Part Three: Liturgy of the Eucharist:
Following the Presentation of the Gifts, which symbolize our heart & soul and our entire life in the form of bread and wine, we move to the next stage, which is the central and most important part of the Holy Mass.
The Eucharistic Prayer:
The long prayer forms the heart of our faith. There are four Forms of the Eucharistic prayer. Considering the time factor, we, generally use the second Form, which is the shortest, for the daily Mass and sometimes for the Sunday Mass. The other three Forms are a little longer and they are used for solemn and festive days. I use the 2nd Form for the 7:30 a.m. Mass at St. Peter’s and 9:00 a.m. Mass at Casimir’s. Otherwise, on Sundays and on festive days, I use the 3rd Eucharistic prayer. Even though they differ in length, all have the same structure: We call upon God to remember all the wonderful saving
Even though they differ in length, all have the same structure: We call upon God to remember all the wonderful saving
We call upon God to remember all the wonderful saving deeds in salvation history;
We recall the central event fulfilled by Jesus Christ and in particular the memorial he left us on the night before he died. Thus, we recall his passion, death, and resurrection; and
After gratefully calling to mind all the wonderful saving acts, God has done for us in the past, we petition God to continue those deeds of Christ in the present: we pray that we may become one body, one spirit in Christ.
The Eucharistic prayer begins with the Preface, with a kind of dialogue between the presiding priest and the assembly. First, the priest greets the people saying, “The Lord be with you”. He, then, asks the people to approach the table of the Lord with the invitation, “Lift up your hearts” and the people respond, “We lift them up to the Lord”. Again, the priest asks the people to give thanks to the Lord and the people respond, “it is right and just”.
The preface introduces us into the central part of the Eucharistic prayer, concluding with the joyful and enthusiastic words, “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God …” With faith and fervor we join the Angels and Saints in praising God with these words, for the marvelous gift, He is going to give us at the Eucharistic table.
To be continued
Fr. Arul Joseph V.