To Be Like Jesus Series 17
To Pray Like JESUS:
Dearly beloved of the Eucharistic and Risen Lord, I pray the Lord of the SABBATH to shower blessings upon you and upon all who are cut off from the source of GRACE as a result of COVID-19.
Jesus was a true Jew. He prayed throughout His life: He was conceived in PRAYER, born into adoration from parents, Magi and Shepherds, presented to God in the Temple of PRAYER, grew up in a home of PRAYER, worked PRAYING, and died PRAYING on the CROSS.
Jesus employed all forms of PRAYER – vocal, meditative and contemplative – at different times under different circumstances. In the GOSPEL of John 17 Jesus uses vocal PRAYERS. However, unlike the Our Father which they were all to recite simultaneously, He PRAYED for them and on their behalf.
I love the CHURCH. She is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. She has a very rich TRADITION from ADAM: Melchizedek, the high priest of God the Most High and King of Peace, offered bread and wine in prayer for Abraham and his descendants; Abraham presided over the Sacrifice; Moses interceded for the people; Aaron OFFERED Sin offering for the people.
Later on, with the development of Psalms and other traditional prayers, they prayed a communal prayer at specific time. However, it always took the high priest to offer oblation or Sacrifice to God on behalf of the people. Hence, we see in Zachariah’s mystical experiences of the Angel at the holy place. We are told it was his turn to enter the holy place to offer incense to God. This is what we call Presidential PRAYERS. The priest acts as the president of the offering (Sacrifice).
Jesus came to FULFILL the LAW and the PROPHETS, hence, He led the Disciples to pray communally, for example, the Our Father. He also PRAYED for them silently and remotely when He entered into solitude. However, at the highest point of His Ministry, Jesus PRAYED in the Last Supper for and on behalf of the Apostles.
In what we call Jesus’ priestly Prayer, He says a long prayer for His friends. The prayer has three dimensions:
1. Past relationship between Jesus, the Father and the Glory (the the Holy Spirit).
2. Present relationship between Jesus, the Father, the Holy Spirit and the Disciples.
3. Future relationship between the Jesus, the Father, the Holy Spirit (The Glory of God), the Disciples and the World.
The Holy Mass, the Ideal Worship of God:
I have heard on countless times, Catholics’ complaints about the Holy Mass. They say “THE HOLY MASS IS BORING”. Ask them the reasons for their assertion and they will tell you: “The other churches pray ‘Ogyaciously’ and every one participates in the prayer intentions, but for us Catholics, only the priest says a long prayer for us…”
It is true that the Pentecostal and Charismatic sects have a different model of worship than us. However, theirs is a SUBSET of the Ideal Worship in heaven which the Lord revealed and lived on Earth in the Upper Room.
He said in Luke’s GOSPEL that He would not eat with the Disciples again until He ate in heaven. What does it mean? It is simple, that the Holy Mass celebrated in the Upper Room is the prototype of what is celebrated on earth.
Right from chapter 13 of John’s Gospel, Jesus initiated a dialogue with the Disciples through the washing of feet and the prophecy of His BETRAYAL and DENIAL. Thus, the Disciples participated till it got to the moment when the PRESIDENT had to act on behalf of and for the subjects. Even traditionally, the priest at the shrine prays for and offers Sacrifice on behalf of his people. The adherents remain outside the shrine room while he enters to pray and to consult. He only goes out to meet the waiting adherents to give directions to them.
So, the Catholic priest, acting in the person of Christ, engages the lay faithful right from the beginning till consecration where he PRAYS on behalf of and for the people who commune with their hearts in silence. In fact, even before consecration, the priest prays the Presidential PRAYERS: the Collect (Opening Prayer) and the Super Oblata (Prayer over the gifts). After consecration and Holy Communion, the priest prays the concluding prayer. Even in the Consecration Prayer, there is a dialogue: “The Lord be with you…”, Sanctus, Our Father, Lamb of God, the Great invitation: … Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but …”
Besides, there are times in the Holy Mass that the priests PRAYS in silence for the people. Also, one has the time to PRAY for his or her private intentions: before “I confess…”, the priest asks us to be mindful of our iniquities. Then, the “I confess” offers one the opportunity to confess his sins to God while praying the communal prayer. There are other moments also when an individual PRAYS for specific intentions to God.
This is the Mass which has served as the airport for multitude of saints. Both the priest who PRESIDES and the Lay for who participate as subjects to the GREAT KING. If Peter did not object, who am I to question the POWERS in the Holy Mass. Again, if the High Priest of God the most High did not SPEAK IN TONGUES in the Upper Room, who am I to show off my muscles by forcing to add to the original text. As a priest of the Most High God, one cannot play to the gallery in the name of modernity. The Holy Mass is a Prayer in itself. It is like honey, any attempt to add more sugar to it will end up distorting it’s fine and sweet components.
In the midst of COVID-19, the Church has not stopped celebrating Holy On daily basis. Because it is not people centered, but Christ centered, the lock down did not affect the nature of the Mass. Every Mass celebrated quietly with not more than five people is as valid and potent as the Mass celebrated by the Holy Father at the Vatican. In fact, it is as valid as the Lord’s Mass in heaven.
May we learn to PRAY like JESUS through vocal, meditative and contemplative PRAYERS. The Holy Spirit glorifies Himself in a gentle manner.
Peace and Joy!!!
SOURE: Rev Fr Ebenezer Hanson