The Mass: Celebration of the Eucharist
When the Second Vatican Council spoke about the Mass, it celebrated its importance as “the center of the Christian community,” “the source and summit of the Christian life,” root, source, center and culmination, meal and sacrifice. The Eucharistic celebration is at the heart of our faith and our life. At that heart, we meet Jesus Christ, truly present in his Word, in the celebrating community, in the presiding priest, and extraordinarily present in the Eucharistic bread and wine. This presence radiates into the heart of our life and transfigures it into “eucharist,” that is, thanksgiving and praise of God.
Pope Benedict XVI, in his 2007 exhortation The Sacrament of Charity, draws an unusual parallel. He writes, “The substantial conversion of bread and wine into his body and blood introduces into creation the principle of radical change, a sort of ‘nuclear fission,’ to use an image familiar to us today, which penetrates to the heart of all being, a change meant to set off a process which transforms reality, a process leading ultimately to the transfiguration of the entire world, to the point where God will be all in all (cf. 1 Cor 15:28). (11)
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Tridentine Latin Rite
While the current Missal of Paul VI (Novus Ordo) remains the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, Pope Benedict XVI has declared that the Mass of the 1962 Missal, the extraordinary form of the Latin Rite often referred to as the Tridentine Rite, may be celebrated more easily, according to the norms he established in his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. More