Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Voices of the Christmas Liturgies - III

Mass During the Day

Entrance Antiphon

A child is born for us, and a son is given to us;
his scepter of power rests upon his shoulder,
and his name will be called Messenger of great counsel.

  • As we come into his holy place to celebrate this the third Mass of Christmas, we are greeted with this proclamation: "... his name will be called Messenger of great counsel."
  • We must ready ourselves, as Mass begins, to still our frantic minds so that we will be able to listen and hear, for a message from God is to be told to us, and each person is meant to hear God speaking a word to them. What will it be? What will I carry home in my heart today?


O God, who wonderfully created the dignity of human nature
and still more wonderfully restored it,
grant, we pray,
that we may share in the divinity of Christ,
who humbled himself to share in our humanity.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

  • One marvels at how much scientific information our generation has learned about our natural world and our place in its intricate systems. Yet, as for the question of how all this came to be, there remains much debate. 
  • The opening prayer of this Mass speaks with certainty; this world and our humanity have been created by God. Reason itself can bring us to the doorstep of this knowledge, but this prayer takes us beyond and reveals what no one could ever have imaged.
  • We are to share in that divinity that has created our lowly humanity.

Prayer over the Offerings

Make acceptable, O Lord, our oblation on this solemn day,
when you manifested the reconciliation
that makes us wholly pleasing in your sight
and inaugurated for us the fullness of divine worship.
Through Christ our Lord.

  • In the land that experienced the first Christmas, there was a great temple where people came to place on the altar oblations, gift offering from their possessions, to be sacrificed in the hope that somehow these oblations would make things right between them and God. 
  • It is not our things that God wants, rather it is our hearts. It is our hearts that replace that temple of old, where now God is pleased to enter.
  • We are to bring some bread and wine and God will make of them a banquet to celebrate the true reconciliation only God can give.
  • Come now, lets gather around his table. Let his peace fill your soul.

Preface III

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.
For through him the holy exchange that restores our life
has shone forth today in splendor:
when our frailty is assumed by your Word
not only does human mortality receive unending honor
but by this wondrous union we, too, are made eternal.
And so, in company with the choirs of Angels,
we praise you, and with joy we proclaim:

  • The vigor of our youth quickly passes and the frailty of our human condition remains inescapable. Fear not! The Word has taken on our human frailty, "... and by this wondrous union we, too, are made eternal"
  • As this truth grows stronger in our minds and hearts, fear is replaced by a certainty about my future that brings a peace the world cannot give.

Prayer after Communion

Grant, O merciful God,
that, just as the Savior of the world, born this day,
is the author of divine generation for us,
so he may be the giver even of immortality.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

  • Now, as this celebrations ends, I leave here to enter this world shroud in shadows of uncertainty. But I am not alone. A gift has been given me, a Friend, Jesus to walk with me on my journey. His radiance will light my way, his presence will empower me meet the challenges that await me in the shadows, his love will raise me up when I fall. 
Leave now with these words of this Solemn Blessing echoing in your heart. Perhaps you might say them again as part of your grace, as you gather for your Christmas meal with family and friends.

Solemn Blessing

May the God of infinite goodness,
who by the Incarnation of his Son has driven darkness from the world
and by that glorious Birth has illumined this most holy night (day),
drive far from you the darkness of vice
and illumine your hearts with the light of virtue.
R. Amen.

May God, who willed that the great joy
of his Son’s saving Birth
be announced to shepherds by the Angel,
fill your minds with the gladness he gives
and make you heralds of his Gospel.
R. Amen.

And may God, who by the Incarnation
brought together the earthly and heavenly realm,
fill you with the gift of his peace and favor
and make you sharers with the Church in heaven.
R. Amen.

And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever.
R. Amen.

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