Eucharistic reflections in preparation for the Eucharistic Congress. June 2008.

Reflection # 2

July, 2007

by Peter Thompson

CCC#1324. The Eucharist is 'the source and summit of the Christian life'.

In our reflection last month we looked at how we are to prepare ourselves to participate in the Sacrifice of the Mass. This month we will look at the opening prayers and actions of this miracle of God's love for us, that is celebrated every Sunday and indeed every day in our parish Church at St. Cecilia's.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a rich resource for all of us who desire to understand our faith better and to grow in our knowledge and love for the Eucharist. I would highly recommend that every family owns one and uses it and would encourage us all to read sections 1322 - 1419 in the Catechism that speaks to us of the most Holy Eucharist.

Introductory Rites.

Here at St. Cecilia's we always begin the Mass with a hymn of praise to our God, singing and lifting our voices to heaven. St. Augustine said that, "he who sings, prays twice". Music is a profound gift of God, and helps us to focus and lift our hearts and minds to God our creator and Lord and put aside the cares of the day. Catholics are often accused of not singing, but here at St. Cecilia's there is no excuse as we have excellent music ministries that help us all to raise our voices in praise to God regardless of our individual abilities to sing.


We are now invited by the priest to make the sign of the cross. This most fundamental of Christian prayers incorporates the use of our mind , our voice and our body. We declare before all, our belief in the Trinitarian God, signing ourselves with the glorious sign of the cross. By this sign we have placed ourselves on the side of heaven, uniting ourselves as believers in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and embracing the cross the source of victory over death and Satan.

The priest now invokes the grace, peace and blessing of our God in this most beautiful of invocations often used by St. Paul at the conclusion of his Epistles. We as the faithful gathered respond. " And also with you". ( This response will possibly be changed in an upcoming revision of the liturgy to say. "and with your spirit." This would comply with the original Latin text. "Dominus vobiscum." response. " Et cum spirito tuo.")

In our response we are asking God to grant grace and peace to our pastor who has the responsibility to pastor and shepherd the flock of this parish.

Penitential Rite.

In great wisdom the Church now invites us to examine our conscience before we move on. The penitential rite gives us the opportunity to ask for God's mercy and forgiveness for the sins we have committed in our thoughts words and actions. Reminding us also that we often sin through our failures to act. This in no way substitutes for the Sacrament of Reconciliation that is required for any of us who are conscious of grave sin in our lives. If this is the case then I must seek sacramental confession before receiving Holy Communion. (ccc 1395). I am still bound under the first precept of the Church to assist at mass every Sunday and Holy day of obligation. The only days we have in Canada apart from every Sunday is Christmas day and new years day, the feast of Mary, the mother of God that are holy days of obligation.

The Confiteor reminds us that it is I who have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23. Here we openly and out loud confess to one another that we are sinners. We live in an age of moral relativism where there are no absolutes as regards morals. But we as sons and daughters of God are ruled by his commandments that are not suggestions but absolutes and he who says he has not sinned is a liar. 1 John 1: 6-8. We invoke our Blessed Mother Mary, all the angels and saints and each other to intercede for us before God.

Why? That God would have mercy upon us and help us to prepare well for this Holy and Sacred Sacrifice of the Mass.

Here the priest also intercedes that, "God have mercy upon us, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life."


Kyrie, eleison, Christe, eleison, Kyrie, eleison.
Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy. Surely we have just asked God to have mercy on us. Why are we asking again? Do we lack faith to believe that God is merciful and full of forgiveness. Here we are looking beyond our own needs and crying out to heaven for God's mercy upon the whole world. We in our age through the help of technology are acutely aware of the tragedies that beset the world. Hunger, famine, war, floods and other grave ills. As we sing this beautiful refrain, let us lift up all the pain of God's children throughout the world and implore the Lord for his mercy and help.

This prayer joins us all to the whole human race and we can cry out to the Lord for those who do not know Christ, or are unable to pray because of the trials and tribulations that seem impossible to bear.

So we see in these opening moments of the Mass the great depth of prayer that we are being invited to participate in.

Let us open our hearts and minds to all that God desires for us in this holy sacrifice of love.