An, "Ah ha!" moment about the Last Gospel

Not really the Last Gospel per say, but about the *recitation *of the Last Gospel.

I’ve heard so much about it but cannot ever recall hearing it even though I was born in the late 1950s. But now I see that it was eliminated in 1965 (at least in English language masses) so that it would have only been read at the Masses I attended prior to 1965.

I have often been puzzled by longings for Mass as it was celebrated prior to the Mass of Pope Paul VI because they did not seem to reflect my own memories. But I now realize that the Mass had already undergone substantial changes before the promulgation of the 1970 Missal so I don’t actually know how the Mass used to be said.

My first personal Missal (besides my English/Latin First Communion one) was published in 1966 so the Latin responses (in small type under the English ones) were there mostly for historical purposes.

My memories of the pre-1970 Missal are of the so-called “1965 Missal” which were never promulgated in an actual Roman Missal revision.

The Last Gospel would not be recited out loud anyway. It began as a private devotion for the priest (he would say it to himself as he was leaving the altar), and eventually got agglomerated into the rubrics of the Mass. After always hearing about how great the Last Gospel was supposed to be, at the first four or five TLMs I went to I thought, “What’s he up there so long for? When’s he going to proclaim the Last Gospel? Huh? He’s leaving? Oh, I guess they’re not doing it today. What am I missing in the rubrics?”

The Last Gospel was added to the Missal by Pius V in 1570. It is recited aloud like any other Gospel.

It is a beautiful part of the Mass because every time you hear it, it invites you deeper into the mystery of the Lord’s Incarnation. You can keep going and going and going into that mystery. And the genuflection is important too… an additional reverence that helps you remember what your life is all about, even as you are about to leave the church building.

Some things are very good to repeat over and over. I don’t know how many hundreds of times I had said the Hail Mary before I realized that God is mentioned three times in the prayer. Stuff like that really knocks you for a loop when you realize it.

After some checking, it seems that the Last Gospel is to be said in a low voice except at a low Mass, where it is said aloud. Although I don’t recall hearing it at the low Masses I’ve been to, either. At any rate, I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard it, and it seems that it would probably be an abuse if it were proclaimed out loud at a high Mass.

I remember hearing it after every mass I went to when young (in the 50’s and 60’s) but I don’t think we ever had a high mass. Out in the forests of the Oregon Cascades. :smiley:

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