New Words for Worship Part 9: Liturgy of Eucharist

New Words for Worship Part 9
This column outlines some of the revisions in the texts of the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
There is a change in the “Blessed are you …” prayers during the Preparation of the Gifts. “Through your goodness we have this bread/wine to offer” becomes “for through your goodness we have received the bread/wine we offer you”.

In the prayer over the bread, “which earth has given and human hands have made” becomes “fruit of the earth and work of human hands”, a nice parallel with “fruit of the vine and work of human hands” over the chalice in both the present and revised translations.

There are two major differences in the Introductory Dialogue to the Eucharistic Prayer. The response to the celebrant’s “The Lord be with you” will be “And with your spirit” as throughout the Mass. Instead of responding to “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God” with “It is right to give him thanks and praise” the assembly will say “It is right and just”.

This seems very abrupt and cryptic compared to the text we have used for the last 40 years, but again it is closer to the Latin original and brings the English text more into line with that already used by other language groups.

In the Sanctus or Holy, Holy, only the first line has changed. “Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might” becomes “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts”. This presents a couple of difficulties.

Many Catholics associate the word “hosts” in a liturgical context only with the consecrated bread for Eucharist and will find the phrase “Lord God of hosts” confusing.

As with the Gloria discussed earlier, the new words do not fit the musical settings that we presently use. I will write about the process of obtaining musical settings of the revised texts in a future article. However, the introduction of the new Missal does not mean that the hymns sung at Mass have to change, as one correspondent feared.

The present English Missal offers four choices for the Memorial Acclamation, A “Christ has died ..”, B “Dying you destroyed our death ..”, C “When we eat this bread …” and D “Lord, by your cross and resurrection …”. There will now be three:
“We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again”, “When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again” and “Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free”.

The last two of these are similar to the acclamations C and D. If you think the first one sounds a bit like a mixture of the present A and B, you are correct. The Latin original has only three Memorial Acclamations. We have four in our current Missal because the English version gave two translations of the first of these. Option A differs from the others in that it is not addressed to Christ.

The Australian bishops applied for permission to retain “Christ has died” because it is perhaps the most popular, but we are still awaiting word on recognitio of this and other Australian adaptations such as the texts for Australia Day and Anzac Day.

Elizabeth Harrington