Monday, September 23, 2013

"A Web of Relations"

Monday greetings from a sunny and cool city of Chicago.

At Mass yesterday, the celebrant chose to pray the "Eucharistic Prayer for Use in Masses for Various Needs III." I had not heard this particular prayer prayed at Mass until yesterday.

I was much more attentive as he slowly and carefully prayed the text. Of course, I had been thinking about the words of Pope Francis in the interview earlier in the week while I was at Mass. A particular section of the eucharistic prayer really shined for me:

Grant that all the faithful of the Church,
looking into the signs of the times by the light of faith,
may constantly devote themselves
to the service of the Gospel.

Keep us attentive to the needs of all
that, sharing their grief and pain,
their joy and hope,
we may faithfully bring them the good news of salvation
and go forward with them
along the way of your Kingdom.

I couldn't help but think of this paragaph (4) from Vatican II's Gaudium et Spes:

To carry out such a task, the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel. Thus, in language intelligible to each generation, she can respond to the perennial questions which men ask about this present life and the life to come, and about the relationship of the one to the other. We must therefore recognize and understand the world in which we live, its explanations, its longings, and its often dramatic characteristics.

In last week's interview, Pope Francis called the Church "a community, a web of relations." As I listened to the words of the eucharistic prayer, I was struck by the words "Keep us attentive to the needs of all." I think that this is what Pope Francis is asking all of us to do; to keep ourselves attentive to the needs of all and to be unafraid to voice our own needs. His words are a summons to  "recognize and understand the world in which we live." In this respect, we are all caught up in this "web of relations."

These are more than just a few nice papal words. This is a real challenge as we find new ways, new roads, to live out our Catholic life. Truly this is a moment to look "into the signs of the times by the light of faith."

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

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