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It does not for the most part occur at the end of the early creeds, and a Decree of the Congregation of Rites (n.
3014, 9 June, 1853) has decided that it should not be spoken at the end of the form for the administration of baptism, where indeed it would be meaningless.
Still we cannot say that any uniform principle governs liturgical usage in this matter, for when at a High Mass the celebrant blesses the deacon before the latter goes to read the Gospel, it is the priest himself who says Amen.
Similarly in the Sacrament of Penance and in the Sacrament of Extreme Unction it is the priest who adds Amen after the essential words of the sacramental form, although in the Sacrament of Confirmation this is done by the assistants.
Thus in Jer., xxviii, 6, the prophet represents himself as answering to Hananias's prophecy of happier days; "Amen, the Lord perform the words which thou hast prophesied ". we read, for example: "Cursed be he that honoureth not his father and mother , and all the people shall say Amen".
The familiarity of the usage of saying Amen at the end of all prayers, even before the Christian era, is evidenced by Tobias, ix, 12. A second use of Amen most common in the New Testament, but not quite unknown in the Old, has no reference to the words of any other person, but is simply a form of affirmation or confirmation of the speaker's own thought, sometimes introducing it, sometimes following it. the double Amen of conclusion in Num., v, 22, etc.) In the Catholic (i.e.Again, in the apocryphal but early "Acta Johannis" (ed. But it cannot have been very long before the Amen was in many cases added by the utterer of the prayer. This usage seems to have developed even in public worship, and in the second half of the fourth century, in the earliest form of the liturgy which affords us any safe data, that of the Apostolic Constitutions , we find that in only three instances is it clearly indicated that Amen is to be said by the congregation (i.e.after the Trisagion, after the " Prayer of Intercession ", and at the reception of Communion); in the eight remaining instances in which Amen occurs, it was said, so far as we can judge, by the bishop himself who offered the prayer." ( pos erei to amen epi te se eucharistia ) where to amen seems clearly to mean "the customary Amen". however, its use seems to have been limited to the congregation, who made answer to some public prayer, and it was not spoken by him who offered the prayer (see yon der Goltz, Das Gebet in der ltesten Christenheit, p. It is perhaps one of the most reliable indications of the early data of the "Didache" or "Teaching of the Twelve Apostles", that, although several short liturgical formul are embodied in this document, the word Amen occurs but once, and then in company with the word maranatha, apparently as an ejaculation of the assembly. 155, on which occasion we are expressly told in a contemporary document that the executioners waited until Polycarp completed his prayer, and "pronounced the word Amen", before they kindled the fire by which he perished.As regards these liturgical formul in the "Didache", which include the Our Father, we may, however, perhaps suppose that the Amen was not written because it was taken for granted that after the doxology those present would answer Amen as a matter of course. 197) we find a series of short prayers spoken by the Saint to which the bystanders regularly answer Amen. We may fairly infer from this that before the middle of the second century it had become a familiar praclice for one who prayed alone to add Amen by way of conclusion.