Eucharistic Prayer I: The Anamnesis
Last week we discussed the Mystery of Faith proclaimed after consecration during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We move ahead to what is called the “Anamnesis”. This simply means, “Remembering”. The prayer goes as such: “Therefore, O Lord, as we celebrate the memorial of the blessed Passion, the Resurrection from the dead, and the glorious Ascension into heaven of Christ, your Son, our Lord, we, your servants and your holy people, offer to your glorious majesty, from the gifts that you have given us, this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim, the holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation.” Here, we recognize that it is truly Christ present on the altar. In Luke 22:19 our Lord told His disciples to “… do this in remembrance of Me” after consecration during the Last Supper. When we say the Anamnesis during Holy Mass we are fulfilling our Lord’s request here. We recognize that what we are offering to the Father truly is a “victim” (Christ Jesus) who is pure, holy, spotless and the Bread of eternal life. Just as in the Old Covenant the “victim” sacrificed for sins had to be pure, holy and spotless, Christ, the “victim” of the New Covenant, also has these qualities but it is eternal (once and for all) because He was the very Son of God and not an animal.
The priest then continues by praying, “Be pleased to look upon these offerings with a serene and kindly countenance, and to accept them, as you were pleased to accept the gifts of your servant Abel the just, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the offering of your high priest Melchizedek, a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim.” Equating the pivotal sacrifices made in the Old Testament and recognizing how they were pleasing to God, we now ask Him to do the same with this new sacrifice. Learning about how God operated with His people from the very beginning of creation until now, and seeing how the faith throughout the millennia evolved into what it is now is truly something that will only serve to deepen your faith. Understanding the Jewish roots of Christianity really shines a light on why we do the things we do in Catholicism and explains what we believe as Catholics and why. I highly recommend a Bible study on the subject. You will be absolutely astonished on how perfectly God put everything together!