DPPL 234: Celebration of the Eucharist

STA altar at night smallLet’s look at the intersection of saints with the actual celebration of Mass. We’re moving beyond feast days as we read that saints are united with us as part of a universal Church:

234. The celebration of the feast of a Saint or Beatus is not the only manner in which the Saints are present in the liturgy. The celebration of the Eucharist is the singular moment of communion with the Saints in heaven.

As the Scriptures are proclaimed, figures from both before Christ and in the apostolic era are recalled:

In the Liturgy of the Word, the Old Testament readings frequently refer to the great Patriarchs and prophets, and to other persons distinguished by their virtue and by their love for the law of the Lord. The New Testament recounts the deeds of the Apostles and other Saints who enjoyed the Lord’s friendship. The lives of the Saints sometimes reflect the Gospel so closely that their very personality becomes apparent from merely reading the pages.

Well, one needs good lectors for that to happen. In the prayers of the Mass, qualities of the saints are drawn into the texts:

The relationship between Sacred Scripture and Christian hagiography, in the context of the celebration of the Eucharist, has given rise to the composition of a number of Commons which provide a synopsis of a particular biblical text which illustrates the lives of the Saints. With regard to this relationship, it has been said that Sacred Scripture orients and indicates the journey of the Saints to perfect charity. The Saints, in turn, become a living exegesis of the Word.

In every Mass, at the Eucharistic Prayer, saints get some mention. And there are those lists in EP I.

Reference is made to the Saints at various points during the celebration of the Eucharist. The Canon mentions “the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham our father in faith and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchizedek”(Roman Missal, EP I). The same Eucharistic prayer becomes an occasion to express our communion with the Saints, by venerating their memory and pleading for their intercession, since “in union with the whole Church, we honor Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, we honor Joseph her husband, the Apostles and martyrs: Peter and Paul, Andrew […] and all the Saints, may their prayers and intercession gain us your constant help and protection”(Roman Missal, EP I. Provision is made for a memorial of the Saint or patron of the day in EP III).

The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy is online at the Vatican site.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s