This week we Lectio the Liturgy with the Prayer after Communion for Sunday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time.
Nourished by this sacred gift, O Lord, we give you thanks and beseech your mercy, that, by the pouring forth of your Spirit, the grace of integrity may endure in those your heavenly power has entered. Through Christ our Lord.
This prayer begins like any other great prayer, with us telling God that we are thankful for the Presence of the Paschal Mystery in Holy Communion and for His Presence has come to dwell in us.
Next, we beseech, or invoke, God for his mercy so that the grace of integrity may endure. Well, there's a little more to it than that as the grace comes from the pouring forth of the Spirit. The indwelling of the Spirit is the heavenly power we find in the prayer.
When is the last time you received the Eucharist and thought, "I have just received the power of all of Heaven and earth." When is the last time you walked out of mass and thought, "I have just received all the power of Heaven. Let the miracles commence!"?
If you're a player of card games, you know the scene. Everyone sits around a table and the dealer hands out cards to each player. You look at the cards dealt to you and you have four fours, four threes, and four twos. In the all of the card games that I've ever played, you can pretty much pass on bidding, because the cards you were dealt don't have enough power to take a trick. But what if you were dealt four aces, four kings and four queens? In your hand, you hold all the power.
When we live a Sacramental life, we receive heavenly power and now it is you and I who are called to be the conduit of God’s mercy on earth.
Work should be on the Holy Spirit’s job description. When God wants to make a move, it is the action of the Holy Spirit that carries it out. At creation, the Holy Spirit hovered over the water and the Holy Spirit was the breath of life for creation. In the Old Testament, kings were anointed through the work of the Holy Spirit. In the Nicene Creed, we proclaim that Jesus was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and it was the power of the Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. In Romans 8:11 Paul tells us that indeed, Spirit of the one who raised Jesus the dead can dwell us.
It all sounds great, doesn't it? Yet it is so much easier to look at that handful of cards and see the power we hold than it is to look inside and see what God was thinking when he chose us to carry his power on earth. That's when we need to recognize the grace of integrity.
In the Latin form of the prayer, for the word integrity, we find the word sinceritatis, which means wholeness. Interestingly, it is the same definition as biblical "shalom," which we usually define as peace. Living in His wholeness is God’s desire for us and we learn that we already have access to it because in the prayer, we don’t ask for the grace, we ask that it endures.
To live in this grace requires just one thing: nurturing the heavenly power that comes from the pouring of the Spirit. This pouring is renewed to overflowing when we are nourished by the sacred gift of the Eucharist.
Thanks for praying with me,