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Dicastery for Divine Worship Establishes Biblical Readings for the Mass “To Pray for Chastity”

Valentina di Giorgio

The Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments published a Decree that establishes the Biblical Readings for the Mass “Ad postulandam continentiam” (to pray for continence and chastity”), a liturgical form present in the Roman Missal for different pastoral needs. This Decree seeks to enrich the Eucharistic Rite by offering Readings that stress the importance of living a chaste life, free of egoistic desires and in keeping with the Divine Commandments. 

According to the Dicastery, the inclusion of the form “Ad postulandam  continentiam in the third typical edition of the Missale Romanum motivated the necessity to indicate the corresponding Biblical Readings, following the official version of the Nova Vulgata for liturgical use. These Readings will be communicated in the coming days to the Episcopal Conferences worldwide. 

The purpose of these Readings is to offer a complete moment of celebration in which the grace is sought to have a chaste heart, free of ambition, of the desire to dominate, to possess and to satisfy one’s desires, at the expense of the weakest. The Dicastery highlights the fact that the prayers must be illumined by the revealed Word, given that the latter enables a true and profound understanding of the grace for which one prays. 

The Latin term “continentia” used in the Roman Missal has a broader meaning and refers to all that each baptized person must do to be clothed in Christ, struggling against evil and acknowledging that his/her body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. To live in continence is not only a human effort, but requires to pray and obtain the grace to live in the Holy Spirit, presenting the body as a living and holy offering to God. 

The Biblical Readings selected for this Mass include evangelical passages of Matthew and John, as well as Readings from the Old Testament taken from the Books of the prophet Ezekiel and Ecclesiasticus. Included also are Readings of the New Testament taken from  the Epistles of Saint Paul to the Romans, to the Corinthians and to the Galatians. In addition, fragments of the Responsorial Psalms will be used taken from Psalms 86 and 112. 

The Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments emphasizes that to live in continence is to permit the Holy Spirit to mould in each person flesh, which is a reflection of eternal glory. This focus is essential to live a correct and charitable life, becoming a light in Christ so that others may glorify God through the testimony of believers.

With the publication of this Decree, it is hoped that the Biblical Readings proposed for the Mass “ad postulandam continentiam” will enrich and strengthen the living of chastity and the pursuit of continence.