GIRM 1: Christ Guides Us

The newest edition/translation of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal is up at the USCCB site. We begin our latest in-depth liturgical journey with a few links. First, if you’re a road-map person, there is a table of contents here. Rev. Richard B. Hilgartner, the Executive Director of the USCCB Secretariat of Divine Worship (and successor to Msgr Moroney) has penned a foreword.

As for me, I prefer we leap right into the red meat of a document. Sections 1 through 15 provide an Introduction. While I might gloss over forewords and tables of contents, I do believe in reading the fine print of a liturgy document. Not just the red-n-black.

1. As Christ the Lord was about to celebrate with the disciples the paschal supper in which he instituted the Sacrifice of his Body and Blood, he commanded that a large, furnished upper room be prepared (Lk 22:12). Indeed, the Church has always judged that this command also applied to herself whenever she decided about things related to the disposition of people’s minds, and of places, rites, and texts for the Celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist. The present norms, too, prescribed in keeping with the will of the Second Vatican Council, together with the new Missal with which the Church of the Roman Rite will henceforth celebrate the Mass, are again a demonstration of this same solicitude of the Church, of her faith and her unaltered love for the supreme mystery of the Eucharist, and also attest to her continuous and consistent tradition, even though certain new elements have been introduced.

Christ’s command cited here was for the preparation of a large room. We can probably speculate on the likeliest reason this was so. It is good to be mindful that our God is unbelievably generous to us. If we have absorbed the lesson and example, we would do well to continue with exceedingly generous helpings for the spiritual life of seekers, committed disciples, and all believers in between.

So, yes: I’m all for GIRM 1. Let’s be sure first that the room is large, and that we are prepared to open our hearts–certainly to God. But also to others, so to be equally generous. In this way, we will best show our love for Christ in this “supreme mystery.”

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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