Taste and See: Parallel lines that meet…

Albrighton station bridge

One of the features of our Semitic heritage is a certain liking for and a certain facility with rhetorical use of parallelisms in liturgical speech: making two statements in parallel, sometimes with the second reinforcing the first, sometimes contrasting.

The grammatical structure was much in evidence in some of the presidential prayers provided for Mass on Sunday, the 11th Sunday of the Year..

Collect
O God, strength of those who hope in you,
graciously hear our pleas,
and, since without you mortal frailty can do nothing,
grant us always the help of your grace,
that in following your commands
we may please you by our resolve and our deeds.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Prayer over the Offerings
O God, who in the offerings presented here
provide for the twofold needs of human nature,
nourishing us with food
and renewing us with your Sacrament,
grant, we pray,
that the sustenance they provide
may not fail us in body or in spirit.
Through Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
As this reception of your Holy Communion, O Lord,
foreshadows the union of the faithful in you,
so may it bring about unity in your Church.
Through Christ our Lord.

When presiders are alert to this structure it helps them with their proclamation of the prayers. When other members are alert to it, it helps them with their hearing and response to the prayer, and to their cooperation with the grace of God – surely provided as God’s response to the Church’s prayer.

Albrighton station bridge. (c) 2008, Allen Morris.

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