This week we Lectio the Liturgy, with the Prayer After Communion for the 13th Week in Ordinary Time. This prayer gives us some great reminders about the Eucharist, and I love the progression of the prayer.
May this divine sacrifice we have offered and received fill us with life, O Lord, we pray, so that, bound to you in lasting charity, we may bear fruit that lasts for ever. Through Christ our Lord.
This is the prayer that we hear before we leave Mass. You could possibly say that it is our “sending forth” prayer. The Prayer After Communion tends to draw our attention back to the Sacrament we just received. In this prayer, there are seven words that sum up the mass, and they are “divine sacrifice we have offered and received.”
The sacrifice is described as being divine, telling us that this sacrifice is Jesus.
In the Latin form of the prayer, we find the word hostia, Latin for sacrifice or victim. The short version of the word, host, is what some Catholics call the communion bread, but it is so much more than bread. Jesus is the hostia.
We are filled with life with this offering and receiving. This life is the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. What a great exchange. We offer what little we have and we receive the life of God in return.
With this life in us, we are bound to God in lasting charity. In the Latin form of the prayer, we find the word perpetua, which translates to lasting, or continuous. This continuous charity isn’t just any love. Charity is the love of total self-gift between the persons of the Trinity that Jesus showed us from the cross. Notice that we are bound to God’s love. Bound here means connected as in marriage.
I love a prayer with a “so that.” It tells me that there is something we are asking for in the prayer that we can’t get on our own, it depends on something else. In this prayer, to bear fruit that lasts for ever depends on our being bound to to God.
John tells us the same thing in chapter 15 verse four, “Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.”
Perhaps being bound to God is one of the graces of Holy Communion that isn’t always remembered. When we are bound to Him by His own love, we are filled with the life of the Holy Spirit and the fruit we bear will last forever.
I pray that each of us takes this gift with us as we go forth when the mass has ended.
Thanks for praying with me,