Kiss of Peace: The Mass as it Relates to the Interior Life Part VIII
Fr. Samuel Waters | The Daily Knight | Sermon
The Kiss of Peace is only given during the Solemn High Mass when the Priest, Deacon and Subdeacon are present. It is a symbol of the charity which should unite all those who approach the altar. Since the beginning of the Church, Love was always the characteristic of the Disciples of Jesus, a sign of their unity. The kiss during the Mass was given in a pure and unsullied way. Love in its pure expression always leads to peace. The Kiss of Peace was originally given before the Offertory as a farewell to the Catechumens (those taking instruction to become a follower of Christ). It was later placed in its current location in the Mass before Communion and the Breaking of the Bread.
Before giving the Kiss of Peace, the Celebrant kisses the altar (the altar represents Christ). If he is a priest, he gives it to the Deacon and the Deacon in turn gives it to the Subdeacon. The Subdeacon then gives it to the choir and the lower ministers. Originally the kiss was given and received on the lips. Today the Kiss of Peace is given to the clergy by an embrace. The clergyman who is giving the Kiss of Peace says, “Pax Vobis” (Peace be with you) and the clergyman receiving the Kiss of Peace says, “Et cum spiritu tuo” (and with your spirit).
After the Kiss of Peace, the prayer “Ad Pacem” is prayed, “Oh Lord Jesus Christ who said to Thy Apostles, peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you, look not on my sins, but on the Faith of Thy Church, and vouchsafe to grant Her that peace and unity which is agreeable to Thy Will: Oh God who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.”
This prayer asks for peace for the entire Church. Liturgical Prayer always has regard for the society and the Mystical Body. The priest asks God not to regard his personal sins but the Faith of the Mystical Body, the Faith of the Church. The priest asks God to be seen in union with all the faithful as a member of the Mystical Body of which Jesus is the Head.
How often a friendly word, a smile will do the soul good. It can “dry up” contemptuous thoughts; quiet a tempest in the heart; encourage to persevere and restore peace. Your religion must be very true. You must respect the reputation of others in keeping your word, whatever the cost as you are fulfilling your duties. Your active life must be an overflow of your interior life.
Do not think you can please God only by being faithful to your duties to Him. Being faithful to your pious duties and devotions is only part of being faithful to the True Faith and to God. You also must make the effort and take time to be charitable to others in your daily life. Seek to be in agreement with you fellow men and women provided that your duties to God do not suffer. Your neighbors (others in our society) have their own character, their own principles, their own way of looking at things and their own way of living. You also have all of these as well.
Go to your neighbors full of pity and compassion for their defects, determined to be tolerant of all their “ways”. Open up your heart. Try to find those points that you have in common. Put yourself in their place, step into their shoes. Imitate St. Paul who said, “to the weak,