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THE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST: Eucharistic Prayer I (The Roman Canon) (4)
“Therefore, Lord, we pray: graciously accept this oblation of our service, that of your whole family; …”
The intercessions that we make and for which we ask culminate in asking the Lord to be pleased with the service we render him and to others on his behalf in Heaven and on Earth. A believer’s life can be framed entirely as service. Everyone in their condition and state of life is called to serve God through serving others, just in different ways. In the intercessions we’ve just prayed we’ve been at each others’ spiritual service. The saints, even in Heaven, at eternal rest for their labors, are happy to serve us. They’ll receive no more reward for their service, yet they do it. We need to have that same spirit here on earth: not something to grudgingly do and “get over with,” but as preparation for the beatific life in Heaven.
“…order our days in your peace,…”
Service implies giving of ourselves, so when we truly try to be generous in our service we can become anxious about depleting ourselves, as well as discouraged when our service is not reciprocated, recognized or spurned. It is anxiety, concerns, and discouragement that rob us of our peace, so we must constantly pray that Our Lord bless us with the peace he promised his Apostles (and us) at the Last Supper. Things may still seem a little crazy from a human point of view; Our Lord said his peace was not like the world’s. The peace he gives us is a deeper spiritual reserve from which we can draw in order to serve better.
“… and command that we be delivered from eternal damnation and counted among the flock of those you have chosen.”
The “command” in this context is one of a judge releasing someone unjustly imprisoned. The Fall condemned us all to damnation, and our sins don’t improve our situation: they put us in chains. Our service will be judged, and we hope that we’re acquitted for the wrong we’ve done in life.
We can imagine that day as going from courtrooms and trials to green pastures. Even today, if we live a life of grace, we are numbered among the Lord’s flock. One day our communion with God and the saints will be complete and we will enjoy the greener pastures of Heaven and the shadow of death will never darken our lives again.
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