One of the most common problems among Catholics is a lack of understanding of the Mass. A large number of Catholics believe that we go to Mass because “it’s what Catholics do” or for fellowship and preaching. Without the proper background, most of the prayers heard at Mass don’t really help us to understand what is taking place. What’s with all the sitting, standing and mysterious wording? In reality, what goes on at every Mass is an incomprehensible miracle. We are mystically transported 2,000 years in the past to Our Lord’s crucifixion at Calvary. Even more astonishing is the fact that we not only get to witness Jesus’ sacrifice to the Father for our salvation, but we get to offer ourselves along with Him. If that’s not enough, at Mass we receive the grace we need to one day get to Heaven!
Unfortunately, unless you already know what I just said, it’s hard to figure that out from the prayers of the Mass. In reality, however, just about every prayer said at Mass has a Biblical origin. Knowledge of this fact can go a long way in understanding what takes place at Mass. Still the question remains…how can we understand the wording and the Biblical references? One positive development is that, beginning in Advent of this year, some of the prayers of the Mass will be changing to more appropriately reflect the original Latin wording. This is a good thing because, with proper explanation, this wording will help us to see the Biblical connection and to better understand what is taking place at Mass.
Still not excited? Fortunately, I have some even better news! I’ve recently run across one of the best and easiest to understand books on the Mass that I’ve ever seen. A Biblical Walk Through The Mass by Dr. Edward Sri (2011, Ascension Press) not only explains the parts of the Mass in layman’s terms, but illustrates the Biblical origin of the prayers. Those of you who are familiar with Dr. Sri’s work will find the same simple, but substantial, approach used in his other writings. Divided into 24 short chapters (each corresponding to one part of the Mass), you’ll find this to be a difficult book to put down. Time and time again, you’ll find yourself saying, “So that’s why we do that”!
Even better is the fact that this book is part of a parish education series, which includes DVDs, CDs, student and leader guides. It would be a perfect resource for parish study groups and will not only address the new Mass translation, but the entire liturgy. There is a great need for a package such as this and it couldn’t be released at a better time. With many parishes looking for resources that explain the new translation, this is the perfect answer.
I have stated before (and I still believe) that the only reason people leave the Catholic Church is due to a lack of understanding of what we believe, especially the Mass. I hear a lot of talk about miracles and the desire to witness one. Sadly, a miracle takes place each day on the altar of every Catholic church but is often unnoticed. Do yourself a favor and check out this book (and all of the materials) so that you’ll have a better understanding for the greatest event that takes place on earth – the Mass!