Smenos Publications are pleased to announce what will be a new series of pamphlets on scripture, liturgy, catechesis and ecclesiastical history.
The first in the series "It is Right and Just! - The Responses of the Roman Missal" by John M. Cunningham, O.P the Publication date will be 1 July 2015.
More details to follow.
It is Right and Just! not only explains the Mass responses in the Roman Missal but is an excellent explanation of the Mass itself. It guides readers through the different stages of the Holy Eucharist from the opening Sign of the Cross to the final blessing and dismissal.
In between is a rich commentary on the Mass viewed through the lens of the responses. Readers are drawn into the sacred mysteries of the Mass as the author delves into the origin, history and meaning of the responses.
The new English translation of the Missal (2011) increases our access to the prayers of the Mass by providing full and faithful translations of the original Latin prayers.
These prayers contain gems and treasures of spirituality, theology, and faith. Some of these riches remained hidden and unexpressed in the earlier translation of the Mass.
It is Right and Just! spells out the beauty and depth of the new texts. It draws especially on the writings of the Church Fathers to offer a commentary that is ancient, sound and profound.
Rooted in scholarship, the book is very readable and concise. For example, the author first gives an interesting reflection on the Sign of the Cross. Then, in two sentences he captures the essence of this great prayer/action:
“By the Sign of the Cross during the Introductory Rites we acknowledge that our salvation has come through the Cross of Jesus Christ, and we are reminded that the Sacrifice of the Cross is made present during the Eucharist.
“Moreover… belief in the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is also expressed.”
Fr Cunningham expertly explains phrases in the new translation that drew much comment, such as “And with your spirit” and “consubstantial with the Father.”
“The Lord be with you” is possibly the best greeting we can offer each other, it includes all good things.
The explanation makes clear why there is no need for the priest to move immediately from such a sacred greeting to a secular wish like, “Good morning everyone!” Why we strike our breast at the Confiteor is explained, and how the first prayer of the Mass, the Collect, gathers all our prayers and lifts them up to the Lord.
The author provides interesting historical background to the Credo and the origin of many of the phrases in it. And he explains how we are to lift up our hearts to the Lord in the Eucharistic Prayer, along with the various choirs of angels mentioned in the preface.
The section on the Lord’s Prayer is excellent. Each phrase is explained using the writings of the Fathers of the Church.
In explaining the responses, the book notes that “active participation” involves attentive listening in faith and silence. This is a brief work (40 pages) but it has great substance presented in an accessible and simple way. It will lead to a greater understanding of and love for the Mass.
It will help to ensure that repetition does not reduce our awareness of what we say at Mass and that our responses come alive. When we know what something means, then it means much more to us.
It is Right and Just! will be of great benefit for Mass goers, readers, special ministers of Holy Communion, Eucharistic adorers, catechesis, RCIA. Indeed for those interested in the faith and for anyone seeking to know more about the greatness of the gift that is the Holy Mass.
Alive, October 2015