January 24th

The prayer that immediately follows the memorial acclamation is a prayer by which the priest offers to God the sacrifice that has just become present upon our altar. The prayer says that from the many gifts that God has given to us, we offer this holy and perfect sacrifice back to God: the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation.

There are two points within this prayer that I would like to reflect upon. First: all things are a gift from God. What do we have, that we have not received? (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:7) Every good gift comes to us from the hand of God. (cf. James 1:17) God gives us so many blessings in our lives; it is only fitting that we offer something back to Him, in order to show our gratitude and our love.

By virtue of our Baptism, each and every one of us shares in the priestly office of Christ. We are all to make of ourselves an offering to God. The ordained priesthood was instituted specifically to serve and assist all members of the Church. At Mass, the priest offers back to God the greatest gift that He ever gave to us: the gift of His Son. The priest offers the Sacrifice that Jesus made of Himself to the Father and we are all called to unite ourselves with that sacrifice and offer ourselves with and through Christ to the Father.

The second interesting thing about this prayer is the language that it uses to refer to the recently consecrated Body and Blood of Our Lord. The prayer refers to the Body of our Lord as the “bread” and the Blood of Our Lord as the “cup”. The Church teaches us that after the Consecration, the only part of the bread and wine that remain are the appearances (taste, smell, etc.). Why, then does the prayer (given to us by the Church) talk about “bread” after the Consecration and focus on the “cup” instead of on the Precious Blood?

The Church reminds us that we often refer to things by their appearance. (cf. CT 2200) In the book of Genesis, Abraham encountered three Angels. After the author of Genesis tells us that they are Angels, they are subsequently referred to more than once as “men”. (cf. Genesis 18) The Angels are called “men” because they have the appearance of men.

The same thing can easily happen when we speak of the Body of the Lord. It continues to have the appearance of bread and therefore the prayer refers to the “bread of life”. So, too, we speak of the “cup” because that is what we see; we know, of course, that the cup is not what is important, but That which the cup contains: the Precious Blood of Our Lord.

God bless,
Father White

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