Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Basic Q and A for the Latin Mass Part II No. 4 - The Preface to the Prayers at the Consecration:

Q and A Part II: What is Going On at the Latin Mass?

No. 4: From the Preface to the Prayers at Consecration 

NO. 4
B. Preface to the Pater Noster
20. The Preface
21. The Sanctus
22. The prayers before the Consecration
23. The Prayers at Consecration
24. The Prayers after Consecration

20. The Preface

Is this in the Novus Ordo? Yes. This also includes almost exact translations from the Latin for the answer and reply portion the laity give that are included in the Novus Ordo at ``the Lord Be with you`` to ``it is right and just`.`

Cues for the Laity: You are still sitting at the Low Mass, or you are still standing at the High Mass.

General Gist: The Priest extends his hands over the altar and does the answer and reply portion that we are familiar with ending with ``it is meet/right in just" in Latin. He then opens his hands with them pointing upward, and says or chants (in High Masses or higher) the preface, according to the liturgical season or feast day. It will be followed by the Sanctus (Holy x3). 

  • The preface introduces the Canon of the Mass. It is followed by the Sanctus.
  • The Preface that is most commonly used is the Preface of the Holy Trinity, when no other preface is required. It is used most often as it is absolutely unfathomable to all created minds and echoes the Athanasian creed. It has special importance as the most commonly used Preface (129, The Latin Mass Explained).
  • The Preface is a call to render thanks to God the Father, through Jesus Christ, in union with all the heavenly spirits. (932, The Daily Missal and Liturgical Missal ,,, ; 28, Latin-English Booklet Missal
  • Further it is a canticle by which the hearts of those present are lifted up to the contemplation of heavenly thing and to the giving of thanks to God on account of the various mysteries (128, The Latin Mass Explained)
  • When the priest is doing the answer and reply:
    • The priest is asking in ``Sursum corda`` for the people to detach themselves from earthly things, and to lift up their hearts, and even elevates his hands as an external gesture for us to do so to the Lord, and think of him in their minds and hearts. The people reply ``Habemus ad Dominum``, We have lifted them up tot he Lord. (128, The Latin Mass Explained; 88, The Holy Mass).  
    • Then an invitation to give Thanks to the Lord is presented in the priest`s next answer ``Gratias agamus Domino Deo Nostro`` The priest will join his hands and bow to express us to do so and partake in worship of the spirit as God insists upon. The people  reply ``Dignum et justum est`` which means it is meet/right and just. 
  • The priest, in the Preface prayer, renders thanksgiving to our Lord Jesus Christ, going straight up to Him penetrating right to the centre of the Divinity. (89, The Holy Mass)

21. The Sanctus

Is this in the Novus Ordo? Yes. Right down to the ringing of the Bells. Also it is almost a direct literal translation from the Latin in the current Novus Ordo with the 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal. 

Cues for the Laity: At the low mass, All will kneel until the Last Gospel at the end. At the High Mass and higher, you will also kneel here.

General Gist: The altar server will ring the bells three times at each "sanctus". The priest will join his hands together and bowing, says the Sanctus prayer that we know in the Novus Ordo and sing along as "Holy x 3"


  • This is also known as the "Trisagion" for being "thrice holy". It is a triumphal hymn of the angels that addresses the three Divine Persons, with Scriptural reference from Isaiah 6:3; Psalm 117; and Matthew 21.9. This also contains the acclimations that the people of Jerusalem greeted Him with when he entered Jerusalem (29, Latin English Booklet Missal). The biblical references allude to:
    • Isaiah 6:3: When Isaiah heard seraphims say to each other "Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of Hosts, all the earth is full of His Glory." in a vision of the Lord upon a high throne with seraphims around it. 
    • Psalm 117:26: "Blessed be he who enters in the name of the Lord!"
    • Matthew 21:9: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest"
  • The words from "Blessed`` to ``the Lord`` also announce Him Who is soon to come upon the altar to be immolated in the unbloody manner the same as the one who came to Jerusalem, that He might there shed His blood on the Cross. (130, The Latin Mass Explained)
  • Sometimes, there is a sanctus candle that is lit on the epistle side of the Sanctuary after the Sanctus. This candle gives additional homage to Our Lord, Who a the Consecration will become present on the altar under the appearnces of bread and wine. This candle is extinguised after the door of the tabernacle is closed following Holy Communion. (130, The Latin Mass Explained
    • In the same vein, and more commonly seen, at this point altar servers in the role of the torch bearer in High Masses (if present) and higher levels come out to surround the altar with their torches of light. They fulfill a similar function to this sanctus candle (though I will explain the role more in my torch bearer posting). 
  • When we say heaven and earth are full of your glory, be it in the Latin in the EF, or even the Novus Ordo Mass, it tells us that the Glory of God shined forth from everything created under God, both the infinite and the finite; everything is produced by His Power, and everything gives Him glory. (94, The Holy Mass). 
  • Of interest, the Sanctus/Holy x3/Trisagion is an essential part of every Rite's liturgy (95, The Holy Mass). This includes the Byzantine rite, Marionite rite, etc. that is valid and licit within the Catholic Church. 

22. The Prayers Before the Consecration

Is this in the Novus Ordo? Yes. 

Cues for the Laity: The laity continue to kneel

General Gist:The priest in the lowest or "silent" tone, says a number of prayers for various intentions as well as invokes the Saints. During the Te Igitur, the priest will bless the gifts (bread and wine) three times with small signs of the Cross. 

  • The priest will pray a number of prayers here for specific intentions and people:
    • Te Igitur/For the Church: 
      • He asks God through Jesus Christ our Lord, to accept the Sacrifice of His Son, for redemption of us to the glory of His Divine Majesty (31, Latin-English Booklet Missal).
      • The crosses come at the latin words for "gifts", "presents" and "sacrifices" as the things received are 1) in relation to the giver, 2) in relation to the receiver, and 3) in relation to the offerer. Also the three crossed relate back to the whole mystery to be wrought by the Trinity. (132, The Latin Mass Explained)
      • The priest at Te Igitur, Clementissime Pater expresses that he has but one thought, that of the Sacrifice and is expressing to God that with all the prayers of the people before me and their desires in my hands, we come to you. 
    • (The Memento) For the Living [of the Catholic Church]: If say a Mass is offered for particular people, he will ask the Lord to be mindful of the person the Mass is offered for. In addition, "all those who are dear to them" are included for those who are absent, that they too can participate of the Sacrifice, by uniting themselves spiritually thereunto those who are present. (109, The Holy Mass). This could include when you pray for a sick relative who cannot be there, or someone who is separated from the Church, or intentions for another. Most importantly in this prayer, the priest prays for all of us, that is the redemption of all our souls, tying back to why Christ died for us, and the purpose of His Holy Church. The priest here, however, cannot include those of other religions, or heretics, or excommunicated persons in this official prayer, only in private prayer (111, The Holy Mass).  
    • Communicantes/Invocation of the Saints: In union with the Saints of Heaven, especially with the Blessed Virgin Mary, apostles, and martyrs, the priest lays claim to their merits and prayers, venerating the Church Triumphant, and asks for their protection and assistance. (32-33, Latin-English Mass Booklet; 112-113, The Holy Mass). 

23. The Prayers at Consecration

Is this in the Novus Ordo? Yes. 

Cues for the Laity: You continue to Kneel. In addition, the laity can (and should) do three things: 
  1. When the priest genuflects, we should bow our heads slightly with him. 
  2. At the elevation of the Host, we should ejaculate (spiritually speaking) and say silently "My Lord and My God". 
  3. At the elevation of the Chalice with the Precious Blood, we should say a similar ejaculation or a Blood specific ejaculation, such as listed in the red Latin-English Booklet Missal common for Latin Masses (35): "Be mindful, O Lord, of Thy creature, who Thou hast redeemed by thy Most Precious Blood."
General Gist: 
  • This part begins (in both forms of the Roman Rite, N.O. and EF,) when the priest in a prayer called the Hanc Igitur, spreads his hands flat over the Eucharist. An altar server will ring the bell once at this point. 
  • Once again crosses are made on the gifts at the altar, as were in the Te Igitur before the consecration.  
  • The priest will then make a final prayer asking that God be pleased with the sacrifice/consecration that  he is about to make to carry out the action of having our Lord come as his Body and Blood. 
  • The consecrations will occur with both the Bread and Blood, where he first identifies with Christ, whose every gesture he reverently reporduces, bows low and pronounces slowly the words of Christ without pausing to consecrate both species, genuflects, elevated the species above the altar, then genuflects and adores it again. (34, Latin-English Mass Booklet).
  • Each time the main consecrations occur, the altar server rings the bell once before and after each elevation, and then three times when the species of Body and Blood are elevated above the altar. When the priest elevates both species, the altar server(s) or clergy next to him at Solemn Masses and higher, will lift up his chasuble at the back corners (so the priest is more able to lift the items). 

  • Well, for starters ... this is THE MOST PIVOTAL MOMENT OF THE MASS!!!!!! What happens in this part, is central for ALL Rites of the Catholic Church, when done by priests who have been ordained by a bishop who has valid and licit faculties bestowed to them by the Holy Father and is in canonical standing with the Church. A priest who has been ordained in this way, is a valid and licit priest able to carry out this liturgical AND sacramental part of the Mass (that is until they do something that makes them lose their faculties).  
  • The priest, speaking in persona Christi "In the person of Christ," does only what the consecrated priesthood (and higher) can do .... consecrate the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ Himself, as he instituted the Sacraments of Holy Orders (priesthood) and the Eucharist on that Passover Seder on Holy Thursday (139, The Latin Mass Explained) When the priests say those words, they speak the exact words of Christ! Only they can do so through their consecrated priesthood.
  • Furthermore, the exact action that is taking place at this very moment, is what is called transubstantiation. In this moment, the very essence of the altar bread and wine is PERMANENTLY changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. If one were to do scientific analysis on the actual substances of the Body and Blood, it would only reveal simple or complex carbohydrate, and fermentation products. What changes is its essence, in other words, what it is, what it exists as, not its appearance or molecular constitution. 
  • Hanc Igitur:
    • In the old sacrifices at the Temple/Old Law, the priest spread out his hands over the head of the victim, thus setting it apart for the altar - the victim burdened with the sins of the people and substituted in the place of sinners. (136, The Latin Mass Explained; 118, The Holy Mass). 
    • In the Catholic Mass, Jesus is both victim/sacrifice and the offering celebrant in the priest acting in persona Christi. The priest is extending his hands over the sacrificial items, which will become Jesus' Body and Blood for us. In the Mass, we remember how our Lord sacrificed himself for all our sins, enabling us to have the opportunity to obtain eternal life. (136, The Latin Mass Explained; 118, The Holy Mass)
    • The priest also prays in this prayer for our escape from eternal damnation, and that with the elect, we obtain the glory in Heaven (119, The Holy Mass). 
  • Quam Oblationem
    • Three crosses are made at: `blessed` that the gifts by diving benediction be changed into more noble substances, ``approved`` lovingly by Him instead of not rejected (as in some cases of the Old Law sacrifices), and ``ratified`` that is, accomplished, and made a pure and spotless offering. Once again like in the Te Igitur, the three crosses remind us of the Trinity.  (137, The Latin Mass Explained; 120, The Holy Mass).
    • Two more crosses are made at the ``Bread`` and "Wine" that remind us of the elements to be used for the consecration. 
    • Together, the five crosses remind us of the five wounds of the Body of Christ (both hands, both feet, and pierced side).  (138, The Latin Mass Explained)
    • Generally this is a petition to God that the oblation may be changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord, our very Food. (122, The Holy Mass). 
  • Consecration of the Host
    • The priest, overwhelmed with a sense of utter unworthiness, reverence and awe, carries out the consecration of the Host (139, The Latin Mass Explained)
    • It is at the very moment, that the priest whispers in a low voice while intently focusing on the bread, "Hoc est enim corpus meum" that the Consecration has taken place and the priest has spoken in persona Christi, performing the action. (124, The Holy Mass). 
    • Our Lord Jesus is now truly present in a Living State on the Altar before us, just as He is in Heaven, glorious as He has been since ascending to Heaven (126, The Holy Mass). 
  • Consecration of the Wine
    • The priest says the expression "praeclarum calicem" (excellent chalice) describing the chalice,  reflecting Psalm 22:5. This reflects how the Church finds this praise so well suited to the Sacred Cup which will hold His Sacred Blood (127, The Holy Mass). 
    • The words of the Consecration of the Wine, together with those of the Host, allows us to remember that the Lord is the Victim immolated on the Altar, representing and recalling for us the bloody sacrifice on Calvary where our Lord died for our sins. When the Priest has completed his consecration, we should be mindful here of what our Lord had done on Calvary. (129-130, The Holy Mass.) 

23. The Prayers After Consecration

Is this in the Novus Ordo? Yes. 

Cues for the Laity: Remain kneeling.

General Gist: Numerous prayers are now made by the priest: To offer the Victim, To ask god to accept our offering, for blessings, for the dead, For eternal happiness, and the Final Doxology with Minor elevation. At the end of the doxology, the priest will say ``per omnia saecula saeculorum`` to which the altar server(s) around him will reply Amen. 

  • Unde et memores/Offer the Victim: The priest calls to mind what he has done in remembrance of Christ`d death as our Lord commanded his priesthood to do. The priest reminds us that our Lord used the means of his Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension to accomplish our redemption. (145, The Latin Mass Explained). The Church, being joyful at possessing so great a gift  offers it to God, calling to mind that the Blood and Body is that of the Victim at Calvary, Christ, now glorified (37, Latin-English Booklet Missal). The priest also once again makes 5 signs of the Cross. 
  • Spora quae propitio/Ask God to Accept our Offering: In this prayer, the priest recalls the sacrifices of those before the Ulitmate sacrifice: Abel, Abraham, Melchisedech, etc. that were accepted by God, as these were precursors to the sacrifice now present. These sacrifices were more lively in representing the sacrifice of Christ, and the Church wants us to cherish their virtues, in addition to accepting our offering (146, The Latin Mass Explained; 37, Latin-English Mass Booklet). 
  • Supplices te rogamus/For Blessings: The priest calls to mind the heavenly Altar to which our offerings go up. He expressed through the ministry of Angels, that the Gifts now present on the altar might be presented on It before the eyes of the Divine Majesty of God (147, The Latin Mass Explained). 
  • Memento etiam/for the Dead: Here is where the names of deceased during the Mass will be specifically mentioned, if the Mass is being offered in remembrance of someone. We too, can also remember our faithfully departed at this point. This is also done in order, as St. Augustine remarks, for those whose families neglect their duty to pray for the deceased, that our common Mother, the Church will supply this duty(148, The Latin Mass Explained). 
  • Nobis Quoque Peccatoribus/for Eternal Happiness: The priest will say the first three words of this prayer out loud. It serves not just as a reminder to the laity where we are in the Canon of the Mass. It serves to indicate an act of public self-humiliation, coinciding with striking of the breast in token of contrition. This prayer is humble and confident, expressing the eagerness with which the faithful await their heavenly home. (38-39, Latin English Book Missal). Also, the priest contemplates the heavenly court of the Church Triumphant, which is prepared for us by the blood of the Divine Host, Christ Jesus (38, The Latin Mass Explained). The Saints are included here as well, and in this prayer it is hoped that with these Saints in Heaven we will share in their eternal salvation.
  • Per Quem/Final Doxology and Minor Elevation: The meaning of this prayer is that through Christ, all the blessings necessary for our temporal life (represented in the Lord's body and Blood), God always provides for us. God sanctifies them, gives life to the matter for them by the words of consecration, blessed them inasmuch as the sacrament is the fountain of every grace and blessing, and in Communion God gives us all the soul desires. The three crosses serve in this prayer, to remind us that everything is sanctified, given life, and blessed, through the Cross of the Redeemer. Another three crosses are done at the three occasions of "Him" (ipsum/ipso) which is fitting given God deserves the highest honour in the Holy Mass through Jesus, HIS Word Made Flesh. crosses are also made for God the Father and the Holy Ghost (152, The Latin Mass Explained). 

END Part II No. 4

Works Cited
1. Moorman, Msgr. G.J. The Latin Mass Explained. Tan Publishing: Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A. 2010.

2. Gueranger, D.P. The Holy Mass. Baronius Press Limited: London, United Kingdom. 2005.

3. Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei. Latin-English Booklet Missal for Praying the Traditional Mass. Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei: Glenview, Illinois, USA. 2008.

4. The Ordinary of the MassThe Daily Missal and Liturgical Missal with Vespers For Sundays and Feasts From the Editio Typica of the Roman Missal and Breviary, 1962 With Supplements Containing The Additional Masses for Englang and Wales, Scotland, United States and Australasia. Summorum Pontificum Edition. Baronius Press: London. 2009. 

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