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THE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST: Eucharistic Prayer II (2)
“You are indeed Holy, O Lord, the fount of all holiness…”
In the preface we expressed our gratitude to Our Lord for making us a holy people, and this desire was something the Father had asked for and desired for a long time. Even in the Old Testament he encouraged Israel repeatedly to be holy because he was holy (see, among other passages, Leviticus 11:44-45, 19:2, 20:7). Our Lord said not only to be holy, but to be “perfect” like the Heavenly Father was perfect (see Matthew 5:28), and Peter too would remind the first Christians of the need to be holy and the reason why (see 1 Peter 1:16).
The Lord is not only holy, but the source of our holiness. There is no other way to become holy than Our Lord: holiness is communion with God. Adam and Eve had been stocked with holiness for themselves and for us and they lost it with two bites of forbidden fruit. To be holy requires grace, and the Lord is its only source: “since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Romans 3:23–25).
For us to be able to tap into this source of holiness Our Lord had to reopen it through his sacrifice for us, and we had to draw closer to him in faith and partake of it. The Lord freely offered it to us; we didn’t deserve it, and we never could. Even Adam and Eve, eons ago, received it as a gift, along with their existence. From the dawn of humanity we’re born into this world as fallen creatures, and, thanks to the sacrifice of the son of man and Son of God, we’re re-created in grace and restored.
This is not a one-time deal: the Lord is the “fount” of holiness because we need to return to the fount, over and over, to purify ourselves and to keep growing in holiness. We externally express this process in so many ways (prayer, sacramental life, acts of charity), but to stay connected to the source our faith in Christ must not wane, or else even all those laudable practices will become hollow.
As we begin the Eucharistic Prayer let’s renew our faith in the fount of holiness and strive to be holy like him and because of him.