For quite some time now the focus of these columns has been a step-by-step consideration of the ceremonies of the Mass. I can’t promise that we’ve touched upon every key idea, but I’ve tried to highlight a few things which ought to make our celebration of the Eucharist a more meaningful experience of worship.
Once the great Eucharistic Prayer is over, the Communion Rite begins with the praying of the Lord’s Prayer. After all, Jesus said “pray like this” before giving us the words to the “Our Father” (Lk 11:2a).
I think the contrast between speakers at this point is striking: the Eucharistic Prayer is prayed by the priest, the Lord’s Prayer by the entire congregation.
This actually helps to emphasize some important theological points. The most important “actor” during the Eucharistic Prayer is Christ, best represented by the ordained priest, who identifies Himself with the bread and wine offered in sacrifice. Then, the focus changes. The principal “actors” during the time of Holy Communion are the members of the entire assembly who share the holy gifts of Christ with each other. The Lord deliberately established the Eucharist for us to “take and eat” and “take and drink,” and so once the Real Presence of Christ has become a fact, doing just that becomes a priority.
When you join in the Lord’s Prayer before communion, do you ever get a sense of carrying out a command of the Lord?