Taste and See: Pro nobis

Crucifixion LiverpoolThe 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

Taste and See: more than the fluff of candy floss

Christ the King, LiverpoolAt Mass yesterday we sang Psalm 92, as part of the Liturgy of the Word on the feast of Christ the King.

The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed.

The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed;
the Lord has robed himself with might,
he has girded himself with power.

The world you made firm, not to be moved;
your throne has stood firm from of old.
From all eternity, O Lord, you are.

Truly your decrees are to be trusted.
Holiness is fitting to your house,
O Lord, until the end of time.

Psalm 92:1-2,5

 

It  offers images of constancy and solidity that contrast with our oft-times experience of the world with its passing fads and fashions, with its truths and certainties the candy floss of spin.

In the world of the psalm, and maybe THE world, the world of the Kingdom, there is much more that is stable and trustworthy.

The psalm excites us with its vision prompts us to pray ‘Thy kindom come…’

They may not allow the ad in the cinema (and maybe they’re right?), but praying the Lord’s Prayer today seems a most appropriate thing to do in response to yesterday’s feast and today’s world.

Figure of Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool. (c)  2006, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: My refuge, my joy

Healing and Incorporation, Liverpool The Responsorial Psalm on Sunday, the 6th in Ordinary Time, has the congregation thank for the Lord for care and safety, for healing and welcome back into God’s ‘family’.

On Sunday, the psalm is prayed, of course, immediately after we have heard the precepts of Leviticus about segregation and exclusion, which  – at least to modern ears – are rather harrowing.

 

You are my refuge, O Lord; you fill me with the joy of salvation.

Happy the man whose offence is forgiven,
whose sin is remitted.
O happy the man to whom the Lord
imputes no guilt,
in whose spirit is no guile.

But now I have acknowledged my sins;
my guilt I did not hide.
I said: ‘I will confess
my offence to the Lord.’
And you, Lord, have forgivenThe
the guilt of my sin.

Rejoice, rejoice in the Lord,
exult, you just!
O come, ring out your joy,
all you upright of heart.

You are my refuge, O Lord; you fill me with the joy of salvation.

Psalm 31:1-2,5,11

Few of us will have experienced, or imposed, the exclusion envisaged in Leviticus. But guilt and shame is something we are all very familiar with. And that tends to form its own  barriers, and have us hide from ourselves and others.

The psalmist knows the re-integration which is brought about by the love and mercy of God. And does not keep it to himself!

  • What keeps you from feeling whole and wholesome? Try to bring your needs to the Lord in prayer.
  • Who do you know who seems to live ‘in exile’? How might you reach out to them? Simple prayer to God for them can have its good effects!

Photograph of the Holy Oils used in celebrations of Baptism, Confirmation and Ordination, and the Anointing of the Sick and their place of reservation at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. (c) 2006, Allen Morris.