Tag Archives: Eucharist

The Perfect Prayer

Many years ago, while still a member of the laity (in fact, the diaconate wasn’t even on my radar), I had settled into my pew a few minutes early before Mass, finished a brief prayer, then read the readings for the day in the missal. As I turned the missal over to set it on the pew, the prayers on the back cover caught my attention.

Lord Jesus Christ, take all my freedom, my memory, my understanding and my will. All that I have and cherish you have given me. Your love and your grace are wealth enough for me. Give me these, Lord Jesus, and I ask for nothing more. Amen.

I was familiar with many of them, but this day, a prayer I’d never noticed popped out at me:  The Dedication to Jesus. As I read the prayer, I felt it resonate deep within my heart… these words spoke to me in a way that no prayer ever had. When I’d finished reading, I noticed the attribution to St. Ignatius of Loyola.

I took the missal home, memorized it over a period of a few months; it became my “go-to” prayer. A short, meaningful rededication of my faith and trust in Jesus.

Ignatian spirituality has become a central theme in my prayer life since then. I was content… at peace in my acceptance of Christ the King. And then Sr. Faustina crossed my path. She hadn’t been canonized… her cause was certainly an active one, but I’d never encountered The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. And, as you might expect, one aspect of the Chaplet clung to my heart just as tenaciously as the Ignatian Dedication:  The Our Father bead prayer… coupled with the 10th Hail Mary bead prayer.

For me, on this Divine Mercy Sunday, I am thankful for this prayer which has a singular place for me outside of the Chaplet:  just before the reception of the Holy Eucharist, I offer all that Jesus is giving to me in His Holy Body & Blood to our Heavenly Father. It centers me… provides me with a powerful focus for reception of the sacrament. Most of all, year-round, I commemorate His Passion for salvation of the whole world.

Mercy… Yes!

Table Fellowship

Holy Saturday… we wait, anticipating Christ Jesus’ glorious resurrection. And we prepare: homemade breads and cakes, handcrafted butter, eggs from our hens and honey from our bees. All done in preparation for that first meal on Easter Day. Food crafted with loving hands for gatherings that we take for granted:  coming together as family, friends, even acquaintances and strangers to break bread… to share in table fellowship.

PaschalBlessing

A basket of food prepared for the Paschal Blessing.

The Paschal Blessing of food before the Easter Vigil confirms our faith in God’s generosity. He has given us so much! In the Book of Blessings, the Paschal Blessing suggests a number of readings for the long form. This year I chose Isaiah 55:1-11, “An Invitation to Grace”.

Only listen to me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. Pay attention and come to me; listen that you may have life.

Jesus, in the Upper Room, sharing the Passover Supper with his Apostles… table fellowship that was transformed by His Word into the Eucharistic Banquet. And at the center of it all:  food from God’s bounty. For the Jews, the lamb, bitter herbs and the unleavened bread. For the Apostles, soon to be heralds of the Gospel, it was the bread and the wine. Bread and wine transformed into the body and blood, soul and divinity of their beloved teacher.

Table fellowship. Never again to be taken for granted or treated lightly. Transformed at table for all eternity.