an entire totalitarian state, I could not have been more impressed. And I agreed. A baby might well do these things. Then she broke down and cried desolately for fifty-seven minutes, because she had destroyed the child within her.

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We are built to understand sacrifice and to make it. With faith it can become a constant joyful choice. With love it can turn a life of hardship and drudgery into a song. In the end, far fewer people crave to be loved as much as they crave to have someone to love.

This fits us to understand love when it is broken for us under the sign of bread and poured out under the sign of wine.

It fits us to understand the extravagant tenderness of a crucified love. It fits us to believe and truly enter the unbelievable joy of the resurrection.
 

The Matrix of Faith

We come to the New Covenant, ideally, prepared by the Old. The Church keeps the Old Testament in the Bible so that we should understand the New and so that we should see how God prepared his people for the revelation of his Son. The Word of God is a life-work of reflecting mirrors, of finding the old in the new and the new in the old.

The first five books of the bible are the history, commentary and the Altar Missal of the sacramental system of the Old Covenant. On the road to Emmaus, Jesus, beginning with Moses, interprets to his disciples all those things in the scriptures concerning himself (Lk 24:27). Some commentators isolate Moses' one-liner: He will send you a prophet like myself (Deut 18:15) as the contribution to prophecy alluded to. But Jesus is not a prophet! He is God!

The prophesy of Moses is the Mosaic sacramental law; it points to the Messiah. This gripping truth is outlined in passages that many pass by. Leviticus Chapters 1-9 (mostly) is the Old General Introduction to the Missal!

It tells you how to meet God and communicate with him.

It is detailed and practical. You make an offertory procession and you place your gift before the altar; it is a bull calf, or a lamb or a goat or turtledoves or two young pigeons or unleavened bread, grain, wine, salt, incense. A person brings the gifts to have them burned up or to have them consecrated and returned for him to eat — or for the priest to eat. An individual, a family, a parish group shall we say, bring their gift to the altar. They are seeking peace, forgiveness of sin, absolution of guilt, healing. They offer thanksgiving. If they are eligible and have been called, they come to be ordained. The ordinandi and the sick are washed in the waters of regeneration and anointed with oil. All this is rivetingly familiar; it is the prefigurement of our sacramental system. But the flesh and blood that we offer to give thanks, to make peace, to bring forgiveness and healing, absolution and consecration, is that of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Of all the signs of the Old Covenant, two are presented to us by the Lord for our service in the Eucharist: unleavened bread and wine (with water).

“This is my blood of the Covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Mt. 26:281)

 

The Sacrifice of the Lamb

When you have lived with the sacramental system of the Old Covenant and you see them take the Lamb of God and bind him to the altar (the altar of the tabernacle in the wilderness was wood, unlike that of the temple which was stone) and drive a spear into his heart, and pour out the blood at the foot of the altar, you become very conscious of what is happening. The Lord who has already made the communion sacrifice is making the sin offering that remits our guilt.

This is the whole theme of the Letter to the Hebrews:

When He had made purification for sins He sat down at the right of the Majesty on High (Heb 1:31)

We see Jesus crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death: so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone (Heb 2:91)

He had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God to make expiation for the sins of the people (Heb 2:171)

He holds the priesthood permanently, because He continues forever. Consequently He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Heb 7:25)

He has appeared once for all, at the end of the age, to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb 9:261)

Through Him, then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God that is the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name. Do not neglect to do good and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God (Heb 13.16)

This is the New Covenant, the priestly order of Melchizedek, who offered bread and wine to the Lord, his God. This is the work of Christ the High Priest in us. This is the archetype of human existence and the canticle of love that can nail our heart to joy and praise at every celebration of Mass.

This is the "defenceless power of love which submits to death on the cross and dies ever anew through out history... and ushers in the kingdom for God" 13

 

III. The Mass as Communion

 

Communion is the keyword for understanding the gift that John Paul II and Benedict XVI make to the Church. Communion is the Church's Christian name. It is a communion of order and a communion as family, "cultivated by a spirituality of communion which fosters reciprocal openness, affection, understanding and forgiveness" 14

We walk as pilgrims out of our cultural and personal differences, gathering in faith at the table of the Lord to share what is great and sovereign in each culture and each human life. "A Church of communion ... sees diversity not as an essentially negative element but as an opportunity for the enrichment of unity" 15

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I share with a friend, Kris, whose parents first language was Gudjirati. The community has done some small thing to help and she says, very formally, "I thank you!" and then adds, "What a useful language is English. In Gudjirati there is no word for thank you! The best we have to offer is a phrase which means "You should not have bothered."

Our diversity enriches us. We have a value that we can share and see in a new light.

A Welsh speaking friend of the community, Dyfrig, on the other hand, teaches us a new courtesy. In Welsh there is no word for “No”. To an untruthful statement you may say, "It is not so." But other forms of refusal require you to amble ceremoniously around the point. It teaches you, when “no” is an essential answer, to say it very gracefully. By our communion, we enrich each other.

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The Church is a communion of holiness. It is the communion of Saints, as we call it in the Apostles Creed.

"The communion of Saints refers first of all to the Eucharistic community, which through the Body of the Lord binds the churches scattered all over the earth, into one Church. Thus the word sanctorum (translated Saints in the Creed) does not refer to persons, but means the holy gifts, the holy thing, granted to the Church in her Eucharistic Feast, as the real bond of unity." 16

What defines us as a Church, as a gathering together in love and mutual enrichment, is the broken flesh and outpoured blood of the God we worship and adore. The Eucharist becomes our new language for each other: a language which means thank you and whose answer to God is always, yes.

When we come together as a priestly people with our ordained ministers, we are not only in communion with our brothers and sisters across every cultural barrier, but our union extends beyond the frontiers of death to all those who have passed through the waters of Baptism, received the one Spirit and have partaken of this one bread and the one cup.

"The communion of Saints must be understood as the communion of the Sacraments" 17. By eating the Body of Christ we become what we receive as one flesh with each other. My bonds with African, Asian, Oceanian, and American Christians whom I have never met, are deeper than the mere ties of blood which may unite me to my human family, and wider than the union I may share with my spouse. God's flesh permeates my flesh. God's blood flows in my veins; in our flesh and our veins. Together we live the language of the Eucharist though it may be celebrated in tongues we do not know.

"One cannot become a Christian by birth, but only by rebirth", as Cardinal Ratzinger says, and he goes on to point out that the Holy Spirit, the Gift of God, is at the centre of the Church and "not a group of men" (of which, as Benedict XVI he is now the most prominent!). This turns the human person towards "a new being that he cannot give himself, a communion which he can only receive as a gift" 18

" ‘This is eternal life: to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent’ (Jn. 17-3). Deliverance from death is at the same time deliverance from the captivity of individualism, from the prison of self, from the incapacity to love and make a gift of oneself"  19.   “Resurrection builds communion. It creates the new People of God." 20.

We live out of Christ's sacrifice and into Christ's family. We are a real family, reborn by water and the Holy Spirit. And we gather facing the table of the Lord, lighting candles for festive celebration 21, and not as a sign of the continuation of the fire on the altar of holocausts of the Old Covenant, as this gesture has sometimes been presented. Christ sacrificed Himself in blood to make us a family and we sacrifice ourselves in love, to build up that family.

In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and gave Himself for us. 1 Jn 4:10

We are swept back into the great descending and ascending music of adoration, reception, bestowal and thanksgiving. But now we are traveling as the family of faith.

"In the Eucharist, we ourselves learn Christ's love. It was thanks to this centre and heart, thanks to the Eucharist, that the Saints lived, bringing to the world God's love in ever new ways and forms. Thanks to the Eucharist, the Church is reborn ever anew! The Church is none other than that network — the Eucharistic community! — within which all of us, receiving the same Lord, become one body and embrace all the world." 22

 

IV.    The Mass as Masterpiece

In the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's Christ of the last coming raises his arm in power; the Mother of God, under that raised arm, turns away. Out of featureless blue sky, the Saints and angels race towards us. And directly behind the altar, the dead rise and the damned fall.

All this takes place under the sign of the Prophet Jonah, the last of the prophetic figures that Michelangelo placed on the ceiling. These frescoes cover salvation history from Creation to the Second Coming. Overhead, the prophets are interspersed with the Sibyls, prophetesses of Apollo, who, by tradition, also foresaw the coming of Christ. It is the Renaissance's world view of the coming of age of Man.

The pontiffs who ordered its creation (Julius II and Clement VII) did so between personally conducted wars. But nothing can take away from the fact that their successors, ultimately, have stood in the presence of this masterpiece to accept the final, personal and public responsibility for truth unto death, on the day they were elected Bishop of Rome.

Four centuries and a turn of the compass away, is the Redemptoris Mater Chapel, also in the Vatican. This is John Paul II's gift to the people of God, and was created with the monetary alms that the cardinals gave him for the golden jubilee of his ordination. Uniting the thought and approach of eastern and western art, its mosaics depict the life of Christ, culminating in the glory of the Saints, in an intimate combination of iconography and childlike joy. At one end, the Mother of the Redeemer with her Son on her lap surrounded by rejoicing Saints, gazes down upon the altar. At the other, Christ in glory seems to leap from the wall above the celebrant's seat. In the middle is the ambo for the word of God, and the family of the Church that gathers round it faces choirwise. From the ceiling above the ambo, Christ Pantocrator, one hand in blessing, the other holding the scriptures, gazes down.

The mosaics were created by Father Marko Ivan Rupnik and his collaborators from the Pontifical Oriental Institute. This is to `foster the encounter with the Christian East and the Christian West," 23 so that the Church, in the words of John Paul II, might breathe with both lungs; and also, perhaps, that it might beat with one heart.

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If I had to sum up the Latin liturgy with one prayer, it would be: Lord have mercy. It is the offering of awe, love and need. It is the cry of the two blind men (Matt 9:27), of the Canaanite woman (Matt 15:22), of Bartimaus (Luke18:38) to the Son of David, and it is the cry of the lepers (Luke 7:13) to Jesus the Lord: the new Testament prayer that, at mass, may be retained in the original Greek of the Gospels. This is the human cry that almost hesitates to raise its eyes to heaven, yet dares to know that God can be asked to give mercy.

To my mind, the prayer of the Divine Liturgy of the Greek rite used by Catholics and Orthodox, seems to me to be gathered up in that most ecstatic cry: The doors, the doors! In Wisdom, be attentive! The sanctuary of a Greek rite church is screened. The clergy enter the sanctuary as Christ entered Heaven, and they return to earth carrying the body and blood of God — through the doors.

In response to our cry of mercy the doors of eternity fly open and God descends. He comes down to us in the Incarnation, in the Eucharist and at the parousia, the Second Coming of the Lord. And we are gathered up with him in the circle of life, worship and glory. The doors await, open wide to receive us.

Like the fresco of the Father creating the sun, moon and stars on the Sistine ceiling, the Mass is a work of art. It is the greatest work of art on earth. In shining simplicity it combines symbols of creation and the revealed word. It relives the gestures of Christ in time and eternity. It gives what it is. Surrounding it, like a frame, are the works of God and humankind.

At the still point of this masterpiece, human hands, anointed by the Church in the Spirit, take bread, and a voice that begins from beyond time says: This is my body. Surrounding this still point is the shock of adoration, joy, awe, mystery and heart-breaking happiness.

Before the step of the sanctuary of earth and heaven I receive and become the Body and Blood of God.

I stand before the altar as Christ stood to walk from the tomb on the third day. I am a new creation.

Stretching above me is the ascent to heaven from the threshold of the sanctuary on earth. I can lift up my eyes and see through time and space to the sanctuary of Heaven, to the new city of the heavenly Jerusalem where Christ is the light, and his living body is the visible temple. I can see the perichoresis of the Trinity, the dance of love that gathers me into its embrace. With this vision, which is a reality, I can look at where I am, in the centre of creation between heaven and earth.

I stand before the sanctuary, in the body of Christ, in a building that is a church, that stands in a sacred outer court that comprises the whole earth; which is a temple, so to speak, in the vastness of the cosmos. In the perfection of heaven which I have just touched, I can see the fallen loveliness of mother earth, the original sin that mats her hair and mars her face.

In the strength and love I have received, I can go forth. — Ite missa est — go, you are commissioned. I am a pilgrim, a missionary — from Heaven. I have entered the Body of Christ, and now I become what I have received. In the empowerment of the Holy Spirit whose other name is Love, I set out to live the love I have received. I will be a healer, a witness, a lover, a servant, a confronter of evil in myself and in others. I will be a friend and I will find the hundredfold — brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, houses and lands, not without persecutions (Mk. 10:29-30), that he has promised me as his disciple.

I have eaten the Body of God and drunk His Blood. Maybe the priest was perfunctory, the congregation dreary, the liturgy dull or not to my personal taste, the church ugly and dirty. It does not matter. God, the Creator of Heaven and earth and the whole universe, was there. He gave himself into my hands and lips. He penetrated my heart with His love. I would have liked the frame to match the picture, but if the picture — God's Presence and Passion in the Eucharist — does not get me on my knees, lovingly willing to improve the frame of the human, temporal and spacial circumstances, nothing will!

 

V. The Making of the Masterpiece

The mass of the Western rite 24 begins in silence, and out of the silence the word is heard, preferably in song. We are coming to the altar of God, the God of our gladness and joy. We have gathered here. As I set out from my home, as I walk into the church, I am making my first act as a liturgos — a liturgical person — and we are all liturgical people because the Church has called us to "active participation, spiritual formation, and ministerial co-responsibility.... the People of God in its totality, is a priestly people, and, with due respect for the distinction between ordained and non ordained ministers, all laymen and women are liturgical subjects capable of liturgical ministry in its various forms" 25

We have come before the altar of God. We walk into the presence of the Living God, we bless ourselves with Baptismal water, we reverence the Lord in adoration in some manner that arises from our culture and is appropriate to our abilities. I, as a Poor Clare Colettine, bow down and kiss the floor as I enter the church. I go barefoot, in poverty and in awe, because I am in the presence of the burning bush, like Moses, who also took his sandals off.

Our gathering together is expressed by the procession of the ministers to the sanctuary. We have come individually or in families to adore, and our ministers have gathered up our separate comings in one solemn gesture.

Our first approach to participation is our spiritual identification with what is happening. I am able to identify what I do myself with what is done in my name. I may be called to be part of the procession to the sanctuary or other duties may devolve upon me during the celebration. They may not. But I am still crucially, actively involved. I identify with the actions which are choreographed before me; and they are there to lead me to the ultimate deed of active participation, when I rise to my feet and approach the altar of God to receive His Body and Blood.

On Sundays and solemn occasions, the Cross and the book of the Gospels precede the ministers on their way to the sanctuary.

The word of God is alive and active. It cuts like a double edged sword (Heb 4:12). It is the Spirit speaking to us. It is the presence of God. The cross is the icon of love to which we open our eyes and our hearts. And our celebrant greets us in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Before Mass, a white cloth was laid over the table of the altar, festive candles were lit, lights turned on, incense possibly prepared. Our ministers are robed in white — a permanent reminder of baptism. We unite ourselves with this symbol of innocence by cleansing our hearts from sin and crying out in the words of the Gospel; Lord, have mercy. We have come to the altar of God. And now we can have gladness and joy, because the Lord has taken our sin away and we are washed clean in His love. If it is a feast or Sunday, we express our joy in the fifth century prayer of the Gloria. Then we focus on the oration — prayer — of the day. If we have a copy of the text we could also use this prayer to start and end our own day. The opening prayer of the Mass that focuses the whole celebration is for us; it is a takeaway; it is really worth living with.
 

Speak to me

We sit down. In the west we are used to the idea of sitting down and getting to business. We now settle ourselves to focus on the first reading and the Psalm. This is my daily bread. Whether I am able to get to daily Mass or not, I can follow the readings. Sacred Scripture is the Holy Spirit's food for the mind and heart, as the Bread of Life is food for the body and the spirit. The word of God can become a consuming delight. It is not a thing of mere scholarship for experts only. It is God speaking to me. In private reading we work from the Gospel outwards and we discover how the New Covenant fulfils the Old Testament in its prophecies and images, and how the life of Christ becomes the life of the Church in Acts and the Apostolic Letters.

The celebration of Mass presupposes an acquaintance with Scripture. So it does not start with the Gospel; it culminates in it.

For this we stand. Whilst we have been seated to reflect on the first reading and psalm, we now stand to attention to receive the Lord's command. And we greet it with joy, singing, Alleluia - the Hebrew cry of praise to God.

We listen to the Gospel, not as a piece of pleasing poetry (though it contains the most superb literary forms and has created our language, imagery and mind-set) but as directives for our daily life. The Gospel is for me. After the Gospel we should be able to sit in silence and listen to what the Holy Spirit has to say to us. Then the celebrant, who has been anointed with the Spirit's power for the service of the Word, should be able to explain the scripture, as later, he will break the bread.

In this sense, every mass becomes a breaking of the bread and the word and an encounter on the road to Emmaus in company with the Risen Lord.
 

What do I believe?

The purpose of the homily of the priest is to teach the faith which arises in our hearts from the revealed word of God and the working of the Holy Spirit.

Faith is a personal choice. We, plurally, do believe in God; but we do not believe it as ten or a hundred or a billion odd individuals. We believe it as one Person - as the Body of Christ. This is why we say or sing the creed on Sunday. We profess our faith together as one person, just as we will eat the one Bread of Life that brings us into intimate communion with each other. This leads us naturally to pray for each other and for the Church and the world, as we do on Sundays in the intercessions. The prayer of the faithful looks towards our unity in the person of the visible head of the body of the Church on earth, the Supreme Pontiff (that is the Ultimate Bridge!), through whom we receive the ministry of our Bishops, and in turn through them, the consecrated priesthood. Our prayers look to the civil and secular world in which we live, the needs of the Church and our own specific aspirations as a family of faith in Hawarden, in Boston, in Paris, Berlin, Manila, Tokyo, Rome. And we pray in silence the prayer of our own hearts and - unique to England and Wales — we invoke the Mother of God to pray with us. This concludes the Liturgy of the Word.
 

Receive, Lord, and bestow

We now come to the first point in the Mass, in which every person present is an indispensable ingredient.

We are beginning the Liturgy of the Eucharist and we are called upon to prepare the gifts. Some of us may be invited to bring the gifts — bread and wine, the offering for the poor, and the contribution to support the parish — to the altar in procession. This is a great privilege. If it is bestowed on you, you are making visible what the rest of us are doing and becoming.

The bread placed on the altar, is my life, my work, my body, mind, heart and soul and spirit that, presently, Christ will take into his hands and transform into his body. The wine that is taken and offered, is my joy, my pain, my prayer, my mission and vocation, my understanding, memory and will, that Christ changes into his blood so that I can become part of his redeeming work. Literally, I give myself under the symbol of bread and wine so that God may give me himself. I enter into an exchange with God. "Love knows no why, it is a free gift to which one responds with the gift of self”. 26

In prayers which date back to post-exilic Judaism, the priest blesses God for these gifts. These blessings are still used in a similar form in the Passover and Sabbath meals of contemporary Jewish communities.
 

With growing excitement ...

We have gathered momentum. Earth is giving thanks to Heaven. It is not just the right and fitting thing to do, as the prayer meekly acknowledges. It is overwhelmingly irresistible. Eternity is about to descend into time and space. And this is perilous. Truth and freedom is about to call upon our world of half lies and bondage. The purity of goodness is about to insert Himself into our mixed-up cruelties.

At the beginning of Mass we confessed our sins, and they were taken away. But this is still a broken world, and each Mass has in it an anticipation of the Last Judgment.

At the end of time, we will see God in His glory and truth and we shall be able to choose Him or reject Him. He passionately wants us to choose Him.

Incarnate in time, Jesus came to us as a baby; and we beheld Him as a dying man on a cross. God came to us in vulnerability, so that we might not fear Him. He offers himself now, in the humility of a piece of bread, in the simplicity of love — so that we can adore and receive, so that we will be able to bestow and give thanks. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loves us.
 

Take this

Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy (Eucharistic prayer II)

We bring you these gifts. We ask that you make them holy by the power of your Spirit (Eucharistic prayer III).

Father, may this Holy Spirit sanctify these offerings (Eucharistic prayer IV)

We are here in the goodness of God. The absolute demand of goodness is that it have something to which it can give itself away. God is not a lonely monarch; he is a love-affair. Whatever the Father possesses, he gives completely. He gives himself to his Son, and the love between them, the breath of his kiss, is the Holy Spirit. 27

The Consecration sweeps us into this circular tide of supreme mutual intimacy 28

We hear the urgent, compelling voice of Jesus exclaiming: accipite et manducate: take this to yourself, receive, accept: and, literally, chew It. Set your teeth in it and (only in a transferred and metaphorical sense) eat It. Our Lord cries out these words. They are in the imperative; they are orders like the commands an officer shouts out to his men, like the demands the emperor makes on his slaves, like the urgent appeal of a dying friend.

We hear these words, addressed to twelve men in an upper room, echo down twenty centuries: "Manducate! Bibete!” - Eat! Drink! All of you! It is one of the deep mysteries of God's relentless love that this sacrifice is offered for many, but all are invited to eat and drink. This is love. Love is urgent to give itself away. Utter, total and final goodness cannot do without someone to love.

It is not that we, by our puny efforts, may love and adore God. No! In this is love: that he loved us!
 

Mystery

At the end of the prayer of consecration, the celebrant exclaims the mysterium fidei (Let us proclaim) the mystery of faith.

We sum up the creed we have already professed.

Christ, who died, is risen and will come again! He just has! This is what, after the doxology at the end of each of the Eucharistic prayers, we say yes to. Amen — we agree — let it be so! Fiat.

Like Mary at the Annunciation, our assent is invited to the Incarnation of the Word made flesh now on the altar - an assent that we will ratify when a portion of the broken bread of life is offered to us at Communion.
 

Father in heaven - kingdom on earth

We are invited to pray the Our Father.

The Lord revealed this prayer to us in the Sermon on the Mount as a secret prayer, a prayer of the heart. Yet the early Church placed this prayer at its public gathering of love: the Eucharist. The hidden place in which we pray together is the heart of the Son; for only in Him and by the Spirit, can we call God our Father. Father is a name so uniquely belonging to God that our Lord also said: "Call no man on earth Father, because you have one father in heaven" (Matt 23:91.) This love — the love affair of the Son's heart — has nothing to do with the virtues or sins of the men whom we may have called `father' on earth, according to the flesh. The Son of God invites us into His heart, to desire the one whom He loved, and to surrender to that love — as we wait in joyful hope for our gathering-in when our Saviour comes.
 

Peaceful and broken

The next act is like the offertory; it is something we are called to do. We make peace. This does not come down to us from the altar; it goes up from us to the altar. It is our contribution towards the giving that makes the Church holy. We give peace to each other so that the Lord may come to us. Peace is the bond of unity (Eph 4:31), and as our father on earth, Benedict XVI said, "We can only receive him in unity"- there is no comm-union without community - "we cannot communicate with the Lord if we do not communicate with each other" 29

While this is taking place the choir sings the prayer, Lamb of God who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.... grant us peace, and at the same time the celebrant, in perfect compliment to this gesture, breaks the one host (when and where this is possible) into pieces for the community. The Breaking of the Bread is the earliest name for the Eucharist. It is found in Acts 3:42. Though our human peace may be limited, we pray, look not on our sins but on the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom.


Say the word

We pray the prayer of the humble Roman Centurion who begged for the healing of his servant: "Lord I am not worthy to have you under my roof but only say the word and my servant shall be healed" (Matt 8:51) But now the roof under which I receive the Lord is my head, and it is for my soul that I seek healing.

I am now invited to make my third, fully active participation in the Eucharist: I have offered my gift, I have shared God's peace, I receive the Lord.

Once more this great choreography of grace takes me, and I am gathered in by the upward sweep of the Eucharist.

This is the Bread that has come down from Heaven and I go up to meet the Lord. He calls me by my name. We have sat in the upper room. We have stood under the Cross. Now we are in the garden of the resurrection (and most probably it is early morning). He calls my name as He called to Mary Magdalen, and I answer with an endearment, as she did (Rabboni is an affectionate diminutive: little teacher). I am stunned and awed at this love; it fills my heart with reverence and excitement, and — real fear, for I am now dangerously close to God. I am making a lover's act of surrender and it will change me. Yet with this awe is intimacy, and the playful delight of a love Who places himself in my hands, Who touches my lips, Who fills and completes me.

There is something deeply freeing at this moment of intimate personal exchange with Jesus: I am not alone. I am part of a community — one among many, some of whom I may not even know — exposed to this hunger and fulfillment. And I take part in this act which, as the earth rolls round the sun, is taking place throughout the twenty-four hours of the day, all round this planet. Yet the Lord calls my name and I call His.

The movement of this divine choreography returns me to my place and I pray in a posture that is appropriate and sustainable. Prayer is an invitation. It is not the raising of the heart and mind to God — we can't get there, even the holiest of us does not have that much pneumatic lift-off! It is the humble descent of God's heart and mind to ours. In the words of St Bonaventure, Jesus is our way and our open door, our ladder (like Jacob), our chariot (like Elijah) he comes down and takes us up. 30 He just has.
 

Give thanks

I have adored, received, will be led to bestow, and now I give thanks. There is thankfulness and wonder that is so big it does not need words in our language; it teaches us the language of Heaven. We only have one set of words for saying: I love You. In Heaven there is a vocabulary for every nuance of adoration, awe and praise in love. In the tongue of eternity you can go on saying I love You, for ages unending, without ever repeating yourself. You cannot pick this tongue up off a website! But you can ask the One who speaks it best to teach you. Try it. You are enfolded in the love of the Trinity. The love of the Trinity is a Person: the Holy Spirit, the Breath of God. Let the Spirit breathe in you the prayer of love.
 

And go

The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary at the Annunciation and she conceived by the Holy Spirit. It does not say she spent three days in prayer, pondering on God's gift. It says she arose in haste, and went to her cousin Elizabeth (Lk. 1:39)

 With the gift of love comes the invitation to serve. It may possibly permit you to spend time in thanksgiving in church after Mass — but equally, it may send you out with your children, with those who depend on you and to those who depend on you. If you love me keep my word (Jn. 14:15) Bear in mind that to love God with your whole heart and your neighbour as yourself is the greatest commandment of the Old Covenant and that you live in the New Covenant whose new commandment (and it is new!) is: love one another as I have loved you!

Ite missa est. Go — you are sent. Go out now and break yourself for others as I have broken Myself for you. A thoroughly broken heart is the loveliest thing in Heaven. Unite yours to it. Graciously go out and bestow what you have received.

 

VI.    The Four Quartets
 

We go forth - but we carry the prayer of the mass at our heart. It is living in us. We live the prayer of our thanksgiving through the day.

At the heart of the mass stand the four great Eucharistic prayers. These are the settings in which the Lord's words of consecration are enshrined. These settings are the great masterworks of our faith before which we live and pray.
 

The Second Eucharistic Prayer

For our sake he opened His arms on the Cross

The surviving writings of the early Church Fathers, whilst they describe the general format of the Eucharistic Vigil, indicate that the actual prayers said were primarily left to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the actions of the presiding Bishop. Nevertheless two copies of the Apostolic Church Order have survived, that were written down before the year 300. The text of the Second Eucharistic Prayer is drawn from these. It is lovely in its brevity. It expresses the faith of the persecuted Church with the simplicity of a fresco on the walls of the catacombs.

It talks of Christ's acceptance of death — a choice Christians in an age of persecution made when they joined the Church. Our age, too, is an age of persecution.

Lift up your head, and remember that his love has made you a holy person, that death is over and you are destined for the resurrection. Take to heart and memorise this prayer:

“For our sake he opened His arms on the Cross;
He put an end to death and revealed the resurrection.
 In this He fulfilled Your will
and won for You a holy people.”
 

The First Eucharistic Prayer

With praise and thanksgiving.

This, too, is an ancient prayer. It was old before it was written down in the fifth century. Some Post-Reformation scholars 31, working from a description given by St. Isidore of Seville (C.215), have even tried to see in it the Eucharistic prayer of seven parts used by St Peter in Antioch.

But this is more properly called the `Roman Canon'. It includes as an intrinsic part of its structure, the invocation of the Apostles, and Roman Martyrs and the first popes to follow St Peter: Linus, Cletus, Clement and Sixtus. This magnificent poem has an almost architectural structure. It is a Church built of human words — a Church, moreover, that emerges into civil society. It is no longer speaking from the perspective of persecution for it says: "You know how firmly we believe in you." We are no longer amidst a people whose faith is violently put to the test by public witness — God alone knows how firm our faith may be.

We offer this sacrifice for our loved ones, for the whole family of God on earth and in heaven. The words remember and memory are the refrain of this song.

It has a unique omission: it does not explicitly invoke the Holy Spirit to perform the work of Consecration but it asks indirectly that our offering be made in spirit and truth - a formula from St John's Gospel  (Jn. 4:24). And after the consecration it brings in a unique image. Amongst the gallery of the holy ones: the Apostles, the Martyrs, Abel, Melchizedek and all those who sleep in Christ, there appears an angel who waits by the altar to take our sacrifice up to Heaven.

The prayer out of which the angel emerges contains another Johannine echo: grace and blessing (Jn.1.10).

This, too, is a prayer to take to heart and remember, for it beautifully encompasses the circle of ascent and descent of the Mass and enables us to place into the angels hands our own life in sacrifice.

“Almighty God,
we pray that Your angel may take this sacrifice to Your altar in Heaven.
Then as we receive from this altar
the Sacred Body and Blood of Your Son,
let us be filled with every grace and blessing.”
 

The Third Eucharistic prayer

From East to West.

This great prayer was constructed to reflect the liturgy of the Eastern Catholic Churches. Delicate allusions to the liturgy used by Catholics of our Eastern rite Churches and by the Orthodox Churches, transfigure this concise text. John Paul the Great said, "The words of the West, need the words of the East, so that God's Word may ever more clearly reveal its unfathomable riches" 32 Like many of the prayers of the Eastern Rites it focuses on peace, holiness and reconciliation. Above all, it places the Mass in the framework of the words of Jesus: many shall come from the east and the west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Mt. 8:11)

As we gather for this perfect offering let us reflect on what it means to belong to a people of every tribe and tongue and nation (Rev. 5:91)

“Father, You are holy indeed,
and all creation rightly gives You praise.
All life, all holiness comes from You
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
by the working of the Holy Spirit.
From age to age you gather a people to Yourself,
so that from east to west
a perfect offering may be made to the glory of Your name.”

 

The Fourth Eucharistic Prayer

Again and again you offered a covenant to man.
You taught him to hope.

This is, truly, the ultimate masterpiece of our age. It took two thousand years for the Church so to know her Lord and Master that these words might rise out of her heart. It reaches back beyond the sources behind the third Eucharistic Prayer to St Cyril of Jerusalem and the early Church. It compasses the whole of salvation history from the unapproachable light in which God dwelt before the dawn of creation to the Second Coming of the Lord and the song of every creature — of us - in the kingdom of glory.

It is a text so precious and so unique, that it is only used with its own preface, which may not be exchanged for that of a Saint or other feast. Its use may take precedence over the seasonal weekday liturgies. And it may be used on any Ferial Sunday 33

It is a catechesis — a teaching — of the Faith and the Catechism of the Catholic Church alludes tirelessly to it in the section on the Creed. If you want a one line prayer, take it from this great song. And say to yourself with a wondering heart: Lord you taught us to hope. (It's taken us two millennia to get there, but we are learning!)

This is the prayer of the covenant, the prayer of the promises that God keeps, the prayer of hope not just for the living but for the dead - "Those who have died in the peace of Christ and all the dead whose faith is known to You alone." This is the prayer of the poor, the captive, the sorrowful, who now can hear the good news.

Though one should, obviously, never attempt to join in with the priest when these prayers are said on the Altar, it is a unique gift for personal prayer to have memorised the whole text of this Eucharistic prayer.

The final summing up of the whole meaning of the Eucharist comes in the last phrase of this prayer before the institution narrative, taken from John's account of the washing of the feet:

“He always loved those who were His own in the world. When the time came for Him to be glorified by you, His Heavenly Father, He showed the depths of His love.”

This is it.

In the Mass, in the Eucharist, we see just how deeply we are loved.
 

Home

The Eucharist is my home, my dwelling place; the awe of my heart and my joy, my freedom, my peace: my place.

"The liturgy is the endless glorification of the thrice-holy God and the sanctification of human beings now restored to their original beauty in the image and likeness (cf. Gen. 1:26) of the Creator." 34

I have come to the heart of the Trinity, and I am a new person.

“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God” (1 Jn. 4:161.)

Love has brought us into the house of faith, and he will lead us to our home in heaven. Here and beyond, we, filled with the Holy Spirit who is love, will be swept into the great wave of love that flows through the Trinity and made holy and beautiful. Our grave clothes will fall from us and we will stand revealed as the image and likeness of God's heart; friends and co-beloveds in the heart of the Trinity. We have come home. We are no longer strangers and pilgrims.

The Eucharist has become our life, in Heaven as it was on earth. "The Church, therefore, earnestly desires that Christ's faithful, when present at this Mystery of Faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators; on the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action, conscious of what they are doing ... They should be instructed by God's word and be nourished at the table of the Lord's body; they should give thanks to God; by offering the Immaculate Victim, not only through the hands of the priest, but also with him, they should learn also to offer themselves; through Christ the Mediator, they should be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other, so that finally God may be all in all. 35

These are not just words; they are our life. They are the most tremendous and exciting thing that can happen to us on earth and in heaven.

When we eat the Body and Blood of the Lord we are lifted up as new people into the heart of the Trinity in which the Father is endlessly and eternally begetting his Son. His love for His Son is so tremendous that this eternal act knows no end. The Father cannot part from His Son; He is always in the ecstasy and intimacy of begetting the Second Person of the Trinity. And the love between Them is so tangible that it becomes the Holy Spirit — the Third Person of the Trinity.

The sacramental image of the Spirit is anointing. This is because oil penetrates the skin and nothing can insert itself between the oil of sacramental anointing and the human person. If the Spirit is that close to us, imagine the closeness of perfect love in the Trinity. And to this we have been called; into this our reception of the Body and Blood of Christ inserts us, beyond time and space, in a love so penetrating and so complete that eye has not seen nor ear heard what God has prepared for those who love him. "This is the prolongation of the fire of Pentecost, the stream of life-giving water flowing from the pierced side of the Saviour (cf. Jn.19:34), which even now flows from the throne of God and the Lamb (cf. Rev 22.1). It is the radiant light of the Risen Christ which illuminates his Bride, the Heavenly Jerusalem, resplendent with the glory of God, with the Lamb as its lamp (cf. Rev 21:23)" 36

"I have been able to celebrate Holy Mass in chapels built along mountain paths, on lakeshores and seacoasts; I have celebrated it on altars built in stadiums and in city squares... This varied scenario of celebrations of the Eucharist has given me a powerful experience of its universal and, so to speak, cosmic character. Yes, cosmic! Because even when it is celebrated on the humble altar of a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world. It unites heaven and earth. It embraces and permeates all creation. The Son of God became man in order to restore all creation, in one supreme act of praise, to the One who made it from nothing. He, the Eternal High Priest who by the blood of his Cross entered the eternal sanctuary, thus gives back to the Creator and Father all creation redeemed. He does so through the priestly ministry of the Church, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity. Truly this is the mysterium fidei which is accomplished in the Eucharist: the world which came forth from the hands of God the Creator now returns to Him redeemed by Christ." 37

"By making the bread into his Body and the wine into his Blood, Jesus anticipates his death, he accepts it in his heart and he transforms it into an action of love. What on the outside is simply brutal violence, from within becomes an act of total self-giving love. This is the substantial transformation which was accomplished at the Last Supper and was destined to set in motion a series of transformations leading ultimately to the transformation of the world when God will be all in all (cf. 1 Cor 15.28). In their hearts, people always and everywhere have somehow expected a change, a transformation of the world. Here now is the central act of transformation that alone can truly renew the world: violence is transformed into love, and death into life.

Since this act transmutes death into love, death as such is already conquered from within, the resurrection is already present in it. Death is, so to speak, mortally wounded, so that it can no longer have the last word. To use an image well known to us today, this is like inducing nuclear fission in the very heart of being — the victory of love over hatred, the victory of love over death. Only this intimate explosion of good conquering evil can then trigger off the series of transformations that little by little will change the world. All other changes remain superficial and cannot save. For this reason we speak of redemption: what had to happen at the most intimate level has indeed happened, and we can enter into its dynamic. Jesus can distribute his Body, because He truly gives Himself.

"This first fundamental transformation of violence into love, of death into life, brings other changes in its wake. Bread and wine become his Body and Blood. But it must not stop there, on the contrary, the process of transformation must now gather momentum. The Body and Blood of Christ are given to us so that we ourselves will be transformed in our turn. We are to become the Body of Christ, His own Flesh and Blood. We all eat the one bread, and this means that we ourselves become one. In this way, adoration, as we said earlier, becomes union. God no longer simply stands before us, as the One Who is totally Other. He is within us, and we are in Him. His dynamic enters into us and then seeks to spread outwards to others until it fills the world, so that His love can truly become the dominant measure of the world." 38

__________________________________________________________

 

Notes

1. Sacrosanctum Concillium 10.

2. Ibid. 8.

3. Archbishop Piero Marini (Master of Papal Liturgical Ceremonies): Liturgy and Beauty 2 & The Fortieth Anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concillium III.

4. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI): Following the Spirit of the Liturgy pg 29.

5. Ibid. pg 49

6. P. Marini: Memories of an Experience 6.36

7. P. Marini: The Fortieth Anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concillium [and SC 5-71]

8. P. Marini: Memories of an Experience 4

9. St Clare: 1st Letter to Agnes of Prague. io. P. Marini: Memories of an Experience 6.36

11. St Augustine: Sermon 272

12. P. Marini: Liturgy and Beauty 2.2

13. Benedict XVI Marienfeld Vigil 20th August 2005

14. John Paul II Mane nobiscum Domini 21

15. P. Marini: Liturgy and Beauty i

16. J. Ratzinger: Introducing Christianity

17. Catechism of the Catholic Church 951.

18. J. Ratzinger: Introducing Christianity

19. J. Ratzinger: Following the Spirit of the Liturgy 5 2o. Ibid.

21. General Instruction of the Roman Missal 307

22. Benedict XVI: 1st Homily in the Lateran May 7th 200

23. P. Marini: A Gift to the People of God.

24. Sometimes called the Latin Rite, regardless of the language in which it is offered, to distinguish it from the other major rites of the Roman Catholic Church which have their own distinctive and ancient liturgies

25. P. Marini: The Fortieth Anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concillium III

26. Benedict XVI: Address to the Seminarians at St Pantaleon 19 August 2005

27. St Bonaventure: Itinerarium mentis in Deum 6.3.

28. St Bonaventure: Itinerarium mentis in Deum 6.2.

29. Benedict XVI Homily, Bari 2005

30. St Bonaventure: Itinerarium mentis in Deum 7.1

31. Johannes Emser and followers.

32. John Paul II: Orientale lumen 28

33. GIRM 322 e. [1969 not altered in the 2000 edition)

34. P. Marini: Memories of an experience 7.36

35. Sacrosanctum Concillium II 48

36. P. Marini: Memories of an experience 7.36

37. John Paul II: Ecclesia de Eucharistia 8

38. Benedict XVI: WYD Mass 21 August 2005

 

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