2 min read
08 Jul

This week we Lectio the Liturgy with the Prayer Over the Offering for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The prayer gives us an opportunity to remember what is right in the Church today, and we can be assured that what is right will always be right.

Look upon the offerings of the Church, O Lord, as she makes her prayer to you, and grant that, when consumed by those who believe, they may bring ever greater holiness. Through Christ our Lord.

The prayer opens with us asking God to look. In the Latin form of the prayer, we find the word respice, which means to have a care for, or consider. We ask God to consider the offerings that we placed on the altar, which includes the bread and wine, and my sacrifice and yours, or what we bring to the table. When He gazes on them, they become worthy offerings. Actually, they become offerings that bring us greater holiness. The holiness we seek is ours for the taking when we gather as the Church to pray. 

As I meditated on this prayer, I had a sense that there are some things we need to be reminded of when we think about what it means to be Church. When it comes to matters of the Church, sometimes it’s easy to be discouraged, which is not from God, so it’s important that we reacquaint ourselves with how God sees the Church.

The word "Church" (ecclesia in Latin) means a convocation or an assembly. It includes all believers, from our local community to the universal community of believers. (CCC 751) However, the Church is more than just what we can see. The Church is also comprised of a lot that is unseen.

The Church is the Body of Christ. Those who respond to God’s word become members of His Body, united with Him. (CCC790)

The Church, being feminine in nature (hence the feminine pronouns in this prayer), is also the Bride of Christ and Mother of the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, “The Church is the Bride of Christ: he loved her and handed himself over for her. He has purified her by his blood and made her the fruitful mother of all God's children.” (808) As Mother, she nourishes, raises, and prepares us, with what we need to be good children.

And this is where the “yabuts” come in. You know the ones, and you maybe be asking right now, “yeah, but…”

Rev. Charles Mortimer Carty has said, “Everything is well with the Catholic Church. But I do not say that everything is well with all the members of the Church…There is a human element in the Church, and that human element is ever liable to fail. But there is also a Divine element which can never fail.” (Radio Replies Vol. 3)

We need to know this, we need to understand this, because the essence of the Church, the Church as Bride, Body, and Mother, will never change, even though its members will fail. In fact, we have an enemy whose job is to bring division and strife in the Church, but God is stronger. The Church today is holy, not because of what we do, but because of who God is.

The Church is made up of imperfect people, and people will fall, however, the Church, the Bride of Christ will never lose her essence. She is always good. We need to practice looking at the Church not through the sins of others or our own, but through the power, the goodness, and the mercy of God which will never change.

In the prayer, we ask God to grant the offerings that we consume, which are now the Body and Blood of Christ, will bring us greater holiness. In the Latin form of the prayer we find the word sumenda (Lat.), which means to take in exchange. We bring our offering to God and in exchange, we receive Jesus in the Eucharist. 

We can also offer to God our doubt and our pride and ask Him to exchange it for a deeper love for His Church, the Body, the Bride, and the Mother, whose essence and identity will never change, no matter how perfect or imperfect her members are.

Thanks for praying with me,

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