What Has Passed

I was looking at the Roman Missal prayer for the purification of liturgical vessels:

What has passed our lips as food, O Lord,
may we possess in purity of heart,
that what has been given to us in time
may be our healing for eternity.

It rather sums up my personal frustrations, this prayer. Or perhaps it’s just a gray and dull day.

I like the pairing of lips and heart, and to a lesser degree, “time” and eternity. I think the reflections on the eternal Sabbath in JP2’s Dies Domini have gotten to me. It’s a wonderful prayer, but there are a number of things wrong with how it is used.

  • It accompanies an action of a few, namely clergy and Communion ministers, when it is more appropriate for the assembly. The action is cleaning vessels. This is an action of serving others, and caring for vessels. My sense is that clergy and ministers might more appropriately be thinking about and praying for the people they have served.
  • So sure, the prayer is worded in first person plural–but that might well be the royal “we,” and if this prayer is just ever prayed silently (and not communally) then how much of a nod to the people served is it?
  • I think the older wording of the prayer lost some good details found here in MR3. But this wording isn’t perfect. Why the avoidance of a direct address to God? Why the evasion of “what has been given to us”? Why not just pray, “that what you give to us in time (or this day) may be our healing …”?
  • How many clergy actually use this prayer. Probably all the ones reading this blog.
  • The text, adapted with a more direct language, seems eminently suitable for a Communion song. I wonder what Scripture I would use for verses …

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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