Lenten Texts & Active Participation - 6th March, 2016

Lenten Liturgical Texts

Some of the Mass prayers that we have heard and will hear during Lent help remind us about the purpose of this season of the Church’s year and provide material for our personal prayer during the week.

Preface of Lent I (The spiritual meaning of Lent)

For by your gracious gift each year

your faithful await the sacred paschal feasts

with the joy of minds made pure,

so that, more eagerly intent on prayer and on the works of charity,

and participating in the mysteries by which they have been reborn,

they may be led to the fullness of grace

that you bestow on your sons and daughters

Preface of Lent III (The fruits of abstinence)

For you will that our self-denial should give you thanks,

humble our sinful pride, contribute to the feeding of the poor,

and so help us imitate you in your kindness.

Prayer over the People Fifth Sunday of Lent

Bless, O Lord, your people, who long for the gift of your mercy,

and grant that what, at your prompting, they desire

they may receive by your generous gift.

Doing the Work of Liturgy

The Second Vatican Council said that “full conscious and active participation by all the people” in the liturgy was of utmost importance. Liturgy is the public prayer of the Church and work of the people.  Readers, communion ministers and others with up-front roles are obviously actively involved in the liturgy, but what about the rest? Here are six things which everyone can do to participate more fully:

– be hospitable and attentive towards those with whom we worship and extend a welcome to everyone, not just people we know.

– sit near others and close to the Lord’s Table which is what makes us one body of Christ. Separating ourselves from others makes it look like we are there as individuals rather than as an assembly.

–  take part in the action of the liturgy by listening attentively, joining in the responses, sharing the sign of peace and by taking notice of the symbols, sounds, smells and tastes of the celebration.

– pray our parts of the Mass as though every prayer depended upon our words. The story goes that in the early Church in Rome the assembly’s response in the Great Amen sounded like the rumble of thunder!  How does ours sound?

– join in the hymns and sung responses. Singing is one way in which everyone can join in the celebration of faith. Only someone whose voice is so bad that they have been banned from singing “Happy Birthday” at parties is exempt!

- continue our celebration of Mass after we leave the church and extend our ministry as disciples of Christ into the rest of our lives. The words of the familiar hymn express it well:  “Go now you are sent forth to live what you proclaim, to show the world you follow Christ in fact, not just in name”.



Elizabeth Harrington