Note: Part 14 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. For Fr. Tim Gallagher’s explanation of the steps, buy the book at his website or the Oblates’ bookstore.
Venerable Bruno Lanteri recommends these sentiments in his Spiritual Directory, “At the “Go in Peace”, those of an apostle.”
Background: Extraordinary Form of the Mass
Because Venerable Bruno wrote his preparation for the Tridentine Mass, it would be good to see what is going on at this point in the extraordinary form of the Mass.
After purifying the vessels, he reads the Communion verse from the Missal. The invitation to the congregation leads to the prayer after Communion. He dialogues with the congregation (“The Lord be with you ….”) and says, “Ite, Missa est,” (Go, the Mass is ended).” The congregation replies, “Deo gratias” (“Thanks be to God.”)
At times, the priest replaces the “Ite, Missa est” with “Benedicamus Domino” (“Let us bless the Lord.”) while facing the altar. The response remains “Deo gratias.” For Mass for the Dead, the priest replaces the “Ite, Missa est” with “Requiescant in pace” (“May they rest in peace”) while facing the altar. The response remains “Amen.”
The priest bows toward the altar, asking that the Sacrifice of the Altar bring forgiveness to him and to the congregation. Then, he blesses the people with the sign of the cross.
Lesson: Do I know that I am sent on a mission?
In our busy society, we always want to shave a little bit of time. Our smartphones and their apps promise us to save time. (More likely, we’ll spend that extra time on the phone.)
We Catholics have the temptation to sneak out of Church after receiving Communion. Some of us rationalize that choice. “I got Jesus anyway. Why linger any longer?” “The homily went way too long.” “I want to avoid the traffic jam in the church parking lot.” “There are many, many things to do.” But that choice reflects the reality that Mass is just another thing on the checklist. We can act as if we had never gone to church that day.
The truth is this: We are changed when we received Communion. Because Jesus now dwells in us, we become what we ate. That fact should influence how we approach the world. Venerable Bruno Lanteri reminds us of that approach. He recommends that at the dismissal (“Go in Peace”), we should foster the sentiments of an apostle.
At the end of Mass, the priest concludes the Mass with the saying, “Go forth. The Mass is ended.” That is based on the Latin, “Ite. Missa est.” Literally, it means, “Go. It is sent.” What was sent? Originally, it meant that the Eucharist was sent to the sick. But that applies to us, too. We carry the Eucharist inside us now. We are being sent to others. The current version of the Mass gives three other options to the priest to say:
- Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.
- Go in peace.
- Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.
Each option expands on this mission. “Apostle” means messenger and envoy in Greek. That implies that one is sent on a mission. Venerable Bruno wants us to harken back to those moments when Jesus sent forth the disciples on mission. The disciples had spent time to know him. Now that living-giving relationship with Jesus wasn’t meant to be kept to oneself. Rather it was meant to be shared. An apostle is sent to spread the Good News by their words and actions.
We lived out that mission by the particular circumstances of our lives. Jesus has given you a mission. You are not doing it by yourself. Jesus is inside you. Are you ready to take up the task? Be the apostle.
Scripture passages for prayer:
- Matthew 10:5-15 and Mark 6:7-13 and Luke 9:1-6: Jesus sends the Twelve on mission.
- Luke 10:1-12: Jesus sends 70 others on mission.
- Matthew 28:16-20 and Mark 16:15-18: After the Resurrection, Jesus gave the Apostles the Great Commission to evangelize.
- What mission did God give you today?
- What ways can you bring Jesus into your everyday life?
- For what task has God given you the strength through the Mass to achieve?