The Mass

An Augustinian Perspective

"What you hear, you see, is The body of Christ, and you answer, Amen. So be a member of the body of Christ, in order to make that Amen true."

- Saint Augustine (Sermon 272)

About this Series

The Mass is the source and summit of the Christian life.  From the Mass we draw strength from the perfect Sacrifice of Christ made present.  When we go to Mass we are therefore invited to bring all of our life work and experiences to be united with that Sacrifice. The Order of Mass contains a rich combination of symbolic gestures, actions, words, and prayers that have deep meaning for the mystery of our faith and salvation.  

This series contains a series of reflections by Fr. Jeremy Hiers, OSA that invite you to reflect more deeply on the parts of the Mass.

How to Use This Series

Shortly after I was received into the Roman Catholic Church in 2009, I began to ask myself how I can more fully understand the Mass as the “source and summit” of my life and the life of the Church; and avoid allowing the Mass to become a mere routine that loses significance for my life.   I began to develop a routine which helped me approach each Mass more fully, actively and consciously.  The routine begins before Mass with a reflection on my life and choosing one area of my life where I need God’s help (or choosing a struggle that I am aware of in someone else’s life).  I then choose a particular part of the Mass to focus on for that day and spend a few minutes studying and reflecting on Church teaching and theology regarding that part of the Mass. Then during the Mass, I become mindful of the intention I brought to Mass as well as the significance of that part of the Mass that I had reflected on earlier.  After I became an Augustinian I began incorporating Augustinian Spirituality into my reflections.

My hope is that this series will aid you in your own reflection on the parts of the Mass and that you grow more deeply aware of the mysteries of our salvation present in the celebration of the Eucharist.

Before Mass

The time before Mass is a time to prepare for the Sacred Mysteries that are about to be celebrated.  It is a time in which silence should be observed in the sanctuary in order to examine the intention(s) one desires to bring to the perfect Sacrifice of Christ that is about to be made present.

Introductory Rites

The purpose of the Introductory Rites is to “ensure that the faithful, who come together as one, establish communion and dispose themselves properly to listen to the Word of God and to celebrate the Eucharist worthily” (GIRM, no. 46)

Liturgy of the Word

“In the readings, as explained by the Homily, God speaks to his people, opening up to them the mystery of redemption and salvation, and offering spiritual nourishment; and Christ himself is made present through his word in the midst of the faithful” (GIRM, no. 55).

Liturgy of the Eucharist

“At the Last Supper Christ instituted the Paschal Sacrifice and banquet, by which the Sacrifice of the Cross is continuously made present in the Church whenever the Priest, representing Christ the Lord, carries out what the Lord himself did and handed over to his disciples to be done in his memory” (GIRM, 72).

Concluding Rites

The concluding rites mirror how the Mass began with the people rising and the words “The Lord be with you” (Sri, Kindle Loc 2044).  It includes the Priests’ Greeting and Blessing as well as the Dismissal which invites the faithful to go back to doing good works, praising and blessing God (GIRM, 90).