All over English speaking Catholic world this past Sunday we celebrated the holy sacrifice of the the Mass with some new, more formal language. This has been a change ten years in the making. At my parish we have had workshops and practice sessions. We have received booklets and gotten an entirely new hymnal. The changes were not unexpected. They were anticipated.
People have different feelings about the changes from--it's about time to why did they do that? Change can be hard to take. But, I suspect in a year or two we will wonder what the fuss was about. We will find it hard to remember the change and how it all took place. The Mass is the Mass and the changes will take hold because the Holy Spirit will lead us.
I thought before we all forget, it might be a good idea to reflect upon the changes that have just occurred. When your grandchildren ask you, what story will you tell about your own experiences with the changes in the Mass?
I wanted to state for the record that this past Sunday, the first Sunday in Advent, felt awkward. I kept looking at the book for the words. At one point I searched desperately for the words to the Our Father and breathed a sigh of relief when I realized that it didn't change. And I already knew that, but somehow in panic, I forgot.
My very well prepared congregation did pretty well with the changes until we reached the Gospel and we were on a different page that had the readings and not the responses spelled out. When the Priest at that point said--The Lord be with you. We all in unison responded--And also with you. Even though we knew somewhere in the backs of our brains from all the practice that it was supposed to be--And with your spirit. If it hadn't been the Mass we might have had a little nervous laughter, but we just went on. It will be a learning experience.
I love some of the new language--'chalice' instead of 'cup' for example rings true. It will take a little longer for 'consubstantial' to come tripping off my tongue, but it will happen. Overall, very little has changed, it just feels a little different to say different words. As our priest said in his homily, the changes will get us back into the book and thinking about the words of the Mass. That can only be a good thing.
I would invite your comments about your experience with the changes. When something as monumental as changes to the words of the Mass occurs, it is worth taking notice and remembering how it happened.