The World of Grandpa Don



 What does it mean?

Why do we say it?

Do we say it?

 Amen is a derivative from the Hebrew verb aman "to strengthen" or "Confirm". (Catholic Encyclopedia) 

In the Holy Scripture it (Amen) appears almost invariably as an adverb, and its primary use is to indicate that the speaker adopts for his own what has already been said by another. (Catholic Encyclopedia) 

There are many prayer endings such as “…through Christ, our Lord…” that we habitually respond to with “Amen”, often without thought and probably without realizing that our response is a declaration of agreement and/or faith. 

During the Mass, some of us fail to respond, or respond in a near whisper. This is particularly noticeable at the end of the Eucharistic prayer when “The Great Amen” is usually sung. The “Great Amen” is sung to emphasize that the Eucharistic Prayer, which includes the Consecration, is at the core of our Catholic faith. 

Referring to the Eucharistic prayer, St. Justin tells us: “…and when he (the priest) has ended the prayers and thanksgiving, all the people that are present forthwith answer with acclamation 'Amen' ". (Justin, I Apol., lxv, P.G., VI, 428). (Catholic Encyclopedia) 

Note the words “all the people”. The reason for this is emphasized in the following: “…in an early "Expositio Missæ" published by Gerbert (Men. Lit. Alere, II, 276), we read: "Amen is a ratification by the people of what has been spoken, and it may be interpreted in our language as if they all said: May it so be done as the priest has prayed". (Catholic Encyclopedia) 

It is in our “Amen” that we proclaim our belief in the real presence of Jesus! It is in our “Amen” that we also participate in the Consecration. 

In a recent bulletin article, “Until the Fat Lady Sings” we were reminded: “At Mass, we are all the cast, all the orchestra, all the team.” The time when the Mass was in Latin and the servers responded on the behalf of the congregation is gone. It is up to each of us to join our voices with all the others in a grand acclimation of our faith to God! It is not only our duty to do so but it is our privilege. 

A silent or weak “Amen” does not demonstrate a communion with the assembly. A strong loud “Amen” encourages those around us to join us in our faith. At the same time it reinforces our own faith. We may also ask, “What does our silence say about our faith?” Silence is very often, louder than words! 

And when the Communion Minister says “Body of Christ” or “Blood of Christ”, we proclaim loud and clear, “Amen” (Yes, I believe). 

We are about to enter the time of Lent. The theme for our parish this lent is based on Disciples in Mission. Saying our “Amens” in church is a step in evangelizing ourselves. We proclaim our discipleship and encourage those around us to do the same. It makes us feel good! 

Let us be an AMEN people. Don’t worry; we won’t become Baptists, (but their declaration of faith is to be admired and brought back to all Christians). 

Do I hear an AMEN?

Don Plefka



Authored by 
Don Plefka

Articles, Letters, Dreams and Such


Don Plefka
St Julie Billiart parish bulletin
February 1, 2005

The World of Grandpa Don 

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