“Will you pray for me?” “Will you pray for my aunt, who is having surgery today?” “Will you pray for my dog, who lost his favorite bone the other day?” Probably a lot of us hear these sort of things quite a bit, particularly when we’re hanging around church. People ask us to pray for different things all the time – people who are sick, people who are suffering or struggling, a family member or friend who needs help, or some cause that we support by our prayers. There are so many things to remember in prayer that All Saints actually created a prayer chain to pass along intentions! It can be a lot of work!
But perhaps a follow-up question is whether we actually remember to do it. Do we pray for those people that we promise to pray for? It can be difficult to think of all these people when we sit down to pray, or to remember everyone we’ve been asked to pray for. Well don’t worry, the Church understands! And so she includes a particular time to remember these people in the Eucharistic Prayer called the “Commemoration of the Living.”
We hear that phrase in EPI, “They offer it for themselves and all who are dear to them.” All right, time out. Now’s probably a good time to go back and revisit what we said so many months ago (January 5, to be exact), about that “my sacrifice and yours” business. When the priest invites us to pray about “my sacrifice and yours,” he is making that distinction in our roles at Mass. The priest is offering that sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ, which is sitting there on the altar. But all of us offer our own sacrifices as well.
That’s what EPI is talking about! When the priest says, “they offer it for themselves and all who are dear to them,” he’s talking about our purpose in directing our prayers – for ourselves and for those people we promised to pray for. What better place to remember all those folks than the greatest prayer we can offer, period – our prayer at the altar!
Then EPI talks about what we’re praying for with regard to those people – 1) “The redemption of their souls”, 2) “in hope of health and well-being”, and 3) “paying their homage” to God. In other words, we pray for their immortal, spiritual welfare, along with the graces they need to follow Christ, our bodily welfare against things like sickness or injury, and (the primary purpose for our prayer,) out of praise, thanksgiving, and adoration of God, who gives us everything. I think we pretty much covered our bases there.
Just as we said back in January, all of us are called to participate fully in the Mass, especially through offering our personal sacrifices and prayers, placing them next to the sacrifice on the altar, and part of that is through our prayers for others. There are a lot of people out there who need our prayers, and a lot of people who have no one to pray for them. Let’s take the time at Mass to pour out of ourselves, and lift our those around us to God in prayer.