December 30, 2018 – Liturgical Ruminations by Fr. Pat

This article should actually be the fifth in a series of articles that I am writ-ing. So, to truly understand what is going on you have to read the other ar-ticles! This out of sequence article is an attempt to answer a particular question that has come up recently that people want answered.
~Part 2~
In Part 1 we looked at those things that occurred over time in the Liturgy. Instead of the direct actions of the People between them and God, substitutes to express the Sanctity of Mass began to appear. Stained Glass, Polyphonic music, High Gregorian Chant, more use of incense, precise movements of the Priest, Deacon and Sub-Deacon, praying the Stations of the Cross, and reading from Prayer Books —all during Mass— appeared. So, the basic Language of the Church, which we will talk about, was struggling to keep up. Instead of being an active Dialogue with the Lord, the rituals, etc. were inaccurately used to try to bring people back to focus on what was going on at the moment.
Attempts during the early part of the 20th century was made to bring people back on the same page. In 1905 Pope Pius X granted an Indulgence for people to receive frequent Communion. Before that people just did not go to Communion on a regular basis. In 1922 the Pope allowed what was to be called a “Dialogue Mass.” This was the time when Latin-English Missals officially began to appear. However, it was not universal. Technically, the Altar Server took the place of the Congregation (they weren’t needed for a valid Mass, don’t you know?).
During these times (and earlier, of course) one such action to draw people back to what was going on at the Altar was the use of bells during the Consecration. They were rung three times: once during the Invocation of the Holy Spirit over the bread and wine; once, during the Elevation of the Sacred Host; and, once, during the Elevation of the Precious Blood. Their use was to bring people to focus what was happening at the Altar, be-cause the people didn’t know what was going on. There were multiple Masses being said. Over the years it became a sentimental practice.
Frequent Communion, Latin-English Missals, and bells didn’t go far enough to bring people back the full act of Worship. Vatican II would be the beginning of a concerted effort to bring people back where they needed to be. It would cease certain practices, because they no longer had meaning. It would also try to have the peo-ple more involved in the life of the Church. It is still a work in progress.
As we shall see, if we are actively involved in Mass, things like bells are not needed, because their purpose is not needed. They are sentimentally nice, but their practice is unnecessary. Please remember, we can sing, say the prayers, kneel, etc. but still only passively participate. A fundamental change in how we think and act is needed. These thoughts are what we will look at in future articles.
Some things to think about: What are the core elements of Mass, and what are the luxuries? What is your role at Mass, and what is the role of the priest? Do they differ, or are they similar?

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