40 Lenten Lessons on the Mass.

Lesson 11: Kyrie

Did you know that we often speak at least four languages when we go to Mass? English, Greek, Latin and Hebrew.

If the Mass is in English, most of the words are English. But we also use Greek when we sing or recite the “Kyrie Eleison”, which means “Lord have mercy” in Greek — the language most early Christians spoke since it was the dominant language in the Roman Empire at the time of Christ.

But we also speak Hebrew/Aramaic when we say “Alleluia”, and Latin when we say “Amen.”

The “Kyrie Eleison” is an ancient plea to Christ for mercy, and often on Sundays and ‘high’ Masses it is sung. There are at least eight compositions for the Kyrie Eleison in Gregorian Chant.

After acknowledging our sins in the Confiteor, we turn to the Lord with humble trust and ask him for his Mercy. And THAT is the shortcut to the heart of Jesus: beg him for mercy.


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