The Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar |
Part Twenty-one : The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
The Mass of the Faithful part five - The Pater Noster and Agnus Dei
The fifth part of the Mass is the Communion which extends from the audible Oremus leading into the Pater Noster to the administering by the priest of Holy Communion. At this point in the Mass is the greatest contrast between the Traditional Latin Mass of all ages and the Novus Ordo Mass. In this installment, we will treat from the Pater Noster to the Agnus Dei.
To introduce the Lord's Prayer this the priest says in a very low voice in the Tridentine Rite:
Praeceptis salutaribus moniti, et divina institutione formati, audemus dicere: - He finishes the Lord's Prayer audibly reciting: To this the altar boy responds: "Amen."
"Taught by Thy saving precepts and guided by the divine institution, we make bold to say." Here the priest extends his hands keeping his gaze on the Sacred Host as he prays the Pater Noster.
The priest then goes immediately to the Libera nos, pronouncing those words audibly and the rest quietly as midway we makes the Sign of the Cross with the paten. The holy abbot Saint Bernard of Clairvaux explained in his sermon 'Dignity of the Priest' that "The chalice represents to us the sepulchre, and the pall the stone which sealed its mouth; the corporal is the figure of the winding-sheet, and the Host, which we see, is no longer bread, but is the flesh of Jesus Christ fastened to the cross for the salvation of mankind." The words the priest prays are
Libera nos, quaesumus, Domine, ab omnibus malis praeteritis, praesentibus, et futuris: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque Andrea, et omnibus Sanctis + da propitius pacem in diebus nostris: ut ope misericordiae tuae adjuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab omni perturbatione securi. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus. Per omnia saecula saeculorum The last line, Per omnia saecula saeculorum is said aloud to which the altar server responds: "Amen."
"Deliver us, we beg You, Lord, from every evil, past, present, and to come: and by the intercession of the blessed and glorious ever-Virgin, Mother of God, Mary, and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, of Andrew, and all Saints, + (priest makes the Sign of the Cross with paten) graciously grant peace in our days, that through the help of Thy bountiful mercy we may be always be free from sin and secure from all disturbance. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end."
Now the whole purpose of this is to offer up the sacrifice to God, Who is appeased and about to give us the kiss of peace in Holy Communion. In order to properly prepare, the priest alone says the Pater noster for this prayer is a sacramental. The prayers of the "Our Father" help us to receive our Lord worthily for it is in Holy Communion - we are united with Christ and bound to Him and His Mystical Body - the Church. This is the principal effect of the sacrament. The Pater Noster is the Prayer of Jesus Christ on the Cross. At the sight of the bitter chalice one of the centurions offered Him of bitter gall, and He said: "Father, not My will but Thine be done" (Luke 22: 22) and from the cross Our Lord called down only blessings upon His murderers as recorded in verse 34 of the same chapter of Luke: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Might He be saying the same in the way the Pater Noster is interpreted in the New Mass? The sacrificial aspect has been completely eroded. Rather than representing the crucifixion while He was dying on the cross, many today interpret it as a celebratory prayer all say in anticipating the 'Lord's Supper,' where in truth, what really was intended is for the people to respond aloud the last request of the Lord's Prayer.
Compare that with the New Mass where the "Our Father" becomes an event bigger than the sacrament itself. In almost every Novus Ordo the people usurp the priest's role by making of themselves sacerdotal in gesture by extending their hands as only the priest is authorized to do. Many times rather than extending hands, they join hands in a great big sing-along where, we're not making this up, many times the whole congregation sways back and forth in one big 'love-in' where they celebrate self. Indeed, many times the priest joins hands with those in the sanctuary, taking his eyes away from the Sacred Host and admiring the crowd and he leads a type of sacramental 'Woodstock.' No one is gazing on the Sacred Host.
At the conclusion of the prayer, the priest or should we say 'presider' says:
"Deliver us Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy free us from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ." Here we go again, everyone is waiting for the second coming when He is present Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in their midst. Also, compare to the vernacular words in the True Roman Catholic Mass. The Novus Ordo assumes everything in the present, forgetting "past, present and to come" and feels it unnecessary to ask for the intercession of Our Lady, the Apostles Peter and Paul, Andrew and all the Saints. Also the Holy Ghost has been left out as well as the Sign of the Cross. The latter has been eliminated more than 26 times in the New Mass. Also missing is the "Amen."
To make it even more Protestant in scope, the totally non-Catholic prayer was added to the end of the "Our Father:"
"For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever." This is all now only an introduction for the Rite of Peace which takes on more significance than the Breaking of the Host by the priest. You see Christ, through His Blood, brings peace to all by making the Heavenly portals open to those "who are baptized and believe" (cf. Mark 16: 16) and who keep His Commandments. In other words, all who are in the state of Sanctifying Grace should be preparing themselves to worthily receive Jesus in Holy Communion, the pinnacle of the Mass. Yet in the new rite He is all but forgotten as the church becomes one free-for-all of hand-tugging, hugging and 'hi-how-are-yas' while He is abandoned on the paten for even the priest, it would seem, leaves Our Lord to gladhand with the congregation.
Now compare to the Tridentine where the emphasis is properly placed on the meaningful ritual of the Fraction of the Host. As the priest breaks the Host - symbolic of Christ's death - into three pieces he makes the Sign of the Cross three times. Three times represents the Holy Trinity of course, but it also has significance of Christ's body that lay in the tomb for three days before reuniting matter-wise living flesh with blood coursing through the Son of God at His glorious Resurrection. Also the three elements give significance to the Communion of Saints - Church Triumphant, Church Suffering, and the Church Militant. The priest then says Pax+ Domini sit + semper + vobiscum to which the altar boy responds The priest then drops the smallest of the three parts of the Sacred Host into the Chalice, which is a rite relating to communion of the body and blood as he prays:
Haec commixtio et consecratio Corporis et Sanguinis Domini nostri Jesu Christi, fiat accipientibus nobis in vitam aeternam. Amen
"May this mingling and consecrating of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ be to us who receive it effectual to life everlasting. Amen."
In the True Latin Mass, the priest then strikes his breast three times repeating the words of Saint John the Baptist, whose words carry on the Baptist's mission for at this moment in the Mass, as He did for the Living Christ 2000 years ago, the priest utters in an audible voice the same words as witness to the Lamb of God Who sacrificed Himself to expiate our sins, and Who is giving us peace by applying Himself the merits of Calvary in Holy Communion to our souls:
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: dona nobis pacem.
"Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world, grant us peace."
Next issue: Part six: Domine non sum dignus to Holy Communion
December 3-9, 2001
volume 12, no. 159
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF THE FAITH