Total Pageviews

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Mass - Advent 2011 - The Roman Missal Third Edition Part 2

The Mass
Advent 2011
Roman Missal Third Edition

Part 2

Penitential Rite
Mea maxima culpa
Through my most grievous fault

The Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass is not there to humiliate us, but to help us to put ourselves in the presence of God, who is all merciful. To put ourselves under the mantle of a merciful God will bring us great comfort and joy, for Jesus “did not come to call the righteous but the sinners.” (Mark 2:17) The Penitential Rite or Confiteor prepares us for the sacred encounter we will have with Our Lord in the Eucharist.

In the Old Testament when God’s presence was made manifest to his people, the response went from Abram who “prostrated himself,” (Genesis 17:3), to Jacob who expressed awe, “How awesome is this shrine,” (Genesis 28:17) to Moses hiding his face, “afraid to look at God.” (Exodus 3:6)

On other occasions the Israelites had time to prepare for the presence of the Lord.  For example when the Lord told Moses “go to the people and have them sanctify themselves today and tomorrow. Make them wash their garments and be ready for….on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai before the eyes of all the people." (Exodus 19:10-11)

Washing is a biblical illustration for the removal of sin. We see this imagery in my favorite Psalm with David’s prayer of repentance, “Wash away all my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin,” (Psalms 51:2) This phrase should sound familiar as it is uttered quietly by the priest before the consecration.

The Old Testament also speaks to the benefit of confessing sin, “He who conceals his sins prospers not, but he who confesses and forsakes them obtains mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13) “Be not ashamed to acknowledge your guilt, but of your ignorance rather be ashamed.” (Sirach 4:26) “I confess my faults to the Lord, and you took away the guilt of my sin. Thus should all your faithful pray in times of distress.” (Psalms 32: 5-6)

The importance of the acknowledgement of one’s sins continues in the New Testament with the crowds who confess their sins while being baptized by John the Baptist. (Matthew 3:6) James calls all to “confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)

But the most imperative command for acknowledgement of sin and a proper disposition during Mass comes from Saint Paul. “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.” (1 Corinthians 11:27-29)

During the Mass we are in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus, body, blood, soul and divinity. We are not worthy to be in the Lord’s presence, but as the Israelites did when they had opportunity, we should make ourselves as clean as possible. If one knowingly is in the state of mortal sin they must receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving the Eucharist, or as Saint John said, they “eat and drink judgment on” themselves. If not in the state of mortal sin, we may be washed clean of any venial sin by saying the Penitential Rite, examining ourselves, what we have done and what we have failed to do. And just as the Israelites did when they had time to prepare we make ourselves ready to be in the presence of the Lord.

Penitential Rite
New Version
I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, though my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God. (changes highlighted in blue)

Penitential Rite
Original Latin Text
Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, et vobis fratres, quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo opere et omissione: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, omnes angelos et Sanctos, et vobis fratres, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum. Amen.

There are some “changes”, or rather restorations in the new translation of the Penitential Rite. The word “greatly” will be added (or restored) to be closer to the Latin word “nimis” which means “beyond measure, ” “too much,” or “excessively.”

The second change will be adding a second through my fault followed by through my most grievous fault. In the original Latin this prayer stated “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa,” at the same time the faithful would strike their breast with their fist three times. Mea culpa is translated “my fault,” and mea maxima culpa,” “my greatest fault.” This threefold confession is reminiscent of Peter’s threefold response to the Lord’s question, “Peter, do you love me.” (John 21:15)  And also corresponds to his three fold denial of Christ during the passion. (Mark 15:72)

The faithful when reciting, “Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” will strike their breast three times. This action being reminiscent of the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, where the tax collector “beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’” (Luke 18:13)

The last change may seem rather small, but it makes a large difference in clarification. This is the change of the word “and” to “therefore.” First, “therefore” more closely reflects the translation of the Latin “ideo.” And with the new translation, the words following our accountability for our sin will not appear as before like part of a list, but rather as a real plea when we ask for the intercession of “Mary ever Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.”

Next Part Three The Gloria
Prodigal Son - Rembrandt
The Eternal Father Appears to Moses - Tintoretto
Jesus Feeds - Loaves and Fishes Icon
Christ's Charge to Peter - Raphael

No comments:

Post a Comment