THE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST: Eucharistic Prayer II (8)

For more on this moment in the Eucharistic Prayers, see Eucharistic Prayer I (15) and Eucharistic Prayer III (10).

“Through him, and with him, and in him, …”

We would not have this moment if Christ had not made it possible. We’re offering him to Our Heavenly Father. Through Our Lord pleasing worship is made possible. Even now as the bishop or priest celebrating Mass raises the sacrifice of Christ, the Eucharist, to give glory to the Heavenly Father we remember our High Priest who bore the sacrifice of himself into the Heavenly Sanctuary: “For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf” (Hebrews 9:24).

At the moment of his Ascension he promised to remain with us always “to the close of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Christ continues to be with us in many ways, as Vatican II’s constitution on the sacred liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, reminds us (n.7): “Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. he is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of his minister, ‘the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross’, but especially under the Eucharistic species. By his power he is present in the sacraments, so that when a man baptizes it is really Christ himself who baptizes. He is present in his word, since it is he himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church. He is present, lastly, when the Church prays and sings, for he promised: ‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’ (Matthew 8:20).”

Lastly, it is in Christ that we offer worship to the Heavenly Father. We don’t just join the Church; we are incorporated into her, the Bride of Christ, through Baptism, and, like the marriage between man and woman, we become one flesh with Christ, his Mystical Body: “Christ indeed always associates the Church with himself in this great work wherein God is perfectly glorified and men are sanctified. The Church is his beloved Bride who calls to her Lord, and through him offers worship to the Eternal Father” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n.7).

“…O God, almighty Father, …”

We direct our worship alongside Christ to Our Heavenly Father because the Father put the whole wondrous work of creation and salvation into motion. From eternity he wanted us to one day be gathered before him through believing in his Son: “The eternal Father, by a free and hidden plan of his own wisdom and goodness, created the whole world. His plan was to raise men to a participation of the divine life. Fallen in Adam, God the Father did not leave men to themselves, but ceaselessly offered helps to salvation, in view of Christ, the Redeemer… He planned to assemble in the holy Church all those who would believe in Christ” (Lumen Gentium, n.2).

Here we are, believers in Christ, gathered around the Son and standing sacramentally before Our Father, until one day we stand beside him, alongside Christ, face to face.

“…in the unity of the Holy Spirit,…”

We cannot leave out the Holy Spirit, who makes this entire salvific dynamism and history possible. Water doesn’t just incorporate us into the Church; water and the Spirit do. Even when Our Lord received John’s Baptism in the Jordan the Holy Spirit was there, and moved him to go into the desert and prepare spiritually for his public ministry. At Pentecost the Spirit moved the Apostles to go out of the upper room and start sharing the Good News and gathering others into the Church.

Lastly, it is the Spirit that ensures a unity of life. The unity of life that survives death, and a unity of life with God and with all fellow believers in communion with him.

“…all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever. Amen.”

If all that doesn’t make us believe that God really deserves and has all glory and honor forever, nothing will. In the doxology we’re making an act of faith that God is not only good, but good forever. Let’s never forget why.

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