True Magnificence of the Mass

In the busyness of our lives, we don’t often reflect upon the remarkable treasure to be found in the Mass. True Magnificence reveals the truth about the nature of worship, our understanding of the Mass, and how we gain access to Jesus Christ by participating in it. Through a series of interviews with Catholic lay people and Father John Riccardo, we gain insight into the Mass as a gift from God where he pours His grace upon us to face the challenges of life. Within the personal testimonies, the Mass as a sacrifice is explored as well as the great mystery of the Eucharist, whereby the body and blood of Jesus is made present and accessible to us. How different our lives are given such a gift.

Jesus, himself, said that he came “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28). The video clips, questions and reflections provide an opportunity to continue on a personal journey in faith, one where we seek the love and peace only Jesus can provide. Awaken to the magnificence of the Mass and see how you can come to know Jesus more deeply. Your life will be forever changed!

True Magnificence Introduction

True Magnificence

Questions for Reflection and Discussion on True Magnificence:

  • Why do Catholics attend Mass and what does the Mass mean to you personally?
    • Reflect on this verse from scripture, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” Mt 6:21. What do we treasure in our culture? What do you treasure personally? Is God a part of your treasure?
    • In the Mass what are the ways we worship God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
    • What are some of the Truths present in the Mass? (Explore the different parts of the Mass and what it is that we believe is happening at those parts, i.e. the Greeting, Liturgy of the Word, Preparation of Gifts, Liturgy of the Eucharist.) Use the Catechism of the Catholic Church for further explanation, Sec 1345.
    • Our understanding of the Mass should be a life-long event. How is this true? Reflect on what it means to actively or passively seek out a deeper understanding for what happens at Mass.
    • Reflect on the quote from St. John Vianney, “All the good works in the world are not equal to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because they are the work of men; but the Mass is the work of God.” What do you believe it means that the Mass is the source and summit of Catholic life?
    • How is it that God talks to us in the Mass?
    • What are the ways we receive grace in the Mass and what does it do for us in our everyday life?
    • How is the Mass a mystery? In particular, reflect upon the mystery of the Eucharist and what it means to you.
    • How does God show His love for us, in general and through the Mass?

Personal Applications For Everyday Life:

  • Prepare for Mass before you attend.
    • Read and reflect on Sunday’s readings throughout the week.
    • Drive silently to Church praying for God to reveal Himself to you while at Mass.
    • Come to Mass early for quiet prayer time.

Teachings on the Mass

An inspiring and informative interview with Father John Riccardo provides additional teaching on the Mass. Below is a brief summary for each chapter as well as questions for discussion or reflection and some practical suggestions for how to re-awaken to the magnificence of the Mass.

Chapter One: Revised Roman Missal

This is a brief introduction to the changes in the words we will be saying at Mass beginning November 27, 2011, due to the revised translation of the Roman Missal. The history of changes to the Mass is given and the importance of making changes now.

Questions for reflection and discussion:

  • Why do we go to Mass as Catholics?
    • What are some of the changes coming to the Mass as of November 27, 2011, and why is the Church making these revisions now?
    • How does God invite us to participate in the Liturgy?
    • The Mass is not easy to understand which could explain why less than 30% of Catholics attend weekly. How can we keep the Mass from being just routine or full of empty gestures?
    • What words do we say at Mass that are personally meaningful to you. How do you engage in the action of the Mass and fully participate?

Personal Application:

Attend Mass with fresh eyes, as if celebrating it for the first time in years. Pay close attention to the words you say and the gestures you participate in during the liturgy. What new meanings and understanding are revealed to you?

Chapter Two: Overview of the Significance of the Mass

The Mass is known as the “source and summit” of Catholic life because of the gift we receive of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. This chapter explains God’s love and desire for us and how He is revealed in the Mass.

Questions for reflection and discussion:

  • What is the difference between the objective and subjective experience we have at Mass?
    • How does the Eucharist act as a two-way mirror?
    • What is so magnificent about the Mass?
    • Despite the fact that life is difficult, we believe that God has us in His care. In your life, how do you see God and the plan he has for your life?
    • God’s desire is to share His divine life with us. How then, in the Eucharist, do the two become one flesh?

Personal Application:

Reflect on 2 Peter 1: 4, “he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.” While at Mass, imagine being at God’s throne surrounded by all the saints and angels in Heaven, leaving the darkness of this world behind, and truly partaking in the divinity He promised.

Chapter Three: The Mass as a Sacrifice

Using the analogy of the movie, Saving Private Ryan, Father John Riccardo explores the sacrifice of Christ, in His death and resurrection, and how the Mass represents that sacrifice. In addition, the great gift of the Mass is revealed.

Questions for reflection and discussion:

  • What does it mean that the Mass is not a re-telling of the events of Christ’s death and resurrection but is a re-presentation of those events?
    • If Christ died over 2000 years ago, how is it that His death impacts our existence today?
    • When the Mass ends with “Itta missa est,” or “she is sent,” what are we being sent to do?
    • What gives us hope in this life?
    • How does our society tear us down from believing in God and recognizing the gifts he has given to us?

Personal Application:

Thank the Lord for how He has intervened in your life. Evaluate your own relationships and actions with others. Look for ways to give more of yourself for someone else and reflect the love Christ has given to you.

Chapter Four: Graces Received at Mass

The nature of grace is explained and the ways we can receive it in the Mass, through both Sacred Scripture and in the Eucharist.

Questions for reflection and discussion:

  • What is grace? What graces can I receive at Mass?
    • In the Mass, how is it that God talks to us?
    • The 3 main questions we should ask ourselves while on earth are: why am I here, where am I going and how do I get there. How would I answer each of these questions?
    • Reflect on John 6: 54,56 “he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and…abides in me and I in Him.” What do you believe about the Eucharist at Mass? When you receive the Body and Blood of Christ, how is it that you abide in Him and He in you?
    • How are sacraments, and the grace we receive in them like steroids?

Personal Application:

Think about someone in your life who makes God’s love tangible for you on earth. How do we show this love to one another? Every day this week, pray for an increase of faith, where you know the love of God and come to participate more fully in receiving Him in the Eucharist.

Chapter Five: Prepare for Sunday

The nature of worship is discussed and how the material pleasures of this world distract us from the awesome wonder of God in the Mass. Suggestions are given for how to gain a better understanding of the Mass and to get something out of it.

Questions for reflection and discussion:

  • What is worship? How do you show worship in your life?
    • How do you prepare to go to Mass on Sunday?
    • In what ways is the Mass, and what we celebrate in it, in complete contrast to daily life?
    • The Mass is not easily understood. How can you increase your desire for God and understanding of the Mass?

Practical Application:

Read the readings for next Sunday’s liturgy throughout the week. Reflect every day on God’s message in the readings and how they relate to your life.

Additional Resources

Books on the Mass:

Jean Danielou, S.J., The Bible and the Liturgy (Ann Arbor: Servant Books, 1979).
Jeremy Driscoll, What Happens at Mass (Chicago: Liturgical Training Publications, 2005).
Scott Hahn, The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth (New York: Random House, 1999).
Brant Pitre, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist (New York: Random House, 2011).
Joseph Ratzinger, God is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2003).
Joseph Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2000).

Website Resources:

Questions for Reflections/Discussion on True Magnificence
The Daily Readings
Articles on the Liturgy
Church Teaching


POITD 7 Sacrament of the Eucharist: Fr. John Riccardo
Adoration Gospel and Homily, Fr. John Riccardo
Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, Sr. Ann Shields
Defending the Eucharist, Steve Ray
Catholicism for Cradle Catholics, Sacrament 7—Eucharist, Fr. John Riccardo
Do This In Remembrance of Me