The Prayer after Communion on Sunday last, the 27th of Ordinary Time, was of course completely orthodox in its theology and anthropology, but breathtaking in what it asks for.
Grant us, almighty God,
that we may be refreshed and nourished
by the Sacrament which we have received,
so as to be transformed into what we consume.
Through Christ our Lord.
Normally we transform food into us. Here, uniquely, the prayer is for us to become what the Eucharistic food and drink most proudly are: Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary.
Already members of his Body through Baptism, we pray to become more fully what we already are through the gift of Holy Communion.
These themes of incorporation and transformation – strongly there in our Catholic tradition from the teaching of Jesus himself (I am the vine, you are the branches), through Paul, Augustine, Aquinas and on – challenge us against settling for other rather more anaemic modes of affiliation that ‘count’ as ‘practicing’.
- Where is transformation being experienced in your life?
- Where is it being resisted?
- Where do you most desire it and why?
Bring your thoughts and feelings to the Lord, Head of the Body we are, in a time of prayer.
Image of the Church united in the Eucharist is by Hildegard of Bingen.
The Prayer after Communion at yesterday’s Mass reminds of an important point about Christian worship and Christian life, and the connection between the two.
Renewed by this bread from the heavenly table,
we beseech you, Lord,
that, being the food of charity,
it may confirm our hearts
and stir us to serve you in our neighbour.
Through Christ our Lord.
The real test of the authenticity of our worship is whether we are changed by it.
This rather puts the pressure on those who prepare the Liturgy for our participation, and who minster as priests and readers and musicians and all. But above all it places a certain responsibility on us all – to participate in the first place, but then to allow that participation to make a difference.
We are asked, invited, to take responsibility for how the life of Christ given us in word and communion and assembly and ministry, bears fruit in our lives in love. In love of neighbour and love of God. But if we want to see how we love God, we look to how we love our neighbour.
Love of neighbour may well include having some fun with iced water and donating to a charity, but look here for some words of context.
- How are you living love of neighbour today?
- And of God?
The image is of an advertising icon for the great photography exhibition held each year in Arles. I don’t think I understood the connection this year between image and exhibition this year. But nice icon!
Photograph (c) Allen Morris, 2014