We have our hearts and the altar prepared for the big moment, I mean as well as you can prepare for Jesus’ coming in the Eucharist…
We will be going through all the steps of the Eucharistic prayer. There are variations of the prayer but in its essence, it is the same thing.
The preface is the first part of the thanksgiving and consecration prayer. We are probably used to prefaces in a book, but not a prayer. This part of the prayer is ancient and goes all the way back to a sect in Judaism. In this part of the prayer, we lift up our hearts to fully participate in the mystery. We give thanks to the Lord for his everlasting love. This prayer is basically a long list of thanking God so we name many reasons for our gratitude for His love. We also lift up our hearts and we ask the angels and the saints too join us, and the whole community of the church is together, the visible and invisible is present.
The Sanctus is Latin word for holy. The Sanctus comes from several scripture verses, Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8 and Mark 11:9-10… we repeat Holy three times and we join in the joy of our Lord’s presence. In the holy, we unworthily worship Christ and celebrate His love in beautiful communion with all the church. At this moment we kneel, in other words, we shift our weight our level of attention literally changes to focus on one Person. Sitting helps us listen and kneeling seems to help us adore and praise Him in a more sacrificial and active form, we Catholics love our symbolism and it truly does make an impact!
The epiclesis is a Greek word that means “invoke upon”. The priest at this point asks the Holy Spirit to come upon the gifts of bread and wine so they may become the Body and Blood of Christ; this is the priest institution prayer. The actual transubstantiation happens when the priest makes the Word come alive reciting the words of Jesus at the Last Supper. The consecration is the moment when the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ.
This is the moment of sublime intimacy of Christ with us, when we recognize that God never gets tired of loving us. It wasn’t enough to dwell among us, to die for us, to resurrect for us, to give us His word, his apostles, the Church, but he also thought us worthy enough to trust us with His Body and Blood.
This part of the Mass is such a radical way of living such a radical command from God that many run away from this or are scared to truly embrace it. Scripture tells us that after the last supper many felt uncomfortable and stopped following Christ. Yes, the Eucharist is an uncomfortable sacrament but it’s also the biggest revelation of love, and love is crazy, mad, and sometimes doesn’t make sense. Sacrae Eucharistiae, te amo!
Joandra Mendoza – Writer, unparalleled love