Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies
COLLECTS OF THE ROMAN MISSAL - FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER: POST-COMMUNION PRAYER
Missale Romanum 1962 (MR '62)
For this week’s column on the Collects of the Roman Missal, we consider the Post-Communion Collect for today’s Mass of the Fourth Sunday after Easter in the MR’62. The following is my own translation of this prayer:
“Be with us, Lord our God: that, through these things which we have received faithfully, we may both be purged from vices and delivered from all dangers. Through our Lord, etc. Amen.”
The Post-Communion often speaks about the fruits of a worthy reception of Holy Communion. It bears repeating what some of those fruits include. Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1391 lists the primary fruit, fittingly rehearsing Jesus’ own promises in John 6.
“Holy Communion augments our union with Christ. The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Lord said: ‘He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.’ Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: ‘As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.’”
This truth is conveyed by the Post-Communion Collect’s central petition: “Adesto nobis,” or “Be with us.” Even after the Sacred Host has dissolved within us, and the few moments have passed wherein we possess the substantial Presence of Our Lord, Jesus nevertheless remains spiritually in our souls by sanctifying grace. Our petition, therefore, begs God always to fulfill what Christ solemnly promised. Such mutual indwelling, effected and strengthened by the regular reception of Holy Communion, is an ongoing reality for those who diligently foster the life of grace.
Practically speaking, this means that we can count on Christ’s spiritual presence in our souls during the good times and the challenging times. Provided we do not consciously and willfully expel him through mortal sin, we can always lean upon the divine friendship of Jesus in prayer and the practice of virtue. How we need to be more conscious of this after we receive Holy Communion, especially when our minds are distracted by the cares of daily life or when tempted, as various Communion devotions will note.
This is where the discipline of daily prayer comes into play. Thus, for example, St. Jean Vianney recommends making a spiritual communion when we sense our charity is “growing cold”- the effect will be comparable to rekindling embers (cf. Pieta Prayer Book, p. 25). We may take encouragement from the following words of St. Paul, which apply not only to the Sacred Liturgy, but to prayer in general, especially during moments of trial: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:6, RSV).
Two other significant effects of Holy Communion include, in the words of our Post-Communion Collect, being “purged from vices” and “delivered from all evils.” We may argue that the former item refers to venial (less-serious) sin, while the latter item is to be understood as preservation from mortal sin and its eternal effects in hell. Catechism nos. 1394-5 speaks about these two hoped-for outcomes listed in the prayer:
“As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and this living charity wipes away venial sins. By giving Himself to us Christ revives our love and enables us to break our disordered attachments to creatures and root ourselves in him.”
“By the same charity that it enkindles in us, the Eucharist preserves us from future mortal sins. The more we share the life of Christ and progress in His friendship, the more difficult it is to break away from Him by mortal sin. The Eucharist is not ordered to the forgiveness of mortal sins - that is proper to the sacrament of Reconciliation. The Eucharist is properly the sacrament of those who are in full communion with the Church.”(David Allen)
|Mr. David Allen, M.T.S., is the lay Pastoral Associate for our parish of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.