LENT, Well Spent
Week of March 25
This week in our Lent, Well Spent program, we invite you to reflect on the gift of the Mass.
In ways that would have been unimaginable just a few weeks ago, our physical absence from the Mass, out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, has caused many of us to reflect on what participating in the Mass and receiving Jesus in the Eucharist means to us, and how we yearn to be able to return to worship and Holy Eucharist.
Over these next weeks, when Spiritual Communion will be our only opportunity to partake of Holy Eucharist through a televised or streamed Mass, we invite you to pray on what God is calling forth from within you.
Consider the following questions:
- During this time of uncertainty and fear, how may God be calling you to a deeper level of trust in his goodness?
- How might we use this time of social-distancing to attain a greater appreciation for Jesus’ presence in the precious gift of the Eucharist?
- In quiet reflection and prayer, what is God speaking to your heart?
Join us in praying these prayers:
Our Hearts are restless until they rest in you, O God.
Jesus, you taught us to love God
and one another unselfishly.
Thank you for coming to earth and showing us
how to love others without wanting anything in return.
Thank you for your greatest act of love —
dying on the cross to pay for our sins
and to unite us eternally with you,
the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Please give us your grace,
so we can truly love others
and put their needs above our own. Amen.
Saint Catherine of Sienna
Father, you never fail to give us the food of life.
May this Eucharist renew our strength and bring us to salvation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Catholic Mass
This week we are going to walk through the Mass, reflecting on three different perspectives of what it is we do during the Liturgy and considering the ritual parts that comprise our celebration of Eucharist. Our discussion is divided into the following segments.
- What is the Mass?
- Three Perspectives of the Mass
- A Memorial of Christ’s Sacrifice
- As an Encounter with Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist
- As Holy Communion with God, the Communion of Saints, and One Another
- The Parts of the Mass
- Introductory Rites
- Liturgy of the Word
- Liturgy of the Eucharist
- Concluding Rites
What is the Mass?
The Mass is the central act of Christian worship which embodies the mystery of our redemption. Saint Athanasius tells us that “God became man so that man might become God.” Jesus, the second person of the blessed Trinity, became a human person so that we, through Him, might become holy. Jesus lived a human life that exemplified God’s divine love. He suffered, died and rose again so that we might enter into the Mystery of God’s love and ultimately attain the glory of eternal life with Him.
The prayers and actions of the Mass invite us to enter into the divine Mystery of love and participate in Christ’s saving work, uniting our human efforts to Jesus’ saving acts. In the Mass, we participate in Christ’s salvific sacrifice and, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, receive the gift of Jesus’ own Body and Blood in the Eucharist. In this way, we are nourished in faith to witness to God’s presence in our lives; strengthened in hope to know God has more planned for us than this life on earth; and anchored in love to continue Christ’s mission to share God’s love and mercy with the world.
The term, “Mass” itself comes from the Latin “missa,” which means mission or sending. Another name for Mass, “Liturgy,” from the Greek “leitourgia,” means “the work of the people.” In the Mass we take up the work of Christ’s loving sacrifice. Jesus gave us His Holy Spirit who, through the work of the Church, teaches us the Gospel (the Good News), reminds us what Jesus taught, guides us to discern what we are to do and how to go about it, and gives us the courage to do it.
Another name, “Eucharist,” or “thanksgiving,” reminds us that God deserves our thanks and praise for the beauty of creation and all the good gifts with which He has blessed us. The celebration of Eucharist invites us to ground our lives in humble gratitude.
Three Perspectives for Viewing the Mass
There are three perspectives from which we can view the Mass: as a Memorial of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross; as an encounter with Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist; and as an opportunity to enter into Holy Communion with God, the Communion of Saints, and one another.
A Memorial of Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross
Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary is a total gift of love to the Father for the forgiveness of our sins. The Mass makes sacramentally present right now Christ’s redeeming sacrifice on Cavalry in order that its saving power may be more fully applied to our lives. This means that the Mass makes present Christ's final sacrifice of love at Calvary in a bloodless sacrifice on the altar which spiritually strengthens and enriches those who believe. It is this one, final sacrifice of Christ's abiding love that is made present each and every time we celebrate the Mass and receive the Eucharist.
In Jewish tradition, the scriptural concept of “Memorial” is not just to recall a past event but to enter into the Mystery of God who makes the holy liturgical event present now. “The LORD, our God, made a covenant with us at Horeb; not with our ancestors did the LORD make this covenant, but with us, all of us who are alive here this day” (Deuteronomy 5:2-3).
An Encounter with Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist
Remember that Jesus was a devout Jew. He celebrated the Passover meal as the greatest feast of his faith. Passover recalled God’s mercy in saving Israel from slavery in Egypt and the covenant of love established between God and His people in the desert. It is greatly significant that Jesus embraced the opportunity of the Passover meal to establish a New Covenant with his followers, and through them, with us. While eating the Passover meal with his followers, Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell us:
“Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.’ (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20)
Christ’s words are filled with his Divine Creative Power and as a result are effective, meaning that what Christ speaks, occurs. For example, recall what Jesus did when he came upon the funeral procession of the widow of Nain’s son. Moved to compassion by the grief-stricken mother, Jesus stopped the procession and said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” (Luke 7:14) And, the widow’s son was restored to her. Similarly, when the women plagued by the hemorrhage for many years touched Jesus’ cloak in the midst of a great crowd, Jesus drew her forward and told her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction” (Mark 5:34). And, the woman was cured. Throughout the Gospels we have examples of Jesus speaking words of love and compassion and immediately changing the reality of which he speaks.
In this same manner, when Christ blesses the bread and says it is his body, and blesses the wine and says it is his blood, the bread and the wine change becoming his true body and blood.
We use the term: Transubstantiation to refer to the change in the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus in the consecration:
When the priest, acting in Persona Christi—in the person of Christ— speaks Jesus’ words of consecration, the whole substance of the bread changes into the whole substance of the Body of Christ and the whole substance of the wine changes into the whole substance of the Blood of Christ.
Although our senses fail to discern the change in the bread and the wine — it still looks and taste like bread and looks and taste like wine — the Holy Spirit has changed it into Jesus. “For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink” (John 6:53-56).
As Holy Communion with God, the Communion of Saints, and One Another
The Vatican II document, Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, describes the Eucharistic Sacrifice as the "Source and Summit" of Christian life.”
During Mass, the gifts of bread and wine are brought to the altar for consecration. The priest blesses the gifts and invokes the power of the Holy Spirit to transform them into Jesus' body and blood using the words that Jesus Himself spoke at the Last Supper. This act of consecration makes Jesus' sacrifice on the cross -- the one, final sacrifice of his body and the sacrifice of his very life, given out of love for us -- present to everyone who participates. It is this one, final sacrifice of Christ's abiding love that is made present each and every time we receive the Eucharist.
Across time, then, we all receive the one Jesus each time we partake of the Eucharist and, through it, we are brought into union with the Blessed Trinity (God the Father, God the Son —Jesus—, and God the Holy Spirit), and with all those who receive. In this way, the Eucharist, the source of God's life and grace, becomes the summit (the attainment) of all our hopes, which is to be in loving union with God and one another for eternity.
Pope Benedict XVI, explores the dual meanings of the term communion in his first Encyclical:
Union with Christ is also union with all those to whom [Christ] gives himself. I cannot possess Christ just for myself;
I can belong to him only in union with all those who have become, or who will become, his own. Communion draws me
out of myself towards him, and thus also towards unity with all Christians. We become “one body,” completely joined in a single existence. (Deus Caritas Est, 14)
The gift of Jesus is the most perfect sign of God's saving love. We receive Jesus most perfectly in the Eucharist, and in receiving Him, we become more like his divine self (CCC: 460). In his second letter, Saint Peter tells us, “The Word [Jesus] became flesh to make us ‘partakers of the divine nature’” (2 Peter1:4). “For this is why the Word became man and the Son of God became human: so that all people, by entering into communion with the Word [would thus receive] divine adoption as children of God (Saint Irenaeus). “For the Son of God became human so that we might become God” (Saint Athanasius).
Through the purposeful preparation and openness to receiving God's saving love, we allow God to transform us, bit by bit, into the image of God in the Trinitarian relationship of divine love, into loving relationship with God and one another — the goal of our Christian life which leads us into eternal life.
The Parts of the Mass
There are four main parts of every Mass:
- Introductory Rites
- Liturgy of the Word
- Liturgy of the Eucharist
- Concluding Rites
The Introductory Rites
The Introductory Rites consist of everything from the entrance procession through the Collect, that is, right up before the Lector begins to read the first scripture reading for the day.
As Fr. Mario, our pastor, often reminds us, we begin with the sign of who we are: The Sign of the Cross. Making the gesture that accompanies the words to this powerful prayer mark us as God’s faithful people and show our desire to be set apart from the sinful world, to ask God to protect ourselves and our loved ones. In Hebrew tradition, a name mysteriously represents the essence of the person and carries the power of that person. By praying in God’s name, we invoke God’s divine presence, we consecrate the next hour to God, and we commit all we do in God’s name. In this prayer, we ask God to help us to prepare to enter the mystery of salvation.
The greeting: The Lord Be with You follows. These words convey the reality of Christ’s presence with the community of believers. In Biblical tradition, these words were spoken to those God called to a daunting mission, as in the Angel Gabriel’s greeting the Our Blessed Mother, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you..” (Luke 1:28). It reminds us that God calls each of us to fulfill a particular mission and that God is with us to support us. It also points to the awesome reality about to unfold on the altar— the mysteries of Christ’s death and resurrection, and communion with Christ’s body and blood.
Our Response: And with your Spirit address the ordained spirit of the priest about to lead us into the mystery of God’s saving love. It also acknowledges the Holy Spirit’s unique activity in the priest who is preparing to act in persona Christi, in the Person of Christ, on the sacramental sacrifice of the Mass.
Next, in the Confiteor, we recognize our sinfulness and ask God for forgiveness. In Biblical tradition of confessing sins, we confess to both God and our “brothers and sisters” something which highlights both the personal and the social effects of sin. We admit that those good things we have failed to do cause as much harm as the selfish, sinful acts we have committed. The Confiteor includes a Thrice repetition ritual expression of sorrow over our sins: “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.”
The Lord, Have Mercy, a three-fold plea for God’s mercy follows thrice-repeated admission of our sins. Through this reference to the Trinity — ask for mercy from each Person of the Trinity: Father, Christ, Holy Spirit—we ask God to show us his mercy individually and in community. The Greek word, Kyrie is an expression of repentance, a petition, a cry of God’s people for assistance in their lives. Saint Pope John Paul II likens it to Parable of the Prodigal Son — in the parable, the father sees clearly the good achieved in his son thanks to a mysterious radiation of truth and love, and seems to forget the evil the son committed. It is a reminder that God loves us even in the face of our sins; God sees not just the facts of our sins, but also our contrite hearts.
Next, The Gloria follows. In the Kyrie, we express our need for God’s mercy and an Advent-like longing for our savior. In the Gloria, we respond by joyfully expressing our gratitude for having received salvation through Christ. Using the joyful praise of words sung by the angels over the fields of Bethlehem, the Gloria is reminiscent of Christmas joy in thanksgiving for God sending of his son to redeem us. It reminds us of God made manifest in the world in the Incarnation of Jesus, and made present sacramentally on the altar at the consecration. It also proclaims Christ’s in three acts: the Incarnation (God’s only begotten son in human form), his redeeming death (lamb of God sacrificed for our redemption), his triumphant resurrection and ascension (Christ seated at the right hand of God – a unique position of authority).
The Introductory Rites conclude with The Collect, a special prayer the priest leads to gather together all the intentions of the people participating at the Mass in union with the intention of the Church for the particular feast of the liturgical calendar. The people in the congregation respond with Amen (Yes, we believe.).
The Liturgy of the Word
Before the consecration, we are first nourished by God’s word in Sacred Scripture. We recognize that we need both the inspired word of God in Scripture and the Incarnate Word of God in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. Scriptures are God’s self-revelation through inspired word. In sacred scripture, the Holy Spirit is made manifest through the human writer’s thoughts, words, intentions, experiences and intellect. Sacred Scripture, like Jesus, is both fully human and divine, and reveals God through human experience. It is God’s word spoken to our hearts to guide us in living our lives today.
The First Reading is traditionally taken from the Old Testament (during the Easter Season, it is from Acts). Drawn from the OT, it awaits the fullness of Christ’s divine revelation but is still “authentic divine teaching.” We cannot fully understand Christ without understanding the Old Testament, Jesus faith tradition and Holy Scripture. Through it, we enter the story of Israel. At the end of the reading, we respond, Thanks be to God, an – expression of amazement; We do not take this divine revelation for granted.
Next, is the Responsorial Psalm, from the Book of Psalms, God’s own inspired words of praise and thanksgiving. This is a type of liturgical dialogue— an Antiphonal Movement — back and forth between lector/cantor and the congregation.
At Sunday Mass, a Second Reading from the New Testament follows. It may be one of the Epistles, or from Acts or Revelation. In this reading we are invited to reflect on the mysteries of Christ, his saving work, and what it means in our lives.
Next, we stand for the Alleluia!, the Gospel Acclamation. In Hebrew tradition, Alleluia is an expression of joy meaning “Praise God.” The Alleluia is followed by a three-fold Sign of the Cross — on forehead, lips, and chest. The priest or deacon proclaiming the Gospel invokes the silent prayer, ”may the words of the Gospel be on our minds, on our lips, and in our hearts” a ritual by which we consecrate our thoughts, words, and actions to the Lord.
This acclamation and posture shows our reverence for the Gospel which follows. The Gospel is the principal source of the life and teaching of the Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ. We listen attentively to God speaking intimately to each of us.
Following the Gospel, from the earliest days of Christian Liturgies, the priest or deacon offers a Homily, meaning an “explanation.” Rooted in Jewish tradition, it is designed to offer a practical teaching on the Gospel in terms of its relevance to our lives today. According to Church tradition, the Homily may only be given by an ordained minister of the church to whom the handing on of Church teaching has been entrusted.
Next, the congregation stands to profess of our faith in The Creed. The Creed is a summary statement of our faith. Both the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed summarize salvation history which we learn through scripture. Regardless of which Creed we profess, we are grounded us in the reality of God’s divine plan fully revealed in Jesus Christ, and reminded that our lives are caught up in a much larger story—the intense conflict between sin and love, and the truth of God’s loving desire to save us.
The final part of the Liturgy of the Word is the Prayer of the Faithful, through which we offer intercessory prayers from the tradition of the earliest days of our faith – Justin Martyr (AD 155). Through the Prayers of the Faithful, the faithful people of God exercise their priestly function, that is, we participate in Christ’s priestly prayer for entire human family. Intercessory prayer is characteristic of a heart attuned to God’s mercy (CCC: 2635). It reflects our cry for God’s mercy in the Introductory Rites.
The Liturgy of the Eucharist
The Liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the Preparation of the Gifts, the Offertory. In the gifts of bread and wine brought forward to the altar, we offer back to God the gifts of creation and the fruits of our labor. In the offertory, we offer to God a sacrificial offering of our earned wages, a sign of giving our lives to God. In offering God the gifts of our lives, we grow in sacrificial love for God and one another.
The priest begins preparing the gifts by mixing of water and wine. Water is a symbol of Jesus’ humanity and wine is a symbol of Jesus’ divinity. The mingling of the water and wine points to the Incarnation: the mystery of God becoming Man. The Priest prays: “With humble and contrite heart, may we be accepted by you, O Lord, and may our sacrifice in your sight this day be pleasing to you, Lord, God.
Next, the priest ceremoniously washes his hands, while praying the words: “Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sins.” Through these words from Psalm 51, the priest speaks for all the assembled who desire forgiveness of sin and purity of intention. This is a ritual washing reminiscent of the Old Testament priest’s ritual washing before performing duties in the temple sanctuary. This recalls us to the Biblical context of the moment: the priest, like the Old Testament Levites, is about to stand in the most holy place. God is about to come to his people in a most intimate manner through the bread and wine on the altar.
The liturgical language that follows unites us to Christ and His work. It is the Mystical Voice of the Church at prayer, which enables God’s people to speak with the Church’s voice to the Logos as our God, and with the Logos, Jesus, the Word of God. The priest invites the people of God to join him in offering the sacrifice of the Mass. The prayer that follows proclaims the fullness of why we offer Mass.
The priest says: “Pray brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father. The people, in their role as spiritual priests, rise and respond: May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.
It also invokes the baptismal role of the laity to act as spiritual priests in union with the ministerial priest on the altar in offering the sacrifice of Jesus to God the Father in praise of God for the good of us all.
The Eucharistic Prayer, which follows is evocative of Jewish table prayer, the Barakah, usually offered by the father of the family who would take the bread and offer a blessing. In scripture, Jesus did the same before feeding the multitudes and at the Last Supper.
The Preface offer a 3-part dialogue: “The Lord be with You” reminds us that we need God’s assistance as we enter the heart of the Mystery of Jesus gift of our salvation; The priest invites us to Lift up our hearts, a call to give our fullest attention to what is unfolding on the altar; “Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God,” a call for gratitude in response to the imminent miracle about to take place as the bread and wine are changed into Christ’s body and blood.
Next, the Sanctus, the “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord” helps us to see with the eyes of the angels a vision of the heavenly king (Isaiah 6:3). The thrice-repetition of Holy ritually acclaims God as the Holy One, in an angelic hymn of praise. The Hosanna is Hebrew for “save us.” In speaking “Hosanna in the Highest,” we repeat the words the crowd used to welcome Jesus when he entered Jerusalem triumphantly on Palm Sunday.
The Epiclesis which follows is Jewish table prayer: a blessing over the cup included a supplication that God send the Messiah to Israel and restore the Davidic kingdom. Epiclesis means “Invocation upon.” The priest prays asking God the Father to send the Holy Spirit upon the gifts of bread and wine to change them into the body and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ, so that through Jesus, “we may be gathered into one.”
Through the Words of Institution and Consecration, the priest, in persona Christi, repeats Jesus’ words at the Last Supper effecting the change of the bread and wine into Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. In this it is important to understand the Jewish tradition of the Passover. The Last Supper is a Passover Meal. In Jewish tradition, the annual Passover meal is celebrated as a liturgical “Memorial,” not just recalled but made present today — a long ago event made mystically present now. We recall Christ as the sacrificial Lamb of God. In Christ’s words, “Do this in memory of me,” the events of the Last Supper are made sacramentally present to us now, so that through them, the power of God’s mercy may be applied to our lives. Through Christ’s sacrifice now made present on the altar , God forgives our venial sins and unites us more deeply to Christ in his act of total self-giving love.
Directly after the consecration, the priest takes a moment to genuflect in silent adoration before the body and blood of Christ on the altar in an expression of profound wonder and awe. The priest and the congregation together then proclaim the Mystery of Faith. In this prayer the Church calls to mind the Passion, death, resurrection and glorious return of Jesus Christ. It is a prayer which identifies what is happening in the Mass and gives us an opportunity respond to what has just taken place in the consecration.
The Anamnesis is our response to Christ’s command to “Do this in memory of me.” The Greek term evokes the ancient tradition of bringing an object of memory to mind in the same instant that it makes the memory itself come to life, thereby inducing the individual to action. It includes the Offering, by which we take that action to unite ourselves with the sacrifice of Christ. The Church “presents to the Father the offering of His Son which reconciles us with him” (CCC: 1354).
In the Intercessions, near the end of the Eucharistic prayer, the priest makes various intercessions: for all those soon to be nourished by Christ’s body and blood; for the universal Church in communion with the Church in heaven, for Church leaders, and for those living and the dead.
The Eucharistic Prayer culminates with the Doxology, an expression of praise: “Through him, with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours now and forever. The Congregation rises and exclaims the Great Amen! This Hebrew term affirms the validity of what has been said Yes! We believe. In exclamation of faith, we join the host of heaven in chorus of unending praise.
The Communion Rite begins with the congregation rising to pray together the Lord’s Prayer. Using the words Jesus himself taught us, we address God intimately as Our Father, we ask for all we need, and we request protection from evil. Through this prayer, we ask God for an inner sense of Shalom— inner peace of heart, a wholeness in the sense of well-being that only God can provide.
The Rite of Peace follows and reflects our belief that only God can provide peace of heart. Christ offers us a deep, long-lasting sense of wellness in heart and mind, unlike any the world can give. In the exchange of peace, we share that with one another, a foretaste of the unity to come through Holy Communion.
The Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God, prayer follows. In the Introductory Rites, we prayed the Confiteor, through which we admitted our guilt three times. In the Kyrie, we three times cried out for God’s mercy. In the Sanctus, we thrice proclaimed God’s holiness and the blessedness of anyone who comes in the name of the Lord. In the Lamb of God we twice cry for mercy and on last repetition, request Christ’s peace—a type of inner strength and quietness only Christ can give. This prayer connects us to the sign of peace just exchanged and anticipates the unity that will be forged in receiving the Eucharist.
The Fraction is the breaking of the consecrated Eucharistic bread, which ritually symbolizes many partaking of the one loaf of bread — the one Body of Christ. The action of the priest breaking off a small piece of the consecrated host and placing it in the chalice with the consecrated wine is referred to as commingling. As the double consecration of the bread and the wine represent the separation of Christ’s body and blood at the crucifixion, this commingling of Jesus’ body and blood symbolizes the union of the resurrected and heavenly Lamb.
At Communion, the Priest takes the consecrated host and holds it slightly above the chalice and prays, Behold, the Lamb of God… The people respond: Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only the say the word and my soul shall be healed. This responses in scriptural verse reminds us that we are not worthy unto ourselves but that through Christ’s sacrifice, God comes to us intimately, in love.
When we receive Holy Communion, we partake of the wedding feast of Jesus and his Church. We receive Jesus intimately into ourselves and spend a few moments in quiet reflection, savoring God’s presence and love. We receive the real Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus and respond in reverence, humility and love. The act of receiving Holy Communion is rich in intimate marital symbolism. Through the Eucharist, we become one with Christ in love.
The Concluding Rites
The Concluding Rites begin by echoing the opening greeting, The Lord Be with You. These words remind us that God has called us to an important mission for which He has prepared us. We have been enriched by His word and nourished by Jesus’ Body and Blood. We are ready now to act. The priest offers us a blessing as we prepare to leave on our mission to continue Christ’s work in the world. The priest then dismisses us to “Go and serve the Lord” or “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life. We are reminded that Mass means mission or sending. Through the Mass, we have been nourished and strengthened to proclaim God’s love and mercy by our words and deeds. It is up to us how we respond. Now, Go!
- Pray the Mass like Never Before, Fr. Mike Schmitz (45 minutes)
- On Silence and the Meaning of the Mass, Bishop Robert Barron (approximately 9 minutes)
- On the Mass, Bishop Robert Barron (11 ½ minutes)
Additional Questions for Reflection:
- How have you encountered God in the Mass?
- In what ways have you experienced “Communion” with the Word of God in the Eucharist?
- What is God revealing to you about the Mass during this time Covid-19 precautions? About trust? About the true meaning of community and communion?
Some Additional Prayers:
by Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Take, Lord, and receive
all my liberty,
and my entire will,
all that I have and possess.
You have given all to me.
To You, O Lord, I return it.
All is Yours, dispose of it wholly according to Your will.
Give me Your love
and Your grace,
for this is sufficient for me. Amen.
Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today. For all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.
Thanksgiving After Holy Communion
I thank You, Eternal Father, for giving me as the food of my soul,
the Body and Blood of Your Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
May this Divine Food preserve and increase the union of my soul with You.
May it purify me by repressing every evil inclination. Grant that it may be to me
a pledge of a glorious resurrection on the last day.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I love You with all my heart.
I am sorry for ever having offended You, and I desire never to offend You again. Amen.
Prayer to Jesus Christ Crucified
My good and dear Jesus, I kneel before You, asking You most
earnestly to engrave upon my heart a deep and lively faith, hope, and
charity, with true repentance for my sins, and a firm resolve to make amends.
As I reflect upon Your five wounds, and dwell upon them with deep compassion
and grief, I recall, good Jesus, the words the prophet
David spoke long ago concerning You: “They have pierced My hands and My feet,
they have counted all My bones!” (Ps 21:17)
Adoro Te (Humbly We Adore Thee)
by Saint Thomas Aquinas
I devoutly adore You, O hidden God,
truly hidden beneath these appearances.
My whole heart submits to You
and in contemplating You
it surrenders itself completely.
Sight, touch, taste are all deceived
in their judgment of You,
but hearing suffices firmly to believe.
I believe all that the Son of God has spoken:
there is nothing truer than this word of Truth.
On the Cross only the Divinity was hidden,
but here the Humanity is also hidden,
I believe and confess both
and I ask for what the repentant thief asked.
I do not see the wounds as Thomas did,
but I confess that You are my God.
Make me believe more and more in You,
hope in You, and love You.
O Memorial of our Lord’s death!
Living Bread that gives life to man,
grant my soul to live on You
and always to savor Your sweetness.
Lord Jesus, good Pelican*,
wash me clean with Your Blood,
one drop of which can free
the entire world of sins.
Jesus, whom now I see hidden,
I ask You to fulfill what I so desire:
that on seeing You face to face,
I may be happy in seeing Your Glory. Amen.
* In medieval Europe, the pelican was thought to be particularly attentive to her young, to the point of providing her own blood by wounding her own breast when no other food was available. As a result, the pelican came to symbolize the Passion of Jesus Christ and the Eucharist, supplementing the image of the Lamb and the flag. In the penultimate verse of this hymn, Aquinas describes Christ as the loving divine pelican, one drop of whose blood can save the world.