Sunday, March 5, 2017

First Sunday of Lent - March 5, 2017

When I was in the seminary, our Liturgy professor told us of an old Latin saying, “Lex orandi, lex credendi.” Translated literally, it means “The law of prayer is the law of faith.” In other words, if you want to know what we believe, look at the way we pray. Our Liturgy, in addition to being our greatest source of grace, is a good way to learn about God. So I thought that a good beginning to our season of Lent would be to look at our Liturgy. And a good place to begin is with the Eucharistic Prayer.

Ordinarily there are four choices for a Eucharistic Prayer, and I may write about those choices at another time. But during Lent, I like to use the two special Eucharistic Prayers that focus on Reconciliation. Today I am going to take a few lines from the first of these special prayers.

We direct the prayer, as all the Eucharistic Prayers, to God the Father. We say to him, “From the world’s beginning you are ceaselessly at work, so that the human race may become holy, just as you are holy.” When I was a child, we had a feeling that since we focus on sin at this time of year, Lent was a time to put ourselves down. Yet any change that comes in this season is the result of God challenging us to be something better, to become what He created us to be. And we are not alone, for God is “ceaselessly at work.” Even the cross is a message of love, for Jesus’ “arms were outstretched between heaven and earth to become a lasting sign of your covenant.”

The love of God which brings us closer to him has a broader effect as well. When we are reconciled with God, we are also reconciled with one another. As the Eucharistic Prayer says, “Grant that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, as they partake of this one Bread and one Chalice, they may be gathered into one Body in Christ, who heals every division.” As an analogy, think of what happens to the Penguins if Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin are hurt. When they get healthy, the whole team works better. When we get spiritually healthy, the Catholic “team” is much richer. In my reflections, I find that theme even stronger in the second Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation.

The whole sense of our reconciliation comes back to our final goal of heaven. The prayer concludes, “Then, freed at last from the wound of corruption and made fully into a new creation, we shall sing to you with gladness the thanksgiving of Christ, who lives for all eternity.”

The Eucharistic Prayers can always be helpful for our meditations. As we get into the season of Lent, I invite you to reflect on these special prayers as you hear them at Mass. They can be a good guide for our Lenten season.
                                                                                   Father H