Insights into the sacred liturgy of the Mass

mass

by James Schall, S.J., who is a professor at Georgetown University, and one of the most prolific Catholic writers in America.

In his encyclical on the Eucharist (Ecclesia de Eucharistia), among other places, Pope John Paul II specified that neither the Mass nor the priest is a function of the community. Without the Mass, as it is in its integrity, no community exists. The community does not “ordain” its ministers. The Church is not a club or meeting hall or a political party.

All ministers in the Church testify to the truth as it is found in the Creed. This is why the Creed must be said every Sunday. It should begin, as in Latin and Greek, with “I believe,” not the present “we believe.” We stand at Mass attesting to our personal affirmation in the intelligibility of what we hold. We are a religion of intelligence.

At Mass, we are full of the Lord, not ourselves. What makes the community is the Mass, not vice versa. The priest is not an actor. He is a priest. He points beyond himself. What he does is not of his own making. He is a servant. He literally follows the books. He does not write them. With his people, he praises the Father through the Son in the unity of the Spirit, Whom he, along with them, worships. This worship is what goes on at Mass, nothing less.

Click here to read the entire article