The Prayer over the Offerings prayed at Mass on Sunday, the 2nd Sunday of the Year, is bold in its assertion of the meaningfulness of what we do at Liturgy:
Prayer over the Offerings
Grant us, O Lord, we pray,
that we may participate worthily in these mysteries,
for whenever the memorial of this sacrifice is celebrated
the work of our redemption is accomplished.
Through Christ our Lord.
The Prayer reappears in the Liturgy of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday. It also has the honour of being the first text quoted in Vatican II’s Constitution on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, (SC2).
It comes to us from the Verona ‘sacramentary’, a 6th Century collection of liturgical texts, and our oldest collection of Western liturgical prayers.
It is a firm statement of Catholic belief of the salvific force of the Mass, by the force of the Mass as sacrifice. The Mass is the Sacrament of the Sacrifice, the memorial of the Sacrifice, but in the Sacrament, in the memorial, we are present to the Sacrifice of CHrist, and his Sacrifice is presently effective for us. It is the one Sacrifice, not repeated, not duplicated, but re-presented – actualised, made ‘sensible’ for us – in the sacramental action. In the Mass we are at Calvary and Christ is our reconciliation, the Mercy of God made manifest.
And this is for us.
And we benefit from it when we participate worthily.
- What helps you to join yourself more fully with the Liturgy?
- What hinders?
- How would you understand ‘worthily’ here?
- What one thing might help you share more deeply in the Mass and its benefits?
Wall hanging. Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool. (c) 2016, Allen Morris