Missa – An introduction
“Ite, Missa Est”, the conclusion to the ancient gathering of Christians to celebrate the sacred mysteries and divine liturgy which today we catholics call the Mass, is actually where the term Mass is derived from. A strange twist on the phrase “famous last words”, the latin rendering basically means “Go, you are dismissed.” Over time the idea of dismissal tied into that of the mission; our departure from the gathering was to bring the light of Christ into the world. Today most in the west know it as the Catholic Mass; and instead of being dismissed we say we are going to Mass, which means we are going to be dismissed (lol). As funny as that may sound it’s a perfectly catholic thing to me, to start a series on the mass by talking about the wording at the end of the mass. Catholicism, always seems to have its ends tied to it’s beginnings. The liturgical year, the sacraments, and even the Mass all come full circle and directly in the center of it all there is always Jesus.
Today the Catholic Mass to some is a thing of horror; it is despised, ridiculed and abused by those who hate the Catholic church. To many it is simply misunderstood because of the amount of mis-information which circulates concerning this ancient christian worship. To those who are catholic, or have a similar respect for the ancient church it is a thing of profound beauty, deep in symbolism and meaning and the very center of worship for the ancient church in the west. The eastern rites of the catholic church celebrate the liturgy as well but use different terms, such as Divine Liturgy, or Holy Qurbana, and while there are differences based on culture and tradition, the Liturgy is basically the same.
Over the next year, minima maxima sunt will be focusing on the Mass. From beginning to the end, we will look at the structure, the symbols, the terms and rubrics, and will even offer my own thoughts and ideas as a participant in the liturgy and a mere layman. The posts which will follow in this series will all begin with “Missa”, to separate them other posts which I will still be adding through the year.