Monday, May 31, 2010

The Priest and the Holy Trinity

Suscipe, Sancta Trinitas, hanc oblationem, quam tibi offerimus...

As I was offering Mass in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite this morning, my attention was taken by the words of this offertory prayer. Suddenly it dawned upon me that the words of the rites were very clear about the direction of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The oblation is not made to the people. The oblation is offered to the true God, the Most Holy Trinity. The orientation of the prayer is so very clear both in text and in ritual. In ritual, the priest and the people face the same direction - ad Deum (to God). The prayer makes it even clearer: Suscipe, Sancta Trinitas... (Receive, O Holy Trinity, this offering which we make to Thee...)

In fact, at the conclusion of the Mass, an equally beautiful prayer is prayed: Placeat tibi, sancta Trinitas, obsequium servitutis meae: et praesta; ut sacrifium, quod oculis tuae majestatis indignus obtuli, tibi sit acceptabile, mihique et omnibus, pro quibus illus obtuli, sit , te miserante, propitiabile (May the performance of my homage be pleasing to Thee, O Holy Trinity; and grant that the sacrifice which I, though unworthy, have offered up in the sight of Thy majesty be a propitiation for me and for all those for whom it has been offered). Towards the end of the Sacrifice, the priest is reminded of his real purpose. There is no "pat in the back," no affirmations like, "Good work, Father, you got the attention of the audience." The priest has no care of what the "spectators" say for his only purpose is to be able to offer homage that is pleasing to the Holy Trinity. No human affirmation can equal the value of our Lord's words: "Well done, good and faithful servant."

The two prayers of the Mass remind the priest of his real "employer" - he is at the service of the Holy Trinity! The priest is servant of the Holy Trinity.


  1. Beautiful prayers that are forgotten after the reform of Vatican II. Let us pray that these prayers become obligatory even in the OF Mass so that all priests be reminded of their real duty.

  2. True. Notice how it has become a fad that at the end of the Mass, the priest would rather stand at the door to shake hands with people than kneel before the tabernacle in thanksgiving?

  3. It's because the theology behind the old Mass is different from the theology behind the Mass of Paul VI. I mentioned this in my sermon last Sunday, which you can find posted here:

    Prayers and best wishes,

    Fr. Cekada