A key element of our spiritual life as Catholics is our ability to share in the body and blood of Jesus in holy Communion. What we have offered to God in sacrifice during the eucharistic prayer, the Father returns to us as gift in holy Communion. While this gift is given to us — it is also a gift that is meant to be shared.
While the structure of the Communion rite will not change in November, we’ll notice a few differences in wording. The invitation to the Lord’s Prayer will begin, “At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say . . .” (Formerly, there were several options).
New Roman Missal: A series by Sr. Ann Rehrauer
Then we pray the Our Father exactly as we’ve done for years. This is followed by the embolism (a short prayer by the priest): “Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days. …” We conclude with the familiar acclamation, “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever.”
Previously, the priest prayed that we be protected from all anxiety. In November, he’ll pray that we be safe from all distress, which focuses on the cause of difficulties rather than our feeling about them.
After the priest prays for the peace and unity of the church, he greets us with, “the peace of the Lord be with you always.” Our response is the usual (but new) “And with your spirit.”
Following the Lamb of God, the priest invites us to holy Communion: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.” Previously it was: “Happy are those called to this banquet.” Blessedness differs from happiness, which can be a transitory feeling. We are truly blessed to receive this invitation.
Our response will change slightly: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” The text sounds familiar because it recalls the response of the Gentile centurion who asked Jesus to cure his servant. We echo his words of humility, knowing our sinfulness, but trusting in Jesus’ willingness to come to us.
Receiving holy Communion we will hear, “The body of Christ. The blood of Christ,” and we’ll respond, “Amen.” Following the prayer after Communion are the usual announcements and final blessing.
The dismissal has new options emphasizing a sense of mission. Currently we hear, “The Mass is ended. Go in peace.” The actual Latin text is “Ite. Missa est.” Literally, it is the command, “Go! You are sent!” Missa is the passive form of the Latin verb, to send. Our words mission and missive (something sent to us) are derivations of this verb.
With the new translation, the sense of being sent to live what we have celebrated is much clearer. People often miss the connection between liturgy and life. Our worship is offered to God, but it also transforms us so that we are able to proclaim and help bring forth God’s kingdom here on earth.
In the new texts, the priest might send us forth saying, “Go forth, the Mass is ended.” We may also hear, “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord,” reminding us to take the good news we have heard and experienced, and share it with others. What we have received as gift, we are asked to share with others.
A third option (and my personal favorite) is “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life,” articulating our mission to glorify God by the way we speak and act and care for others. The fourth and final option is the simple “Go in peace.” Our response to all of these is, “Thanks be to God!”
Next time: the most frequently asked questions.
Sr. Rehrauer is the diocesan director of Evangelization, Living Justice and Worship.