THE LAST MASS
20 Mar 2020
This morning’s Mass at Downside Abbey was the last public Mass until further notice. It left a slightly odd feeling, as we enter into unchartered territory. The Monastic Community will continue to celebrate a private Mass each day, and we will record this and put it on our Soundcloud page, with links from the website and the social media. The Second Vatican Council described the Mass as the “source and summit” of our Christian life, so we might ask what we are to do instead.
One obvious thing we can do is to make an effort to read the readings from the Mass of the day, and to pray. We can find help with this on websites such as www.universalis.com, and a number of churches will be livestreaming Masses. We will also have Masses on our Soundcloud page, as earlier.
This is an opportunity to think more about the way we pray and to treat this time as a sort of retreat, making a special effort with our personal prayer. You could try praying parts of the Liturgy of the Hours (also called the Divine Office). This is the official prayer of the Church, and is prayed by priests, monks and nuns throughout the world. This gives a real sense of being connected with others. We will also be recording parts of our Daily Office as well: Latin Compline (night prayer) will be up shortly, and English Compline will be up next week. It is important to remember that you do not have to say the whole of the Divine Office! You might like to start with just one or two Offices, perhaps Morning and/or Evening Prayer, or Night Prayer.
The Rosary has been a staple of Catholic prayer for centuries, and has been a support to so many saints of the past and present. In Lent people often like to pray the Stations of the Cross, or litanies. There are many, many options!
One of the important aspects of Mass is that reminder that we are not alone, that we are part of a community. We can maintain this by praying with others. If you live with others, maybe you could arrange a time and place to pray together. Skype, FaceTime and Direct Messaging are ways in which we keep in touch. They can also become ways in which we pray with others.
Keep an eye on our website and social media, as we will be posting regularly. Pray for us, and know that we will be praying for you.