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THE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST: The Communion Rite – The Lord’s Prayer
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (n.80; see nn.81ff.) teaches that since the Eucharist is the Paschal Banquet, the faithful who participate in it and are properly disposed should receive the Body and Blood of the Lord as their spiritual food. The Communion Rite prepares us for this moment through the Lord’s Prayer, the Rite of Peace, the Fraction of the Bread.
Attending Mass without receiving Communion is like going to a fine dinner and not eating anything; it makes you feel incomplete and unsatisfied. Our Lord’s sacrifice is not just offered for our intentions and the intentions of the whole world; it is offered to us as the Bread of Life that we need to have strength in the journey. We have to prepare ourselves in order to receive it worthily and fruitfully.
The Lord’s Prayer
“At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching,”
Our Lord teaches us to pray, and it’s fitting that as a preparation for Communion we say the prayer that he taught us. He doesn’t just explicitly tell us to pray; he gives us an example of prayer to follow, just as we’re called to imitate him in every aspect of our life.
“…we dare to say: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…”
We know that Our Lord is the Son, but we probably would have never thought of calling God Our Father if he had not taught us to do so and encouraged us to treat his Father as our Father. If you walked up to a complete stranger and called him Dad he would probably panic or want to get away from you as quickly as possible, writing you off as crazy. We call God in Heaven our Father because Our Lord taught us to treat him as our father. He has adopted us as his children through baptism, so it’s not just an honorific title, but something he’s brought about in us through his grace.
We consider him not only Our Father, but truly holy: you can call someone your father and have no respect for them whatsoever if it’s just biology to you. We not only acknowledge the paternity he’s chosen to give us through grace, but we respect him and honor him as a worthy Father.
“…thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The Preface for the Solemnity of Christ the King describes well on what we’re requesting when we pray that the Kingdom of God come:
[our Lord Jesus Christ] by offering himself on the altar of the Cross as a spotless sacrifice to bring us peace, … might accomplish the mysteries of human redemption and, making all created things subject to his rule, he might present to the immensity of your majesty an eternal and universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.
The Father wants us to all enter into his Kingdom. Our Lord offered himself on the altar of the Cross to bring us peace, and now we offer him once again, sacramentally, so that we might receive peace and so that the Kingdom may extend to our hearts and captivate and conquer them with God’s love. The Father already reigns in Heaven, and we pray that he reign on earth as well.
“Give us this day our daily bread…”
Many of the early Church Fathers saw this petition as the central reason for including the Lord’s Prayer in the celebration of the Eucharist. At each celebration of the Eucharist it has special significance, because the Bread of Life is the sustenance we truly need. We need to ask for our daily sustenance too, but it is the Bread of Life that will permanently satisfy us from here to eternity.