Part 1: Introduction to & Development of the Mass
Father Michael Keiser sets the stage for this series by teaching us essential truths regarding the central focus of Christian worship. In the liturgy of the Church, heaven and earth are joined together and Christ is in our midst in no different way than when He was with His disciples in the upper room that very night. Fr. Michael also shares with us the historical development of Christian worship as the Church continued to expand throughout the world.
Part 2: Ascending the Mountain
Before we can delve into the specific teachings regarding the liturgy of the Church, it is essential that we gain an understanding of the pattern or shape of the liturgy. The image of man ascending the mountain to meet with God and God descending upon the mountain to reveal Himself to man is a consistent theme throughout both the Old and New Covenants. In this teaching we discuss how the Mass, the liturgy, is the fulfillment of the prophet Isaiah’s words as recording in Isaiah 2: Now it shall come to pass in the latter days…that many people will come and say, “Come let us go to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.”
Part 3: Consecrate Yourselves
In the stage we are referring to as our preparation before Mass, we must understand the concept of consecration. In this lesson, we explore God’s calling upon His people in the Old Testament to consecrate themselves before they meet with God at the mountain or to worship Him in the Temple. In the Mass, where the Body of Christ in heaven and earth meet together with God, we must also consecrate ourselves through prayerful preparation readying our body, mind, and soul to encounter the Living God so that we might worship Him in Spirit and truth while also preparing ourselves to receive from the God who longs to share Himself with us.
Part 4: Fasting, Praying, & Entering the Church
In the last session we discussed our call to prepare and consecrate ourselves to meet with God, worship Him, and receive from Him in the Mass. In this teaching we discuss more specifically how to prepare and consecrate ourselves in our homes prior to arriving at the Parish. Also in this session are offered helpful suggestions of continued preparation even as we enter the place of worship.
Part 5: The Hymn & The Procession
Now that we are at the beginning of the Mass, this session focuses on the first two events that we encounter: the hymn and the procession. In this teaching, we first look at the prayers of preparation done by the clergy as they prepare to serve God and the people before the altar. Here we are also encouraged regarding how to best approach the singing of the hymn by making the words of the hymn our own offering of praise to God. Finally, we discuss the procession, its history, and how we can encounter God by grace through all that is included in the procession as it passes us by in route to the altar.
Part 6: The Confiteor Prayers & Asperges
Having begun the Mass with a hymn of praise and joined ourselves to the procession, we now turn our attention to the Confiteor Prayers (The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar) and the Asperges. In this session, we take an in depth look at the profound meaning of the Confiteor Prayers as prayers of consecration. We also look at both Asperges and Vidi Aquam to gain an understanding of where they come from in Holy Scripture, why we sing these words while experiencing the sprinkling of Holy Water upon us, and the activity of God on our behalf in these precious moments of the Mass.
Part 7: The Introit through the Kyrie
As the Priest and those assisting in Mass ascend to the altar to take their place, we hear the Introit sung. In this session we come to understand the purpose of the Introit, the Collect for Purity, the Summary of the Law, and the Kyrie (Lord Have Mercy). We approach each of these portions of the Mass in such a way that we might grow towards a greater experience of God as we seek to offer ourselves to Him, worship Him, and receive from Him.
Part 8: The Gloria, the Collects, and the Reading of Holy Scripture
Having cried out for mercy from God in the Kyrie and having received the very mercy our Lord longs give, we now move in the Mass to the great praise of God as we sing the Gloria “Glory be to God on High.” In this session we examine four parts of the liturgy: We delve into the three sections of the Gloria seeking to understand that which we sing to God in praise for all the benefits He has done on our behalf. We join together in the collect prayers of the day. After the collect prayers, we discuss how to actively listen to the voice of God through the reading of Holy Scripture. Finally, we conclude with a teaching on the Gospel Procession. Christ has come from His Altar in Heaven to dwell among us. Then, having finished His work among us, He ascends back to Heaven to be our Great High Priest.
Part 9: The Homily & the Creed
After revisiting the Gospel Procession from last week, we move first in this session to discuss the homily which concludes the portion of Mass known as the Liturgy of the Word. After the Liturgy of the Word we say together the Nicene Creed. A look at the history behind the Church’s long-standing statement of faith and an examination of the four parts of the Creed are given to assist us in our experience of God as we voice this Creed together.
Part 10: The Offertory
The Nicene Creed being said, we now turn our attention to the Offertory. This is the part of the Mass where God’s people offer up to Him the stuff of earth: bread, wine, tithes, and alms. Here we have the picture of God’s people raising their offerings to God as God returns in kind with the offering of Himself to us. In this session we also see how all of the Old Covenant offerings and sacrifices are summed up and fulfilled in the New Covenant worship of God through our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Part 11: Prayers for the Church & the General Confession
In this session we cover the meaning of the prayers we offer each Mass for the whole Church. We also look at the purpose of the General Confession in Mass. Based on the framework of this prayer, we consider the correct approach to offering up this confession and receiving Christ’s washing and forgiveness of our sins as we draw ever closer to communing with Him in the Eucharist.
Part 12: The Sursum Corda through the Sanctus
We have arrived at the point in Mass where the Priest calls us to lift up our hearts and we respond by lifting them up to the Lord. But what are we, in fact, offering up to God? In this teaching we explore the answer to this question. The focus of this session is on the understanding of the Sursum Corda, the praise and thanksgiving offering within the Preface, and the eternal hymn offered to God in heaven and on earth that has been and will be sung throughout eternity…the Sanctus, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory.”
Part 13: The Words of Institution through the Prayer for Deliverance
Having sung the eternal hymn of the Sanctus, we now move into what is known as the Canon of the Mass. Here we find and discuss the meaning of Christ’s words of institution, the meaning of the word “remembrance”, the Lord’s prayer, and a prayer for deliverance from evil.
Part 14: The Passing of the Peace through the Prayer of Preparation
In this session we come to the Passing of the Peace of God. We explore how, in these very few moments in the Mass, the absolute peace of God flows from His throne through each one of the Living Stones as they minister that very peace one to another. We also explore the prayers of preparation said by the Priest and later said by the people. These prayers assist us by grace is posturing ourselves to receive the life that Christ longs to offer us in the Eucharist.
Part 15: The Eucharist
Today we reach the pinnacle event in the Mass. It is in this session that we explore the Eucharist and all that it is on our behalf. We see that in the Eucharist He who fulfilled the Law fills us, it is a time of absolute fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ, we partake of the eternal covenant meal, we receive the provision for life eternal, and it is indeed the Day of the Lord.
Part 16: Descending the Mountain
Having taken Eucharist by the provision of God, the Mass now guides and prepares us to take that which we have received and offer it to this world. In this last session of this series we explore each part of the Mass as to how the grace of God is given to us as we descend the mountain; a grace that enables us to be transformed by our encounter with Christ for our salvation, and a grace that empowers us to fulfill the mission of the Church. As we depart the mystery of the Mass where all in heaven and earth have joined together with God, we go from there to bring the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven.