by Fr. Justin Swanton
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.
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: