Saturday, January 10, 2009

Introductory & Penitential Rites

For one of my Bible studies, I had to research the Introductory Rite and Penitential Rite.
Here is some of what I learned.

  • Objective Truth to the Mass: that by Divine Power, through the instrumentation of the Priest, acting in persona Christi, bread and wine are changed into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

The graces we receive from this Sacrament depend on our receptivity, our disposition, and our readiness to receive them.

  • We receive grace to the extent that we are prepared to receive.
  • We must be in a state of grace to receive Holy Communion (not be conscious of any mortal sins).
  • If we receive worthily (in a state of grace), along with the Body & Blood of Christ and many graces, we also receive numerous blessings, including the gift of our redemption.
  • We must purify our soul before receiving Holy Communion

Introductory Rite

Entrance Procession:
Represents our Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem.
When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on a donkey, he processed through the streets to shouts of joy & victory. The crowed, who held palm branches, welcomed Him in song (once a year this is presented liturgically on Palm Sunday)

For centuries the Priest would arrive at the steps of the Sanctuary and recite Psalm 42 along with the altar boy: ‘Introibo ad altare Dei. Ad Deum qui lactificat iuventutem meam.’ Our Lord and King is about to enter the Sanctuary in order to defeat evil, sin and Satan once again. The entrance procession is a time for joy & victory, for our salvation is near!

  • Upon entering the Sanctuary (of Jerusalem), the Priest and ministers genuflect to the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the Tabernacle and make a profound bow toward the altar.
  • The Celebrant, Concelebrating Priests, and Deacons then reverence the altar with a kiss.
  • The altar, which takes central importance in the Sanctuary, has always been the greatest sign for Christ, whose body became the altar upon which He would sacrifice Himself to the Father. It is the focal point of the Holy Mass.
  • The altar may receive the first incensation (3 others may follow during the Mass). The incense prepares the altar for sacrifice and may be used in any Mass.

Following the Sign of the Cross

Congregation is greeted through Sacred Scripture (epistles of St. Paul)

Priest: “The grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all”
- or -
“The grace and peace of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you”
- or -
“The Lord be with you”

Bishop: “Peace be with you”
By virtue of his office as Vicar of Christ, recalling the inaugural words of Our Lord to his apostles after his resurrection. (John 20: 19 – 23)

Congregation responds: “And also with you” (or more precisely translated, ‘And with your spirit’)

This completes the first dialogue of the Mass, expressing reciprocal conversation between Christ, the head, and the Church, His Mystical Body.

Penitential Rite

From the beginning to the end, Mass is a prayer, the highest prayer known to mankind. Mass teaches us how to pray.

In the Penitential Rite, we are in the midst of a conversation on prayer
The primary movement of prayer in the Mass is one of humility. In imitation of Christ, the Son of God, who humbled Himself to become man; take upon Himself our sins; undergo the Passion, crucifixion, and death on our behalf, we must humble ourselves.

The Church seeks to imitate the humility of Christ by first recognizing our sins and acknowledging the fact that we are sinners in desperate need of God’s abundant mercy.

  • We pause, examine our conscience in silence, and ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness.
  • Recall individual sins
  • Become aware of our overall need for forgiveness and mercy for the sins that we have committed and the good we have omitted, which we may have forgotten.
  • Prepare our souls to abandon our old sinful habits and seek the grace and mercy that God has prepared for us in receiving his Body and Blood in Holy Communion.

Penitential Rite does not grant absolution for mortal sins. It does help us to receive forgiveness for our less serious sins, venial sins, which are forgiven when we receive Holy Communion with humility and love. (GIRM, 51)

One of 3 Prayers will be led by the Celebrant:

“I confess to Almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters,: that I have sinned through my own fault (Strike breast) in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and what I have failed to do. And I ask Blessed Mary, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.”

This is prayed as a community, confessing that we are guilty of sins in thought, word, and deed.
We seek the intercession of:

Blessed Mary, Ever Virgin, who was conceived without sin and remained sinless throughout her life

The Angels, who battle with Satan and defeat evil

The Saints, who were sinners like us, but cooperated with God’s grace and mercy to defeat their own sinfulness and persevered in holiness of life

Members of the Church Militant (the pilgrim Church on earth) (“and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord, our God.”)

Kyrie Eleison:
Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison
(Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy)

This litany is the only surviving vestige of the Greek language remaining in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.

Comes straight from the Gospel.
A great healing by Christ is preceded by the humble cry of a beggar, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Matthew 15:21
Mark 10: 46 – 52
Luke 17: 13

This is where we find ourselves at the beginning of Mass – a poor beggar in need of mercy.This is why we approach the throne of our Heavenly Father in humility from the very beginning.

Instead of the Confiteor and Kyrie, Two other Prayers could be led by the Celebrant

Priest: [These or similar words] "My brothers and sisters, to prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries, let us call to mind our sins."
[Pause for silent reflection]
Priest: "Lord, we have sinned against you: Lord, have mercy."
People: Lord, have mercy.
Priest: "Lord, show us your mercy and love."
People: And grant us your salvation.
Priest: "May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life."
People: Amen.

-- OR --

Priest: [These or similar words] "My brothers and sisters, to prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries, let us call to mind our sins."
[Pause for silent reflection]
Priest, Deacon, Cantor or Choir: "You were sent to heal the contrite (or any other suitable invocation): Lord, have mercy."
People: Lord, have mercy.
Priest, Deacon, Cantor or Choir: "You came to call sinners (or any other suitable invocation): Christ, have mercy."
People: Christ, have mercy.
Priest, Deacon, Cantor or Choir: "You plead for us at the right hand of the Father (or any other suitable invocation): Lord, have mercy."
People: Lord, have mercy.
Priest: "May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.
People: Amen."

Sprinkling Rite (Can be said at all Sunday Masses, Saturday evening Masses, and Holy Days of Obligation)

On Sundays, it is commendable that the rite of blessing and sprinkling holy water ("Asperges") should take the place of the penitential rite of the mass . . . so that the faithful may perceive the baptismal significance of this popular sacramental.

A holy water vessel and sprinkler (Picture) of ample proportions are easier to clean and to use. Water may be blessed in this vessel at the rite of the blessing and sprinkling at the beginning of a Sunday Mass.

A reasonably deep "bucket" with a moveable handle is more convenient. The sprinkler may take the form of a brush or of a hollow, perforated ball, perhaps containing a sponge. But the pocket-size sprinkler conveniently used in pastoral situations does not seem appropriate for celebrations in a church.

Priest: "Dear friends, this water will be used to remind us of our baptism. Let us ask God to bless it, and to keep us faithful to the Spirit he has given us. [Or similar words of introduction]"

Option A:
Priest: "God our Father, your gift of water brings life and freshness to the earth; it washes away our sins and brings us eternal life. We ask you now to bless this water, and to give us your protection on this day, which you have made your own. Renew the living spring of your life within us and protect us in spirit and body, that we may be free from sin and come into your presence to receive your gift of salvation. We ask this through Christ our Lord."
People: Amen.

Option B:
Priest: "Lord God almighty, creator of all life, of body and soul, we ask you to bless this water: as we use it in faith forgive our sins and save us from all illness and the power of evil. Lord, in your mercy give us living water, always springing up as a fountain of salvation: free us, body and soul, from every danger, and admit us to your presence in purity of heart. Grant this through Christ our Lord."
People: Amen.

Option C (during the Easter Season):
Priest: "Lord God almighty, hear the prayers of your people: we celebrate our creation and redemption. Hear our prayers and bless this water which give fruitfulness to the fields, and refreshment and cleansing to man. You chose water to show your goodness when you led your people to freedom through the Red Sea and satisfied their thirst in the desert with water from the rock. Water was the symbol used by the prophets to foretell your new covenant with us. You made the water of baptism holy by Christ's baptism in the Jordan: by it you give us a new birth and renew us in holiness. May this water remind us of our baptism, and let us share the joy of all who have been baptized at Easter. We ask this through Christ our Lord."
People: Amen.

[After blessing the water, the priest moves through the church sprinkling all of the people while an antiphon or other song is sung. When the sprinkling and the song is finished, the priest concludes this rite as follows:]

Priest: "May almighty God cleanse us of our sins, and through the Eucharist we celebrate make us worthy to sit at his table in his heavenly kingdom."
People: Amen.

[This rite is commonly celebrated during the Easter Season, but may also be used at other times. When it is used, the Penitential Rite is omitted, and the Mass continues with the Gloria (on most Sundays and solemnities) or with the Opening Prayer (during Advent and Lent, and on weekdays).]

The Penitential Rite has become one of my favorite parts of the Mass. I know that I do not deserve what God is about to give me, but I also know that HE can make me whole again.

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