Tag Archives: liturgical prayer

Not daring to ask

The opening Collect for the Mass of the 27th Sunday through the Year is startling. The prayer is really breath-taking. Did you notice the same line I did when it was prayed by the priest today? Here is what the Church gave the priest to pray:

Almighty ever-living God,
who in the abundance of your kindness surpass the merits
and the desires of those who entreat you,
pour out your mercy upon us to pardon what conscience dreads
and to give what prayer does not dare to ask.
Everything seems “normal” in the prayer: 
  • the address of God: “Almighty and ever-living”
  • the “ut clause”: “who in the abundance of your kindness surpass the merits and the desires of those who entreat you”
  • the petition: “pour out your mercy upon us to pardon what conscience dreads and to give what prayer does not dare to ask”

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The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Today’s liturgical observance of the Holy Cross is a fitting day to ask what we understand it to mean. Because the Cross is the key that unlocks the door of our salvation, Christians ought to ask themselves what they believe the Cross to mean. When you encounter the Cross, what does it really mean for the Church, for you, for those who see the Cross on your person? With the proliferation of the image of the Cross in various places it’s power is not diminished as much as our recognition of the meaning of may have. The Cross in any media is not a decoration for a building, a body, a cake or a book, the Cross is not merely one symbol among others; the Cross is not a talisman that can be summoned upon demand. As Saint Paul says, the Cross is our glory. Catholics learn the meaning of things in the Faith by looking at what is prayed at the sacred Liturgy. Hence, taking time with the antiphons, the Collect and the Preface of a given Mass will indicate what we believe.
We believe….

Christ on cross.jpgWe should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection, through whom we are saved and delivered. (antiphon)

O God, who willed that your Only Begotten Son should undergo the Cross to save the human race, grant, we pray, that we, who have known his mystery on earth, may merit the grace of his redemption in heaven.
For you placed the salvation of the human race on the wood of the Cross, so that, where death arose, life might again spring forth and the evil one, who conquered on a tree, might likewise on a tree be conquered through Christ. (excerpted from the Preface)
We adore you Christ and we praise you, for by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world. 

Give your “Amen” to God’s glory

In our continuing reflection on prayer in the letters of Saint Paul, we now consider the Apostle’s striking affirmation that Jesus Christ is God’s “Yes” to mankind and the fulfillment of all his promises, and that through Jesus we say our “Amen”, to the glory of God (cf. 2 Cor 1:19-20). For Paul, prayer is above all God’s gift, grounded in his faithful love which was fully revealed in the sending of his Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit, poured forth into our hearts, leads us to the Father, constantly making present God’s “Yes” to us in Christ and in turn enabling us to say our “”Yes” – Amen! – to God. Our use of the word “Amen”, rooted in the ancient liturgical prayer of Israel and then taken up by the early Church, expresses our firm faith in God’s word and our hope in his promises. Through this daily “Yes” which concludes our personal and communal prayer, we echo Jesus’ obedience to the Father’s will and, through the gift of the Spirit, are enabled to live a new and transformed life in union with the Lord.

Pope Benedict XVI

30 May 2012

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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