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A - Z of the Mass: Prayers

Friday, August 27, 2010
Prayer is the raising of one's heart and mind to God, and whilst this doesn't have to be restricted to a particular time or place, the prayers said during Mass are of fundamental importance to the Christian life. To many Christians, this would be a controversial statement. After all, Jesus said 'when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret' (Matt. 6:6). Should we not think that the heartfelt and spontaneous prayers said in private are of more value than the formulaic recitations said during Mass?

Well, we need to remember that our prayers have value because we pray in and through Christ. When we pray with our own words, for it to be true prayer, Christ will be praying within us - there is a unity between our words and Christ's. And this unity can be even more perfect if we pray with the words that Christ Himself actually gave us. When we pray the Our Father and when we participate in the celebration of the Eucharist, we are doing what Jesus commanded us to do.

Christian prayer is a remembrance of God, a memorial, and the Eucharist reveals the meaning of Christian prayer as a memorial of Christ's sacrifice on the cross. Christ, our great High Priest and our Intercessor bears in Himself before the Father all the prayers of the Church. Our prayer ascends to God with those of the angels and the saints, and the Son of God, in virtue of His sacrifice, grants our prayer in the unity of the Father and the Spirit. So whilst we should still make time for private prayer, we should not forget that it is Christ revealed to us in the Eucharist, who allows all our prayer, whether in private or public, to be a time when our hearts and minds are truly raised to God.

Robert Verrill OP


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