minima maxima sunt

The Small things are the Great things; as in a grain of mustard seed.

Archive for the category “Places of Worship”

Reading from Luke

Gospel reading from Luke. The Evangelical symbol of the bull belongs to Luke. Stuck to a more traditional book of hours scheme for the reading on this one. Lots of gold mixed with vines and wildlife.

Reading from John

Here is the reading from John. Was able to find some pictures on the net to reference the Evangelical Symbols. Johns is the eagle. I also chose to start the reading in Latin which will continue on the other readings.

July. Ivy and Peacock Feathers

For July I looked back on January. My first attempts in my book of hours were full of trial and error. I revisited what I envisioned and here is the result. I will probably continue to re-do the first part of the year in the second half to see where I grew.

Ivy with gold leaves and a few animals. I used watercolor pencils for the peacock feathers and took a quick lesson on you tube on how to make them. Overall very happy with July and seeing my progress.

First page had a huge blunder on one date where I put the Saint on the wrong day. Blotted out to cover and shows. Will start focusing on the illuminated letters going forward. I figure that once I complete the calendar and move into other parts of the hours I will allow more room for this and have some fun.

Second page had no big blunders. Mixing the gold leaves with a few greens, red berries, a bird and a snail.

The Quiet

Sanctuary at San Juan CapistranoKneeling at prayers while waiting for confession has always been a source of comfort for me. Without a doubt it is one of the most satisfying times in my spiritual life next to actual sacramental participation and Eucharistic adoration. In fact it is the preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which is often scorned by those without the church and neglected by those within, which I must include even myself among this list.

While confession is a requirement if one has committed a mortal sin, it is still a good thing to participate in for those lesser sins which we call venial. I seems that in my youth, we did try to make confession a weekly sacrament. In the busy world I venture through today, I find myself making the trip with months in between, but its always well worth it.

It is the time before and after the sacrament which I refer to in this post about the “quiet”. This time is spent in preparation and reflection, to account for what sins to confess, and after the sacrament, in prayer as penance, unless some greater task is given.

The Church building is often dark and light comes through the glass, be it stained or clear. Even without lighting, most churches will have a greater illumination toward the altar as part of the design, for there is a light which keeps vigil there, a candle or lamp, which indicates and honors the presence of Christ. It is often red and is positioned by the tabernacle behind the altar. Even as I kneel in the quiet of the church, my eyes are drawn to the candle and find peace in what it represents. A silent assurance burning continuously. Other candles are also lit which are vigil lights or prayer candles. Their light sends out a warm glow and often they are gathered together by a shrine or statue of Jesus, Mary or other saints.

In this atmosphere there are hushed whispers of prayer I can hear by others who have come for the sacrament, but they add to the quiet in their own way. It reminds me of the communion of saints, or the mystery of the church; as light, muffled prayers, the smoke of wax and my own petitions mingle. All tied into this mystical experience of the body of Christ.

I leave with the same feeling I always do. Walking out into the bright day, I am at rest and at peace.

Missa – Sanctus

item_1601The Eucharistic Prayer is a section of the Mass which is found in the Liturgy of the Eucharist and follows the Presentation of the Gifts. It is a very special point in the liturgy because it truly is the heart of the Liturgy and of the Mass. In preparation of this prayer we find the Sanctus, which is part of the Ordinary of the Mass.

The word sanctus means “holy” and the prayer begins by repeating this three times. The first part of the sanctus comes from Isaiah 6:3 and as well as Revelation 4:8, which also uses the three “holy’s”. The second comes from the Gospels and reminds us of the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

It is interesting that so much of the Mass uses this picture of “procession”, from the Entrance, to the gifts, and here the words from the triumphal entry. I suppose that the idea is to focus on movement, or more specifically to point out that the Lord is moving or active in our midst. In his covenant with Abraham he proceeds through the sacrifice, the incarnation he comes and dwells among us, he proceeds to Jerusalem and eventually he will bear the cross and again picture the idea of procession. In the end He is now still in movement as we participate in the mass and as He moves into our hearts. I am thinking of all of this when singing the Sanctus because all of this is essential but there is something more. As we conclude the Sanctus we will begin the Eucharistic Prayer and it is at this time that our gifts of bread and wine will become the Body and Blood of Christ. The Real Presence in the Eucharist and the concept of communion are all hinted at in the Sanctus by our profession of Holiness and Christ coming, for now we are entering the Holy of Holies of the mass. As the song concludes the people kneel and until the completion of Communion and the Host has been put away we will either stand or kneel in the Presence of the Lord.


Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus

Dominus Deus Sabaoth.

Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua.

Hosanna in excelsis.

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.

Hosanna in excelsis

Holy, Holy, Holy

Lord God of hosts.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest

Missa – Orate, fratres et sorores

Institution-of-the-eucharist--Sassetta--Siena_PinacotecaThis post is a follow up to “Bearing Gifts” as it is the completion of this first part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. As noted the gifts are brought forward and the priest along with his assistants will bring them to the altar which has been prepared earlier during the collection. So lets look at this first.

The altar itself is an idea; a symbol. To most the very word brings to mind things like worship or sacrifice. And so it is in the Mass. The altar is very much the centerpiece of the church and the centerpiece of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. During the first part of the Mass the main focus is on the Lectern or “pulpit” because the Liturgy of the Word is primarily about the revelation of God in the Sacred Scriptures and Tradition. We read the Scriptures and hear a Homily. In the Liturgy of the Eucharist we are exploring the revelation of God through the Incarnation, the event where God became flesh for the purpose of the Sacrifice we know as the Crucifixion. So the Altar is now before us to remind us of the cost of our salvation. To also remind us that this sacrifice is unlimited by time and space, but will be present in these gifts just as it will be present to the believer today, like it will be a hundred years from now or as it was to the very apostles who sat in wonder at the institution of the Eucharist during the Last Supper.imagesCAT2BBUS

In preparation for the gifts several items were placed on the altar. The Corporal, the Purificator, the Chalice and a Missal. The Corporal is a large square cloth where the Body and Blood will be placed. Corporal comes from the Latin for “body” and its purpose very much like a “place mat” to catch crumbs and drips from the Body and Blood. In a similar way the Purificator is similarly like a “napkin” which will be used for cleaning the Chalice and Paten (a gold dish used to hold the Eucharistic bread). Keeping in mind that in the catholic faith the Eucharist is the Real Presence of our Lord, these items are meant to keep the Body and Blood from being treated like mere crumbs or spilled wine. As such even the cleaning of these must be done with certain care.

The Chalice is pretty obvious. When the bread and wine are brought forward the wine is brought also with another container of water. In the chalice the wine will be poured and a few drops of water will be added. Water and wine, divine and human, or the water that poured from the side of at the crucifixion is tied into this. On top of the chalice is another cloth called the pall which is used simply to keep dust or insects from falling into the chalice.

The last item is a Missal which is where the prayers will be read for the liturgy, and several of them will be read during this first process which will conclude the “Preparation of the Gifts”

The Preparation, if you haven’t noticed is very much like the setting of a dinner table. The altar has a table cloth, dinner matt, a cup and napkins and even candles to provide light and in this case to also increase illumination to draw attention to the altar. And the prayers are also very much like dinner prayers. This is the other side of our altar idea. The altar is a symbol of sacrifice and worship but it is also very much like that heart of the home where people gather in the domestic communion of dinner. As a matter of fact it is very easy to see the church’s’ roots in Jewish tradition here where there are similar blessings for the bread and wine used before dinner.

Here are some of the prayers and responses you will hear as the gifts are prepared:

The Priest holds the paten, a dish which contains the bread, above the altar.
Priest: Blessed are you, Lord God of all
creation, for through your
goodness we have received the
bread we offer you: fruit  of the
earth and work of human
hands, it will become for us the
bread of  life.

People: Blessed be God forever.

The priest pours the water into the wine and says: Priest: By the mystery of this water and wine
my we come to share in the divinity of Christ
who humbled himself to share in our humanity

And then he will raise the chalice:
Blessed  are you, Lord God of all
creation, for through your
goodness we have received
the wine we offer you: fruit of
the vine and work of human
hands it will become our
spiritual drink.

The priest bows and says: With humble spirit and contrite
heart may  we be accepted by
you, O Lord, and may our
sacrifice in your sight this day
be  pleasing to you, Lord God.

The priest stands and washes his hands at the side of the altar. Wash me, O Lord, from my
iniquity and cleanse me from my

The Priest moves to the center of the altar and extends his hands to the congregation and says:
Priest: Pray, brethren (brothers and
sisters), that my sacrifice and
yours may be acceptable to
God, the almighty Father.

People: May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands
for the praise and glory of his name,
for our good, and the good of all his holy Church.

The sacrifice here is our offering of the bread and wine as well as ourselves. Our words are meant to identify us as a body,  in communion, for a purpose which will be the very Eucharist, but also our spiritual sacrifices which we all offer together with the priest.

Missa – Bearing Gifts

333px-Magi_(1)As the Liturgy of the Word ends the church now begins to prepare for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This part of the Mass also is also about the “Word”, but not as the Sacred Scriptures. Now it takes this concept and moves it’s focus to the incarnation, which as we find in Scripture, means that the Word became flesh. And like story of the Nativity which begins the Gospel; the Liturgy of the word starts with the bearing of gifts.

What you will see here is this. As the prayer of the faithful is closed by the priest, everyone is seated. The Priest begins to prepare the altar for the gifts. Ushers will move around the congregation for the collection, which are our tithes and offerings that go to support the church, church property, ministries and the care of the poor. Meanwhile, a couple or family who were asked earlier to bring up the gifts, will make their way to the back of the church and as the collection completes, the family will bring forward the bread and wine while an usher brings forward the offering. To me this is like our “frankincense, myrrh and gold”. The procession moves toward the altar, down the center aisle where the priest and those assisting will receive the gifts and bring them to the altar.

The tie in to the events of the nativity are really my own way of looking at things. Maybe it’s just the way I process or think, but it is interesting how each part of the mass can be tied to stories and scenes from the Scripture. In this case it also helps to remind me that offerings and tithes must always be a gift to Jesus.

Missa – Oremus

Illumination of the Ascension of Christ

Illumination of the Ascension of Christ

The conclusion of the Liturgy of the Word comes with the Prayer of the Faithful, also known as the General Intercession. While still standing, after reciting the Creed, the church awaits the lector who will speak the prayers being offered, and upon the completion of each, the person reading will say “Let us pray.” (oremus), to which the congregation will respond by saying “Lord, hear our prayer.”

This is another great example of the catholic faith being a common faith. It is not just about the Pope or the priest; not about super sermons, or super star preachers. It is a faith about the people who are all participants in this gathering, a “priesthood of believers”. We all intercede, we all are praying, and while not all are presiding or reading at the mass, the truth is that we are all one body with a common goal. The mass is all about participation.

The prayers, as the name implies, are general. We pray for our pope, and bishop; for the church universal. We pray for our country, for the military and all who defend and lay down their lives for others. We pray for those who are sick, those who are in need, those who have departed this life. We pray for those current events of concern. And at the end is a moment when we can offer our own silent requests and petitions, to which again we all respond: “Lord, hear our prayer.”

At the end the celebrant speaks the concluding prayer and again we all respond. Sometimes this prayer is sung, and at certain masses even the command and response “Let us pray.” and “Lord, hear our prayer” are sung of chanted.hmc_liturgy_det

Now the church takes a seat as one liturgy closes and another prepares to begin. We are now beginning the Liturgy of the Eucharist, which used to be called the Liturgy of the Faithful. This followed the Liturgy of the Catechumens as it was called, and as such the catechumens would depart at this time to discuss the word. This continues today in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). So at certain masses additional prayers may be said at the conclusion of the Liturgy of the Word for those preparing to come into full communion with the church. Then they will depart with their sponsors to “break open the Word”, and discuss the readings and homily as they prepare for baptism.

Missa – Homilia

imagesCAE7622EThe Liturgy of the Word has its own “communion”. It follows the Gospel reading, which is the climax of the first part of the mass and as the Priest proclaims “The Gospel of the Lord”, the congregation responds with “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!” and then takes a seat as bread is broken.

The bread and communion we most often think of, in relation to Christianity, is the Body and Blood; which in the catholic church, is the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist. But did you know that the Sacred Scriptures are also understood as “bread”? They are broken open and distributed at every mass in the readings, as seen from the last several posts, when it is read and sung; and especially as we stand for the very Gospel. And then comes a communion of sorts as we sit to hear the Homily.

The word “homily” comes from Greek (homilia) and means to have “communion” or a “verbal intercourse” with another. It is an interaction with the Written Word, and it comes to us in the manner of a small sermon. The homily explains, explores, and breaks down the scriptures for us, and can come in the form of a parable, an admonishment, a commentary or expository. What I have noticed is that it really depends on the priest or deacon who is giving it. Some are funny and use humor, others more serious. Some dig into history and lives of saints, while others focus on modern issues and world events and how the church should respond. Homilies can focus on morals, ethics, or doctrine as it explains the Scriptures. Whatever the style or manner, it is this “communion”, which takes the written Word of God and moves it into the hearts of the church through this most ancient form of preaching.

29. When the Sacred Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself speaks to his people, and Christ, present in his own word, proclaims the Gospel. Therefore, all must listen with reverence to the readings from God’s word, for they make up an element of greatest importance in the Liturgy. Although in the readings from Sacred Scripture God’s word is addressed to all people of every era and is understandable to them, nevertheless, a fuller understanding and a greater effectiveness of the word is fostered by a living commentary on the word, that is, the Homily, as part of the liturgical action.

:From the General Instruction of the Roman Missal

Missa – Evangelium

evangeliaryAt the heart of Catholicism, whether its doctrines and tradition, its prayers, its worship or its all its practice and function, the whole system of belief which we call our faith comes down to Jesus, who if we are patient to seek, we will certainly find. On several occasions I have had people ask me about praying to Mary and why catholics would worship her instead of Jesus? But even in our veneration of Mary, which is not “worship”, I would quickly point out that right in the center of the “Hail Mary” prayer, is a pause as the prayer bows to her Child. “and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus”.

This Jesus centeredness is certainly found in the Mass as well and in several ways. In these recent blogs on the mass we have now come to the heart of the Liturgy of the Word. We have read from the Hebrew Scriptures, the Psalms, and the Christian Scriptures in the New Testament and now we will hear from the very Gospels.

The Evangelical Symbols, Book of Kells 8th-9th century

The Evangelical Symbols, Book of Kells 8th-9th century

The Gospels consist of 4 books which were accepted by the church as inspired. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is believed that they were some of the last books written; coming long after many of the Epistles. In our canon they come right at the beginning of the New Testament which fits them into a chronological order with the rest of the writings, but right in the “center” of the Bible. But in history, before the Bible was assembled into a single book or before it became easy to do this by means of a printing press, the Gospels were often contained in their own volume which was called the Evangeliarium, or a Gospel Book. These books are noteworthy in that the cover is often in Gold and has the symbols of the 4 Evangelists on them, though this is not always the case. The celebrated Book of Kells is an example of a Gospel Book from the middle ages.

During the Mass as preparation for the Gospel reading begins, the congregation will stand as a sign of importance. Instead of just announcing the Gospel and beginning to read, we honor this ‘Good News’ of our Lord by singing “Alleluia” as the Deacon. accompanied by candle bearing altar boys, lifts the Gospel Book for all to see. The “Alleluia” will usually have a verse that emphasizes “hearing the word”, and in some masses incense is also used to herald the Gospel reading. The candles are used to draw attention to the Gospel, with their symbol of light.

Closing%20Mass%206As mentioned the center of our worship always comes down to Christ, and this is the climax of the Liturgy of the Word. Our attention now on the reading, which will be from either the deacon or the Priest, again demonstrating the importance of the Gospel, we wait for the introduction. “A reading from the Gospel of ______”. At this point all will sign themselves with the cross “signum crucis” on their forehead, mouth and heart; symbolizing Christ in my thoughts, my words, and in my heart. And then the reading begins telling us of the events of Jesus Christ, the Incarnation of the Most High God, as he lived and died among us. And of how He rose again.

Upon completion of the reading the we hear the words “This is the Gospel of the Lord”, speaking not about the scroll or the book but the very heart of what the word means, and that is the “Good News”. And our response is “Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ”.

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