About the Holy Mass (Part 2 – Liturgy of the Word)

continued from part 1 – Introductory Rites

“The Liturgy of the Word”. 

There are typically three readings from Holy Scripture, plus a responsorial Psalm.  The Lector will read the first reading which is from the OT.  When he is finished, he will say “The word of the Lord”, and everyone responds, “Thanks be to God“.

The responsorial Psalm is next.  The Psalmist or cantor will sing or say the Psalm, and the congregation will make their response.

The second reading is from the New Testament, and is conducted just as the first, with the people responding at the end “Thanks be to God

Now we sing “Alleluia“, as the priest or deacon prepares to proclaim the Gospel, which is our third reading.  If the Deacon is doing the reading, he will first bow before the priest, and ask for his blessing.  The Priest says in a low voice: “May the Lord be in your heart and on your lips, that you may proclaim His gospel worthily and well, In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” and the Deacon will respond “amen”.

If there is not a Deacon, the Priest will bow before the altar and say a prayer:  “Cleanse my heart and my lips, Almighty God, that I may worthily proclaim your holy Gospel.  He then proceeds from the altar to the podium, and greets the congregation with “The Lord be with you”, and the people respond “and with your spirit”

The Deacon or Priest then says “A reading from the Holy Gospel according to ____” while making the sign of the cross over the book, his forehead, his lips and his heart; and the people respond with “Glory to you, Oh Lord” as we make the sign of the cross on our foreheads, then our lips, and finally over our hearts.  When I do this, I pray that God will print His word on my mind, that it would be on my lips, and that it will be impressed and stored in my heart.

The Deacon or Priest will then read the gospel message, ending with “The Gospel of the Lord”  And we all respond “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ”  Then, he kisses the book, and says quietly “Through the words of the gospel, may our sins be wiped away”.  The Homily is next, and the Priest or Deacon will expound on the readings, and encourage the faithful in their faith.  when the homily is finished, we all profess our faith together by reciting the Creed:

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God,

born of the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God

begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father, through Him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven,

(bowing, we continue…) and by the Holy spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate  He suffered death and was buried,

and rose again on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life

who proceeds from the Father and the Son;

who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified;

who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.  Amen.

Lastly, there is another prayer, “the Universal Prayer”, where we offer up prayers for our world, our country, and one another.  After each petition, the people respond together with “Lord, hear our prayer“.

This concludes the Liturgy of the Word, and we move to the high point of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Part 3 – Liturgy of the Eucharist

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Finding My Center – aka that “B” word, “balance”

I’m being pruned.  Again.

We are down to one working computer between us.  Hubs’ computer just breathed its last yesterday, before we could even call for last rites, may it rest in peace.

My laptop was christened in May when I turned my back for two seconds and Grammie Reward #3 bathed it in milk from her sippy cup.  My bad, I know better than to leave it unattended within reach, but I did it anyhow…It is not completely dead, but I don’t have the $$$ to fix it at this point.

That leaves us with the laptop that the girls used while they were home…and between sharing it with hubs, and its numerous glitches, getting on and getting stuff done is pretty much hit and miss.  Last week, every time I went to post on my facebook page, it would crash, have to be restarted, and even then would not connect to the internet.  So, I got some praying, and reading, and drawing done…oh…and finished out Army Wives to the end of last season, lol.

Anyhow, while hubs had the computer yesterday, I was thinking about balance—or rather, my lack thereof.  I was remembering how we are 3 part beings, (consisting of body, soul and spirit), and how each part needs to be nourished and cared for.  Sometimes, when we lose our center, one area is more cherished/cared for than the other(s), and we become unbalanced…okay, at least I become unbalanced.  I drew up a simple diagram to illustrate and prayed for help as I attempt to come up with a plan to restore that balance.  It’s three circles, overlapping one another.

Body-that which makes up our physical being, our flesh and blood, the earthly tent that houses our soul and spirit.  In this circle, I wrote serve, give, eat right, rest, exercise, laughter, hygiene, and clean home.

Soul- that which makes up our intellect, will, and emotions…the Bible calls this the heart…I see it also as the area where my psycho-social (no comments from the peanut gallery!) needs are met.  In this circle, I wrote read, write, serve, worship, doodle, conversation, telephone/social media,

Spirit-that which lives forever, the part of us that is created to live forever…the real, eternal, me that possesses the other two parts.  In this circle, I wrote attend Mass, pray, memorize scripture, listen to Bible teaching,

The everyday choices that I make will feed one or more of these parts of me…some of my choices will feed all three parts, as seen in my illustration where the circles overlap.  For example, reading and blogging are good for both my soul and my spirit, providing I’m filling them with Philippians 4:8 approved reading and writing.  In fact, I find that my writing (as well as my conversation) is directly linked to how I am allowing myself to think.  Funny how that works.  A clean body and home benefits both my physical body and my soul.  I seem to find my center (or feel my best)  when I am in prayer, worship, and service.  I am best able to do this, when my priorities are straight, and I’m paying the necessary attention to my body, soul, and spirit.  In a nutshell, for me, this is balance.

When Philippians 4:8 content fills my mind, and I think on those things, my spirit is healthy, and I can more easily walk by faith.  When troubles and regrets crowd my mind, and I find myself worrying, my spirit suffers, as does the rest of me.  I might not sleep well, or be able to concentrate, I might skip my Bible reading or prayer time in order to sleep in, and my soul suffers…my will is not strong enough to persevere, because I haven’t fed it properly.  It’s easy for me to skip meals altogether, or eat the wrong things, and my body suffers…which affects my emotions and will, and it all becomes a vicious cycle.  See how that works?  All three parts need to be nurtured and cared for in order to benefit the whole person.

 

 

About the Holy Mass (Part 1-Introductory rites)

I watched with anticipation the coverage of World Youth Day on EWTN, and found myself  overwhelmed with the amount of people present for a Mass. As the Holy Father was preparing for the Mass, the cameras panned over the crowds and you could hear occasional loud hoots and hollerings when the audience caught a glimpse of themselves on the screen.  I was initially bothered by this, don’t they know that the Mass is being prepared and a solemn, beautiful thing is about to happen.  I wondered aloud if they could all hear what is happening?  The back of the crowd looks to be several blocks away from what is taking place on the altar.

A fb friend shared an aerial view of the phenomena, and I could see several large screens set up, and I’m sure there are speakers as well.  As the Holy Father began the consecration, a beautiful, amazing thing happened.  An estimated number of 3 million observers and participants went from a dull roar (with occasional loud bursts of hooting and hollering) to complete silence, as the prayer of the priest was performed, and Jesus was made present for us again in the Eucharist.

What a beautiful witness of unity.  Remember the Sunflower/Son Follower post?  That’s what this reminded me of…three million people all focused on the same point of reference.  It was like the Spirit of God was hovering over that place, and ministering personally to each individual who was part of the whole…and here I was, thousands of miles away, and allowed to be part of it as well…the prayer of Jesus for His church and His body in John 17 “that they may be one”, being answered and fulfilled in our sight.  Thank you Lord!!!

Soon after witnessing this, another facebook friend posted a very well written explanation of the Mass for her non-Catholic friends and family members.  I thought this was an excellent idea, and will try to do the same here, in my own words; a mini course in Mass Education in the event that you might one day find yourself in Mass, and wonder what’s up…or if you are curious about the Catholic Mass with no intention to participate ever.  For me, it will be good to be able to verbalize the what and why of the Holy Mass, in case a friend or family member should want to accompany me ever (hint, hint 😉 ).

When you first enter the church building, you will see a baptismal font.  Every time we enter and exit a church, we dip our finger into the font and use the Holy water to make the sign of the cross on ourselves to remind us of our baptism.  First we touch our forehead (in the name of the Father) then make a straight line down to the bottom of our sternum (and of the Son), then shoulder to shoulder (and the Holy Spirit).

We’ll proceed then into the nave (the inside of the church where the pews and kneelers are) to our preferred seat, and genuflect (kneel and bow) to the Tabernacle, (where the consecrated host is kept).  Some make the sign of the cross again when they genuflect, others do not.

Before we sit, though, we will kneel for personal prayer and reflection, to prepare our hearts for the Word of the Lord that will be presented.  Some might choose to pray through the rosary, others just silent personal prayer.  Personally, I like to focus on the crucifix at the front, and think about the cost of my salvation, and pray that I can respond in a grateful, humble way, as I offer up my own sufferings to participate with His.  I ask Him to make my life a reflection of the mercy and grace that has been poured out for me, and on me.  If I have friends who are also going through hard times, I will ask Him to come alongside and meet them where they are.  I pray for Him to console and comfort them, heal them, minister peace to their hearts, and whatever else might come to mind.  I ask the angels and the saints in heaven to pray with me for them, to the Lord.

When I am finished praying, I will sit quietly in my seat and wait for the Mass to start.

When Mass starts, we will sing a hymn for the entrance procession.  Altar servers, lectors, a deacon, and the Priest will form a procession down the middle aisle of the church, carrying the processional cross  and the Book of the Gospels up to the Sanctuary.

The Priest will make the sign of the cross and greet the congregation:

“In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”

(The congregation also makes the sign of the cross together, and responds, “Amen”).

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  (The congregations responds with “and with your spirit“.)

After a short greeting and introduction, we will acknowledge our sins, confess together, and pray for mercy.

I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned

in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do;

(striking our breast, we continue…)

through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault;

therefore, I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters,

to pray for me to the Lord our God.

OR, the priest may lead the congregation in the Kyrie, or the prayer for mercy.

The priest will give absolution by saying:  “May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.”  And everyone replies “Amen“.

We move from penance to Glorifying God by singing or saying “The Gloria”,

This is actually one of my favorite parts of the Mass.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will.

We praise you,

we bless you,

we adore you,

we glorify you,

we give you thanks for your great glory,

Lord, God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ, Only begotten Son,

Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,

you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us:

You take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer;

You are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.

For you alone are the Holy One,

you alone are the Lord, 

you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,

with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father, Amen

Following the Gloria, the priest says a prayer to conclude the Introductory Rites, and moves to the next part of the service.

Part 2 – The Liturgy of the Word

The House by the Side of the Road

Written by Sam Walter Foss

Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by –
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner’s seat,
Or hurl the cynic’s ban;
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road,
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears –
Both parts of an infinite plan;
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead
And mountains of wearisome height;
And the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice,
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by –
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish – so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat
Or hurl the cynic’s ban?
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

When I worked at an Assisted Living Facility, a dear WWII vet who had memory deficits, one day rattled off a few lines of this poem, and cited the author. He said he was made to memorize it in Junior High, but couldn’t remember it all anymore. I looked it up when I got home from work that day, and it has become one of my all time favorites. Before I met this gentleman, I had never heard of Sam Walter Foss, now I’ll never forget him, and I feel I identify with his heart cry in this verse. enjoy.

New England poet Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911) evokes the age old image of
a humble house where the weary traveler finds a welcome – a house such as
Baucis and Philemon’s – to remind us that we are here to help one another
along life’s journey. Friends are “help-mates” to each other.

By New Things Posted in Poetry

Moment by Moment

Romans 12:1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

M&M’s are one of my favorite ebenezers.

Our sanctification (or process of becoming holy)  is a moment by moment process.  It does not come immediately when we believe, we have to walk it out, and make choices one day at a time, even one moment at a time.   It doesn’t come easy, either.   Moment by moment we are being changed into the image of the one that those choices honor…if we make worldly choices, we will look like the world.  If we make godly choices, we will start to look like Him and bear His true image in our spirits.

Since I’m a visual learner (with a perpetual sweet tooth), who LOVES alliteration, I saw a bag of M&M’s and quickly associated them with “moment by moment”.   And, when it gets tough…and I’m tired…and I need chocolate…there they are, a sweet, gentle reminder that it’s worth it, as I continue to press on.  Of course, I purposely chose the yellow packet (with nuts) because most of my moments are a little nutty.

Learning to pray the Rosary – The Creed

wpid-img_20130820_173554I’m killing two birds with one stone.  I need to pray more, and take time to meditate and focus on Scripture.  I also need to learn the Rosary.  I can follow along with it, as long as I’m in the company of seasoned pray-ers, but my brain goes blank when I try to do it myself.  So, I’ve decided to add the Rosary prayers and meditations to my prayer journal, for the purpose of memorizing them to be able to recite on my own.

Catholic Answers has a very good article about the Rosary here.

I’ll share my journal pages and thoughts as I go.

Okay?  Great.

The rosary begins with the cross, we hold it in our hand as we make the sign of the cross over ourselves.  Beginning with the forehead (In the name of the Father), then down right about under our sternum (and of the Son), then from left shoulder to right shoulder (and of the Holy Spirit).

While still grasping the cross, we recite the Apostle’s Creed:

wpid-img_20130820_173733“I believe in God the Father, Almighty Creator of heaven and earth.”

Here, I’m reminded of the crash course I took in the names of God.  I see three of them:  Father, Almighty, and Creator.  In this opening line, we recognize our God in a paternal relationship, in control, and engaged in creative imaging.

He is our Father; He loves, protects, nurtures, provides and guides us, His children.

He is Almighty; He is all seeing, all knowing, all powerful, ever present, eternal, never changing, Supreme.  He is all-in-all.

He is Creator; He made it all.  In His own image, He created us.  From nothing He formed everything that exists.    And without Him, nothing was made that now exists, both in heaven and on earth.

This phrase is reminiscent of the one in the Lord’s prayer “…on earth as it is in heaven“.  Since He created it all, it stands to reason that His will continues to be done in it all, both here on earth and in heaven.

In this opening statement, we get a sneak peek into His Kingdom, power and glory and we affirm it every time we proclaim our faith through the recitation of the Creed.

…and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord

creed JCJesus asked Peter, “who do men say that I am?”  The answers are as varied today as they were then.  Some say “a great teacher”, or “a good man”, some even might recognize Him as “a prophet or sage”.  But, when asked “who do YOU say that I am?”  Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, answered correctly, “You are the Christ, the son of the Living God”.

It matters that we believe in Jesus, but it matters more, who we believe He is.

Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit; born of the virgin, Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, died and was buriedconceived born crucified

The Creed is the gospel (or Good News) in a nutshell.  It identifies Jesus by declaring where He came from, and what He did.  It affirms His place in the Godhead, His miraculous birth, sorrowful death and glorious resurrection.  And most importantly, when we recite it, we affirm our belief and agreement that He is who He says He is, and we unite ourselves to Him and to each other in this affirmation.

descended to hell “By the expression “He descended into hell“, the Apostles Creed confesses that Jesus did really die and through his death for us conquered death and the devil “who has the power of death” (Heb 2:14).”  His human soul did so being “united to His divine person”.  Dying, he went down to “the realm of the dead” and opened heaven’s gates for the just who had gone before Him.  (Catechism of the Catholic Church 636, 637)

On the third day, he rose again from the dead. 

Jesus was really dead.  He wasn’t just sleeping.  He wasn’t just “reckoned for dead”, he was gone.  But he didn’t STAY dead.  He overcame death and the grave with His glorious resurrection.  This was a real event, with sworn testimony by people who SAW him, who touched him, who testified even to the point of death that this was truth.

I would not die for a lie, would you?

I think we get this part of the Apostles Creed from Paul’s words to the Corinthians;  “I gave to you the most important thing that I received…the confession that Christ died for our sins to fulfill Scripture, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day to fulfill Scripture, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve….” (1 Corinthians 15:3-9)

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty

creed ascended

Mark 16:19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

Acts 1:9 …he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

From there He will come to judge the living and the dead

Matthew 4:30 “…They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. ”

judge

Matthew 25:31-46  “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them one from another…And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life”

I believe in the Holy Spirit

“To believe in the Holy Spirit is to profess that the Holy Spirit is one of the persons of the Holy Trinity, consubstantial with the Father and the Son: “with the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.”6 For this reason, the divine mystery of the Holy Spirit was already treated in the context of Trinitarian “theology.” Here, however, we have to do with the Holy Spirit only in the divine “economy.” ”   (Catechism of the Catholic Church 685)

I believeThe Holy Catholic Church

“To believe that the Church is “holy” and “catholic,” and that she is “one” and “apostolic” (as the Nicene Creed adds), is inseparable from belief in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the Apostles’ Creed we profess “one Holy Church” (Credo . . . Ecclesiam), and not to believe in the Church, so as not to confuse God with his works and to attribute clearly to God’s goodness all the gifts he has bestowed on his Church.” (CCC 750)

The communion of saints

One of my biggest hurdles to calling myself Catholic, and now one of my most treasured new things.  I wrote about it here, here, and here.  Bottom line, Jesus has one body, and we that love Him are part of that body.  When our earthly bodies die, we do not become disconnected from His body, we are still one with Him and with one another (as Jesus prayed for in John 17).  I love the image of my parents continuing in prayer for me like they did when they lived here, only with an eternal perspective and direct access to the throne.

The forgiveness of sins

It’s not an accident that this part is here.  We can have forgiveness of sins only because of who we profess that Jesus is.  If Jesus, the only Son of God had not died on that cross and taken the punishment for my sin upon HImself, then conquered death and the grave, there would be no forgiveness, because without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins.  I am so very thankful that Jesus gave me this priceless gift.

res body The resurrection of the body

1 Corinthians 15:12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”[f]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.

And life everlasting, life ever

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 6:47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.

I love the Apostles’ Creed.  It reminds me of a musical ensemble, this litany of profession.  With each affirmation the tempo builds and increases in strength, climbing, and ascending toward the crest, and closing in a final, dramatic crescendo of validation and resolution.  Amen!