On this Third Sunday in Lent I would like to spend a few minutes reflecting on a prayer that Catholics throughout the world heard at the very beginning of Masses this weekend:
This prayer, read by the priest at the beginning of each Mass, is intended to provide a focus and to prepare us for what is to unfold in the Eucharist.
Today we heard:
O God, author of every mercy and of all goodness, who in fasting, prayer and almsgiving have shown us a remedy for sin, look graciously on this confession of our lowliness, that we, who are bowed down by our conscience, may always be lifted up by your mercy.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
Can you recognize the focus of this prayer? What are we as a community asking of God? What does this prayer say about us and what does it say about God? Most importantly: God is the author, the maker of all things good, including his people. We, weighed down by our sinfulness, are in great need of his mercy. In his wisdom and through his Word we are instructed to engage in fasting, prayer and almsgiving as a way to repent for our sins. In this prayer we as a community ask God to “look graciously” upon us, to grant us his mercy as we admit to our failings and we pray this through Jesus Christ, his Son. This is a powerful Lenten prayer that focuses on the love and mercy of God as we are in need of forgiveness for the times we have failed to live in love with one another.
I believe at times we miss the beauty and message of the spoken prayers at Mass; perhaps we simply take them for granted. We are called to participate fully in the celebration of the Eucharist and it is imperative that we listen carefully to the words read by the priest who speaks for the whole of the community; as together we stand before God.
I invite you to pray this prayer often in the coming week and continue your Lenten journey as instructed: in prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Then let us commit to active listening as Fr. Tim leads us in prayer at Mass. So what will be our focus next week on Laetare Sunday? In thanksgiving for God’s mercy,
October 17, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC