New Mass Translation: The "What?" for Priests

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A look at the priest's parts in the new translation of the Roman Missal that goes into use in the U.S. on November 27, 2011.

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The “New” Roman Missal: 

The “New” Roman Missal The “What?” for the Priest

Liturgy of the Eucharist: 

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Preparation of the Offerings: 

Preparation of the Offerings Present Text New Text Blessed are you, Lord , God of all creation.  Through your goodness we have this bread to offer , which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life. Blessed are you, Lord , God of all creation.  Through your goodness we have this wine to offer , fruit of the vine and work of human hands.  It will become our spiritual drink . Lord God, we ask you to receive us and be pleased with the sacrifice we offer you with humble and contrite hearts . Lord , wash away my iniquity ; cleanse me from my sin. Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation , for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands , it will become for us the bread of life . Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation , for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands it will become our spiritual drink . With humble spirit and contrite heart may we be accepted by you , O Lord, and may our sacrifice in your sight this day be pleasing to you, Lord God . Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin .

Commentary: 

The prayers accompanying the offering of the bread and wine are very important, because they express the sacramental reality of the Sacred Liturgy . Through our human work amidst creation, we offer back to God what is already His (the new translation highlights that we first “received” these gifts from Him), and He brings it to its heavenly fulfillment . In an overarching sense, this applies to our entire Christian lives on earth.  Just as the bread and wine become Christ’s Body and Blood, we look forward to our resurrection in glorified bodies (as we profess in the Creed), and also to the perfection of all creation in the heavenly Jerusalem. Commentary

Commentary: 

The entire preceding exchange during the preparation of the gifts bears similarity to prayers found in an episode from the Book of Daniel, when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are cast into a fiery furnace for refusing to worship an idol created by King Nebuchadnezzar . Abednego (also known as Azariah ) utters a prayer from within the furnace that begins, “Blessed are you, and praiseworthy, O Lord, the God of our fathers, and glorious forever is your name” (Dan 3:26 ). And as the three men are kept safe by an Angel while in the furnace, they sing a litany of praise, wherein they repeatedly bless the Lord and extol His name “above all forever.” Commentary

Commentary: 

After offering the bread and wine, the Priest then quietly recites, “With humble spirit and contrite heart …” More than a simple rearranging of the current translation, the new text is a much clearer allusion to a portion of the same prayer spoken by Abednego in the furnace: “But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received; as though it were holocausts of rams and bullocks, or thousands of fat lambs, so let our sacrifice be in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly; for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame” (Dan 3:39-40 ). This also recalls Psalm 51 (50), which affirms that the Lord desires a humble heart over burnt sacrifices. Commentary

Orate, Fratres: 

Orate, Fratres Present Text New Text Pray, brethren, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father. Pray, brethren ( brothers and sisters) , that my s acrifice and yours may be acceptable to God , the almighty Father.

A Sacrificial Act: 

Highlighted in the new wording is the SACRIFICIAL nature of the Eucharist. There was a time after the Second Vatican Council when some theologians wanted to discount the idea of sacrifice and say that the Eucharist was a common meal for the faithful. This implied that a sacrifice would never include a shared meal, and that has proved to be incorrect . Most of the sacrifices of the Bible had an element of meal because most included the consumption of what was sacrificed by both the priests and the families offering, according to a protocol which gave the priests the choicest portions. Priests in the Old Testament were quite the carnivores and I suspect that some of them had more of a physical resemblance to beefy butchers with blood on their aprons than we might be comfortable with because of our experience of unbloody sacrifices. The blood was offered at the altar, and the fat burned, but then the family and the priests received the meat. Only the holocaust sacrifices were to be burned up completely and not consumed, so normally the priests had good rations of meat . A Sacrificial Act

Temple Holocausts: 

Temple Holocausts

Temple Diagram: 

Temple Diagram

Mass without Communion?: 

Mass without Communion? Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in his book, “Feast of Faith,” wrote an essay about the trend to overemphasize the “meal” aspect of the liturgy and to discount or marginalize the element of sacrifice. If it is only a meal, even one that makes real the “agape” (the shared love of God of the community), attendance without consuming is an absurdity. I have heard it said that a Mass without communion was meaningless, like going to a friend’s house for dinner and not eating. But assistance at Mass even without communion is worthwhile. It is of course not the ideal way to participate in liturgy, but presence while the sacrifice is offered has meaning even without communion. Going to a friend’s house, even though no meal is shared, is, after all, still an act of friendship.

At the Foot of the Cross: 

The Mass is the renewal of the grace of the sacrifice of the Son to the Father for the community of believers which is thus spiritually present at the foot of the cross. That prayer has merit even if we are not disposed to receive for some reason. This could be for health reasons, or because we had not calculated the fast, or because there is something in our life that precludes full communion . A seminary professor once told us about a community leader in El Salvador who did not receive communion at Mass once and was asked (by the seminary professor) in private what was wrong. “I did not have my wedding garment on,” he replied very biblically . In such cases, participating in the Mass, even if only with a spiritual communion, is still an important moment of prayer in which the Church unites herself with Jesus Christ’s saving action on the cross. No doubt, some spiritual communions at Mass are much more meritorious than some sacramental ones. At the Foot of the Cross

Priesthood vs. priesthood: 

The second idea has to do with the fact that the priest’s sacrifice is different somehow from that of the laity. It is the same sacrifice, and it is Christ’s, but only the priest can offer the Mass and his participation is thus essential. This is recognized in assigning an “intention” to the Mass. It has been speculated that the root of the custom of giving a stipend to the priest who is offering the sacrifice has to do with the fact that some members of the early Christian community would take turns providing the bread and wine used in the Eucharist. The honorary “hosts” thus participated especially in the prayer of the community and saw this as of particular benefit. This benefit was later defined in terms of a particular intention, in present practice almost always associated with prayer for the deceased. Offering a Mass for an intention is a way to secure a spiritual good. It is a hallmark of Catholicity. Even Henry VIII, who went into schism, left money for perpetual Masses for his soul. Priesthood vs. priesthood

Of Inestimable Value: 

There is a famous story by Honore Balzac, “The Atheist’s Mass” in which the curious action of a prominent Paris physician, an unbeliever, who goes yearly to a low Mass offered at Saint Sulpice is analyzed. The story reveals that the physician, who owed his professional career to a poor laborer who helped him with his studies, honored the latter’s memory each year with a Mass. The workingman had believed, and so the physician secretly but faithfully had a Mass offered for the soul of his benefactor on the anniversary of the man’s death . Recently I read “My Mortal Enemy,” a short novel by Willa Cather, a Baptist-turned-Episcopalian who was nevertheless fascinated by Catholicism. In it a fallen away Catholic, who has become desperately poor, reveals to her relative that she has money hidden from her husband to use for having Masses said after her death. The gold coins were not for any material expenses, only spiritual ones. Like in the example of Balzac, sometimes we see more clearly what our faith means through the eyes of people who do not share it. Of Inestimable Value

Your Sacrifice?: 

Your Sacrifice? But the sacrifice is not just the Church’s or the priest’s but of each member. It would be useful to ask each Catholic, what is your relationship to the sacrifice? That is what the new language highlights, too. Your sacrifice – in what does it consist? This reminds me of one of the most harrowing tales of the Old Testament, the sacrifice of Isaac. Abraham is taking his beloved son up the mountain to offer him to God. The boy notices that something is missing. He is carrying the wood (like Jesus carried the cross up another mountain) but there is no animal to sacrifice. Abraham, whose heart must have been breaking, says, “God will provide the sacrifice.”

“I don’t get anything out of Mass”: 

God provides us at Mass with the sacrifice, His own Son. But he asks of us an interior sacrifice so that we can worship Him completely. It is a woeful spirituality that is dependent on the homily or the music of the Mass, the flowers or the interior decorating – however important all these may be – to make the worship meaningful. If someone is bored at Mass, what is he or she offering to the Lord? If you came to offer yourself to the Lord in communion with the greatest sacrifice of all time – that of Jesus on the cross – how can you say, “I didn’t get anything out of it”? Maybe you did not put anything in, is what I would be tempted to say. Don’t forget that the Mass is your sacrifice, too. “My sacrifice and yours” can help us in our distraction to really and personally encounter the Lord in the Eucharist. “I don’t get anything out of Mass”

Eucharistic Prayer III: 

Eucharistic Prayer III

EP III-Thanksgiving: 

EP III-Thanksgiving Present Text New Text Father, you are holy indeed , and all creation rightly gives you praise. All life, all holiness comes from you through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord , by the working of the Holy Spirit. From age to age you gather a people to yourself, so that from east to west a perfect offering may be made to the glory of your name. You are indeed Holy, O Lord , and all you have created rightly gives you praise, for through your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, by the power and working of the Holy Spirit, you give life to all things and make them holy , and you never cease to gather a people to yourself, so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name.

EP III-Epiclesis: 

EP III-Epiclesis Present Text New Text And so, Father, we bring you these gifts. We ask you to make them holy by the power of your Spirit, that they may become the body and blood of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at whose command we celebrate this eucharist . Therefore, O Lord, we humbly implore you: by the same Spirit graciously make holy these gifts we have brought to you for consecration, that they may become the Body and Blood of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ at whose command we celebrate these mysteries.

EP III-Institution Narrative: 

EP III-Institution Narrative Present Text New Text On the night he was betrayed, he took bread and gave you thanks and praise. He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said : Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you. When supper was ended, he took the cup. Again he gave you thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples, and said : Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant . It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me. For on the night he was betrayed he himself took bread, and giving you thanks he said the blessing , broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying : Take this, all of you, and eat of it: for this is my Body which will be given up for you. In a similar way , when supper was ended, he took the chalice , and giving you thanks he said the blessing, and gave the chalice to his disciples, saying: Take this, all of you, and drink from it: for this is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal covenant ; which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.

Commentary: 

At every Mass, the Priest repeats the words by which Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, and by which the bread and wine become the true Body and Blood of Christ for us today. The changes at the consecration of the bread are minor, but there are a few changes in the text for the consecration of the wine that are worth explaining . First is the replacement of “cup” with “chalice.” Both refer to vessels from which we drink, and both terms appear in the Bible . However , “chalice” implies a special kind of cup – one that is precious and set aside for a noble purpose (in this case, for the “new and eternal covenant ”). This is part of the dignified language brought out by the new translation: just as we do not refer to the altar of sacrifice as merely a “table,” so saying “chalice” at this moment emphasizes that the Blood of Christ is no ordinary drink. Such language can help foster greater reverence at the Holy Mass . Commentary

Commentary: 

A significant change is the revision of the current phrase, “shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven,” to “poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.” One observation regarding the new wording is that the imagery of Blood being “poured out” is more vivid than “shed” – it portrays His Blood as true drink (Jn 6:55) and accentuates that Jesus entirely emptied Himself (Phil 2:7) out of love for us. However, the more noticeable revision in those same lines is the replacement of “for all” with “for many.” At the most basic level, “for many” is a faithful translation of the original Latin phrase, “pro multis .” Turning to Scripture, Isaiah 53:12 prophesied that the Messiah would take away “the sins of many,” and Christ Himself at the Last Supper also said His Blood would be shed for “many” (Mt 26:28, Mk 14:24 ). Commentary

Commentary: 

This does not mean that Christ did not die for the sake of all humanity, for that, too, is indisputable from Scripture. We need only recall 2 Corinthians 5:15 – “He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” Rather, “for many” upholds the reality that each individual must also accept and abide in the grace won by Christ in order to attain eternal life. The recovery of this wording affirms that salvation is not completely automatic. Nonetheless, it should not be interpreted as overly restrictive, either. The fact that Jesus was addressing only the Apostles in the Upper Room while saying, “for you and for many,” implies far-reaching inclusion – that many more besides the Twelve would benefit from this new covenant . Commentary

EP III-Anamnesis: 

EP III-Anamnesis Present Text New Text Father, calling to mind the death your Son endured for our salvation, his glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven, and ready to greet him when he comes again , we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice. Therefore, O Lord, we celebrate the memorial of the saving Passion of your Son, his wondrous Resurrection and Ascension into heaven, and as we look forward to his second coming , we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice.

EP III-Epiclesis: 

EP III-Epiclesis Present Text New Text Look with favor on your Church's offering, and see the Victim whose death has reconciled us to yourself. Grant that we, who are nourished by his body and blood, may be filled with his Holy Spirit, and become one body, one spirit in Christ. Look, we pray, upon the oblation of your Church, and, recognizing the sacrificial Victim by whose death you willed to reconcile us to yourself, grant that we, who are nourished by the Body and Blood of your Son and filled with his Holy Spirit, may become one body, one spirit in Christ.

EP III-Intercessions: 

EP III-Intercessions Present Text New Text May he make us an everlasting gift to you and enable us to share in the inheritance of your saints, with Mary, the virgin Mother of God, with the apostles, the martyrs , (Saint N. – the saint of the day or the patron saint ) and all your saints, on whose constant intercession we rely for help. May he make of us an eternal offering to you , so that we may obtain an inheritance with your elect , especially with the most blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with your blessed Apostles and glorious Martyrs ( with Saint N.: the Saint of the day or Patron Saint ) and with all the Saints, on whose constant intercession in your presence we rely for unfailing help .

EP III-Intercessions: 

EP III-Intercessions Present Text New Text Lord, may this sacrifice, which has made our peace with you , advance the peace and salvation of all the world. Strengthen in faith and love your pilgrim Church on earth; your servant, Pope N. , our Bishop N., and all the bishops , with the clergy and the entire people your Son has gained for you. Father, hear the prayers of the family you have gathered here before you. In mercy and love unite all your children wherever they may be. May this Sacrifice of our reconciliation, we pray, O Lord , advance the peace and salvation of all the world. Be pleased to confirm in faith and charity your pilgrim Church on earth , with your servant N. our Pope and N. our Bishop, the Order of Bishops, all the clergy, and the entire people you have gained for your own . Listen graciously to the prayers of this family , whom you have summoned before you : in your compassion, O merciful Father, gather to yourself all your children scattered throughout the world.

EP III-Intercessions: 

EP III-Intercessions Present Text New Text Welcome into your kingdom our departed brothers and sisters, and all who have left this world in your friendship. We hope to enjoy for ever the vision of your glory, through Christ our Lord , from whom all good things come. To our departed brothers and sisters and to all who were pleasing to you at their passing from this life, give kind admittance to your kingdom. There we hope to enjoy for ever the fullness of your glory through Christ our Lord through whom you bestow on the world all that is good.

EP III-Doxology: 

EP III-Doxology Present Text New Text Through him, with him, in him , in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever. Through him, and with him, and in him, O God , almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever.

EP III-Communion Rite: 

EP III-Communion Rite Present Text New Text Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Savior gave us. Or: Jesus taught us to call God our Father, and so we have the courage to say: Or: Let us ask our Father to forgive our sins and to bring us to forgive those who sin against us. Or: Let us pray for the coming of the kingdom as Jesus taught us. At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say:

EP III-Embolism: 

EP III-Embolism Present Text New Text Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day . In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days , that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

EP III-Prayer for Peace: 

EP III-Prayer for Peace Present Text New Text Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles: I leave you peace, my peace I give you.  Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom, where you live for ever and ever. Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles, Peace I leave you, my peace I give you, look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will.  Who live and reign for ever and ever.

Private Preparation of the Priest: 

Private Preparation of the Priest Present Text New Text Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, by the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit your death brought life to the world. By your holy body and blood free me from all my sins, and from every evil.  Keep me faithful to your teaching , and never let me be parted from you. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who by the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit, through your death gave life to the world; free me by this your most holy Body and Blood from all my sins and from every evil; keep me always faithful to your commandments , and never let me be parted from you.

Private Preparation of the Priest: 

Private Preparation of the Priest Present Text New Text Lord Jesus Christ, with faith in your love and mercy I eat your body and drink your blood.  Let it not bring me condemnation, but health in mind and body. May the receiving of your Body and Blood, Lord Jesus Christ, not bring me to judgment and condemnation, but through your loving mercy be for me protection in mind and body , and a healing remedy .

Ecce Agnus Dei: 

Ecce Agnus Dei Present Text New Text This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper. Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb .

Priest’s Communion: 

Priest’s Communion Present Text New Text May the body of Christ bring me to everlasting life. May the blood of Christ bring me to everlasting life. May the Body of Christ keep me safe for eternal life. May the Blood of Christ keep me safe for eternal life .

Prayer at the Cleansing of the Vessels: 

Prayer at the Cleansing of the Vessels Present Text New Text Lord, may I receive these gifts in purity of heart. May they bring me healing and strength, now and for ever . What has passed our lips as food, O Lord, may we possess in purity of heart , that what has been given to us in time may be our healing for eternity .

Dismissal: 

Dismissal Present Text New Text Go in the peace of Christ. Or: The Mass is ended, go in peace. Or: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord . Go forth, the Mass is ended. Or: Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord. Or: Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life. Or: Go in peace.