Saturday, March 06, 2010

Fr. Mauro Gagliardi on "The Priest and the Canon of the Mass"

In his most recent installment, Fr. Mauro Gagliardi considers The Priest and the Canon of the Mass in the light of both the usus antiquior and the modern Roman liturgy.

A few excerpts:

The essential elements of the Eucharistic prayer are presented succinctly in the Catechism:

In the Preface, "the Church gives thanks to the Father, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit, for all his works: creation, redemption, and sanctification. The whole community thus joins in the unending praise that the Church in heaven, the angels and all the saints, sing to the thrice-holy God."[6]

In the Epiclesis, the Church "asks the Father to send his Holy Spirit (or the power of his blessing) on the bread and wine, so that by his power they may become the body and blood of Jesus Christ and so that those who take part in the Eucharist may be one body and one spirit (some liturgical traditions put the epiclesis after the anamnesis)."[7]

In the heart of the Eucharistic prayer, the Institution Narrative, "the power of the words and the action of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, make sacramentally present under the species of bread and wine Christ's body and blood, his sacrifice offered on the cross once for all."[8]

After the Institution Narrative, follows the Anamnesis, in which "the Church calls to mind the Passion, resurrection, and glorious return of Christ Jesus; she presents to the Father the offering of his Son which reconciles us with him."[9]


This teaching of the Church's Magisterium provides also the foundations for a renewed and more profound understanding of the "participatio actuosa" (active participation) of the faithful in the liturgy, which is not merely external, but also, and more importantly, internal. From this perspective one also understands better why from the Carolingian period to the reform of Vatican II, and also today in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, the celebrant priest prays the Canon in silence.

Read the entire piece: The Priest and the Canon of the Mass

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