This week we Lectio the Liturgy with the Prayer over the Offering for the 20th Week in Ordinary Time.
Receive our oblation, O Lord, by which is brought about a glorious exchange, that, by offering what you have given, we may merit to receive your very self. Through Christ our Lord.
On the outside, this is a great prayer, but wait until you see what is on the inside. Did you notice that the word “receive” is used twice? It is interesting that in the Latin form of the prayer, the word has different meanings.
In the Latin prayer, for first “receive” we find the verb suscipe, and the second “receive” is accipere.
Suscipe implies the action of both taking and receiving. Accipere brings a picture of receiving a gift from the hands of another. This is the action we find in this prayer. We ask God to take and receive our oblation, and when he does, a glorious exchange happens.
The glorious exchange isn’t the bread and wine becoming the Body and Blood of Christ. In this exchange, which is a trade and not an offering, God accepts the offering, which is us, and in return, he gives himself to us.
It seems like a lop-sided exchange, doesn’t it? All I have to offer is me, my successes and failures, my faith and my doubt, and what I receive is Jesus. I receive all of him - his Body and Blood, soul and divinity, his life and his power, and it’s all hidden in something so ordinary as bread and wine.
Jesus is good at hiding, His life on earth began that way. The Son of God, the Creator and Ruler of the universe took on his human nature in an unseen way - in the womb of Mary. He grew up as the son of a carpenter and probably led a normal childhood. His divinity, evident in the miracles he performed in his years of ministry, was crowned at the resurrection.
Sometimes the “unseenness” of Jesus might cause us to not remember or realize just what and Who we receive. The prayer tells us that when we offer what He has given, which is all of us, we receive all of Him.
Access to the Father? Mine. The faith that moves mountains? Mine. The open Heaven above me? The same Holy Spirit to proclaim the Kingdom? The power to proclaim, teach and heal? All mine.
It’s all mine, and when I hear the words, “The Body of Christ,” all I have to do is hold out my hands to “accipere” and say, “Amen. I believe, Lord. Take and receive all that I am. I desire and accept your very self.”
Thanks for praying with me,