February 7th

Following the prayer that we looked at last week, there follows a prayer which has a pause in the middle of it.  This prayer is known as the “Commemoration of the Dead.”  In this prayer, the priest commends the faithful departed to the Lord and then pauses for a moment in order to call to mind those for whom he wishes to pray.  This pause in the Eucharistic prayer is an opportunity for all of us to call to mind our departed loved ones and commend them to the loving mercy of God.

After this short pause for silent prayer, the priest prays that all those who sleep in Christ may enjoy the presence of Christ in Heaven.  This prayer beautifully asks that those who sleep in Christ find “light, happiness, and peace.”

The next prayer asks that all of us have some share in the communion of Saints and another group of Saints is invoked.  All of these Saints are martyrs of the early Church.  After Saint John the Baptist is named, there are seven male Saints and seven female Saints: some of them are well known, some of them we know very little about.

The point of this list is not to list the most popular Saints, or the most recent, for then this list of Saints would be constantly changing.  This list of martyrs is meant to connect us with the early Church.  It is said that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.  Those early martyrs shed their blood and thus gave witness to their faith.

By calling upon these Saints who died so long ago, we are reminded of the unity of the Church: not just the unity of the Church in the present day, but the unity of the Church throughout the ages.  We belong to the same Church as those martyrs of the first century.  Through their example and sacrifice the Christian faith flourished.  We honor them because they were early witnesses to the Faith; and they continue to pray for us from Heaven.

This prayer concludes by asking all the Saints in Heaven to pray for us.  Let us not forget to seek often the assistance of the Saints, for their intercession can gain for us many graces from the Lord.  All holy men and women, pray for us!

God bless,

Father White

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