Keeping our faith… Saint Mary Our Lady of Grace -RCIA
Scriptural Threads… • Prayer in Common: - “On the day called Sunday there is a meeting in one place of those who live in cities or the country.” So begins a description of the Eucharistic celebration of the Church in AD 150 by Justin, martyr. From the beginning, Christians have valued prayer in common.
Mass on Sunday • The first day of the week, the day after the Sabbath, had special meaning for Christians from the very beginning because it was a commemoration of the Resurrection of Jesus, which the Gospels say took place on the first day of the week. • In Revelation 1:10 the prophet John says, “I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day…”The term “the Lord’s day” indicates liturgical significance (that is, his readers knew that it referred to a day set aside for worship).
God is as near to us on Monday as on Sunday. In the school room as in the sanctuary. Say to God, “Your works are amazing! Because your power is great, your enemies fall before you. All the earth worships you and sings praises to you. They sing praises to your name.
Worshiping God • Worship is the “thank you” that refuses to be silenced. We have tried to make a science out of worship. We can’t do that. We can’t do that any more than we can “sell love” or “negotiate peace.” • Worship is a voluntary act of gratitude offered by the saved to the Savior, by the healed to the Healer, and by the delivered to the Deliverer.
Prayer in Christ: Your part is prayer and gratitude. God’s part? Peace and protection. • When commenting on the prayers and other parts of the Mass pertaining to the priest, the general instruction of the roman missal says, • “The foremost is the Eucharistic prayer, which is the high point of the entire celebration. Next are: 1. the opening prayer 2. The prayer of the gifts 3. The prayer after communion (these prayers are addressed to God in the name of the entire holy people and all present, by the priest who presides over the assembly I the person of Christ.
Genuflecting • This gesture (bending at the right knee to touch the floor), common in Scripture, was an act of respect and homage given to kings and deities. When used in the Eucharistic celebration, it acknowledges the real presence of Christ in the consecrated bread and wine. The following are examples from Scripture of homage given to God and to Jesus.
Scripture examples of Genuflecting Our devotion may falter, but God’s never does. “To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” (Isaiah 45: 23) “As I live, syas the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.” (Romasn 14:11) “Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth… “ (Philippians 2:9-10)
Kneeling Kneeling is a common posture for prayer, private adoration, and repentance. Lying face down is an even more profound posture, used during the liturgy of Good Friday and the Rite of Ordination. The following are examples of figures in Scripture who included the posture of kneeling in their prayer.
Examples of Kneeling in Scripture. Moses and Aaron “feel prostrate” in intercessory prayer numerous times during the Hebrews’ journey from slavery to freedom (Numbers 14:5, 16:22, 17:10, 20:6) Solomon, at the dedication of the temple, “knelt on his knees in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, and spread out this hands towards heaven.” (2 Corinthians 6:13) Paul, with the elders of Ephesus: “When he had finished speaking, he knelt down with them all and prayed” (Acts 20:36) (This is one of the few scriptural illustrations of the community kneeling for common prayer)
Uplifted Hands Uplifted hands, called “orans” (Latin for praying) were common in the ancient world among Jews and Gentiles as an expression of supplication. Some scholars think it was the only generally accepted prayer position at least into the second century. “Hear the voice of my supplication, as I cry to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary” ( Psalm 28:2) “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:2)
“Laying on of Hands" The gesture of laying on of hands is common in liturgy and Christian prayer. Deacons, priests, and bishops are ordained by a bishop through the laying on of hands in the Sacrament of Holy Orders. It is also used in the Sacraments of Confirmation, Penance, and Anointing of the Sick as well as in various blessings. In both the Old and New Testaments, the laying on of hands is often mentioned. Its significance various but usually involves designating persons for a task and calling upon them divine favor and power to do it.
Laying on of Hands in Scripture… • The Twelve laid hands on the seven chosen “to serve at table” (Acts 6:6) • Jesus laid hands on children when he blessed them (see Matthew 19:15) • Moses laid hands on Joshua in conferring his authority to his successor (see Numbers 27:18; Deuteronomy 34:9)
Sign of the Cross The familiar words spoken in the sign of the corss go back to Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Quoting those words- “In the name of the Father…”—While tracing the cross of Christ on one’s body is a simple prayer involving words and actions that originated in the second century, expressing the core of the Christian creed-the Trinity, the incarnation, and redemption. Making the sign of the cross with holy water increases its baptismal significance and makes it a conscious commitment to renew the baptismal covenant in the Eucharist.
Right hand/ Left hand A person’s body is only one thing, but it has many parts. Though there are many parts to a body, all those parts make only one body. Christ is like that also… we were all baptized into one body through one Spirit. And we were all made to share in the one Spirit. Matthew 6:1-4 (But) take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
Just a short while before, He said not to boast of one’s own good works so as not to risk being deprived of the heavenly reward (cf. Mt 6,1-2). The disciple is to be concerned with God’s greater glory. Jesus warns: “In this way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Mt 5,16). Everything, then, must be done for God’s glory and not our own. This understanding, dear brothers and sisters, must accompany every gesture of help to our neighbor, avoiding that it becomes a means to make ourselves the center of attention. If, in accomplishing a good deed, we do not have as our goal God’s glory and the real well being of our brothers and sisters, looking rather for a return of personal interest or simply of applause, we place ourselves outside of the Gospel vision. In today’s world of images, attentive vigilance is required, since this temptation is great. Almsgiving, according to the Gospel, is not mere philanthropy: rather it is a concrete expression of charity, a theological virtue that demands interior conversion to love of God and neighbor, in imitation of Jesus Christ, who, dying on the cross, gave His entire self for us. How could we not thank God for the many people who silently, far from the gaze of the media world, fulfill, with this spirit, generous actions in support of one’s neighbor in difficulty? There is little use in giving one’s personal goods to others if it leads to a heart puffed up in vainglory: for this reason, the one, who knows that God “sees in secret” and in secret will reward, does not seek human recognition for works of mercy.
Beatitudes for our Country Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. • We lift our lives to you, O God. We see in our helplessness, your power revealed. • Perpetual Presence, Giver of Life, oh the blessedness of having nothing without your love and mercy to guide us. A rich and powerful nation on earth is empty of purpose without your love. • Poor in spirit we as for your grace. Overshadow our desires for glory that through us the promise of salvation Shines from sea to sea, burning in our hearts. • Now is your reign on earth as in heaven brought to life in the blessedness of all who are poor in spirit, nothing without you. • Loving God, our voices cry out to you. Cold from grieving, we long for your warmth. • You, All Knowing God, have seen our troubles stretched before you over generations. We are unworthy and sinful at home and have spread our lust for the world abroad. In return we have gained only our grief. • Our soil is stained with the tears of mourning Mothers, fathers, children who are now alive. Comfort your people and teach us to pray. Oh, the blessedness we have in mourning that moves us into your light once again where your gentle word of comfort warms us with the breath of life and calls us to you.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. • Creator God, we turn humbly toward you listening for the whisper of your voice. • The impulsive and selfish human will has turned our hearts one against another. How easily we fail to trust in you, to allow your will to lead us forward, and to place our human needs in your care. • Humbly we turn again to follow you, precious Jesus, on this journey with us. • In a country blessed with prosperity many lives are empty without your word. • Almighty God, have we forgotten the promise of your Son who gave us new life by the power of his body and his blood? We hunger and thirst for righteous living in a world that cannot satisfy us. • Oh, the blessedness of the ones who find complete happiness in the will of God. Guided by the Light of Christ’s love, our hope for satisfaction rests in you, true God. Formed in your image, our hearts long to be sustained by the word of God among us.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. • Deep in our hearts we long for your mercy, though we know we are undeserving still. Forgiving God, our sinfulness dulls our desire to know and love your holy will. We name our enemies and are prepared to destroy their homes to protect our own. Yet, we dare to believe in your mercy. • Help us to see through our enemies’ eyes, to walk in their shoes, and to feel their pain. Only then will we act as merciful people who forgive as we are forgiven. Heal our pain that we may pardon others. • Cleansed by the water and grace of baptism our souls long for oneness in God’s kingdom. • Lost in a world of political stress, national debt, and spiritual poverty we walk close to the brink of destruction. Create in us new hearts, pure and selfless, blessed with the vision of eternal life. • A great kingdom on earth can multiply from sea to sea, but if it lacks faith and trust in you, God of power and might, non of its children will see your face.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. • Peace you have given to us in your Son who came to bring us an abundant life. • We call ourselves peacemakers in the world, sending diplomats and presidents to foreign lands struggling over war and peace. At home, we speak ill of those we do not want to invite to our homes for dinner. • Are we not children of the one true God? Unable to make peace at home, with our neighbors over petty disagreements, what right do we have to accuse countries at war to come to the table of peace? • Patient, gentle, humble, and unending is the love persecuted by the world. • The easiest way to escape the pain of ridicule and exile does not take courage, but invites us to sell our souls. We vote with the masses and not our faith for easy answers to simplify life. • Do not forsake your people in exile, the brave, faithful, righteous people of God. We long to walk with you on the long road to the kingdom, Blessed Savior, for you alone are the way, the truth, and the life.
Credits Deborah Meister, Beatitudes to our Country Harcourt Publishers, Scripture Resource Book Max Lucado, God’s Promises to You