The Prayer after Communion on Sunday opened up an important dimension of the spiritual life.
Graciously be present to your people, we pray, O Lord,
and lead those you have imbued with heavenly mysteries
to pass from former ways to newness of life.
Through Christ our Lord.
The language of the prayer may be very formal, and even a bit clunky, but the sentiments expressed here are important for us to take to ourselves and learn to live by.
We can be encouraged that what we pray for in this prayer has in fact already come to pass, for God is indeed present to his people – not least in the Sacrament just celebrated, but also in countless ways each day.
And yet we ought not to take God’s presence for granted. God is God and we but creatures, that God cares and that God is present should startle us every day. But, again, he is present, and his love overflows the regular meaning of the word ‘care’. His love is beyond compare, and it is shared with us.
The mystery of God’s love is not an end in itself – at least not so far as we are concerned – it is our hope for growth and healing and for coming to the newness, the fullness, of life.
- Give thanks for the goodness of God.
One prayer regularly used when we wish to give thanks and praise is the Magnificat. Mary’s prayer of thanksgiving for God’s goodness to her, prayed in response to the greeting of Elizabeth at the Visitation, finds fresh expression on the lips of the children of the Mother of the Church.
My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her lowliness;
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.
The Almighty works marvels for me.
Holy his name!
His mercy is from age to age,
on those who fear him.
He puts forth his arm in strength
and scatters the proud-hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones
and raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things,
sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant,
remembering his mercy,
the mercy promised to our fathers,
to Abraham and his sons for ever
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.
- For what does your soul glorify the Lord?
- Bring that to him in prayer.
Image of the Visitation, Ein Kerem, The Holy Land.
Photograph (c) Allen Morris, 2012