Friday, January 09, 2009

Chaldean Rite (part 3)

I hope you are enjoying these posts on the text of the Chaldean rite liturgy. The first time I read through them I was very moved - but at any rate they do not take very long to post on and I am using some spare time I have to put together a rather in depth post on the subject of courtship & dating upon request from a friend. Keep an eye out for that in the next week or so. In the meantime, let's get to the next section of the Chaldean Mass: the Creed, the consecration and the epiclesis.

The first thing we must notice is that the Creed recited is the Apostles' Creed instead of the Nicene Creed. I can think of two possible reasons for this: one, that the liturgy dates from a time prior to the Council of Nicea, or two, that because the Chaldeans were once Nestorians, they rejected the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed on doctrinal grounds and were permitted to retain the use of the Apostles' Creed upon reunion. It would be interesting to look into, though I admit I know very little about it.

Notice also the words of the deacon at the sign of peace. He tells everybody to make the sign of peace, but then goes on and tells them to cast down their pride and be attentive to what is going on at the altar. From the text I am uncertain whether the sign of peace is actually given by the congregation or whether the deacon says it but it is not actually carried out.

It is also interesting that in the words of consecration the word "all" is used in the consecration of the chalice. I don't know if there are any nuances in Chaldean between the words "many" and "all" or anything like that, but this is the way this English translation has rendered it.

Here we pick up with the Creed:

People: [Here the people recite the Apostles' Creed]

Servers: Let us pray in memory of our Spiritual Fathers; patriarchs, bishops, priests, deacons, and all the consecrated; the laity and the youth and all those who have departed this world in faith. Let us also pray for our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and for all leaders. May our sacrifice be accepted and sanctified by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, that it may be for our benefit and salvation, and life everlasting in the kingdom of heaven through the grace of Christ.

Priest: To You Lord we offer glory, honor, thanksgiving and worship; now and forever.

People: Amen.

Priest: Peace be with you.

People: And also with you.

Deacon: Let us give peace to one another in the love of Christ. Let us praise and beseech the Lord in purity and penance. Reverently look at what is taking place before you; the consecration of these sacred mysteries. The priest has approached to pray that through his mediation peace may increase among you. Cast down your pride and life your thoughts to heaven. Be attentive, and pray that peace be with us.

Priest: May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the joy of the Holy Spirit be with you all, now and forever.

People: Amen.

Priest: Lift up your thoughts.

People: Unto You, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the King of Glory.

Priest: This sacrifice is offered to God, the Lord of all.

People: It is right and just.

Deacon: Pray that peace be with us.

Priest: Worthy of glory from every tongue and adoration from all creation is Your glorious name; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You have created the world and its inhabitants in Your goodness and mercy. Your love has redeemed us and brought unto us a wonderful grace. Myriads of angels cast themselves down before Your majesty; offer adoration to Your holy Name; crying out, praising without ceasing and proclaiming to one another [all kneel]:

People: Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord, Almighty God, Heaven and earth are full of His glory. Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He who came and will come in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest,

Priest: When the time was drawing near for Jesus to suffer and meet His death, on the night He was betrayed, He took bread in His sacred hands, raised His eyes to You God, His Almighty Father, and gave You thanks and blessing. He broke the bread, gave it to His disciples and said:

Take this, all of you, and eat it: THIS IS MY BODY, which will be given up for you, so that sins may be forgiven.

People: Amen.

Priest: In the same way, after the supper, He took the cup in His sacred hands, and gave You thanks and blessings. He gave the cup to His disciples and said:

Take this, all of you and drink from it: THIS IS MY BLOOD, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. The mystery of faith which will be shed for you and for all, so that sins may be forgiven.

People: Amen.

Priest: Whenever you do these, call to mind the memory of me.

People: Amen.

Priest: As we have been commanded O Lord, we are gathered here in Your name to celebrate Your great mercy towards us. In return for all Your help and blessings, we offer You glory, honor, thanksgiving and praise; now and at all times and forever.

Deacon: Let us pray, peace be with us.

Choir: [sings a Eucharistic hymn]

Priest: [The following prayer is recited silently by the priest] Lord, God Almighty, accept this sacrifice which we offer You for all Your blessings bestowed on our Lady, the blessed Mary, ever Virgin, to all the just and pious fathers who have been pleasing to You, to all the prophets and apostles, martyrs and confessors. We offer it also for the Holy Catholic Church, and for our Holy Father Mar Benedict, the Supreme Pontiff and Pope of Rome, Mar _____________ our Patriarch and Mar ___________, our Bishop, and for all the bishops, priests and deacons. We offer it also for all those who are in sorrow or distress, the needy and the weary, the sick and the afflicted, for all who have departed from our midst, for this people who gaze and await for Your mercies, and for me, a sinner. Lord God, we are Your people who are gathered in Your name ad stand here before You at this moment; we have received joy through handing on the order of Your Son. Therefore, it is with joy, praise and exaltation that we remember this great, revered, holy, life-giving and divine mystery which is the memorial of the passuon, death, burial and resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Priest: [out loud] May Your Holy Spirit come, O Lord, and rest upon our sacrifice. May it be blessed and hallowed to become for us the forgiveness of our sins, the hope in the resurrection of the dead, and the new life in the kingdom of heaven with all who have pleased You. For Your wondrous graces towards us, we praise and glorify You in Your Church, redeemed by the precious blood of Your Son Jesus Christ.

Deacon: Remain silent and with respect, pray that peace be with us.

Priest: With pride and delight let us give praise, honor, glory and worship to Your life-giving and holy name; now and forever.

People: Amen. In Your goodness O God have mercy on us. In the greatness of Your compassion wipe out our offenses. For we acknowledge our faults and our sins are always before us. Let us hear the sound of joy and gladness. Turn away Your face from our sins and blot out all our guilt. A clean heart create for us O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within us. Cast us not from Your presence, and Your Holy Spirit take not from us. Give us back the joy of Your salvation and a willing spirit sustain in us.

Next time we'll get to the breaking and signing, the elevation and the communion of the people. I think I should be able to wrap it up in the next post.

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