We’ve reached the end of our little study of the great Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass. The last thing to consider is the very last thing: the Great Doxology which ends it!
I’m sure you’re familiar with it and its wording, for it’s the same at every Mass. Assisted by the deacon, the priest holds the Lord’s Body and Blood aloft, and concludes the great Thanksgiving: “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, forever and ever.” The congregation then responds – enthusiastically! – with its own Great Amen.
Thus two important things are happening. (1) In accord with an ancient rule, all public prayer should close with praise of God. In this way we return to the basic function of all prayer, as we creatures bow humbly before our Creator and acknowledge Him and His Son as more important than anything else.
But also (2) the community makes a formal statement of faith with the entire content of the Eucharistic Prayer. In the early 5th century, St. Augustine expressed it well when he said that “This Amen is the people’s signature” to the prayer.
The next time you’re at Mass, try to remember that you’ve been given a chance to “have the last word” in this most important prayer: make sure that “Amen” on your lips means “Yes!” in your heart!