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November 22, 2010
The Liturgy of the Eucharist
By Louie Verrecchio *

By Louie Verrecchio *

In the final two installments of this series, we will focus our attention on the people’s parts in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, addressing each instance of change in the text as it comes.

Suscipiat Dominus

Shortly after the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharistic, we are encouraged to pray that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the Almighty Father, to which we respond:

May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of His name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.

One small change is present here as we will now describe the Church as holy just as it is in the Latin. It’s difficult to imagine what the motive was for removing it in the first place, even more difficult to imagine is that anyone would be disturbed with its restoration as we have been confessing a holy Church in the Creed for many decades now.

After once more responding to the priestly blessing, The Lord be with you saying And with your spirit, we are implored, Lift up your hearts.

We reply in the new translation as always, We lift them up to the Lord, to the exhortation, Let us give thanks to the Lord our God, will now respond, It is right and just.

Not only is it right to give thanks; i.e. to offer Eucharist which means "thanksgiving" as we have always said, it is also just.

It is right because this is exactly what the Lord has asked of his Church, "Do this in memory of me." When we say it is just,however, we are talking about the purpose and the effect of the Most Holy Eucharist.

It is just because the Eucharist is the justice of the New Law. It is the sacrifice through which sinners are justified. It is the sacrifice that unites us with the Father, in the Son, by an action of the Holy Spirit. It is, therefore, both right and just.

 

 

Sanctus

Where once we sang, Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might, we will now sing, Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.

Yes, our God is indeed a God of power and might, and as such he has at his disposal a standing army that is made up of intelligent and powerful spiritual beings – the angels – and they, as we, are his very own creation.

When we sing the Sanctus,we are joining this army of spiritual beings of every rank - Angels, Archangels, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Dominations, Thrones, Cherubim and Seraphim - all the choirs of angels, in singing the Lord’s unending hymn of praise.

The choirs of angels are not simply the ones who made the final cut in singing try outs while the ones that can’t carry a note serve as lectors and ushers. This refers to all of the angels; all the heavenly hosts!

Did you know that the title "Lord of hosts" appears in the Old Testament more than 230 times? Addressing God in this way during the Sanctus draws our attention to both what are doing and with whom we are doing it. We are joining the angels in singing to our God.

Heaven and earth are truly co-mingled right in our very midst!

Mysterium Fidei

At the Mystery of Faith, our most typical response here in the U.S. has been:

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

This, however, is an adaptation that was specifically requested for use in the United States. As of this writing, it has not been approved by the Holy See for use in the new translation.

Now, remember, this effort begins with a faithful translation of the Latin, so let’s take a look at the typical that is being translated in Form A of the Mystery of Faith:

Mortem tuam annuntiamus, Domine, et tuam resurrectionem confitemur, donec venias.

The correct translation of this text in English renders:

We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.

I suppose it is possible that the Holy See may eventually re-approve the American adaptation previously mentioned, but I sincerely hope not. The faithful translation above is far richer. Why? Because the adaptation that we are so used to proclaiming strikes me as the Dragnet version; "Just the facts, ma’am."

In the new translation, rather than simply stating the facts: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again, reflects our Baptismal calling in a particular way; namely, it calls to mind the fact that we have personally taken on the mission of the Church according to our vocation as members of his Body.

As such, we not only state the fact that Christ has died– we proclaim it! And not only do we state the fact that He is risen -we profess in union with the martyrs who were willing to die rather than renounce the resurrection of the Lord! And we will not cease to proclaim and profess our Lord crucified, died and risen until He comes again!

Mystery of Faith - Form B

Form B: When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again,speaks for itself. It is taken almost exactly from 1 Cor. 11:26.

Mystery of Faith - Form C

Form C: Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection, you have set us free.

This form has us crying out Hosanna! Save us!It serves as a fitting affirmation that we are ever in need of the Lord’s saving grace; i.e., we do not embrace a "once saved always saved" theology as some of the Protestant communities do. We know that we must "work out our own salvation in fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12) and by God’s grace alone shall we be saved.

And so we are compelled to cry out, Hosanna, Save us, Savior of the world, for I know that I cannot save myself.

We will conclude our series on the Roman Missal – 3rd Edition next week in Part 10 resuming our examination of the Liturgy of the Eucharist and finishing with the Concluding Rite.

Author and speaker Louie Verrecchio was a columnist for Catholic News Agency from April 2009 to 2013. His work, which includes Year of Faith resources like the Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II Faith Formation Series, has been endorsed by Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia; Bishop Emeritus Patrick O’Donoghue of Lancaster, England; Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City, IA, USA and others. For more information please visit: www.harvestingthefruit.com

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