40 Lenten Lessons on the Mass.
Lesson 2: Try to sit up front.
If you are able to arrive early for Mass, you might be able to sit in the front pew, or a pew close to the Sanctuary. The closer you sit to the Sanctuary — that’s where the altar and tabernacle are located — the fewer distractions (both visual and audio) you will have; the fewer distractions you have, the more you will get out of the Mass. One of the reasons why priests ordinarily celebrate Mass facing the people is so the people can see what is going on.
While you are sitting in the front pew getting ready for Mass, the priest is vesting in the sanctuary. Here are the prayers the priest may pray as he is vesting for Mass (Latin and English):
The Celebrant first says, whilst washing his hands:
Da, Domine, virtutem manibus meis ad abstergendam omnem maculam ut sine pollutione mentis et corporis valeam tibi servire.
‘Give virtue to my hands, O Lord, that being cleansed from all stain I might serve you with purity of mind and body.’
Then whilst putting on the amice, which he first puts on his head, and then over his shoulders:
Impone, Domine, capiti meo galeam salutis, ad expugnandos diabolicos incursus.
‘Place upon me, O Lord, the helmet of salvation, that I may overcome the assaults of the devil.’
At the alb:
Dealba me, Domine, et munda cor meum; ut, in sanguine Agni dealbatus, gaudiis perfruar sempiternis.
‘Purify me, Lord, and cleanse my heart so that, washed in the Blood of the Lamb, I may enjoy eternal bliss.’
At the cincture:
Praecinge me, Domine, cingulo puritatis, et exstingue in lumbis meis humorem libidinis; ut maneat in me virtus continentiae et castitatis.
‘Gird me, O Lord, with the girdle of purity, and extinguish in me all evil desires, that the virtue of chastity may abide in me.’
At the maniple:
Merear, Domine, portare manipulum fletus et doloris; ut cum exsultatione recipiam mercedem laboris.
‘Grant, O Lord, that I may so bear the maniple of weeping and sorrow, that I may receive the reward for my labors with rejoicing.’
At the stole, which he crosses over his breast:
Redde mihi, Domine, stolam immortalitatis, quam perdidi in praevaricatione primi parentis: et, quamvis indignus accedo ad tuum sacrum mysterium, merear tamen gaudium sempiternum.
‘Restore unto me, O Lord, the stole of immortality, which was lost through the guilt of our first parents: and, although I am unworthy to approach Your sacred Mysteries, nevertheless grant unto me eternal joy.’
At the chasuble:
Domine, qui dixisti: Iugum meam suave est et onus meum leve: fac, ut istud portare sic valeam, quod consequar tuam gratiam. Amen.
‘O Lord, Who said: My yoke is easy and My burden light: grant that I may bear it well and follow after You with thanksgiving. Amen.’
At a Solemn High Mass, the deacon and subdeacon may use these prayers when vesting also, but instead of the chasuble, use the dalmatic and tunicle respectively, and the prayers for them indicated in the Pontifical Mass.
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