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Preface III of Easter
For more information on the Preface in general, see The Eucharistic Prayer (2) and The Eucharistic Prayer (3)
The Easter season reminds us that Our Lord is not only alive, but active, forever.
Christ living and always interceding for us
When we profess the Creed we profess our faith that Our Lord has ascended into Heaven and “is seated at the right hand of the Father.” What is he doing at the Father’s right hand? He’s not only basking in the glory of his Incarnation, Passion, death, and Resurrection, but is interceding for us. He is asking the Father to help us to be with him in Heaven.
“He never ceases to offer himself for us but defends us and ever pleads our cause before you: he is the sacrificial Victim who dies no more, the Lamb, once slain, who lives for ever.”
It is a testimony to Christ’s perfect and unconditional love that even while his earthly service and ordeals are over he still offers himself to the Father for us in eternity. An imperfect love would tire under such a burden, but Our Lord draws rest and strength from loving others. In Revelation the apostle John sees the Lord as “a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth” (Revelation 5:6). The number “seven” here represents fullness: fullness of authority (horns), fullness of vigilance (eyes), and fullness of presence in the world (spirits of God). When John refers to the Lamb, to Our Lord, he describes him as the “Lamb who was slain,” the sacrificial victim who no longer dies, but is always before Our Heavenly Father as an offering made for us.
However, he is unlike any offering that has come before him. He’s not a finite and limited offering, nor a victim who lies lifeless on the altar before the throne of God. This offering speaks and continues to defend us and plead our cause, a living sacrifice. This is a pattern of life that we too can and should follow: through our spiritual worship, presented alongside the offering of the Son, we too become a living sacrifice, as Paul reminds us: “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1).
Vatican II’s dogmatic constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, describes this spiritual worship: “in receiving the sacraments, in prayer and thanksgiving, in the witness of a holy life, and by self-denial and active charity” (n.10).
This doesn’t take the place of the Eucharist; it helps us participate in it more actively and fruitfully. Our Lord continues to offer himself and intercede for us. Let’s do our part.
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