This week we Lectio the Liturgy with the Prayer over the Offering for the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Grant us, O Lord, we pray, that we may participate worthily in these mysteries, for whenever the memorial of this sacrifice is celebrated the work of our redemption is accomplished. Through Christ our Lord.
I love the verb grant. In the prayer it means, that we allow God to bring something about and, more importantly, that we submit to it. We give God permission to carry out something in us. In this prayer, we ask that we may participate worthily in these mysteries.
To participate worthily in the Sacrament of the Eucharist means that a person is free of mortal sin, due to the grace we receive in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It also means that we are open to receive. I’ve heard people make a remark to the effect that they don’t get anything from the Mass. A common response is usually, “what did you put into it?” When a more accurate question may be, “What did you take from it?”
The grace that is available for us, not just at the Mass, but when we celebrate all of the Sacraments, comes at us like water out of a fire hydrant. It is full force, God makes it all available. Our human response is often to just sit back and wait. Sometimes we may bring what we think we need, or what we deserve, and come to the Sacraments with a drinking straw. Hardly a match for God’s fire hydrant of grace!
Now imagine coming to God with your hands and your repentant heart wide open, ready to receive it all. That is what it looks like to participate worthily in the mysteries.
So why are Catholics required to go to Mass? Isn’t the Mass boring?
I would agree that some Catholics are required to got to Mass, however, many want to. They know peace and joy are found when they pray, for themselves and for each other, with the congregation, and when they receive Holy Communion.
However, the Mass being boring? This is where the work of our redemption is celebrated.
Liturgy is the way we pray. It is a conversation between God and us. It is us responding to the work of God.
Archbishop Paul D. Etienne, DD, STL wrote, “In the liturgy, Christ continues to act on our behalf. When the Church gathers to celebrate Eucharist, something happens: Christ, truly present, acts through, with, and for us, continuing the work of redemption.”
When we come to Mass with the attitude to receive, to give, and we are aware of what Jesus has done and continues to do for us, the Mass is anything but boring.
The priest, in the person of Christ, offers us to the Father. Jesus offers himself to the Father for us and we receive the greatest gift of all, Jesus, made present in the Eucharist.
It all happens at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, it happens whether we’re attuned to it or not, but if we are, there is no other place like it as it is Heaven on earth.
Thanks for praying with me!