(Please notice how many have their hymnals opened and are singing during the Procession, you can almost hear them in this photo!)
(CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE; I dont' know who the young priest is at St. Joseph Church in 2006)
There's a lot of talk about reforming the reformed Mass also known as the Ordinary Form of the Mass. Well, folks, it is being reformed and beginning in the Fall and by the First Sunday of Advent every English speaking Mass throughout the world will have a new, more highly developed and more accurate English translation of the original Latin. We can sing a Te Deum for that!
But with that said, given the reality that we should "say the Black and do the red" as another blogger puts it(I have one of his coffee mugs right in front of me with that saying) what are the elements of a transcendent, well celebrated OF Mass where God's grace is evident to people in a sacramental way and they are swept up into Christ's sacrificial love and the eternal banquet of heaven?
Let me list what all of us, clergy and laity ought to do for the love of Christ:
1. Humbly accept what the Church gives us in terms of the Mass and simply do it the best way we can. This includes what the Vatican has ordered as the new English translation, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal; what the American bishops have highlighted as the norm in this country for receiving Holy Communion in the OF Mass and loving the Mass even when one perceives there are a few warts in all of the above. Sometimes for the sake of unity we must put aside our personal preferences whether that means standing for Holy Communion rather than kneeling (or vice-versa if the norm changes)and also making the appropriate acts of reverence before receiving Holy Communion in the mouth or on the hand, such as the bow. Humility is a lost gift in today's world.
2. Participate, participate, participate! This means placing your heart, soul and mind into the actions of the Mass even before your utter a word. If you were a deaf-mute, one can internally participate in the Mass without hearing or saying a word. But for those gifted with hearing and speech, saying and singing the words of the Mass should follow one's internal appropriation of what is being celebrated.
3. Create warm hospitality with people, especially outside, in the narthex (vestibule) and even in the Church by being kind, considerate and modest. In the Church being kind, considerate and modest can all be done without speaking a word and creating silence for people to pray and contemplate is a very powerful form of hospitality.Silence is a lost commodity in our secular world and at home. We should recover the truth that "silence is golden" in our churches.
This list does not exhaust how we can reverently celebrate the Sacred Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist during Holy Mass, but it is a beginning. In all things we should strive for unity, hospitality, contemplation and become disciples in mission when we depart.
Finally, the dismissals of the new English translation indicate in a very powerful way what we as Catholics must do once we have celebrated the Sacred Mystery and depart our Church.
These are the new dismissal options which I pray every deacon or priest should say at the end of Mass, with the response being "Thanks be to God":
A. Go forth, the Mass is ended.
B. Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.
C. Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.
D. Go in peace.