Thursday, February 9, 2012
Liturgy and Apostolic Preaching
In the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time, we find this prayer (the Prayer after Communion):
O God, who have willed that we be partakers
in the one Bread and the one Chalice,
grant us, we pray, so to live
that, made one in Christ,
we may joyfully bear fruit
for the salvation of the world.
Through Christ our Lord.
There a some striking things here. This prayer presents a clear connection between the transformation in which we are "made one in Christ" and the task of preaching in which we "joyfully bear fruit for the salvation of the world."
The task of the Christian life is conformity to Christ so that we might share in the Divine life. When we receive Holy Communion, we are given the chance to enter into communion with God Himself. Jesus gives us a share of Himself, which ends up consuming us (as St. Augustine writes in his Confessions) and turning us into Himself. Moreover, this union with Christ then becomes the force behind preaching. Those who are made one with Christ are likewise made one with the Church, and from that unity they are able to spread the Truth, who is Christ and which is lived in His Church.
In this, we see real apostolic preaching: "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables....We will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:2, 4). The apostles were joined to the Lord and to one another through prayer, and from that contemplative gaze on Christ, they were able to effectively preach "for the salvation of the world."
As this week continues, please know that all of you who are discerning remain in our prayers, and may your participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass be a means to make you faithful to Christ in whatever way He leads you.