Glory Be …
Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I arrive, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhorting, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. Put these things into practice, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:12-16)
God of Light, as young Thomas tutored his sisters, and later, taught university students, guide me to show my faith in both my words and lived example.
Grant me, O Lord my God,
a mind to know you,
a heart to seek you,
wisdom to find you,
conduct pleasing to you,
faithful perseverance in waiting for you,
and a hope of finally embracing you.
Over this post and the three that follow, we’ll recount what the GIRM says about the deacon’s role in various stages of the Mass.
At the start, there’s an option: to walk next to the priest or in front of him. What does your parish choose, and why?
172. Carrying the Book of the Gospels slightly elevated, the Deacon precedes the Priest as he approaches the altar or else walks at the Priest’s side.
One colleague, in handling things like this, suggests symbols do not bow to other symbols:
173. When he reaches the altar, if he is carrying the Book of the Gospels, he omits the sign of reverence and goes up to the altar. It is a praiseworthy practice for him to place the Book of the Gospels on the altar, after which, together with the Priest, he venerates the altar with a kiss.
If, however, he is not carrying the Book of the Gospels, he makes a profound bow to the altar with the Priest in the customary way and with him venerates the altar with a kiss.
Lastly, if incense is being used, he assists the Priest in putting some into the thurible and in incensing the cross and the altar.
174. Once the altar has been incensed, the Deacon goes to the chair together with the Priest and there stands at the Priest’s side and assists him as necessary.
The inclusion of the deacon in the penitential act has always been a puzzle to me. I know it’s widely done, but the reconciliation aspect of the Church’s sacramental life has long been reserved to presbyters and bishops. And the absolution formula is reserved to the presider alone, of course. Still, the splitting up of such a brief and important rite is curious. It requires some care and attention to do well.
The five human aspects of formation are evangelical, biblical, credal, moral, and liturgical:
117. For this reason, catechesis is eminently christological in presenting the Christian message and should therefore “be concerned with making (people) attentive to their more significant experiences, both personal and social; it also has the duty of placing under the light of the Gospel, the questions which arise from those experiences so that there may be stimulated within (people) a right desire to transform their ways of life”. (General Catechetical Directory 74; cf. Catechesi Tradendae 29) In this sense:
– in first evangelization, proper to the pre-catechumenate or to pre-catechesis, the proclamation of the Gospel shall always be done in close connection with human nature and its aspirations, and will show how the Gospel fully satisfies the human heart; (Cf. Ad Gentes 8a)
– in biblical catechesis, it shall help to interpret present-day human life in the light of the experiences of the people of Israel, of Jesus Christ and the ecclesial community, in which the Spirit of the Risen Jesus continually lives and works;
– in explaining the Creed, catechesis shall show how the great themes of the faith (creation, original sin, Incarnation, Easter, Pentecost, eschatology) are always sources of life and light for the human being;
– moral catechesis, in presenting what makes life worthy of the Gospel (Cf. Phil 1:27) and in promoting the Beatitudes as the spirit that must permeate the Decalogue, shall root them in the human virtues present in the heart of (people); (Cf. Catechism 1697)
– liturgical catechesis shall make constant reference to the great human experiences represented by the signs and symbols of liturgical actions originating in Jewish and Christian culture. (Cf. Catechism 1145-1152 concerning the importance of signs and symbols in liturgical action)
Interesting that the human heart and its aspirations should be more prominent than an intellectual justification for the gospel so early in a phase of inquiry. And by this I would interpret it as more than just “feelings,” but something far deeper: the appeal of Christ to the deepest parts of the human being.
How many believers see aspects of the Bible in their daily life? Do we look for the themes, major and minor, of the Scriptures? Essentials like redemption, the presence of God, and agency of God? Or difficult and perhaps timely questions such as: why do the just suffer and the wicked flourish?
There are a lot of possible connections to make, but I’ll leave off with a liturgical thought: does the hierarchy-centered pre-conciliar liturgy and its mindset really communicate the fullest range of human experiences in salvation history?