EUCHARISTIC PRAYER I
Part 2: The Preface
We pick up this week where we left off last week. Once the “Holy, Holy, Holy …” is concluded, the priest prays the prayer of thanksgiving and says: “To You, therefore, most merciful Father, we make humble prayer and petition through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord: that You accept and bless + these gifts, these offerings, these holy and unblemished sacrifices, which we offer you firstly for your holy catholic Church. …” Here we recognize that God is the sole Creator of even the modest gifts of bread and wine which we will ask Him to consecrate. Everything comes from Him (John 1:3) and we offer it back to Him that once blessed, it can be a means to supply His Church with Its grace. The priest continues: “Be pleased to grant her peace, to guard, unite and govern her throughout the whole world, together with your servant Francis our Pope and Allen our Bishop, and all those who, holding to the truth, hand on the catholic and apostolic faith.” Our focus is now on the Church. The Church is the light of the world and we ask God to keep it as such, even in the midst of turmoil. We pray for the leaders of our Church, the Pope and the current Bishop of where Mass is being said. Why? They’re the captain of the ship, so-to-speak, and steer the Church to where God is calling it.
We then pray for all the members of the Church: “Remember, Lord, your servants N. and N. and all gathered here, whose faith and devotion are known to you. For them, we offer you this sacrifice of praise or they offer it for themselves and all who are dear to them, for the redemption of their souls, in hope of health and well-being, and paying their homage to you, the eternal God, living and true.” The entire Body of Christ is therefore included in the prayer of thanksgiving. I love the term “sacrifice of praise”. In other words, it is a sacrifice of adoration of the Divine Majesty. We adore the Divine Majesty and Christ in His human nature, because Christ was, and is, priest as man. It is the human nature of Christ (Jesus as man) and we as human beings who together offer the Mass, Christ, His, and we ours, in acknowledgment of God’s greatness compared to our nothingness; His Wisdom compared to our plain, crass stupidity; His goodness compared with our wickedness; His holiness compared with our ungodliness. God not only desires this, He demands it. He demands adoration.