This week in the liturgical calendar is different from others. The 34th week in Ordinary Time is the final week in the liturgical year. The liturgical year begins afresh next week with the First Sunday of Advent. Usually, the prayers of the Sunday Mass are used throughout the subsequent week, unless there is a saint’s feast, votive Mass, or something of the like. However, the last Sunday of the liturgical year (the 34th) is always set aside for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. For this reason, the prayers of the week will not be the prayers on Sunday.
This edition of the “Weekly Euchology” is on the prayers for the 34th week in Ordinary Time (not heard on Sunday).
Stir up the will of your faithful, we pray, O Lord, that, striving more eagerly
to bring your divine work to fruitful completion, they may receive in greater measure
the healing remedies your kindness bestows.
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.
As the disciples first made clear, coming to know, love, and follow Our Blessed Lord requires a definitive choice. Saints Peter, James and John had to choose to leave their nets on the shore and follow Jesus. What must have preceded this definitive choice was a stirring in their hearts as they listened to Our Lord speak. Next, they reaped the miraculous catch of fish. The rest is (salvation) history.
When our hearts are stirred it is easier for us to make the conscious decision to do something–successful salesmen exceed at this when they arouse a desire in a potential costumer for their product. For us, in our choosing to become or continue as followers of Jesus, this stirring of the will is a big help to our sanctification. Saints are spurned on to achieve holiness not by a sense of obligation or “Catholic guilt,” but by love and desire for God! This prayer asks for these sentiments to be alive in our hearts so that, with Saints Peter, James, and John, we can “leave everything” to follow Jesus.
Prayer over the Offerings:
Accept, O Lord, the sacred offerings
which at your bidding we dedicate to your name and, in order that through these gifts
we may become worthy of your love,
grant us unfailing obedience to your commands. Through Christ our Lord.
That a person is not, in himself, worthy of God is very disagreeable to the modern ear. Most people have a skewed sense of tolerance that says something to the effect of, “you’re alright, I’m alright, we’re all alright.” This (flawed) manner of thinking fails to account for the reality of personal sin which is intimately bound up with our human experience. In brief, none of us is worthy of God until God makes us worthy of Himself. This is seen in the Sunday Gospel when Our Lord sanctifies the Good Thief–in an instant he is made holy, “today, you will be with me in Paradise.” This week’s prayer, however, prayer takes our sanctification a step further, by asking that one’s worthiness come about, “thought these gifts.” This is the Catholic doctrine of merit (we engage in the work of offering the liturgy). I promised to discuss merit last week–the brief post will be forthcoming. In sum, though, we are made more worthy of God’s love by participation at Holy Mass.
Prayer after Communion:
We pray, almighty God,
that those to whom you give the joy of participating in divine mysteries may never be parted from you. Through Christ our Lord.
The biggest blessing a person can receive is to have his soul united to God. For the person who is attuned to this reality, the whole orientation of his life changes. Things formerly thought important are displaced by heavenly joys. If a person intentionally lives out this new identity, he or she can savor a foretaste of the Heavenly Banquet. The most frequent location for this experience is the celebration of the Mass and the reception of the Sacraments. This prayer bids that the faithful who participate in the offering of the Mass always remain connected to God by grace. Unfortunately, this is not always the case as Saint Peter tells us:
For if they, having escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of [our] Lord and savior Jesus Christ, again become entangled and overcome by them, their last condition is worse than their first. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment handed down to them. What is expressed in the true proverb has happened to them,“The dog returns to its own vomit,” and “A bathed sow returns to wallowing in the mire.”
2 Peter 2:20-22
May each of us remain faithful to the Lord Jesus by our participation at Holy Mass.
I would love to hear your responses/thoughts to the prayers of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time. Please share them in the comments!
This is the fifth post in the series, “Weekly Euchology.”
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