Catechesis – It’s Not Just for Kids!How often do we really think about the words we say at Mass, the prayers we pray along with the assembly, the gestures we make? With the arrival of the new Roman Missal, we will all be getting used to new language at Mass – not at every moment during the liturgy, but frequently enough so that we will be obliged to stop and take notice… and, perhaps, to reflect on what the words we are saying actually mean.
This morning Fr. Pat offered the first of two classes on the new language of the Roman Missal, and the ways in which that language is meant to enable the liturgy to transform us through our active role in Eucharist. We can’t enter fully into the interaction that is transformative, though, unless we understand why it is that we are gathering, and how the language we use serves to help us define who we are, to understand our faith, and to live our faith journey.
The new language will cause us to break old patterns. Why, for example, change “And also with you” to “And with your spirit”? What are we recognizing about the priest when we refer to his “spirit”? What does it mean to say, “I have greatly sinned”… and do I have to be worried about this? How does the repetition, “Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” heighten the experience of the Confiteor? Why do we refer to Jesus as the “Only begotten Son” in the Gloria? What’s the difference between “sin” and “sins”? Since when is the Lord the “God of hosts,” and who on earth are these hosts?
If you’d like to understand the new language of the Mass better, understand what it is we are affirming as we enter into common prayer, then, if you can, try to attend one of Fr. Pat’s sessions on the new Missal. There’s one tonight at 7, with a second half next week Wednesday. Sessions are also planned for Advent, when we will already be using the new language and people will likely have questions…
If you’ve ever experienced Mass in a foreign language, you already have a sense of what responding with new words feels like – and believe me, it can be very strange, but really fascinating at the same time. The new language of the Roman missal is a great opportunity for all of us to think more carefully about what we are saying when we respond to the priest at Mass, and, as a result, to enter more deeply into prayer, to be
transformed, so that we really can go forth to be the Body of Christ for the World. Are you ready?