In just two weeks, we will begin using the beautiful new English translation of the Roman Missal. In last week’s column, I began a reflection on the new translation of the Eucharistic Prayers. As I mentioned, “with the Eucharistic Prayer — the prayer of thanksgiving and consecration — we come to the heart and summit of the celebration” of Mass (CCC 1352).
I ended last week’s column with a commentary on the new translation of the Institution Narrative (the consecration). I continue now with the words the priest says or chants immediately after the words of consecration: “The mystery of faith.” The priest is inviting the people to affirm that the mystery of Christ’s sacrifice is now present on the altar. The people (not the priest) then respond with one of the three acclamations (which cannot be substituted by any other song, acclamation, or response).
Here are the words of the three possible acclamations:
1) “We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.”
2) “When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again.”
3) “Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.”
In all three acclamations, the faithful are addressing the Lord and acclaiming the mystery of His saving action that has become present on the altar. Notice that the former acclamation: “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again” may no longer be used.
After the Memorial Acclamation, the priest continues with the part of the Eucharistic Prayer called the “anamnesis,” a Greek word meaning “memorial.” At the end of the Institution Narrative, the priest had repeated the words of Jesus: “Do this in memory of me.” “In the anamnesis … 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” (CCC 1354). The prayer of anamnesis includes a prayer of oblation, the offering of ourselves together with the offering of Christ, the pure and holy victim of the Eucharistic sacrifice.
Here is the new translation of the Anamnesis prayer from Eucharistic Prayer II:
“Therefore, as we celebrate the memorial of his Death and Resurrection, we offer you, Lord, the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation, giving thanks that you have held us worthy to be in your presence and minister to you.”
After the anamnesis come the intercessions. “In the intercessions, the Church indicates that the Eucharist is celebrated in communion with the whole Church in heaven and on earth, the living and the dead, and in communion with the pastors of the Church, the Pope, the diocesan bishop, his presbyterium and his deacons, and all the bishops of the whole world together with their Churches” (CCC 1354).
I find it very consoling and very important that at every Mass we pray for the faithful departed. At that moment of the Eucharistic Prayer, I always remember my own beloved loved ones who have died. We also pray for the living. At that moment, I often present to the Lord all the people who have asked for my prayers or whom I have promised to pray for.
The prayers of intercession for the living and the dead, the prayers for the Pope and bishops, as well as the recollection of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, remind us of our identity as the Mystical Body of Christ. We are all brothers and sisters united as members of Christ’s Body, giving praise and thanks to God in the celebration of the Eucharist. The new translation of these prayers of intercession is very rich. Here follows the new translation from Eucharist Prayer II:
Remember, Lord, your Church, spread throughout the world, and bring her to the fullness of charity, together with Benedict our Pope and Kevin our Bishop and all the clergy.
Remember also our brothers and sisters who have fallen asleep in the hope of the resurrection, and all who have died in your mercy: welcome them into the light of your face. Have mercy on us all, we pray, that with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with the blessed Apostles, and all the Saints who have pleased you throughout the ages, we may merit to be coheirs to eternal life, and may praise and glorify you through your Son, Jesus Christ.”
It is important to be aware that the Eucharist is never celebrated in isolation. It is always celebrated “in communion with the whole Church, of both heaven and of earth, and that the oblation is made for her and for all her members, living and dead, who are called to participate in the redemption and the salvation purchased by the Body and Blood of Christ” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal #79).
The Eucharistic Prayer ends with the Doxology, said or sung by the priest, followed by the people acclaiming “Amen.” While announcing the Doxology, the priest lifts up the chalice and paten, a gesture of presenting the sacrifice of Christ and His Church to the Father.
Here is the new translation of the Doxology:
Through him, with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever.”
When the people acclaim “Amen,” they are giving their assent. As you may know, the word “Amen” is from the Hebrew and means “So be it!”
I encourage all to continue to prepare well for the use of the new English translation of the Roman Missal, which will begin in just two weeks, on the first Sunday of Advent. May God bless you!
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