Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Devotion for today: Ite Missa Est

In our study of the Mass, we have come to the Concluding Rites. The faithful have received Holy Communion, the priest or deacon has cleaned and purified the sacred vessels, and quiet time has been provided for silent prayer. Now the priest bestows his final blessing and says, “Go forth, the Mass is ended.” Fr. Robert Barron tells us, “It has been said that after the words of consecration these are the most sacred words of the entire Mass. Now that the people have gathered as one family, heard the word of God, professed their faith, prayed for one another, offered sacrifice to the Father, and received the Body and Blood of Jesus, the faithful are, at least in principle, more properly formed and hence ready to go out to effect the transformation of the world…. The priest dismisses the people, scattering them like seed into the fallen world.” (Catholicism, Image Books, 2011). As you leave your church, picture these words above the doors, “You are now entering mission territory.” Who else is there to bring the mercy, peace, forgiveness and new life you have just received into the world, but you? Go forth, and bring the love of God to everyone you meet, or at least to everyone waiting to get out of the parking lot!!!!

Matthew 28:19: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit….

Where does the word, “Mass,” come from? The final words of the Holy Sacrifice in Latin are, “Ite, missa est,” most literally, “Go, it is sent.” From the middle word, “missa,” “sent,”comes the word for Mass. At first, people would speak about staying until the ‘missa,’ and it wasn’t long before people were simply saying that they were going to “missa.” So, in the West “Mass” became a common term for the Holy Sacrifice, the Divine Liturgy, the Eucharist.
“Go forth, the Mass is ended,” the deacon or priest will say. Our response will be the same: “Thanks be to God.” Why “Go forth”? Mass is not static… it cannot be confined to a sixty minute period on Sunday. When we are at Mass, the sacrifice of Calvary is being re-presented before our heavenly Father. If our lives are not drawn more and more deeply into this mystery each and every time that we go, then we are missing the point. “Go forth,” faithful, and live lives that resonate with what just happened. Conquer sin, grow in virtue, and seek to love God above all things. In short, the life of the Catholic is the Mass. It is the source and summit of our faith, and it is the source and summit of each of our lives. Everything we do in the week leads up to that
moment when we can lay it all on the altar as an oblation to our heavenly Father. By the merits of Christ, we are filled with every grace and blessing so that we can go into the world and live
the apostolate to which we are called by our baptism. No action ought to be done without being offered for the glory of God! The Mass reaches everything. Go forth, and make the Mass the
summit of your life!

Prayer: St. Michael the archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into hell satan and all his evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

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