Phenomenology of Two Masses Part VIII

Today, I treat the Eucharistic prayers. Here, let us simply lay out the difference of content. Then we will reflect on difference in calling, on what the Mass asks of us. I have chosen the first part of the Eucharistic prayer; the second will be treated in another post. The Extraordinary form has one and the same canon for every Mass. The Ordinary Form offers typically four options. As all know, the second form is used most of the time, if not over 75% of the time. Hence, we will compare the Extraordinary form with the second Eucharistic prayer of the Ordinary form.

Extraordinary Form Ordinary Form
We therefore, humbly pray and beseech Thee, most merciful Father, through Jesus Christ; Thy Son, our Lord, that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to accept and bless these ☩ gifts, these ☩ presents, these ☩ holy unspotted Sacrifices, which in the first place we offer Thee for Thy holy Catholic Church to which vouchsafe to grant peace, as also to preserve, unite, and govern it throughout the world, together with Thy servant Francis our Pope, and (name of Bishop) our Bishop, and all orthodox believers and professors of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith. You are indeed Holy, O Lord, the fount of all holiness. Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall so that they may become for us the Body and + Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Be mindful, O Lord, of Thy servants and handmaidens, N. et N., and of all here present, whose faith and devotion are known unto Thee, for whom we offer, or who offer up to Thee, this sacrifice of praise for themselves, their families and friends, for the redemption of their souls, for the health and salvation they hope for; and who now pay their vows to Thee, the everlasting, living and true God.
We pray in union with and honor the memory, especially of the glorious ever Virgin Mary, mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ: as also of the blessed Joseph, her Spouse,and of the blessed Apostles and Martyrs Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon, and Thaddeus; Linus, Cletus, Clement, Xystus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Thy Saints, through whose merits and prayers, grant that we may in all things be defended by the help of Thy protection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
We therefore beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously to accept this oblation of our service, as also of Thy whole family; and to dispose our days in Thy peace, preserve us from eternal damnation, and rank us in the number of Thine Elect. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. Which oblation do Thou, O God, vouchsafe in all respects, to bless, ☩ approve, ☩ ratify, ☩ make worthy and acceptable; that it may be made for us the Body ☩ and Blood ☩ of Thy most beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Who, the day before He suffered, took bread into His holy and venerable hands, and with His eyes lifted up towards heaven unto Thee, God, His almighty Father, giving thanks to Thee, He blessed ☩ it, broke it and gave it to His disciples saying: Take and eat ye all of this, for this is my body. At the time he was betrayed and entered willingly into his Passion, he took bread and, giving thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body, which will be given up for you.
In like manner, after He had supped, taking also this excellent chalice into His holy and venerable hands He takes the chalice in his left hand, and with his right he signs it with the Sign of the Cross. He blessed ☩ , and gave it to His disciples, saying: Take and drink ye all of this, for this is the chalice of my blood of the new and eternal testament, the mystery of faith; which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins. As often as ye do these things, ye shall do them in remembrance of Me. In a similar way, when supper was ended, he took the chalice and, once more giving thanks, he gave it to his disciples, saying: Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.The mystery of faith.


We may make the following observations.

First, there is but one sign of the cross in this part in the Novus Ordo. In the EF, there are at least 10 signings. I have removed the rubrics for each form; inclusion of the rubrics would highlight yet more differences.

Second, that the Mass is a sacrifice comes through with utter clarity in this part of the EF but only implicitly in this part of the OF.

Third, on the other hand, there is express petition for the sending of the Holy Spirit in the OF but no such express petition in the EF that I have found as yet here.

Fourth, a host of saints is expressly invoked here in the EF but none here in the OF.

Fifth, the EF offers express petitionary prayers for many, especially for the Holy Roman Church. None in the OF.

Sixth, in the EF the priest humbly begs God to have mercy and spare us from eternal damnation. No such prayer in the OF.

Seventh, in the EF Christ’s prayer is clearly oriented to the Father. It is clear that this is a sacrifice offered primarily for God’s glory; in the OF, that Christ is offering the Eucharist to the Father is only implicit (giving thanks).

Eighth, there is great and delicate piety in the EF. We hear of Christ’s “holy and venerable hands” and of his eyes lifted up to his Father and are thus invited to contemplate the royal tenderness of his Incarnation and fired to join him in gazing at God in prayer. This invitation is repeated with the consecration of the wine. I do not see this reflected in the OF.

Ninth, the EF draws attention to Christ’s “suffering,” whereas the OF draws attention to his “being betrayed”.

Tenth, the phrase “Mystery of faith” in the EF enjoys its traditional placement. The mystery is the true presence, not simply a doctrinal formula of resurrection and second coming. In the OF, the mystery targets historical events, crucial events to be sure, yet it notwithstanding as the ring more of a doctrinal formula than the present august mystery of Christ’s substantial presence.

Eleventh, the importance of the orthodox faith is stated in the EF but not in the OF.