Teilhard de Chardin’s Mass On the World

This is a liturgical version by Cynthia Bourgeault. It is adapted from the Offertory of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s “Mass on the World” (The Heart of Matter, p. 119-121) as excerpted by Ursula King (in Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: Selected Readings, p. 80-81). 

Participants are seated in a circle. After a few minutes of silent settling, the Mass begins. The readers can read from their seats, or can come forward to a lectern or podium. If they choose to sit, it is best for them to be opposite one another in the circle. 

If preferred, the whole recitation can be done over soft background music. Cynthia Bourgeault strongly recommends “Essence” by Peter Kater, which is forgiving in the extreme and perfectly adapted to the overall mood and intent. 

READER 1: Since once again, Lord…I have neither bread, nor wine, nor altar, I will raise myself beyond 

these symbols, up to the pure majesty of the real itself; I, your priest, will make the whole world my altar and on it will offer you all the labors and sufferings of the world. 

Over there, on the horizon, the sun has just touched with light the outermost fringe of the eastern sky. Once again, beneath this moving sheet of fire, the living surface of the earth wakes and, 

once again, begins its fearful travail. I will place on my paten, O God, the harvest to be won by this renewal of labor. Into my chalice I shall pour all the sap which is to be pressed out this day from the earth’s fruits. 

My chalice and my paten are the depths of a soul laid widely open to all the forces which in a moment will rise up from every corner of the earth and converge upon the Spirit. Grant me the 

remembrance and the mystic presence of all those whom the light is now awakening to a new day. 

READER 2: One by one, Lord, I see and I love all those whom you have given me to sustain and charm my 

life. One by one, I also number those who make up that other beloved family which has gradually surrounded me, its unity fashioned out of the most disparate elements, with affinities of 

the heart, of scientific research, and of thought. And one by one—more vaguely, it is true, yet all-inclusively—I call before me the whole vast anonymous army of living humanity; those who 

surround me and support me though I do not know them; those who come and those who go; above all, those who in office, laboratory, and factory, through their vision of truth or despite 

their error, truly believe in the progress of earthly reality and who today will again take up their impassioned pursuit of the light. 

This restless multitude, confused or orderly, the immensity of which terrifies us; this ocean of 

humanity whose slow, monotonous wave-flows trouble the hearts of even those whose faith is most firm; it is to his deep that I thus desire all the fibers of my being should respond. All the 

things in the world to which this day will bring increase; all those that will diminish; all those, too, that will die: all of them, Lord, I try to gather into my arms so as to hold them out to you in offering. This is the material of my sacrifice, the only material you desire. 

READER 1: Once upon a time, men took into your temple the first fruits of their harvest, the flower of their flocks. But the offering you really want, the offering you mysteriously need each day to appease 

your hunger, to slake your thirst, is nothing less than the growth of the world borne ever onward in the stream of universal becoming. 

(Reader 1 gestures participants to stand and raise their arms in a mutual oblation.) 

Receive, O Lord, this all-embracing host which your whole creation, moved by your magnetism, offers you at this dawn of a new day. 

(All in the circle hold the gesture for at least one or two minutes—as long as the energy can be 

sustained. Then, as Reader 1 lowers their arms, inviting those in the circle to do likewise, Reader 2 begins to speak.) 

READER 2: This bread, our toil, is of itself, I know, but an immense fragmentation; this wine, our pain, is no more, I know, than a draught that dissolves. Yet in the very depths of this formless mass you 

have implanted—and this I am sure of, for I sense it—a desire, irresistible, hallowing, which makes us cry out, believer and unbeliever alike, “Lord, make us one.” 

READER 1 “Lord, make us one…..” 

(Readers encourage others in circle to join in this spoken petition. When words subside, turn 

down the music, and readers again sit, inviting participants to do likewise. Liturgy then moves into silent meditation for at least five or ten more minutes.) 

A Few Words From Father Mitch

Dear Friends,

This is the second day without Eucharist; and somehow this feels more empty than Good Friday.  I want to trust God’s plan for us, yet it is so difficult to move in the in-between places. Today, more than ever, we are like the first disciples on the journey with Jesus.  When he talked of his suffering which would be life for the world, his disciples had no way to process what they were hearing; it was altogether too new. We are like Mary realizing that what Simeon prophesied is indeed coming true: “a sword shall pierce your heart.”  All we can do is surrender ourselves to the Sacred of Heart of Christ and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, trusting their love and mercy to flow within us and through us to all the world.

Moses began the first “quarantine” when he journeyed to the top the Mountain of God to confer with the Lord.  While he was alone in prayer all the people felt lost. They began to wonder if Moses would ever return; they began to doubt God’s power to save, so soon after it had been revealed to them in their freedom from slavery in Egypt; so soon after they had received Quail in the evenings and Manna in the mornings.  It is important for us to persevere in fasting and prayer during this Lenten Journey of 40 days, even if it means fasting from the Eucharist.

We will stay connected by phone, email and lift each other up in prayer.  Please stop by the Church to pray. Using the code to enter through the door by the adoration chapel you have 24/7 access to the adoration chapel and, once inside, to the church through the northwest glass door, nearest the adoration chapel.  I will be in church to hear confessions on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6:30-8:00 am.

I will also use the former gathering times of Friday evening and Sunday morning to process with the Blessed Sacrament through the neighborhoods of the parish.  Tuesday evening I walked the perimeter of the parish praying the Rosary. This Friday at 6:00 pm I will process for one hour up and down the streets just north of our church; beginning on Ridgewood to Taft, down Alfred to Delor, up Morganford, down Varrelmann, up Adkins and down Newport.  If you want to step out on your porch to join me in the praying of a decade of the Rosary as we pass by, please do. Or if you want to join in the procession, at a safe distance of six feet for a couple blocks, you are welcome to do so. On Sunday morning at 9:00 we will continue the procession.  God willing we will pass near every block of the parish before Easter.

As I walked the perimeter of the parish on Tuesday, the first day without Eucharist, I claimed it all as holy ground for Christ.  I imagined myself smearing the blood of Christ’s sacrifice, his redeeming blood, on every door post of the parish. While we wait for the Lord to reveal his new plan for us it is important for us not to become frightened and weary as the Isrealites did.  Our perseverance in faith will be a blessing for our community and for our world. We are John the Baptist announcing the presence of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. That is still very good news. God bless you.

Fr. Mitch

Daily Mass from Bishop Barron’s Chapel

We’re sharing Bishop Barron’s letter here:

Friends,

In recent weeks, the coronavirus outbreak has had a profound impact on countries around the world—and, increasingly, here in the United States.

In light of measures being taken to contain the outbreak and avoid further illness, many of us may be hesitant to leave our homes. In many areas, Mass and other church services may not be available.

It is at this exact moment that our faith is most needed.

In an effort to continue the practice of our faith in these trying times, I would like to invite you to join us online for daily Mass.

Beginning today, Tuesday, March 17, Word on Fire will be offering daily Mass for the foreseeable future.

If you cannot attend Mass or join us online, I encourage you to read the Gospels, pray with your families, and join yourself to the Eucharist—the source and summit of our Catholic faith—by making an act of spiritual communion like the one recommended by Archbishop Gomez: “I wish, my Lord, to receive you with the purity, humility, and devotion with which your most holy Mother received you, with the spirit and fervor of the saints.”

And please continue to pray for all those affected by the coronavirus.

Peace,

Bishop Robert Barron