The Church of the Annunciation Marble Arch

worship/Crucifer and acolytes in procession_sm

Jesus offered only two commands in his ministry that apply to all people. The first is the command to love: to love God, to love our neighbour and to love ourselves. The second given at his Last Supper was to repeat what he did: to take bread and wine as indicative of his body - his life and way of living.

The mass is made up of two parts. The first is the Liturgy of the Word. This is similar to the synagogue services with which Jesus as a Jew would have been familiar. There are prayers, readings from the bible and a sermon.

The second part is the Liturgy of the Sacrament. Bread and wine is offered, blessed and shared. The mass is the touchstone of our faith and a means of grace. By receiving his body we become his body, the church. At the end of mass we are sent into the world to do what he did. A prayer by the 16C Spanish nun St Theresa of Avila sums it up like this:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.

Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

In the catholic tradition we believe that mystery is an essential element of the practice of our faith. We cannot express in words all that we believe. So ritual and music are essential to the mass.

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