Category Archives: Liturgy

Keep Your Words Short and Sweet


Today I will do Three Hidden Acts of Charity
by Fr Shawn Aaron, LC | Source:



Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart more like yours.


1. Anger in Our Hearts:

Jesus is speaking here in particular about anger, that is, a desire for revenge or an attitude that simply refuses to forgive. Jesus always brings us back to the human heart. Actions flow from decisions made in the heart, even if not immediately evident. When we cultivate a sentiment in our heart – be it good or evil – it will eventually find ways of coming to fruition. “If you are angry do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger or you will give the devil a chance” (Ephesians 4:26). Any unwillingness to forgive leads to resentment in the heart and ultimately destroys lives and relationships. “What does it mean to forgive, if not to appeal to a good that is greater than any evil?”(Pope John Paul II, Memory and Identity, p. 15).


2. Insults Are Grave Matters:

“Sticks and stones may break my bones…” Each one of us knows firsthand the penetrating power of words. With them one may edify or destroy, enhance or tarnish, heal or wound. It is rather striking that Jesus refers to insults towards “a brother or sister:” in other words, insulting those closest to us, especially those closest to our heart. It is no revelation that those we love the most are also the ones most capable of wounding us deeply, and vice versa. What dagger could ever penetrate more than an unkind word from a loved one? The true revelation is that God takes each word we speak seriously. In fact, he will hold us accountable for them because the words are an outward manifestation of what we have in our hearts. The power of words reveals the weight of words.


3. Hold No Grudges:

“If you remember that your brother or sister has something against you…” This phrase makes us shift a little in our seats. Jesus gives us a tremendous view into God’s heart. God’s very essence is a unity of love – three persons, one nature. We are made in God’s image, and we are made to live forever in union with God. But so too are my brothers and sisters. If we have done anything to wound the union of love with those around us, then we must repair the breach. In fact, it is so important to God (and so important for us) that God will not accept our “offering” if we have consciously wounded the unity with those around us. Bring those particularly difficult relationships to prayer, and draw the strength from God to love as we should. He will not ask for some virtue and then refuse his grace.


Conversation with Christ:

Lord, teach me to love and help me to be a saint.

You have created me and called me to the

Catholic faith. Help me to live that faith

generously, living the primacy of love in my

daily life. Mother Most Pure, make my heart only for Jesus.



Today I will do three hidden acts of charity.

The Source and Summit of Christian Life

People adore the Eucharist during the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin. Photo: CNS

People adore the Eucharist during the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin. Photo: CNS

The Second Vatican Council document, Lumen Gentium, declared the Eucharist as “the source and summit of Christian life”.

The word Eucharist comes from the Greek word eucharista meaning thanksgiving. When we gather to celebrate the Mass, we give thanks for all that God has done for us in Christ, especially for his death and resurrection.

According to St Thomas Aquinas; “In this sacrament is included the whole mystery of our salvation”. Our Christian hope is that, just as Christ has risen, we too shall share in his resurrection once our life on earth is ended. This is the mystery of salvation remembered each time we gather to pray the Mass. In our communion with Christ we are in communion with the one whose love has overcome death.

The centre and highpoint of the Mass is the Eucharistic Prayer – the prayer of thanksgiving and sanctification. The priest calls on the people to life up their hearts to the Lord in praise and thanksgiving. The meaning of this prayer is that the whole congregation of the faithful joins with Christ in confessing the great deeds of God and in the offering of sacrifice. Confident of God’s faithfulness, that God is true to his word, we pray asking God to send the Holy Spirit to change the bread and the wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, so that we can all receive Christ in Holy Communion.

There are two main parts to the Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. However, these are so closely interconnected that they form one single act of worship. When the Sacred Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself speaks to the congregation. The word of God speaks to us of God’s faithfulness, and God’s great love for each one of us.

Catholics use the term ‘transubstantiation’ to explain the mysterious change which occurs. However, human words can never adequately explain it. What we do know, and accept in faith, is that while the bread still looks like bread, and the wine like wine, they have now been consecrated and have become for us the body and blood of Christ.

Nobody is worthy to receive, however, as St Alphonsus Liguori wrote, if only those who are worthy can receive; “who would ever be allowed to approach Holy Communion? Only Jesus Christ could worthily receive the Eucharist since only God could worthily receive God.”


Each celebration of the Eucharist is a reminder not only of the last meal Jesus shared with his disciples but also of all the meals Jesus enjoyed during his lifetime. The Gospels speak to us of Jesus’ practise of non-discriminate table fellowship – “seeing this the Pharisees said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matthew 9:11).

In the early Church, it was the practise for everyone to also receive from the chalice, as the Eucharist takes a fuller form when it takes place under both kinds. The recovery of reception of Communion in this way has been recommended by the bishops as expressing powerfully the sacrificial nature of the Mass.


When we receive Christ in the consecrated species, whether we receive in our hands or on our tongue, we should do so with great reverence. St Syril of Alexandria offered clear advice: “Make your left hand a throne for you right since your right hand is about to welcome a king. Cup your palm and receive in it Christ’s body, saying in response ‘Amen’”.

As we celebrate the Eucharist we remember not only the Last Supper of Jesus but also his sacrificial death on the cross and his glorious resurrection. Each Eucharistic meal is a reminder of our hope that God will raise us to eternal life. In this sense the Communion we share is the foretaste of the eschatological feast, the heavenly banquet we shall all share in the Kingdom of God.  “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day” (John 6:54).

However, Christ’s presence during the Mass is not limited to the consecrated bread and wine. Christ’s presence is also to be recognised in the person of his minister, the priest, in the Word of God in which God himself speaks to his people and in the gathered community. We respond with wonder and awe at this presence of God among us, and go forward with thanksgiving in our hearts.

St Augustine challenges us to be “a member of Christ’s body, then, so that your ‘Amen’ may ring true.” To make our ‘Amen’ ring true our communion with Christ urges us on to live and build our communion with one another, to continue his saving work with the poor and vulnerable, the lonely and the weak.

The Mass, the celebration of thanksgiving, the Eucharist, is a continual reminder of God’s infinite love for his Church. In Sacramentum Caritatis, Pope Benedict XVI teaches that the Eucharist is where “the Lord meets us, men and women created in God’s image and likeness (Gen. 1:27), and becomes our companion on the way”.

Beyond this Christians have a duty to live Eucharistically in the world. While Christ is made present in the Eucharist, it is the responsibility of his followers to make his presence felt. After all, the people of the Church make up the body of Christ, we are Christ’s body. Therefore, to receive the Eucharist is to receive our own mystery. We say amen to what we are.

Welcoming the new edition of the Roman Missal

The new edition of the roman Missal was published in 2011 and introduced in two stages:

1. The new congregational responses, together with a number of the prayers belonging to the celebrant, were in use from 11th September (priests were free to begin this introduction at the weekday Masses beginning Monday 5th September).

2. The full text of the New Missal was in use from 27th November, the 1st Sunday of Advent.

The prayers particular to the celebrant, were in use from 11th September, are as follows:

1. The introduction of the Penitential Act;

2. The prayer beginning: Pray my brothers and sisters…;

3. The Doxology;

4. The introduction to and the prayer following the Lord’s Prayer;

5. The Prayer for Peace (Lord Jesus Christ you said to your Apostles). Please note that the congregation responds to this prayer rather than saying it with the priest;

6. The Dismissal.

These changes are printed on the CTS congregation cards.


Many Dioceses throughout the English-speaking world are  using the occasion of the introduction of the New Missal as an opportunity to establish a common liturgcal practice regarding postures at the Eucharist. It is recommend that our Diocese does the same. All parishes and schools should now follow the new postures outlined in the General instruction of the roman Missal:

1. All stand from the entrance of the Mass until the end of the Opening Prayer;

2. All sit for the Old and New Testament readings and stand for the Gospel Acclamation, the Gospel, the Creed and the Prayer of the Faithful;

3. The congregation sits for the Presentation of the Gifts and stands BEFORE the prayer, Pray my brothers and sisters….(For an initial period priests could introduce this change by saying: Let us stand and pray, my brothers and sisters…or encourage the congregation to stand when the priest has finished washing his hands);

4. The congregation kneels after the Holy, Holy, Holy until the end of the Eucharistic Prayer; The Ccngregation stands immediately after the Great Amen in preparation for the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer;

5. The congregation kneels again after the Lamb of God;

6. All stand for the Concludiong Prayer and Blessing.


The new translation in responses and prayers said by the congregation are included on the Congregational Card but the order and structure of the Mass is not changed. Nor are the readings changed. Over time, we will become familiar with the prayers which have very slightly changed, for example, in the Holy, Holy, we say  ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts’ and in the response to ‘Pray, brothers and sisters,’ the addition of one word, ‘holy.’ before ‘Church‘. Other prayers have much more changes and where we said ‘And also with you’ we now say ‘And with your spirit.’

New Sounds

A short glossary of some new words and phrases in the congregational prayers and responses.

And with your spirit: the most obvious change, used by the congregation at the beginning and end of Mass, before the Gospel, at the beginning of the Preface and at the Sign of Peace. It reminds us of the greetings of St Paul, for example, to Timothy: ‘The Lord be with your spirit’ (2Tim 4:22), a recognition of the spirit that is among us as Christians, a spirit that we must live, and, in greeting one another, it proclaims the presence of Christ among us.

through my most grievous fault;

restored to the Confiteor are words translating mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, as we have in Irish: ‘tri mo choir fein, tri mo choir fein, tri mo mhorchoir fein.’

The Word of the Lord: the simple acknowledgement that in the Scripture readings at Mass are the Word of God. Linked with similar expressions, The Gospel of the Lord, The Mystery of Faith, The Body of Christ, The Blood of Christ, the great moments and the movement of the liturgy are captured.

I believe: is the traditional beginning of the Creed when recited in the liturgy. The singular form is not about individualism but associated with Baptism, it is a personal profession of faith. The Missal speaks of the apostles’ Creed as ‘the baptismal Symbol of the Roman Church.’

Only Begotten: occurs in the Gloria and the Nicene Creed, translating the Latin Unigenitum and replacing the current translation, ‘Only.’ Though it might be regarded as an archaic word, we have said the word ‘begotten’ twice in the Creed for over forty years.

Incarnation: this term expresses the fundamental Christian belief that the eternal Son of God took flesh from Mary and that he is fully divine and fully human. In the Creed we say: ‘he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the virgin Mary and became man.’

consubstantial: at the Council of Nicea in 325, the Greek word homoousios was used to express the doctine that Jesus, the Son of God is of the same essential Being and substance as the Father. In Latin the term is consubstantialis, as we sing in the Latin Credo, hence ‘consubstantial,’ a theological or technical word to express our faith in the person and nature of Christ.

for us men and for our salvation: this line of the Creed is translated this way as it is coupled with the line ‘and became man.’ In Latin, homo and its plural homines may include females and males. Jesus became man, homo factus est. He was incarnate, propter nos homines, for our salvation.

he descended into hell: hell here is not the place of eternal damnation but the underworld abode of the just who died before Christ. ‘Hell’ was the Old English word for the place of the spirits of the dead. In the icon, the harrowing of hell, the Risen Lord is depicted standing on the gates of the underworld, rescuing Adam and Eve, the prophets and kings of the Old Testament, proclaiming the victory of the resurrection and salvation to all who waited for the Redeemer.

my sacrifice and yours: as well as the addition of the word ‘holy’ in the congregational response to the invitation, ‘Pray, brothers and sisters,…’ before the Prayer over the Offerings, the Latin of the priest’s introduction is translated so that we have, ‘my sacrifice and yours.’ While we may indicate a difference between the priesthood of the ordained minister and the priesthood of the laity, a single sacrifice is understood. the Latin verb fiat is singular.

It is right and just: this is the people’s response to ‘Let us give thanks to the Lord our God’ in the Preface. Immediately the priest takes up the people’s part and emphasises, ‘It is truly right and just,……’

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts: The Hebrew word Sabaoth means the ‘heavenly host of angels,’ just as we sing at Christmas. Some argue that it could have been left in Hebrew, like Alleluia, Hosanna, Amen.

under my roof: In the invitation to holy Communion, the people’s response is the response of the centurion at Capernaum (Mt 8:9, cf LK 7:6-7), substituting ‘my soul’ for ‘my servant’. ‘Under my roof’ is in the centurion’s response and is translated in the Irish version, ‘faoi mo dhion.’