Daily Archives: 5 March 2006

1st Sunday of Lent – SUPER OBLATA (2)

Today’s prayer was the Secret of the Mass for Ash Wednesday according to the older, “Tridentine” Missale Romanum. It is also an ancient prayer from the Gelasian Sacramentary. Interestingly, in the Gelasian this prayer comes after a whole series of prayers over penitents in the rites for doing public penance. Here we read how the penitent on Ash Wednesday would dress in cilicium (an amazingly scratchy and uncomfortable garment of goat’s hair). He would go to church, prostrate himself on the ground before the bishop who would pray over him, and he would do penance until Holy Thursday when he would be reconciled. Continue reading

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1st Sunday of Lent – COLLECT (2)

Even though this is a prayer during Mass sacramentum here refers not just to the sacrament of the Eucharist, but also its ancient meaning: the forty-day long discipline of Lent which mysteriously bonds Christians and Christ more closely together. The whole season of Lent is a transforming mystery, a “sacrament”, during which our practices have consequential effects: they bring us into the mystery of the dying and rising Jesus. This transforming bond with Christ is brought about through denial of self and good works for others, penitential mortification and works of mercy, both spiritual and corporal. In Lent the words of the Baptist must ring in our ears daily, even hourly: “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30). When He increases in us, we are more who we are supposed to be. Thus, we have to make “room” for Him by our self-denial. Continue reading

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1st Sunday of Lent – POST COMMUNION

The origin of the Oratio super populum is quite complex and hard to pin down. Turning to Fr. Joseph A. Jungmann’s monumental two volume The Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development we find a history of this prayer at the beginning of the section concerning the close of the Mass (II, pp. 427ff). Something Jungmann emphasizes that caught my attention is the fact that we are at a “frontier” moment, the threshold of the sacred precinct of the church and the world. When properly formed we want the influence of our intimate contact with the divine to carry over into the outside world. Continue reading

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1st Sunday of Lent – COLLECT (1)

We are asked to participate actively and fully in the whole liturgical year. Our lives must take on the qualities of the entire presentation of the mysteries of our salvation, from Creation to Second Coming. In other words, we are not to be active participants at Sunday Mass only. At the end of Mass the priest or deacon commands, Ite, Missa est… “GO! You are dismissed!” This is stern sounding compared to the warm and fuzzy end of Mass we sometimes experience. But the starkness and force of the Latin indicates we are being sent out with urgency into the world, back to our Christian work. Continue reading

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