Note: This is the second part on a series on the Mass. Read the first part here.
The Mass has plenty of spiritual nourishment. But how do we tap into it?
First of all, it needs an open heart. I can help you have it by teaching you about the parts of the Mass. More meaning creates a deeper appreciation. But all that head knowledge won’t amount to anything … unless the heart is invited to be engaged.
In 1782, before he was ordained to the priesthood, Venerable Bruno Lanteri wrote goals and means to deepen his spiritual life. One of those means is for a devout celebration of Mass. The method evokes images from the Bible to be more drawn into the Mass. It had such an impact on his priestly life that Venerable Bruno bequeathed it 48 years later when he founded the Oblates of the Virgin Mary.
Br. Jay-Ar San Juan, OMV made these slides of Venerable Bruno’s method so any one can be shown before every Mass broadcast from St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine in Boston. (You can also find the Mass on the OMV YouTube channel.)
Feel free to download the image if you want the original text. Download the PDF here. Below, I distilled the method to the sentiment with the corresponding part of the Mass. Subsequent blog entries will examine each part.
Venerable Bruno’s Suggestions for a Devout Celebration of Mass
Throughout these parts of the Mass, foster these sentiments. “All of this with living faith, hope, charity, with pauses, emphasis, affection.”
Going to Church: “In going to the altar, I will imagine seeing Simeon who went in the Spirit to the Temple for the Presentation and Circumcision of Jesus, or I will imagine seeing some other fervent saint.”
Penitential Rite: “I will take the sentiments and the heart of the tax collector [cf. Lk 18: 9-14].”
Gloria: “those of the Angels [cf. Lk 2:13-14].”
Collect: “those of an ambassador sent by the Church.”
Liturgy of the Word: “those of a disciple.”
Creed: “those of the Martyrs.”
Offertory: “those of Melchizedek [Gen 14:18-20].”
Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy): “At the Preface, that of the Heavenly Court.”
Consecration: “those of Christ.”
Our Father: “those of one who begs.”
Lamb of God: “those of a guilty man.”
Receiving Communion: “those of one in love.”
Dismissal: “At the ‘Go in Peace,’ those of an apostle.”
Leaving the Church: “I will go forth from the altar as if breathing fire.”
Giving thanks to God: “I will adore him.”
Suggestions with the method
The 15 steps can make the method appear daunting. But here are some of the things I’ve learned praying with the method.
- Foster the sentiment quickly and peacefully. Venerable Bruno writes, “All of this with living faith, hope, charity, with pauses, emphasis, affection.” All of that can be done quickly and peacefully. Bring out a word or a phrase that captures the sentiment. For example, when the priest invites everyone to acknowledge their sins at the start of Mass, I immediately think this phrase, “Like the tax collector.”
- Work on your favorite part of the Mass. I was becoming frustrated about missing so many steps of the Mass. So I focused only on my favorite parts of Mass (consecration and communion). Those two steps deepen my love for the Eucharist. From that sure base, I added other steps.
- Always do the first step. I found if I worked on the first step (going to Church with the heart of Simeon), my mindset about Mass started to change. Once I had the first step down, the rest of the steps start flowing.
- ALWAYS begin again. Venerable Bruno’s perennial advice speaks loudly here. If I missed a part (which always happens), I wasn’t disappointed. I start again with the next part. Even if I was inattentive during the first reading, I can jump back to have the sentiments of a disciple for the rest of the readings. The sentiments for the Consecration can be invoked anytime during the Eucharistic Prayer.
May Venerable Bruno’s preparation deepen your love for Jesus and for the Mass.
Scripture passages for prayer:
- Genesis 14:18-20: Melchizedek blesses Abraham.
- Luke 2:13-14: The angels praise God after the birth of Jesus.
- John 6: The Bread of Life discourse.
Questions for reflection:
- What are your initial feelings about Venerable Bruno’s method?
- Which part of the part of the method would like to practice first?
- When you prayed over the passages, can you feel the sentiments that Melchizedek, the angels and Jesus felt?