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Explanation of the Mass - Liturgy of the Eucharist (Part 4)

Through a series of informational articles, we will try to explain terms, prayers, and actions that happen at Mass and why they happen.  You will learn about the prayers the priest prays silently during Mass, as well as the people’s parts.  References to GIRM in italics refer to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the book from which rites related to the Mass are codified.  We hope this information will help to make your participation in Mass more meaningful and understandable.

GIRM 79

     (d)  The institution narrative and Consecration, by which, by means of the words and actions of Christ, that Sacrifice is effected which Christ himself instituted during the Last Supper, when he offered his Body and Blood under the species of bread and wine, gave them to the Apostles to eat and drink, and leaving with the latter the command to perpetuate this same mystery.

The separate consecration of bread from wine has a sacrificial aspect because we are reminded of when Jesus’ blood separated from his body at the crucifixion.

Real Presence and Accidents

- The outer appearance is the same, but the inner substance has changed (transubstantiation).

- Christ really and truly is present in the host and wine

- Not a symbol, not alongside – it is the Risen body & blood of Christ

- Risen bodies can be everywhere at once and are not bound by time and space

- Our belief for over 2,000 years is that Christ passed this power of consecration to the apostles and to the rest of the priests by their ordination

- People kneel as a sign of reverence and adoration

- A representation of Christ’s one-time sacrifice in an unbloody manner.  We don’t sacrifice Christ over and over

The Memorial Acclamation proclaims and reaffirms the belief in the resurrection after we have represented Christ’s death by proclaiming that “When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again” or a similar prayer.

     (e)  The anamnesis, by which the Church, fulfilling the command that she received from Christ the Lord through the Apostles, celebrates the memorial of Christ, recalling especially his blessed Passion, glorious Resurrection, and Ascension into heaven.

The anamnesis (Greek for “remembering”) is a prayer of reminder of what God has done for us.

     (f)  The oblation, by which, in this very memorial, the Church, in particular that gathered here and now, offers the unblemished sacrificial Victim in the Holy Spirit to the Father. The Church’s intention, indeed, is that the faithful not only offer this unblemished sacrificial Victim but also learn to offer their very selves, and so day by day to be brought, through the mediation of Christ, into unity with God and with each other, so that God may at last be all in all.

     (g)  The intercessions, by which expression is given to the fact that the Eucharist is 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 salvation purchased by the Body and Blood of Christ.

During the intercessions, we pray for the Pope, bishops, and all people, living and deceased.

     (h)  The concluding doxology, by which the glorification of God is expressed and which is affirmed and concluded by the people’s acclamation Amen.

The Doxology (Greek for “word of praise”), also called the elevation and Great Amen, is the point in the Mass when the priest raises the Body & Blood and proclaims, “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.” 

Jesus’ body and blood are presented to the Father, and the Father offered the Son through the Holy Spirit.

And the people respond with the Great “Amen.”  Amen means “So be it” – the “yes” to the Eucharistic Prayer, showing our approval.