Liturgy Confusion

There are some parts of the mass that continue to allude me.  One is the Preface to the Eucharistic Prayer.  For those of you unfamiliar, before Holy Communion, many churches, Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Episcopalian, among others, have a prayer.  The first part of this prayer is called the Preface to the Eucharistic Prayer.  Here it is in it’s entirety (Catholic Version as an example since all versions are very similar):

Priest: The Lord be with you.

People: And with your spirit.

Priest: Lift up your hearts.

People: We lift them up to the Lord.

Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.

People: It is right and just.

Priest: It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God, through Christ our Lord. In him you have been pleased to renew all things, giving us all a share in his fullness. For though he was in the form of God, he emptied himself and by the blood of his Cross brought peace to all creation. Therefore he has been exalted above all things, and to all who obey him, has become the source of eternal salvation. And so, with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominions, and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven, we sing the hymn of your glory, as without end we acclaim:

The Priest concludes the Preface with the people singing or saying aloud:  Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Beautiful prayer!  Let’s look at it closer.

Priest: The Lord be with you.

People: And with your spirit.

I don’t understand why it was changed from and “And with you,” to “And with your spirit,” but okay.  I would think you would want to pray that the priest had the Lord with all of him as well, but this is just splitting hairs.  Let us guard against getting caught up in minutia or else we will not be contemplating God but how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.  So – Let’s move on.

Priest: Lift up your hearts.

People: We lift them up to the Lord.

Awesome!  Love this part!  You can feel it better if you take a deep breath first, just saying.  Now comes my sticking point:

Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.

People: It is right and just.

Priest: It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God, through Christ our Lord.

Where is the “Thank you, Lord!”?

Priest: Let us give thanks.

People: It is right and just to give thanks.

Priest: Yes, it is.

There is no ‘thanks’, in this. There is no ‘thanks’ for the rest of the prayer.   The rest of the prayer is a nice little teaching moment.

Priest: In him you have been pleased to renew all things, giving us all a share in his fullness. For though he was in the form of God, he emptied himself and by the blood of his Cross brought peace to all creation. Therefore, he has been exalted above all things, and to all who obey him, has become the source of eternal salvation.

Cool.  And then Hosannas which means praise.

Priest: And so, with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominions, and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven, we sing the hymn of your glory, as without end we acclaim:

The Priest concludes the Preface with the people singing or saying aloud:  Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

So where is the Thank you?  You can praise without gratitude, we do that all the time with sports heroes.  I really think there should be a Thank you somewhere in there.  How about…

Priest: Lift up your hearts.

People: We lift them up to the Lord!

Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.

People: Thank you, O Lord!

Priest: It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God, through Christ our Lord.

Does that make more sense to you?  I mean, I know that the original way is a time-honored way of saying the mass but it doesn’t make as much sense, does it?  The original way is more of a teaching moment but the other way is more of a prayer of gratitude. Shouldn’t we be filling our hearts with gratitude before receiving Communion?

Well, that’s just something that has been bugging me.  Just my opinion.

Peace be with you.

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