Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Let us end our prayer...

Someone commented on Twitter the other day that they thought prayers after the dismissal at Mass were somewhat illogical.

He had the wisdom, or at least foresight, to add "tho' I am sure Ben will be able to say why not."

I was reminded of a monk at my Benedictine school who used to introduce the Post-Communion Prayer with the words: 'And now, let us end our prayer.'

You can see what he was getting at: the Mass is drawing to an end.

But I think this is quite wrong.

It is why I hate it when, at the end of Mass, everyone breaks into noisy chatter.  It is as though the mentality is; 'Good, we've done with praying, now let's get on with our real lives.'

But I think the more Catholic approach is surely: 'Good, we've done with praying the Mass, the formal liturgy of the Church - now let's get on with praying the rest of our lives.'

But then, I was brought up by parents who would always stay to make their thanksgiving after Mass, for at least 10 minutes, while the Real Presence was still within them.

They even told me the story (probably apocryphal, I don't remember) of a priest in the good old days, who had preached one Sunday about the importance of thanksgiving after Mass, and of not just walking out into the street like a tabernacle on legs immediately after receiving Our Lord.

He was dismayed when most of the congregation did just the same as always.  So the next Sunday, he got all the boys in the parish into the sacristy after Mass, and each person who left straight away, was accompanied by a vested altar boy with a candle, in honour of the Real Presence.

The following week, all stayed to make their thanksgiving.

So with parents telling me stories like that, it's not surprising I'm a liturgist's nightmare...


Idle Rambler said...

I agree with you about staying behind to make our thanksgiving after Mass.

We are very fortunate in our parish that our PP mentions this regularly. It doesn't stop the chatter after Sunday Mass completely, unfortunately, but at least there is a short gap before it starts up.

Also, I really notice the difference if we go to Mass at a different church where this prayerful silence is not encouraged.

And, at weekday Masses the silence after Mass is palpable. You can really feel the prayer all around - marvellous. Thanks be to God for good and holy priests.

Part-time Pilgrim said...

I wasn't saying (although the 140 character limit might have hindered expression) that private prayers after Mass were illogical. That would be silly. It is communal public prayers that I find a little odd. (And even the private prayers would perhaps be better said during an extended period of silence after communion). As the Mass ends with a dismissal it seems a little odd to stay together and pray some more (NB odd and illogical are not necessarily bad things)

Sue Sims said...

The story is told about St Philip Neri: I think it's authentic, but obviously one can't be sure!