In the past few articles we’ve focused on the three most important parts of the great Eucharistic Prayer at Mass. Remember what they are? At the epiclesis the Holy Spirit is “called down” upon the gifts; at the consecration Jesus’ identity with the bread and wine becomes so complete they change into His own Body and Blood; and in the anamnesis we explicitly remember the Lord’s death-and-resurrection which is intrinsically linked to the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
There are also several other “standard,” although less important, parts of the Eucharistic Prayer. For instance, there are prayers for the Pope, the local bishop, and other ordained ministers; there is a mention of saints who have gone before us in faith, always including the most important of these, Mary, St. Joseph, and the apostles; and there are specific prayers for the living and for the dead. There is always praise for God’s holiness, and at least a summary statement of God’s concern for faithful believers down through the centuries.
All of these prayerful sentiments are expressed out of an overwhelming attitude of thanksgiving, which after all is the root meaning of the word Eucharist. We are grateful to the Almighty for all of the blessings that we have shared and may yet share. Instead of being bored during the Eucharistic Prayer, there is so much going on it’s sometimes difficult to take it all in at any one Mass!