2cornucopias

Rubrics by Fr. Brandon Jones

In 14 Book Corner on 2011/11/25 at 9:11 AM

“Rubrics” are directions given by the Church to the celebrant and the assembly for the proper celebration of the Liturgy. The word “rubric” derives from the Latin word, “ruber,” or “red” because in any liturgical book the rubrics are printed in red, while the actual liturgical texts are printed in black. Hence the wise maxim that, in the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, we are to “say the black and do the red.”

One of the most often ignored rubrics occurs during the Creed:

All bow during these two lines:

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

Why are we to bow at this point in the Creed? The answers comes into clearer focus when we look at the new English translation:

and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and became man.

The Lord Jesus was not simply born but incarnatus est, he “was incarnate” of the Virgin Mary. Nowadays many people understand what it means when speaking of “reincarnation,” but how many of those people could speak of the Incarnation?

The beautiful Prologue of St. John’s Gospel proclaims: “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory…” (John 1:14). “Incarnate” means taking on flesh: “Belief in the true Incarnation of the Son of God is the distinctive sign of Christian faith.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 463). The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that the Word became flesh in order to save us by reconciling us with God, so that thus we might know God’s love, to be our model of holiness, and to make us partakers of the divine nature. (Cf. CCC 457-460). Indeed, “The unique and altogether singular event of the Incarnation of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man, nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human. He became truly man while remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and true man.” (CCC 464).

Each time we sing or recite the Creed we call to mind the event in which, to quote Father Robert Barron, “the Word of God — the mind by which the whole universe came to be — did not remain sequestered in heaven but rather entered into this ordinary world of bodies, this grubby arena of history, this compromised and tear-stained human condition of ours.” Such love, such mercy on God’s part deserves our gratitude, indeed, our adoration expressed bodily. This is why the General Instruction of the Roman Missal directs that “At the words…and by the Holy Spirit…all make a profound bow; but on the Solemnities of the Annunciation and of the Nativity of the Lord, all genuflect.” (GIRM, 137). “No one, whether shepherd or wise man, can approach God here below except by kneeling before the manger at Bethlehem and adoring him hidden in the weakness of a new-born child.” (CCC 563).

I’m Father Brandon Jones and this has been a Missal Moment.

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