We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Ordinariate Mass (Divine Worship: the Missal): Prayer of Thanksgiving

A meditation.

The following prayer serves well the communicant's needs at Holy Communion. We Ordinary Form Catholics might do well to employ it during our personal prayers at Communion.
After Communion, silence may be kept.
Then the Priest standing and the People kneeling, the Priest alone, or the Priest and the People together, say the following:
ALMIGHTY and everliving God, we most heartily thank Thee for that Thou dost feed us, in these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of Thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ; and dost assure us thereby of Thy favour and goodness towards us; and that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of Thy Son, the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs, through hope, of Thy everlasting kingdom, by the merits of the most precious death and Passion of Thy dear Son. And we humbly beseech Thee, O heavenly Father, so to assist us with Thy grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do all such good works as Thou hast prepared for us to walk in; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with Thee and the Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
Let's look at the prayer piece by piece.

1. "ALMIGHTY and everliving God...". Like all true prayers, this prayer begins with a first focus on God. In this instance, God is addressed as omnipotent Lord. In the midst of life's many trials and tribulations, it is a great comfort knowing that God is in charge.

2. "... we most heartily thank Thee for that Thou dost feed us, in these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of Thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ...". Following a recognition of the right ordering of the relationship between Creator and creature, gratitude naturally follows. God sustains us in being. Gratitude is the response of a soul united to God in Christ. If he should take back his spirit to himself, and gather to himself his breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.—Job 34:14-15. And, the soul truly united to Christ is able to call most precious the Body and Blood of Jesus. This is belief in the Real Presence to which all are called, and all who are called receive the joy of the Resurrection when receiving the very life of Christ.

3. "... and dost assure us thereby of Thy favour and goodness towards us; and that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of Thy Son, the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs, through hope, of Thy everlasting kingdom, by the merits of the most precious death and Passion of Thy dear Son... ." Goodness and mercy belong to the repentant sinner who receives the Lord and His Church. Jesus and His Church cannot be separated. The true Christian knows this. (T)he household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.—1 Timothy 3:15. For we who dwell in the Church Christ Himself founded know that Christ and His people are united in the Holy Spirit, faithful to the prayer which Christ Himself prayed to the Father: "(T)hat they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me."—John 17:21. And we are heirs, sons and daughters of God, restored to friendship with God by and in Christ Jesus. Is that not cause for real hope? "(S)o that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."—Titus 3:7. Of course, we have not earned our salvation. Jesus paid the price of our iniquity and has rescued us death, though He does not force Himself upon us. We must now cooperate with Him and daily be configured to Him through good and holy practices approved by the Church—"Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling(.)"—Philippians 2:12 (see also Guéranger below, bold type).


4. "And we humbly beseech Thee, O heavenly Father, so to assist us with Thy grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do all such good works as Thou hast prepared for us to walk in(.)" For it is by grace that have been saved, and it is by grace that we are being saved and by grace we will be saved. How important is it, then, that we remain in the grace of God! The Sacrament of Penance restores us to grace. Let us celebrate the victory of Christ over sin and death by confessing sins regularly. The Sacrament helps us avoid spiritual pride and an arrogance that disenfranchises us from others struggling to respond to Jesus' invitation to newness of life (John 20:21-23; James 5:14-17). Freed of slavery to sin, the freed soul participates in the work of Christ. "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone."—James 2:24. Mother Teresa of Calcutta—i.e., Blessed Teresa—reminded us that we serve Christ in the poorest of the poor. She found and served Christ in each person. Both the Spiritual and Corporal works of mercy are summaries of the life of grace in action, of serving Christ in every person. The "Works" are summaries of the Gospel (St. Matthew 5).

5. "(T)hrough Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with Thee and the Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen." The Prayer concludes, as all authentic Christian liturgical prayer does, by calling on the one Mediator between God and man, the Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom all prayer ascends to God and through Whom all grace flows to man. We, too, by the grace of God, may mediate God's blessing to others by interceding for others in prayer and selfless sacrificial service: e.g., a kind word, a word of truth spoken in love. "For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing."—Galatians 2:19-21. We may enlist the help of our heavenly friends, the saints in heaven—especially the Holy Mother of God, Mary—who offer petitions for the Church Militant and Church Expectant (undergoing purgation). Mary, at times referred to as Mediatrix of grace, intercedes with her Son on our behalf.
The Second Vatican Council (Lumen Gentium ## 61-62), said:

... in suffering with Him as He died on the cross, she cooperated in the work of the Savior, in an altogether singular way, by obedience, faith, hope, and burning love, to restore supernatural life to souls. As a result she is our Mother in the order of grace.2
This motherhood of Mary in the economy of grace lasts without interruption, from the consent which she gave in faith at the annunciation, and which she unhesitatingly bore with under the cross, even to the perpetual consummation of all the elect. For after being assumed into heaven, she has not put aside this saving function, but by her manifold intercession, she continues to win the gifts of eternal salvation for us. By her motherly love, she takes care of the brothers of her Son who are still in pilgrimage and in dangers and difficulties, until they be led through to the happy fatherland. For this reason, the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adiutrix, and Mediatrix. This however it to be so understood that it takes nothing away, or adds nothing to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator. For no creature can ever be put on the same level with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer... ."
https://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/marya4.htm
Our prayers, petitions and service are perfected by the Holy Spirit Who presents our offerings to the Father through the Son. It is the Holy Spirit Who makes present Jesus on the altar. Recall the epiklesis (or epiclesis), the prayer calling down of the Holy Spirit to sanctify the gifts. In the Roman Canon, the bells are rung at the Quam Oblationem.
VOUCHSAFE, O God, we beseech thee, in all things to make this oblation blessed, approved, and accepted, a perfect and worthy offering; that it may become for us the Body and Blood of thy dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.—Divine Worship: the Missal.
Here the comments of Dom Prosper Guéranger merit a full reading:
Here begins the Great Prayer which continues up to the Memento of the dead, and in the midst of which the sublime Mystery of Trans-substantiation is accomplished. Thus speaks the Priest: Quam oblationem tu, Deus, in omnibus, quaesumus, adscriptam, ratam, rationabilem, acceptabilemque facere digneris. Holy Church continues wholly absorbed in the Oblation, imploring of God to bless it, and, in order to this, the Priest makes thereon the Sign of the Cross, so that thus sanctified it may be lovingly accepted by the Lord; adscriptam (here the Cross is again signed): this Oblation is of such real importance, that it must be registered, He is begged to note it down; ratam (again, the Sign of the Cross), it must needs be ratified, approved, confirmed in Heaven, as a Thing most truly Good and Fitting; lastly, the Priest begs that this Oblation may be rationabilem. To understand this expression, we must call to mind what those victims of the Old Law were, they were, after all, but gloss and figurative, having no worth, save in as far as they had reference to the Sacrifice of the Cross. Whereas, the Bread and Wine, or rather, - anticipating in thought, together with Mother Church herself, the stupendous effect of the Sacred Consecration, let us say, - the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ are here, on our altar, the true and real Victim, the Spiritual Oblation whereby all other sacrifices are rendered superfluous and sterile, it is in this sense that St. Paul, writing to the Romans, tells them to offer unto God in their own persons, an interior and wholly spiritual host: Obsecro vos, fratres per misericordiam Dei, ut exbibeatis corpora vestra hostiam viventem, sanctam, Deo placentem, rationabile obsequium vestrum (Rom. xii. 1)1. You, who are Christians, says the Apostle, ought to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, agreeable unto God, and reasonable, that is to say, spiritual, in contradistinction to the Sacrifices of the Old Law. So then, the Christian must offer to God, even his very body, making it to take its share in prayer; and this he does by imposing fasts and penances upon it, in order to prevent its continually dragging downwards, according to its own material tendency; in a word, he must so act that the inferior part be continually upheld, so that it may without hindrance unite itself to the superior part of his being.
But let us return to the Offering that is on the Altar. Were this Bread and Wine to remain such as they are they would be no better than the Sacrifices of the Old Law; but inasmuch as they are soon to be changed into the Body, Blood, and Soul of Our Lord Jesus Christ, verily this will be a reasonable Host, essentially reasonable. This is not all: our Oblation must needs be acceptabilem, so that the Lord may truly say: I am wholly satisfied with the Offering made to Me. Ut nobis Corpus et Sanguis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi. At the words Corpus et Sanguis, the Priest makes the Sign of the Cross over the Host and over the Chalice. Oh! may this Oblation become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ! Truly the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ are for ever in Heaven, but we are asking that They may be produced here below in this Oblation which we are offering. So then, it is for our own sakes that we make such a petition to God, as that this Oblation may be changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord, for the Church particularly puts these words on our lips: Fiat nobis, in order that this Body and Blood may be at our own disposal and may even become our very Food.
http://www.liturgialatina.org/benedictine/holymass.htm#quamoblationem
Notes
  1. St. John 19:26-27. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
  2. Romans 12:1. I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

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