More New Words on Our Lips

In this final article in preparation for the implementation of the of the Revised English edition of the Roman Missal (November 27, 2011), we will consider the changes in the words spoken by the assembly during the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the Dismissal Rite of the Mass.

Preparation of the Gifts
The prayers of the priest, both those spoken aloud and those to be said quietly have changed slightly. However, the only change in the assembly's response is found in the invitation to pray at the conclusion of the preparatory rites. The priest invites all to pray saying:

Pray brothers and sisters,
that my sacrifice and yours
may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.

The new response is familiar, but with one additional word: holy. This change accurately translates the Latin text. Hence, we will say:

May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands
for the praise and glory of his name,
for our good, and the good of all his holy Church.

Eucharistic Prayer
Every Eucharistic Prayer begins with the preface dialogue. It begins with the priest's words: The Lord be with you and our response: And with your spirit. The second part of the dialogue remains the same. The priest says: Lift up your hearts. All respond: We lift them up to the Lord. However, the final part of the dialogue is new. The priest will say: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God and all will respond: It is right and just. This final response is an exact translation of the Latin: Dignum et justum est. The initial translators felt that an accurate translation of the Latin resulted in a rather abrupt statement on the part of the assembly, and so, using the translation rules of the day, they expanded it to a more fulsome phrase. The brief response in the revised Missal leads wonderfully into the rest of the prayer. The priest will continue with the words: It is truly right and just…. This highlights the unity of priest and people in offering a single prayer of thanksgiving through, with and in Christ to the Father.

Holy, Holy (Sanctus)
The first line of this hymn has changed. In the present text, the words God of power and might refer to the Holy Lord. In the revised text, we will sing: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts. Holy Lord God of Hosts is the name by which we are addressing God. These words translate the Latin: Sanctus Dominus Deus Saboath, and refer to the vision of Isaiah (Is. 6.3) whose eyes are fixed on the throne of God surrounded by hosts of angels. The hosts of angels refers to all the armies of angels: Cherubim, Seraphim, Thrones, Powers, Dominions, Archangels, Angels.

Memorial Acclamations
At present the priest sings or says: Let us proclaim the mystery of faith. In a sense, he interrupts the prayer of thanksgiving to issue an invitation to the assembly to proclaim the mystery of faith. In the revised Missal, the priest simply sings or says: The mystery of faith. This open-ended statement simply evokes the acclamation by the assembly. It accurately translates the Latin: Mysterium fidei. One of the most notable changes in the revised Missal is the omission of the familiar acclamation: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. This was never in the Latin edition of the Missal, and is, strictly speaking, not an acclamation addressed to Christ. It was inserted into the Missal by ICEL with the approval of the Holy See. It has now been removed.

There will now be three acclamations. The first echoes the familiar Christ has died… but is the expanded text found in the Latin and is addressed to Christ.

We proclaim your Death, O Lord,
and profess your Resurrection
until you come again.

The second acclamation is familiar with the last word changed to match the Latin.

When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup,
we proclaim your Death, O Lord,
until you come again.

The third acclamation is a re-translation of the current acclamation, designed to express more faithfully the Latin text.

Save us, Saviour of the world,
for by your Cross and Resurrection
you have set us free.

Invitation to Communion
The invitation to Communion is one of the most beautiful of the revised texts. It wonderfully demonstrates the desire of the Church for more formal and elegant language in our public prayer.

Instead of the priest saying: This is the Lamb of God … Happy are those… he will say:

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.

This new text more accurately translates the Latin and draws our attention to the Scriptures on which the text is based. We are reminded of John the Baptist pointing to Jesus, the Lamb of God (John 1.2), and the words from the Book of Revelation: Blessed are those invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19.9).

The response of the assembly has also been revised to accurately match the Latin text and to bring to our attention the gospel story of the Roman Centurion who placed his faith in Jesus, the healer (Luke 7.607).

Lord, I am not worthy
that you should come under my roof,
but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

Dismissal Rite
At the end of Mass, the priest or deacon dismisses the assembly. The Latin text, from which we get the word Mass, reads: Ite missa est. This is a difficult text to translate into English. The most literal translation would be: You are sent! In the revised Missal, these words are rendered: Go forth, the Mass is ended. In addition to these, Pope Benedict XVI added other forms of the dismissal: Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord and Go in peace glorifying the Lord by your life and Go in peace. For the privilege and vocation which is ours, we fittingly respond with the unchanged words: Thanks be to God.

As we begin to use the revised English edition of the Roman Missal may both the old familiar words and the fresh new words lead us to the full, conscious and active participation in the liturgy which the Bishops at the Second Vatican Council so earnestly desired.