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Mass is a 'theophany,' Pope tells Monday congregation

February 10, 2014

Pope Francis emphasized the need for a “sense of the sacred” at Mass, as he celebrated the Eucharistic sacrifice at the Domus Sanctae Marthae on February 10.

The Mass, the Pope said, is a “theophany,” a direct encounter with God. This encounter, he said, is “different from the Word: it is another presence: closer, without mediation, near.”

The Mass, the Pope stressed, is not a “representation” of the Last Supper. He explained: “Nativity scenes, the Way of the Cross: these are representations.” At the Mass, something quite different occurs, he said: “It is a theophany: God approaches and is with us, and we participate in the mystery of redemption.” The Pope added that it is wrong to say that one “hears” Mass; the Mass, he said, is “participated in, and it is a participation in this theophany.”

To participate fully in the Mass, the Pope added, one must “have this availability to enter into the mystery of God.” He cautioned that someone at Mass should not be checking his watch, and someone attending the morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae should not treat the ceremony as a “tourist stop” where he can see the Pope.

Participating properly in the Mass requires a sense of the sacred, and an awareness of God's presence, the Pope said. “It is God’s time, it is God’s space."


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