Friday, May 29, 2020 –
Now that we have talked about the Mass of the Catechumens, it is time to delve into the Mass of the Faithful. However, that is a mighty chunk to undertake, even for a super basic outline. Even the shortest of snippets for each part are going to be long for an outline as well as totally inadequate to convey the majesty.
Thankfully, the Mass of the Faithful can be broken down into three “parts.” I am going to take each part on its own day, starting with the Offertory today. Without further ado, a slow roll of the Mass of the Faithful…
The Mass of the Faithful
The Mass of the Faithful can be divided into three main parts: the Offertory; the Consecration (AKA the Canon); and the Communion. Within these three parts, a lot (A LOT!!) happens. During this part of the Mass, bells are rung at specific moments. Bells indicate: PAY ATTENTION! SOMETHING IMPORTANT IS HAPPENING!
The Offertory Antiphon (verse) – this marks the beginning of the Offertory and the Mass of the Faithful. It is part of the “propers,” which means it varies from day to day. The purpose of this prayer is to ask the Lord to accept our offerings, despite our unworthiness.
The Oblation (Offering) of Bread and Wine – Bread and wine are offered, just as Christ did at the Last Supper, for the Consecration. The Priest prays over each, asking God to accept our sacrifices. A bell is rung by a server indicating that we, the congregation, should unite our prayers with the Priest in offering the bread and wine.
The Lavabo – Lavabo is Latin for “I will wash.” The Priest washes his fingers as he prays Psalm 25:6-12 to symbolize and signify the purity with which we ought to approach the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity – this prayer states the reason or purpose of why the Holy Sacrifice is offered. We make oblation (offering) to the Most Holy Trinity in memory of the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ, in honor of the saints, and for our salvation.
The Orate Fratres – for most of the Mass, the Priest is facing WITH us towards the Lord. He prays on our behalf and is “speaking to God.” However, this is one of the few moments the Priest turns to speak to us. Feeling his unworthiness, he asks us to pray with him and for him.
The Secret(s) – this comes from the Latin word, “secreta,” which means “set apart.” The secret is the conclusion of the Offertory and is a prayer over the offerings which are “set apart” for the Sacrifice. This is also part of the “propers,” which means it varies from day to day.
The Preface – the Preface is a hymn / prayer, of thanksgiving and praise. It introduces us to the Canon; it prefaces (goes before) the Canon. However, it and the Sanctus are usually listed under the Offertory because the Preface is not a “fixed” prayer, unlike the Canon. Rather, it changes based on the Mass (i.e. for the Most Holy Trinity, for the Blessed Virgin Mary, for Saint Joseph, etc.)
The Sanctus – this is the “Holy, Holy, Holy” hymn of the angels. Sanctus is Latin for “holy.” While it does NOT change, it always follows the Preface, and is therefore included under the Offertory. Bells are rung to tell us to kneel and pay attention.
Okay! That is Part I: The Offertory of Part II of the TLM: The Mass of the Faithful.
Tomorrow I will be taking a short break so I can focus on celebrating the birth of my beloved husband, Mr. Flusche. I promise, however, we will be back at our slow roll of the Latin Mass on Sunday.
Saint Linus, pray for us!