Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Preface to Mass Booklet

I was putting together a Mass Booklet for visitors, and it seemed best to me that we address the essence of the Mass up front. It also seemed best to me that visitors know why we use the words "the blessed and glorious, ever virgin Mary, mother of God..." I think that even a Baptist, after reading this simple explanation, might be bold to use the expression "mother of God."

The Mass or Holy Communion is the principal service of the Church. This service is ancient, since this sacrament was instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In this ancient liturgy, presented here from the Book of Common Prayer (as used throughout the world among the Anglican Branch of God’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church) one cannot fail to be reminded of every essential doctrine of the Christian faith. The Gospel, and the Sacramental Life to which it calls all of us, is fully expressed in the words of this service. In it, we pray back to God the deep riches of His Holy Word, so that it is the Bible at prayer.

This service is about the chief sacrament, the Blessed Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood. The reality of His Body and Blood is tied to the central Christian doctrine, the Incarnation: That is, Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. The Apostle John warns us that if we deny this truth of the Incarnation, we do so only by the spirit of error and of antichrist (I John 4: 1-6) . For this reason we call the blessed Virgin Mary by the title Mother of God (Theotokos), since if we failed to confess that her Son is God in the flesh, we would be giving in to the spirit of antichrist which denies the Incarnation. Also, we are not afraid of tangible things in our worship. "Smells and bells" are quite good, when used in this kind of worship; as is singing, kneeling, standing, and drawing near to the Blessed Sacrament. Here, in the Mass, Heaven and Earth meet together in Christ, fully God and full man, truly seen in the Real Presence of this great mystery.

"This is my Body...This is my Blood." Simply put, we take Him at His word.

Fr. Robert Hart, Quinquagesima, 2007

3 comments:

Salome said...

Super stuff, Father, but in the first line I think it should be 'principal' (before you go to press). (Sorry, used to be a copy editor.)

Dave said...

Perhaps some clarification on what the definition of "is" is?

I think your work is great.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Salome-oops and thanks. I have corrected it.