We continue our series of Embracing the Mystery with our next topic titled: One fourth.
Mass is made up of introductory rites and concluding rites and in between are two main parts which are the liturgy of the word and the liturgy of the Eucharist. So, we can conclude in laymen terms that there are four parts to the Mass.
If something makes us unique it’s the universality of our faith. We gather in our space of worship each one with a beautiful story and we join in with the very first part: the procession.
We Catholics love our processions! Processions remind us of this journey we are walking and that in this journey we are NOT walking alone and that we are in a state of transition. Processions remind us that we are walking, we are moving, we are not home… we are journeying to our home. It’s a reminder that no matter how rough and dark it can get in our journey, we keep walking and moving forward with our eyes fixed on Christ. The congregation stands and praises God in one voice representing the unifying force of his church—we are One.
After the procession, the priest greets the congregation all in the name of the Father, Son, and to the Holy Spirit. He then expresses the ancient expression of: “The Lord be with you” from Ruth 2:4 and Luke 1:28 and we respond, “And also with you.” In this act, we greet each other in a powerful manner. We greet each other wishing upon the other the presence of God—the Mass is a constant dialogue where we are not only trying to nourish ourselves but we express our desire for others to be filled as well. The penitential rite is next—and this is when we recognize our human limitation and accept our condition as sinners, BUT we don’t just stay there and throw a pity party…we ask God to have mercy on us. We recognize in this moment that we are damaged souls, but there is still hope— there is a merciful God that shows His face to us. If we accept His mercy, man how different things would be. So, yes this is a time to recognize we’ve failed but it’s also a time to accept His mercy and move forward (this rite does not take the place of the Sacrament of reconciliation, please feel free to ask about this if you need clarification on the difference).
Next, we sing the Gloria. An ancient hymn that expresses in a beautiful manner, no matter what language, the following: Glory to God in the Highest. We praise His name and we glorify Him for just being God—tradition teaches us that the angels sung the beginning words on Christ’s birth. This takes us to question, how we can glorify God with our body, with our whole soul, with our whole being?
Lastly, the priest calls us to pray in a moment of silence. Everyone brings their intentions to their hearts in this prayer called “The Collect” we bring together or collect everyone’s prayers and bring them to one, again showing unity of the people, we then say AMEN meaning—Yes, we assent.
Joandra Mendoza – Writer, unparalleled love