Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Three-fold prayer

    As I prayed the Prayer Over the People at Mass today, I was reminded of the "three-fold" nature of our prayers at time.  The Prayer says

May your faithful be strengthened, O God,
by your blessing:
in grief, may you be their consolation,
in tribulation, their power to endure,
and in peril, their protection.
Through Christ our Lord.
     "In grief, in tribulation, in peril" brought to mind the new translation of the old Roman Canon where describing the gifts that the Father has given us as  "this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim" and later, describing the good things that God has made, the Eucharistic Prayer says of them "you sanctify them, fill them with life, bless them".   This three-fold formula of prayer is found in many instances in the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom in the Byzantine Catholic liturgy, and is very beautiful when prayerfully chanted.  "Holy One, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal have mercy on us" is one formula that I seem to remember.
     Of course, this three-fold formula has even more basic roots in our understanding of the nature of God: One God in Three Divine Persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
     So, may today's Prayer Over the People which we prayed come to pass ... may we find consolation in Christ, be able to endure by his power, and count on his protection in our lives.   And may our Lenten journey bring us closer to the Triune God.
Pray for Pope Benedict,
the Church in transition,
and the guidance of the Holy Spirit
upon the selection of a new pope. 

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