What follows are my (unscholarly) thoughts and reflections on the Mass prayers for the 33rd week in Ordinary Time. Hopefully this exercise will enrich our participation at Holy Mass.
Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God,
the constant gladness of being devoted to you,
for it is full and lasting happiness
to serve with constancy
the author of all that is good.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
It should be obvious that everything which the Church teaches is taught so that we might be happy in this life and forever in the next. If a person lives according the teachings of the Church, then there is only one thing which can steal the happiness which results–sin. Sin is the cause of all unhappiness in the world; it robs people of what should rightfully be theirs.
Allow me to make a bold statement, worshipping God at Mass on Sunday makes a person happier than he would otherwise be. Let me elaborate. Each person is made to offer worship to God, this is a part of human nature. Public worship, of some variety or another, has been a part of every society throughout history. While there have always been examples of “village atheists/agnostics,” this has always been the exception–until the present age. Why is this? Many people give a variety of answers to this question, but I think the most compelling answer is consumerism.
Consumerism, the insatiable appetite for created things (a result of original sin), often supplants our innate religious instincts. When a person is filled with material things, the need to attend to his soul becomes muted. This leads to the indifferentism which, in large part, causes many people (regardless of religion) to fail to fulfill their religious duties. The results of this are clear: fewer Sacraments are administered and houses of worship of every denomination lay empty. In this collect, we ask to be free of such pitfalls in order that we may attain true happiness.
We need devotion to make our worship of God a joy. To sustain joyful worship throughout a lifetime, a person needs the virtue of constancy. It is by the virtue of constancy that a person remains firm in his devotion in the face of external hindrances, of which consumerism and indifferentism are prime examples. As the political climate around the world makes clear, religious persecution is a threat to our devoted worship. The virtue of constancy will allow us to persevere at worship in the face of many obstacles.
Prayer over the Offerings:
Grant, O Lord, we pray,
that what we offer in the sight of your majesty
may obtain for us the grace of being devoted to you and gain us the prize of everlasting happiness. Through Christ our Lord.
Full disclosure: my Latin is not what it should be. In fact, my Latin vocabulary and grammar have (to my shame) decreased in the last couple years. I will work to rectify that.
In my (rudimentary) analysis of the Latin, “Concéde, quæsumus, Dómine, ut óculis tuæ maiestátis munus oblátum et grátiam nobis devotiónis obtíneat, et efféctum beátæ perennitátis acquírat,” I don’t see a word that literally means “prize.” Please correct me in the comment section if I am wrong. I think the translators render “effectum” as prize to reflect the sense of the Latin prayer as well as the theology of merit. The theology of merit is very important to living the Christian life as well as understanding the prayers which the Church uses in her liturgy. Expect a post on the Catholic doctrine of merit in the coming week.
Prayer after Communion:
We have partaken of the gifts of this sacred mystery, humbly imploring, O Lord,
that what your Son commanded us to do
in memory of him
may bring us growth in charity. Through Christ our Lord.
This prayer calls to mind Our Lord’s words at the Last Supper and the words of the priest at the consecration of the Precious Blood, “Do this in memory of me.” The worthy receiving of Holy Communion requires a person be in the state of grace which is the same thing as having the theological virtue of charity alive in one’s heart. The holier a person is, the more charity he has in his heart. This prayer asks that, by the worthy reception of Holy Communion at this Mass, the individual might become more holy. The surest way to become more holy is the frequent reception of the Sacraments of the Church, especially Holy Eucharist and Penance.
This should go without being said, but because of the confusion on the matter allow me to reiterate: One should not receive Holy Communion without being properly prepared. In general, this means having the right intention as well as not being conscious of having any unconfessed grave sins.
I would love to hear your responses/thoughts to the prayers of the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Please share them in the comments!
This is the fourth post in the series, “Weekly Euchology.”