December 13th

The Preface is a prayer that introduces the Eucharistic prayer.  The body of the Preface changes from Mass to Mass based on the season or the Feast being celebrated.  Regardless of the season or Feast, however, the dialogue between the priest and the people that introduces the Preface always remains the same.

At the very beginning of the Preface dialogue, the priest prays that the Lord will be with the people (as he does at various other places in the Mass); the people respond by praying that the Lord will be with the priest as well.  We are praying that God will help us all to be attentive to the great mysteries that are about to take place upon our altar.  We are also praying that each and every one of us may be open to receiving all of the graces that God wants to pour out upon us.

The priest then invites all of us to lift up our hearts.  The heart is often used as a symbol of the whole person; the heart can also be a sign of love.  By this invitation, the priest is motivating us to engage in this part of the Mass with all our being and to stir up within ourselves the love that we are all called to have for our God, Who is about to descend upon our altar and into our hearts at Holy Communion.

The final part of the dialogue reminds us that God deserves our thanks and our praise.  We are dependent upon God for our next breath; all that we have that is good comes from Him.  It is only right that we thank Him and praise Him for His goodness and for all the good things that He has done for us.

The body of the Preface, as mentioned, changes from season to season but it always tries to call to our minds some aspect of what God has done for us.  At the end of the Preface we are all reminded that we are not alone in our celebration of the Mass: we are united with all the Angels in Heaven as we sing praise to God. The Angels always sing God’s praises.  Singing to God is one thing that we do here on earth that we will also do in Heaven.  The conclusion of the Preface exhorts us to join our voices with the Angels and sing “their unending song of praise.”

God bless,

Father White