Sunday, August 18, 2019

Your Promises Surpass Every Human Desire

"O God, who have prepared for those who love you good things which no eye can see, fill our hearts, we pray, with the warmth of your love, so that, loving you in all things and above all things we may attain your promises which surpass every human desire. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

This is the very rich, hopeful, profound Collect ("Opening Prayer") for the current week of the liturgical year. The Collect prayer varies from week to week (and also differs for feasts and saint's day celebrations); in the Sunday liturgy the priest prays it after the Gloria and before the Scripture readings.

It's one of the places during Mass that can easily feel like a "commercial break," where we might drift off into thinking about brunch or football or some other thing, but it's worth it to listen, participate with mind and heart, and return to these texts during our own personal prayer time.

These texts - often based on ancient prayers and always focused on the theme of the week or day in the liturgical calendar - can help give focus to our worship and our own meditation. They also shed light on how we live our daily life with Jesus and in communion with one another in the Church.

The truth about life is that we are not alone. We belong to God, and we are "members of one another" in Christ's body and children of God in the human family.

We have a destiny that gives purpose to our life, toward which we journey every day even in the midst of the most ordinary circumstances and concerns. We are made for a happiness beyond anything we can imagine, that everything in life "points to," where every moment finds its real meaning and fulfillment: the Mystery of the God who is Absolute Love, who gives himself to us that we might share his unfathomable, inexhaustible joy.