Venerable Bruno’s method: Going to the altar

Note: Part 3 on a series on the Mass.  Read the first part here. For an overview of Venerable Bruno’s method, go here.  For a PDF of the method, click here.

Venerable Bruno Lanteri writes, “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.”

Background: Extraordinary Form of the Mass (Tridentine Mass)

Because Venerable Bruno wrote his preparation for the Tridentine Mass, it would be good to see what is going on in the extraordinary form of the Mass.

The priest starts the Mass, genuflecting before the altar and making the sign of the cross.  The priest says the antiphon in Latin: “I will go in unto the Altar of God.” The altar server replies in Latin, “To God, who giveth joy to my youth.”  The priest and server alternate in reciting Psalm 43 (42 Vulgate).  It reminds everyone of the meaning of the altar and the Mass: adoration, thanksgiving, reparation and petition.  After the Glory Be, the priest and the server repeat the antiphon.

Lesson: What is my attitude as I go to Church?

When I lived in Texas, I preferred to drive to Sunday Mass in silence.  A sense of seriousness guided me.  There is something special about going to Mass.  I didn’t want anything to distract me.

What are your thoughts as you go to church?  Are you looking forward to receiving Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament?  Or are you fretting about the latest worries at work or at home?  Or are you inching to leave Mass early to bring the kids to soccer practice or go to the football game?

Venerable Bruno wanted to approach the altar with the mind of Simeon.  Day after day, year after year, he visited the temple, hoping to see his salvation, the Messiah.  He seeks Him, whom his heart desires.  Then, one day, Joseph and Mary bring Jesus to the temple.  How much did Simeon’s heart leap when taking the baby in his arm?  Now, he can rest with his Lord.

Venerable Bruno also suggests looking to a fervent saint.  Who is your favorite saint?  Can you imagine that saint approach the church or chapel for Mass?  How much does that saint desire Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament?

Can you evoke that same yearning in your heart?  It need not take long.  You pause at the door before your leave.  Or you pause at the computer before you turn on the webcast.  You give a quick glance at the crucifix. Or have a quick thought of Simeon yearning for Jesus.

If your mind wanders during the journey, don’t fret.  Begin again. Go back to that sentiment many times.  How would you sing the entrance hymn with the sentiment of Simeon?  With a little bit more feeling and energy?  You can evoke that feeling even when the priest processes up the aisle to the altar.

Scripture passages for prayer:

  1. Luke 2:22-39
  2. Psalm 43

Reflection questions:

  1. When is the best time in your Sunday routine to evoke the feeling of Simeon or your favorite saint?
  2. Why do you seek Jesus now?
  3. Consider the four goals of Mass: adoration, thanksgiving, reparation and petition. On any given day, which goal appeals to you?  How would you live out your Sunday with that goal in mind?




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