Finding Peace in the Eucharistic Prayer
Thursday 7 July 2011
While not used all that often, there are alternative Eucharistic prayers in the Roman Missal including settings categorized for Masses with Children and the, all-too-often underused, Masses for Reconciliation.
Given that our whole lives call for reconciliation, the acknowledgement of our individual and collective wrongdoings as well as the striving toward returning to right relationship with ourselves, others and God, it seems that the Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation (options one and two) should or at least could be used more often.
Last night I went to bed thinking about the Second Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation. I have found myself thinking about the various Eucharistic Prayers rather often lately. Perhaps this is because my friar classmate and I will be ordained – God willing – in just a few months. The structure of the prayer, an adaptation of the Jewish table prayers made new and different at the Last Supper, has especially caught my attention.
Our collective prayer of thanksgiving, through the prayer of the priest speaking on behalf of all those gathered (for the priest is the presider and principal celebrant, but the entire Body of Christ is who offers the prayer of the Eucharist, a prayer of thanksgiving), recalls the entirety of salvation history and all for which we are grateful.
The so-called Institution Narrative provides an opportunity for the community to enter into the memoria, the “calling to mind,” what happened that night before Jesus Christ was betrayed. What follows is the entire prayer of the Church, the intercessory offering of our desire to be in communion with God and one another, scattered as we are throughout the world (Lumen Gentium no. 13).
It is the setting of the Second Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation that I wish to share today. The words are to infrequently prayed, but the preface which I share with you below offers us much to consider. May we take the time to hear the words of the Eucharistic Preface anew, finding peace and the impetus for justice in the Eucharist we celebrate together.
Father, all powerful and ever living God, we praise and thank you through Jesus Christ our Lord for your presence and action in the world.
In the midst of conflict and division, we know it is you who turn our minds to thoughts of peace.
Your Spirit is at work when understanding puts an end to strife, when hatred is quenched by mercy, and vengeance gives way to forgiveness.
For this we should never cease to thank and praise you.
We join with all the choirs of heaven as they sing forever to your glory…
Each Eucharistic Prayer Preface includes this basic structure, but this particular setting highlights the pneumatology (the focus on the Holy Spirit) in a way that strikes me as particularly relevant for our day. May we indeed find ourselves working to end strife, end hatred with mercy and forgive: then we will be living as Christians, proclaiming with our words and deeds the Kingdom of God.
(FYI: Tomorrow Prince William and Kate Middleton will be less-than two miles away from where I’m staying for the month on retreat. I wonder how chaotic Santa Barbara will be because of their visit).