Society of Saint Pius X Africa

by Fr. Justin Swanton

The Mass is like a treasure on an island that needs a reap to discover it. in the next few issues a map will be provided. Use it to make your half-hour in church a time of spiritual richness.

A) Prayers at the foot of the altar

IUDICA ME: Written by King David whilst fleeing for his life from his son Absalom. He desired to return to the tabernacle at Jerusalem where more than anything else he could pray to God, it is joyful, therefore omitted in Requiem Masses. The "nation that is not holy" is the world. The "just and deceitful man" is the "old Adam'", our fallen nature, and the “enemy”: can be taken as the devil. "Giveth joy to my youth" signifies spiritual youth: "but though our outward man is corrupted, yet the inward man is renewed day by day - II Cor, 4,16.

ADIUTORIUM NOSTRUM: A transition, i.e. That refers to what went before and what comes next.

CONFITEOR: Inserted here in the 8th century. The priest needs to be worthy to celebrate the sacrifice; the faithful to receive the sacrament.

Striking the breast: the heart (or affections) are the source of sin and must be mortified: pride must be broken and humbled. Striking is done 3 times, expressing growing contrition for sins of thought, word and deed.

Invoking the saints: they are our intercessors, and it is a sign of- humility to go through intermediaries rather than approach God directly.

DEUS, TU CONVERSUS VIVIFICABIS NOS: In otherwords: give us sanctifying grace.

OSTENDE NOBIS, DOMINE, MISERICORDIAM TUAM: refers to the great act of God's mercy; the sacrifice of Calvary.

AU FER A NOBIS: The "Holy of holies" was the inner chamber of the Temple in Jerusalem, entered only once a year by the High Priest who offered the blood of a lamb for his and the people's sins. Here it signifies heaven: "For Jesus is not entered into the Holies made with hands, the patterns of the true; but into heaven itself, that he may appear in the presence of God for us."-Hebrews 9:24.

ORAMUS TE: Hands on altar. -signifies the reliance on merits of Christ and saints (altar signifies Christ). Kissing relics: Shows love and veneration for church triumphant.

INTROIT: A short prayer to awaken faith and devotion. It contains every religious sentiment, adapted to the feast) time in the year.

KYRIE: Three times for each person:

a) due to circuminsession (one person dwelling within another in the divine nature) when one person is invoked, the other two are also implicitly invoked.

b) our insistence in asking for God's mercy (the parable of the unjust judge applies here). It is well-placed as a preamble to the Gloria where we thank God far his mercies.

GLORIA: The "major doxology" as opposed to the "minor doxology"- the Glory be. It was introduced in Mass on Christmas night around AD 130; and in every Sunday ,Mass and martyr's feast-,day around the beginning of the 6th .century.. It raises our thoughts to heaven: "in the highest", `.`heavenly king''; "we give You thanks for Your great glory", "You Who sit at the right hand of the Father", "You alone are most high".

Raising hands to heaven: shows the priest's desire to praise God.

Joining them together again and lowereng head: shoves humility and self-abasement (At "Deo" - holiness of God's name). Bows head in adoration (adoramus te), gratitude (gratias agimus tibi), petition (suscipe deprecationem nastram), reverence ( Iesu Christi).

Sign of crass at the end: signifies the Holy, Trinity glorified at-the end of Gloria.

COLLECT: A prayer of petition for the grace that corresponds to the time of the liturgical year and the day's feasts.

Prayer said aloud: priest prays in name of faithful: He is a mediator.

a) Kissing the altar: signifies love and reverence for Christ and His saints.

b) " Dominos vobiscum": it is preceded by the kissing of the altar as all blessings for the faithful come from it. These words appear eight times in the Mass. They signify: grace, light and strength be given to you for a good and perfect prayer. Hands spread apart: shows the priest's desire for blessings for the faithful. Hands joined together: shows the trust of the priest in God, not in himself.

c) `Et cum spiritu too': in this response the faithful wish grace and enlightenment on the priest so that he may be truly spiritual.

d) "Oremus'' is in the plural: "let us pray'". The faithful can pray the collect with the priest (that is why he prays it aloud). priest. (That is why he says it aloud).

e) The collects: they contain the contents of the Lord's Prayer in varied forms.

EPISTLE: The Mass in a sense follows the events of Our Lord's public life: first, avowal of sin and repentance as preparation: done by John the Baptist, and in the Mass by prayers at foot of the Altar; secondly, the teaching of the truths of salvation by Our Lord, and in the Mass by the epistle and the gospel; thirdly, the redemption of Calvary, and in the Mass, it's re-enactment. The Epistle was read at Mass from Apostolic times, but the texts were fixed only gradually.

The epistle and gospel generally complement and complete each other, e.g. Trinity Sunday. Whitsun.

GRADUAL/ALLELUIA/TRACT. They, express the sentiments evoked by the epistle and the feast liturgical time of the year.

GOSPEL. "good tidings" especially because they give us a perfect and plain living picture of the person, conversation and actions of Our Lord. "Christianity is not an ideology, it is a person.'' - God made man. The gospel is not just an instruction. In it we also give homage and veneration to the word and truth of God. This explains the:

a) preparation of the priest. "Munda cor meum..." "Dominos sit in corrle mso..." Why a preparation? In order to read the gospel with veneration and reverence, which enables it to have a supernatural effect an him and the faithful.

b) The delivery.

i) ” Dominus vobiscuni”: the grace desired is that the word of God be understood embraced with faith and put into practice.

ii) the Sign of the Cross - made on the book, it shows Our Lord's doctrine and work summed up by the Cross made on the forehead, lips and heart, it shows the desire that the doctrine of the Cross be in the mind, lips and heart. His doctrine can be summed up as a renunciation of world and self, embracing a life of humility, obedience, faith, patience, hope, love of God and one's neighbour.

iii) Gospel at right side at an angle: The right is nobler. The earlier churches were built facing the east, thus the Gospel was read facing north. The north symbolized the domain of the devil; dark and frigid, lifeless and dreary, the "good tidings" warmed the cold, pagan world with the light of the Faith.

iv) Standing: symbolizes spiritual freedom given by the Faith, and is an attitude ofrespect, being the position of a servant before his master in apostolic times (servants even ate standing). 

c) Conclusion: the books is kissed out of reverence and love for the truths contained therein.

(Part II)

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