Scriptural Retreat Reflection: Roman Canon Eucharistic Prayer I

The Roman Canon-Eucharistic Prayer 1 is the common prayer of the entire Church, who lifts our hearts with one voice to plead for the mercy of Our Heavenly Father, thanking and praising Him for the Sacrificial Gift of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and is a re-presentation of this once for all sacrifice offered for our salvation. 

Within the entire prayer, starting with the Preface, The Church guides the faithful to open their hearts and join with one voice to Praise and Honor God for His unending sacrifice. 

The Church Prayer begins with a Preface:

V: The Lord be with You.

R: And with your Spirit.

V: Lift your hearts up to the Lord.

R: We lift them up to the Lord.

V: Let us give thanks to the Lord Our God.

R: It is right and just. 

REFLECT- Just as the Apostle St. Paul speaks in Galatians 6:18,

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.”

The Church calls for the Lord to be with us through His Holy Spirit.  We lift our hearts up the Lord just as Joshua reminds the people to:

“throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel” (Joshua 24:23).

We acclaim that it is surely right and just, that we should give to God our whole heart, lifting them to Him in unity with the Holy sacrifice that we are, by His grace, made able to participate in.  God saves us from the death that sin brought into the world in order to open up the way for us to be with Him, who loved us from the beginning:

But we should always thank God for you, brothers who are loved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning to be saved by the sanctification of the Spirit and by faith in the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

How can you more fully give your heart to the Lord?  What in your life needs to be surrendered to Him?  Ask the Lord now to help you see in what way your heart is hardened.  Ask the Holy Spirit to come into your heart and help you to surrender it entirely to Him.

As we move into the Sanctus we sing:

ALL “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts

Heaven and Earth are full of your Glory

Hosanna in the Highest

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,

 Hosanna in the Highest”

 These words are taken from the first line is the hymn of the seraphim in Isaiah 6:3.

“they were calling to one another:

‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory. ‘ ”

and Revelation 4:8,

“Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night, they never stop saying:

 ‘Holy, holy, holy

is the Lord God Almighty,’

who was, and is, and is to come.’”

The second part of this Sanctus is what the crowd cried to Jesus at his triumphal entry into Jerusalem in Matt. 21:9,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosannain the highest heaven!”

We then move into the Te Igitur where we solemnly ask God to accept the gifts we offer Him in sacrifice and for His guidance for our Beloved Pope and Bishop, as well as those who hold and teach the faith:

 To you, therefore, most merciful Father, we make humble prayer and petition through Jesus Christ, your Son, Our Lord;

That you accept and bless + these gifts, these offerings, these holy and unblemished sacrifices.

Which we offer you firstly for your Holy Catholic Church. Be pleased to grant her peace, to guard, unite and govern her throughout the whole world, together with your servant N. our Pope, for N. our bishop, and for all who, holding to the truth, hand on the catholic and apostolic faith.”  

REFLECT-Why do was ask this of our Lord? 

It is only through His Grace that these gifts we offer are made worthy.  We are truly aware that without His grace and the consecration of these offerings by His Holy Spirit, our offerings are less than unworthy to be offered at all.  Just as St. Paul say in Romans 15:16

“…to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

Here we can ask Lord to sanctify all our works so that we may only bring Him Glory and Honor.

Reflect on the ways you can offer all the works of your day to God and then pray that the Lord sanctify them and make them Holy.

The prayer of the Church moves into the Commemoration of the Living where the priest continues to implore God to remember His servants who gather in faith and devotion:

 “Remember, Lord, your servants N . and N . The Priest joins his hands and prays briefly for those for whom he intends to pray.”

Then, with hands extended, he continues:

“and all gathered here, whose faith and devotion are known to you. For them, we offer you this sacrifice of praise or they offer it for themselves and all who are dear to them: for the redemption of their souls, in hope of health and well-being, and paying their homage to you, the eternal God, living and true. 86. Within the Action. In communion with those whose memory we venerate, especially the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ, † and blessed Joseph, her Spouse, your blessed Apostles and Martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, (James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Jude; Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian ) and all your Saints; we ask that through their merits and prayers, in all things we may be defended by your protecting help. (Through Christ our Lord. Amen.)”

(The form of this prayer may change depending on what is fitting for the Liturgical season, such as Easter, Christmas etc.)

In the next section called the Hac Igitur, meaning The Oblation, the Priest continues with his prayer for the Holy Spirit, The Lord, to make the offerings acceptable and command that we may be delivered from damnation.

 “Therefore, Lord, we pray: graciously accept this oblation of our service, that of your whole family; order our days in your peace, and command that we be delivered from eternal damnation and counted among the flock of those you have chosen. He joins his hands. (Through Christ our Lord. Amen.)”

REFLECT- just as David tells us in Psalm 107:6,

“Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.”

How do you need for God to deliver you today?  We are blessed to be able to offer up our needs and petitions, in unity with The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, for the Lord to deliver us from whatever torments us.  Offer the Lord your trails, your pain, all your mistakes and except His Mercy.  Ask God, at this time, to be with you in your struggle to do His holy will.

We continue to Quam Oblationem (Which Oblation), where the priest continues to ask God to acknowledge and make the offerings acceptable and, even more specifically, that they may BECOME the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

 “Be pleased, O God, we pray, to bless, acknowledge, and approve this offering in every respect; make it spiritual and acceptable, so that it may become for us the Body and Blood of your most beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In Qui Pridie (On that Day) the priest goes into the Consecratory Prayers.

“On the day before he was to suffer,…”

He takes the bread and, holding it slightly raised above the altar, continues:

“…he took bread in his holy and venerable hands, He raises his eyes. and with eyes raised to heaven to you, O God, his almighty Father, giving you thanks, he said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying:…”

He bows slightly.

 “…Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my Body, which will be given up for you.

REFLECT -In persona Christi- the priest states the words of Christ.  This is the first place of true adoration.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to see the Lord, present there in the offering of bread. Then we can pray with Elisha (2 Kings 6:17) “Open my eyes”. Open my eyes Lord and help me to see your face.  These words of Christs’ taken from Matthew 26:26 are clear.  “THIS IS MY BODY” (Emphasis mine) …. In the Bread of Life Discourse Christ teaches:

I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.(John 6:51).

Christ gives us His flesh in the appearance of Bread.  Here we can pray along with the father of the boy with an evil spirit:

“Oh Lord I believe, Help me in my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

The priest shows the consecrated host to the people, places it again on the paten, and genuflects in adoration.

REFLECT- At this time within the Prayer of the Church, implore the Holy Spirit once again to help us to see our Lord and remove any doubt as we pray along with St. Thomas, “My Lord and My God” (John 20:28). Lord remove the scales from my eyes.  Open my heart so that I may recognize your presence. Pray that you will see the Lord’s salvation as Simeon prayed:

“For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all people, light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.(Luke 2:30-32).”

Now in Simili Modo (In a similar way)-

“In a similar way, when supper was ended,…”

The priest (remaining in Persona Christi) takes the chalice and, holding it slightly raised above the altar, continues:

“…he took this precious chalice in his holy and venerable hands, and once more giving you thanks, he said the blessing and gave the chalice to his disciples, saying:…”

The priest bows slightly.

 “…Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.” (Matthew 26:28)

REFLECT- Again we pray, “My Lord and My God”.  Help me Lord to remove any barrier between my soul and your Holy Spirit so that I may more perfectly see you and know you.

We now Proclaim the Mystery of Faith:

Then the priest says:

 The mystery of faith.

And the people continue, acclaiming:

 We proclaim your Death, O Lord,

and profess your Resurrection

until you come again.

Or:

When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup,

we proclaim your Death, O Lord,

until you come again.

Or:

Save us, Saviour of the world,

for by your Cross and Resurrection

you have set us free.

REFLECT:  We are drawn to contemplate these divine mysteries with the understanding that they are indeed mysteries that we may not in this life understand fully,  but in the next life will see clearly, as St. Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”  Lord help us to be steadfast in our faith and hope so that we may attain this next life. Pray for Lord to be steadfast in Spirit, Faith and Hope.

The Priest continues with hands extended:

Therefore, O Lord, as we celebrate the memorial of the blessed Passion, the Resurrection from the dead, and the glorious Ascension into heaven of Christ, your Son, our Lord, we, your servants and your holy people, offer to your glorious majesty from the gifts that you have given us, this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim, the holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation.

Be pleased to look upon these offerings with a serene and kindly countenance, and to accept them, as once you were pleased to accept the gifts of your servant Abel the just, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the offering of your high priest Melchizedek, a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim.

Bowing, with hands joined, he continues:

In humble prayer we ask you, almighty God: command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high in the sight of your divine majesty, so that all of us, who through this participation at the altar receive the most holy Body and Blood of your Son,

He stands upright again and signs himself with the Sign of the Cross, saying:

may be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing. He joins his hands. (Through Christ our Lord. Amen.)

 REFLECT- We look to our forefathers in the faith who offered sacrifice to God and their gifts were accepted.  Abel, who is shown to have given his best and God was pleased (Genesis 4:4), Abraham who did not withhold his only son (Genesis 22:10) and Melchizedek (Genesis 14:17) who’s priestly offering was good, even though as St. Paul tells us in Hebrews 7, he was not from the priestly lineage of Aaron.  In Revelation the Angels deliver the prayers of the Saints on Earth to the Alter of God and this is the Prayers of His Church on earth, our Prayers that rise up to God.

Then another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, rose up before God from the hand of the angel (Revelation 8:3-4).

Our common prayer now goes into Commemoration of the Dead

With hands extended, the Priest says:

Remember also, Lord, your servants N. and N., who have gone before us with the sign of faith and rest in the sleep of peace.

He joins his hands and prays briefly for those who have died and for whom he intends to pray. Then, with hands extended, he continues:

Grant them, O Lord, we pray, and all who sleep in Christ, a place of refreshment, light and peace.

He joins his hands.

 Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

He strikes his breast with his right hand, saying:

To us, also, your servants, who, though sinners,

And, with hands extended, he continues:

hope in your abundant mercies, graciously grant some share and fellowship with your holy Apostles and Martyrs: with John the Baptist, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, (Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia) and all your Saints; admit us, we beseech you, into their company, not weighing our merits, but granting us your pardon,

REFLECT-  Close your eyes and look forward to the day of your passing from this life to the next.  How has your faith in Jesus Christ changed your vision of death?  Are you still afraid?  Can you exclaim with the Spirit,

“… ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!'”

BLESSED! Blessed is that sleep, which is death transformed by the Resurrection of Christ.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill you with the peace of Christ.  To be able to see death through the eyes of Faith and Love. 

The priest joins his hands.

through Christ our Lord.

And he continues:

Through whom you continue to make all these good things, O Lord; you sanctify them, fill them with life, bless them, and bestow them upon us.

He takes the chalice and the paten with the host and, raising both, he says:

Through him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever.

The people acclaim:

Amen (THE GREAT AMEN).

REFLECT- Now we have come to that solemn and most blessed of graces where we are going to receive, within our members, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is the Spirit of God which sanctifies the gifts of bread and wine.  It is by the power of the Spirit of God that we are able to partake of the body of Christ as St. Paul testifies,

“Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17)

and again, by the same Spirit we are made one with Christ and one another,

so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12:5).

So it is not us who do the work, but the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who makes all these things good, sanctifies them, and then bestows them upon us.  Through this most precious gift we are made righteous and brought bit by bit into unity with Christ Jesus our Lord, who alone opened the door to eternal Life. Our salvation was won by Him.

Let us Pray:

Lord God through our Mother Church you teach us the ways in which we ever more fully participate in your divine life.  We ask that you help us to see you through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Never allow us to be separated from you and lead us life everlasting. And the people said, AMEN!

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