The Eucharistic Prayer

In our gospel this weekend, we are reminded of the formula for making our petitions and requests known to God. Jesus tells us, “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” In all of the moments of our life, we are encouraged to bring our prayers and petitions to God—to ask, seek, and knock.

What happens when we do this?

When we bring our prayers and petitions to God, we entrust to God all of our needs. We might ask for the means to pay for an unexpected car repair. We might ask God to heal someone in our lives who is sick. Whatever it might be for us, when we entrust our needs to our loving God, we rely on his providence to give us what we need.

We are called to seek what we desire. Sometimes we may struggle in our lives. Things may be unclear for us about our direction in life, or about a particular aspect of our lives. It is in these challenging moments that we are called to seek God’s will for us. We can become influenced by the world around us. The voices of members of our society may lead us to follow a path other than the one God has chosen for us. It is in these times that we must seek God in prayer and ask for his light for our path.

Finally, we are called to knock so that the door might be opened. Here I think about St. Monica, who prayed persistently for many years for the conversion of her husband and her wayward son, Augustine. It was through her persistence that God was able to not only convert Augustine’s heart, but to make him a great saint! Our persistent prayer pays off. We must never tire of knocking at the door, by offering our prayers and petitions to God.

All of this is to set the stage for what Father Steven will talk about this weekend: The Eucharistic Prayer. The Eucharistic Prayer joins our liturgy here on earth to the Heavenly Liturgy. We gather as Church as the Body of Christ, and we offer to the Father, not only our humble gifts of bread and wine but, indeed, our very lives. All of our human efforts to ask, seek, and knock are joined with the prayers of the priest in a beautiful prayer to the Father. The priest offers, on behalf of everyone gathered, all of our prayers, hopes, and petitions at the altar of sacrifice.

There is a beautiful exchange that occurs as the Eucharistic Prayer begins. After the priest offers the gifts of bread and wine to God, we are invited to stand and pray that the sacrifice of the priest and our sacrifice will be acceptable to God. The priest then prays a prayer over the gifts of bread and wine. Following that prayer, there is a beautiful exchange called the preface dialogue:

Priest: The Lord be with you

People: And with your Spirit

Priest: Lift up your hearts!

People: We lift them up to the Lord!

In this exchange we are called to lift our hearts and minds to heaven. Every Mass is a foretaste of heaven. We do here on earth, what is being done in heaven. We raise our hearts and our minds to a God who loves us deeply and generously.  We are about to encounter the greatest miracle we can ever witness in the transubstantiation of the ordinary elements of bread and wine. Even more miraculous, is the fact that you and I are called to receive the very Body and Blood of Christ. As we take the precious Body and Blood of our Lord into our own bodies, we are filled with grace for our lives.

This journey through the Mass, in which we are engaging together, is a beautiful time of growth for our parish. As we encounter Jesus at every Mass, we are changed by His Presence. As we grow more in our own knowledge and understanding of the Mass and its power for our lives, we are able to participate more fully and with greater devotion.

This weekend let us open our eyes and our hearts to what happens at the altar at every Mass. Let us remember that by our own baptism, we are anointed priest, prophet, and king!  We are not merely spectators when we come to Mass! We enter into the priesthood of Christ, as we bring our lives before the Lord in our worship. May each of us grow in our love for the Mass! And let us never grow tired of asking, seeking, and knocking.

In Christ,
Deacon Tim

 

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