Today we Lectio the Liturgy with the Prayer after Communion for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. This prayer is at the very end of Mass, and as its name implies, we pray it after we receive Communion and before the final blessing. Since the Mass is our prayer and not our church service, we should stay until the end! Amen always closes a prayer and the Prayer after Communion and the Blessing are the amen to the Mass.
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that, receiving the grace by which you bring us to new life, we may always glory in your gift. Through Christ our Lord.
There are a few words in this prayer that stood out to me this week. They are everyday words, so I was taken aback by their meanings in the prayer.
The first word is life. In the Latin form of the prayer, we find the word vivificationis. More than just new life, or being reborn, it is defined as a giving of life. It is almost always used in the setting of theology and refers to the spiritual life that is only possible when we have the life of God in us. This life is given to us at Baptism and it is our responsibility to cultivate growth in the spiritual life.
The second word is glory. Glory has many meanings, and here it may sound like we would be the ones receiving glory. In the Latin form of the prayer, the word used is gloriemur, it means means to boast, or brag.
In 1 Corinthians 1:31 Paul writes, “He that glories, let him glory in the Lord.” The word for glory in this scripture also means boast. So if you want to brag, there’s only one rule, and it is, boast in the Lord and what he has done. This includes nothing we have or nothing we have done. Everything we have has been given to us by God. Everything we can do is through God. All we have to brag about is what amazing things God can do.
Which leads us to the third word, gift. Munere is the word used in Latin, and it means a present, or a kindness. Our gift, or our present, is named in this prayer, it is the gift of spiritual life.
Let’s look at what the prayer tells us about this gift. It is given to us by grace. Grace is underserved favor. Grace is being kinder to someone than they deserve. Examples of God’s grace for us include sending his son to die for us, preparing a place to spend eternity with him, and sharing his divine life with us. None of this is given because we deserve it, it is all because he loves us.
His gift gives us life. His gift gives us love, joy, and peace, and again, not because we deserve it, but simply because he loves us.
To boast or brag about this gift, is our reminder only God can give a gift that is priceless. It is Him of who we boast.
Do not let the lies of unworthiness or despair keep you from accepting this gift. This gift is for everyone, no matter who you are or where you are. Those of us who may seem the most undeserving (which is all of us) have all the greater reason to hold out our hands and accept this gift. In our weakness He is made strong. We can’t be raised up if we’re not low.
Hold our your hands, accept his gift. Not because you deserve it, but because He is madly in love with you and you hold the power to glorify the Lord for what he has done for you.
Thanks for praying with m