Saturday, July 28, 2007

"the compelling love of Christ . . . sets [us] on fire": A guest post from Deep Furrows

I want to thank Deacon Scott for allowing me to present this fruit of God's work in my life. I hope that it will help others live the Mass more deeply.

Every Mass in a re-membering of the Paschal Mystery - the Crucifixion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In daily Mass last week, however, I became aware of the Eucharistic Prayer as a remembering of the Incarnation. I'll just offer a few highlights.

At the conclusion to the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer, we pray the Sanctus:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is Jesus who comes in His Father's name. And he is coming to us now.

Epiklesis: the invocation of the Holy Spirit
Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy, so that they may become for us the body and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

At this point, the Church asks the Holy Spirit to come upon creation again as He did at the Annunciation of the Lord Jesus to Mary.

The Words of Institution (CCC 1412)
"This is my body which will be given up for you. . . . This is the cup of my blood. . . ."

These words are the sign that the bread and wine will be substantially changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ - the Word becomes flesh and dwells among us. To see the Consecration is to witness the Incarnation in person.

Memorial Acclamation
Lord, by your cross and resurrection you have set us free. You are the Savior of the world.

Here is the first point in the Mass in which we address Jesus directly. In this way, we recognize his substantial, sacramental presence among us.

The Doxology
Through him,
with him,
in him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor is yours,
almighty Father;
for ever and ever:

I also am becoming aware that the Doxology is not merely a closing prayer (yada, yada, yada), but is itself a sacrifice of praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - offered through Jesus who is substantially with us.

And when we receive Communion, the Incarnation is extended again, intensified. We are re-incorporated into the Body of Christ and commissioned to announce the presence of God to a thirsty world.

Although I've focused narrowly on the theme of Incarnation and the Eucharistic Prayer, this is but an invitation to the depths of the Mass - depths that are available every week and even every day for those who have ears to hear the invitation.

Nota bene:
This marks the first guest-post ever on here on Catholic Deacon. I certainly hope it is not the last.

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