New Mass translation: 3 days to go! But it’s about more than just words…

Yesterday, we gave you an excerpt from A Simple Guide to the Mass, one of a trio of new booklets we have put together to help people understand the wider context of the new translation of the Mass, used from this Sunday.

Participating in the Mass, by Dom Cuthbert Johnson OSB, is the second in this trilogy and covers subjects including music in the Liturgy, and the Liturgy as a work of art. As is to be expected with a text that covers these aspects of worship, it deals with more complex ideas then the last booklet we looked at; yet Dom Cuthbert Johnson’s ability to clearly and succinctly sum up complicated points is brought to the fore.

Speaking of the “Art of celebration” the author is very careful that we understand precisely what is being discussed:

“Art should be understood here as the development of a skill or the mastery of a subject. This does not exclude the aesthetic dimension of art, but it is far more comprehensive. It is the acquisition of a habit of thinking, acting and doing in an orderly manner.

The fundamentals of a genuine ‘art’ of celebration are harmony and order. This is what Pope Benedict means when he speaks of lifting up our hearts in the Liturgy. It is the harmony between what we say with our lips and what we think with our heart. We must raise our heart to the Lord, not only as a ritual response but as an expression of what is happening in this heart that is uplifted, and also lifts up others.”

In this manner, we can use this booklet to take a closer look at what the Liturgy is, where it comes from and where it is going with the new translation. But the translation is about more than words, it is a chance for liturgical renewal in its entirety, which, as this booklet shows, includes music, architecture, clothing and much more. Here is an excerpt about the purpose of music in the Liturgy:

“Music composed for the Liturgy must serve to highlight, clarify, emphasise and underline elements of the sacred text. The melodic line should facilitate the participation of all present so that with one harmonious voice praise is given the Most Holy Trinity. Music is an integral part of the celebration of the Liturgy and the musical tradition of the Church is ‘a treasure of great price'”.

Participating in the Mass is available to pre-order from CTS and will be published on September 16th priced £2.50


Of related interest:

D745 Simple Guide to the Mass – Abbot Cuthbert Johnson OSB, a Consultor to the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship, provides a simple and concise guide to the new translation of the Mass introduced by the Church on Sunday, 4 September 2011.

Pope Benedict XVI has expressed the wish that the introduction of the new translation will mark the beginning of: “A renewal and a deepening of Eucharistic devotion all over the English-speaking world”.

Understanding the Roman Missal – the New Translation –A presentation and explanation of the new translation, accompanied by liturgical and spiritual reflections. This presentation and explanation of the new translation is accompanied by a series of liturgical and spiritual reflections.
Sacrifice in the Liturgy –Bishop Peter Elliot helps us to understand the Christian sacrifice given to us at the Last Supper by reflecting on the shape of the liturgy, its actions and symbols, particularly the altar and sacred space set apart for the Eucharistic sacrifice.

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