The Revised Mass Prayer Translations – a mystagogical conversation
Father Patrick Beidelman (Director, Office of Liturgy and Worship, Archdiocese of Indianapolis) and I join once again, this time, in a 3-part podcast discussing the current experience of the revised English Mass texts of the Roman Missal. I term these podcasts “mystagogical.” Mystagogy is a term that the Fathers of the Church (100 AD – 750 AD) used to describe the reflection on the Mysteries. The term itself means to “break open” or “unfold” the Mystery or Mysteries. As used by the Fathers of the Church, Mystery (singular) refers to the life of the Most Holy Trinity and Mysteries (plural) refer to what we (in the West or Latin Church) now call Sacraments. The Fathers of the Church held that authentic catechesis (formative theological education) in the Mysteries (Sacraments) requires first and foremost participating in or experiencing the Sacraments as encounters with Jesus Christ, Who in the power of the Holy Spirit, reveals His Heavenly Father. Listeners familiar with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults will know “mystagogy” as the timeless period that unfolds the meaning and power of Baptism, Confirmation and the Most Holy Eucharist.
Father Pat and I contend that even though we have only been using these revised Mass texts for 4 weeks, the Church’s experience already provides ample reflection to prepare us for the celebration of Our Lord’s Nativity.
Followers of my blog and tweets know that I normally posts podcasts (when available) one week at a time. Given the richness that is already being experienced throughout the English-speaking world with these revised Mass texts, I want to make all 3 podcasts available at once.
In the first podcast, we discuss some of the challenges and blessings associated with the arrival of the revised Mass texts.
Then in the second podcast we discuss the generous reception the texts have received thus far in parishes. “You hear the echoes of the Latin,” not as Latin for the sake of Latin, but in service of an elevated language that assists in the worship of the Triune God: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, recognizing who we are as human, created beings before the Lord Who is Creator. This expresses, according to Father Pat, “a restored verticality” … and “profound Divine intimacy that breaks through the prayers.”
The final podcast initially examines what is going well with the revised translation of the Mass texts and the work that is yet to be done. Father Pat and I converse about some of the specific words and grammatical structures highlighted in the revised translation. It is clear and Father Pat re-inforces the point that these are not words for the sake of words, but words in the service of worshiping the Triune God.