#3 A Moment for Catechesis

I apologize - this is a few days late.

I love being Catholic.

This love for Catholicism is the reason behind my fondness for Catechesis. There is so much meaning contained in every little action we do, and every prayer we pray, and it is such a great Joy to share this beauty of Catholicism with others. It's an edifying experience when you give a talk and someone says “Whoa!” or “Wow.” or “I never knew that was the reason we do that.” or to use a popular internet phrase “Mindblown!” – someone actually said that last year when I gave a talk about the Hail Mary. It really is like watching children with wide-eyed curiosity discover something new and amazing.

And now, with the New Missal, we all have a wonderful opportunity to catechize our brethren, and experience a few more of those “Whoa!” moments.

Whatever opinions you hold about the New Translations of the Roman Missal, now is a beautiful time to explain to others the beauty of the liturgy. Now that people are being shaken out of pure repetition, we have an opportunity as a church to get people to really think about what they are really doing and saying. What we do isn't pointless. What we do is part of an intimate relationship with Our Lord and Savior, and now is a perfect time to reflect more on this relationship.

Hit the jump to see some specific ways that the New Missal can be a moment for Catechesis.

First off, there are several others who have already written about ways the new translation can be a moment of catechesis. Some examples can be found here and here.

Additionally, much of what I have written in the previous items on this list could be used for catechesis: #5 Fun Words & #4 Beauty.

Finally, allow me to share with you just two ways that we can use this moment as a moment of catechesis.

From my experience, most Catholics do not know why we sit, stand, kneel, or bow.
With the new translations, when we hear the word “incarnate” in the Creed, we'll have a reason to talk to people about bowing. See, it seems that many Catholics do not know that everyone – yes, everyone – is supposed to bow at a particular moment in the Creed. In the current translation, we bow at the line:
by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
In the new translations we'll be bowing at the line:
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
The reason we bow here is our sign of humility in response to God's incredible humility in taking on human flesh. We are humbled because Christ humbled Himself. Imagine what a greater sense of humility we might have as a Church if more people knew about this and did this.

Some of the potential catechesis doesn't necessarily have to do with anything we actually say. One of the changes that many people do not know about is the change – or should I say return – to the titles of certain things. In particular, what is currently referred to as the Opening Prayer is denoted as the Collect in the New Missal.

This is important. At this point in Mass, the priest, with arms outstretched, is collecting the prayers of the entire congregation. Father Jeremy Driscoll puts it this way in his book “What Happens At Mass”:
After a short pause for silence, the priest stretches out his hands and says a prayer whose purpose is to collect, into a few short lines, all the strands of what has taken place so far, as well as all the strands of our many individual thoughts, which come from many directions and stray in many directions here at the beginning of our prayer. So this collect effectively places us all together into one succinctly expressed address to God the Father.
So that moment of silence after the Priest says “Let us pray” is not just there to give time for the altar boy to walk up. No, that silence is purposeful. Offer up your prayers then. Whatever petitions you have, let God have them, and unite them to the prayers of others. The silence matters; take advantage of it.

So there you have it. Now you know - and knowing is half the battle, GI Joe!

Go out and catechize brethren, brethren.

Don't worry, even though this one was late, the next one will be coming out shortly. #2: Universality and Unity, should be released this Friday.

In case you missed them, other reasons I am excited for the New Missal:
 #5 Fun Words
 #4 Beauty