"Un Ti Morceau"

"A Little Something," mini-lessons and reflections by our pastor, Father Paul Counce

The Eucharistic Prayer: To God

Published December 01, 2013 by Fr. Paul Counce

A number of years ago someone came up to me and “com­­plained” that I didn’t make much “eye-contact” with the con­gregation during the Eucharistic Prayer. I rather had to agree with him – I basically don=t even try to make eye-contact with the congregation at that time. And he was a bit surprised when I went on to explain that I wasn’t about to change!

My reasoning is simple: I’m not talking “to” the con­gre­gation at that point! Remember, we direct prayers to God, not each other. Prayer-moments, and especially the great Eucharistic Prayer, ought to reflect this in posture and gesture. Sure, as the priest represents Christ in offer­ing the sacrifice B especi­al­ly in speaking the words of con­secration, “This is my Body, this is my Blood” – there can be appropriate moments of eye-contact. But I wouldn’t want to emphasize this and perhaps give the wrong im­pression that anything is more important than the Lord at that point.

So when I pray, I tend to “look at God.” In other words, I close my eyes, or look at the gifts on the altar, or sort-of stare into space, or elevate my eyes a bit heavenwards. I try to avoid an attitude or prayer-stance which makes it seem like I’m praying to the book, or to myself, since those would not help the congregation to unite them­selves with me in the prayer. I do what feels comfortable, whatever seems to draw me and the congregation more into union with the Lord at that moment. I hope it works.

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