Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies


For today’s meditation on the Collects of the Roman Missal, we consider the Collect for Corpus Christi, which is identical in both forms of the Mass. Below is the official ICEL English translation of the original Latin Collect:

“O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament have left us a memorial of Your Passion, grant us, we pray, so to revere the sacred mysteries of Your Body and Blood that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of Your redemption. Who live and reign, etc. Amen.”

Today’s Collect challenges us to reflect on how well we prepare to receive Holy Communion. The petition dovetails seamlessly with the hoped-for outcome: we ask God to help us “so to revere” the Blessed Sacrament, so “that we may always experience...the fruits of Your redemption.” In other words, we are asking God that we might approach the altar with an open and adoring heart so as to benefit as fully as we can from sacramental grace. With this in mind, then, we cannot overestimate the importance of a heartfelt and sincere preparation for Holy Communion.

Worthy preparation for Mass differs according to our individual circumstances in life. Generally speaking, however, it entails pre-Communion prayers of some kind (this need not be a lengthy exercise), prayerful reading of the appointed Scriptures for Mass, and the regular reception of the Sacrament of Confession (once a month is a tried and true practice, even if the minimum prescription of the Church is once a year). What do these means of preparation afford us? A great deal, to be sure. 

Prayer before Communion tends towards increasing our desire for Jesus. When we desire Jesus, we will be all the more glad at having received Him sacramentally. We will also be less inclined to  take His love for granted. In adoring him the more, we are all the more receptive to His grace which truly and gradually transforms us (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1074).

Reading the Scriptures of the Mass prior to attending Mass helps to attune our minds to the mind of Christ. In opening our souls to the movement of the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures kindle our faith, and render us better disposed to adore and receive Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. The Liturgy of the Word, then, acts much like St. John the Baptist, in that it prepares our hearts to welcome Our Lord. The same principle is at work in the episode of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, wherein Jesus prepares them for the Eucharist by explaining the Scriptures to them and kindling their hearts with faith, hope, and charity (cf. Lk. 24).

Finally, when we admit to our sins specifically in the Sacrament of Confession, we open ourselves to receive the benefits of Christ’s Passion more completely. In other words, we become far more aware of our great need for Jesus Christ: it is for these sins, my sins, that He died; these are the moral defects of my character and the woundedness of my sinful nature that He comes to heal. Confession of sin makes Holy Communion a far more personal matter. Indeed, Confession and Holy Communion work together in a marvelous fashion to renew, heal, and sanctify us. A gentle reminder: if we are aware of having committed any mortal sin since our last Confession, we must go to Confession prior to receiving Holy Communion. This is not strictly the case with venial sin (less serious sin), although Confession is still very beneficial to our souls.  

On this great feast, let us believe ever more firmly what Christ and His Church teach regarding sacramental grace, namely, that Sacraments work! In our Collect, we call the Blessed Sacrament “wonderful,” or mirabile, in Latin. This ascription elicits our trust in God’s mysterious and active work of grace in our lives.  

(David Allen)

Mr. David Allen, M.T.S., is the lay Pastoral Associate for our parish of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.


About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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