The Introductory Rites & The Penitential Act
This week we will begin the explanation of the different responses we, as the laity of the Church, will give in the Mass. (We will not focus on the different prayers of the priest. There are actually far more changes for them than there are for us.)
The Introductory Rites
The priest has 3 different forms he can use in the Introductory Rite:
1) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you.
2) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3) The Lord be with you.
We respond to any one of these forms with the word, “And with your spirit.”
- · At the ordination of every priest the Holy Spirit descends upon him to give him the spirit to serve in persona Christi. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us in paragraph 1551, “The sacrament of Holy Orders communicates a “sacred power” which is none other than that of Christ.” This means our priests stand visibly in the place of Christ, who is not visible to us as man, here on earth. When they speak, especially in the sacraments, they are the voice of Christ.
- · When we say, “And with your spirit” we are calling on the Holy Spirit who was given to the priest at his ordination to work through him, bringing Christ to us.
- · St. Paul taught that It is in the spirit, or we might say heart, in which the Holy Spirit resides in us. (1 Corinthians 14:15). We are calling on the Holy Spirit to work through the priest.
- · St. Paul used similar words.
o When saying good-bye to the people of Galatia he said, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen” (Galatians 6:18).
o To his friend and disciple Timothy, he said, “The Lord be with your spirit” (2 Timothy 4:22).
Penitential Act (Confiteor)
This is the general confession we make at the beginning of Mass.
The change will be as follows with changes in red:
“I confess to Almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,…”
The addition of the word “great” is to help us to realize that every sin is an offense to the good God who wants to love us and receive our love in return. When we sin, we hurt and disappoint God. We want to sharpen the awareness of sin in our lives so that we can experience God’s transforming love in our lives.
During the next phrase, we strike our breast (chest) three times at the word ‘fault’.
“…through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault;
Therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.
- · We say the word ‘fault’ three times as we strike our breasts so that we may humbly realize the rejection of the love of the Holy Trinity when we sin.
- · This helps us to have real sorrow and contrition for our sins and for hurting God, who gives us nothing but love.
- · This prayer prepares us to three times ask for God’s mercy. (Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.)
Penitential Act Form B
The priest will say, “Have mercy on us, O Lord.”
We respond, “For we have sinned against you.”
Priest: “Show us, O Lord, your mercy.
We respond: “And grant us your salvation.
- · This is a less used form, but has the change.
- · The words in red are the exact Latin translation.
- · We are acknowledging that not only has our sin possibly hurt someone else, it has hurt God and we are in need of His healing.
- · “As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!” (Psalm 41:4).
We will cover the Gloria next week, which has several changes, all of which are beautiful and rich.
As always, feel free to leave a comment or ask a question and we will do our best to get back to you.