We come to the part of the Roman canon (Prayer of the Eucharist I) called “Memorial of the Living” or “Memory of the Living”. At this time the priest prays: “Lord, remember your servants N. and N. and all who have gathered here.” Here the priest prays silently, remembering the names of all those whom he wishes to remember in this Eucharistic Sacrifice. Indeed, if the intent of the Mass is for a living person, it is most appropriate to pray for that person at this time.
The priest also prays for “all gathered here whose faith and devotion are known to you.” This speaks to the importance of physically attending Mass. All present are beneficiaries of the prayer of the priest who stands in the person of Christ and offers the sacrifice of the cross. Their faith and devotion, their state of soul, is known only to God. Nevertheless, in the most perfect prayer of all, the sacrificial prayer of the Eucharist, all those present are remembered.
the priest continues. This shows that the faith of the Church since its foundation declares that the priest, by ordination, stands as a “man of Christ” and therefore must offer the sacrifice of the Mass. Saint Ignatius of Antioch (died 110 AD) wrote in his letter to the Smyrneans: (8:1) But believers enter into the common priesthood by baptism and offer sacrifices in another way. Believers participate in their own offerings and prayers in line with the altar sacrifice. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council of the Presbyterorum Ordinis, a decree on the life and ministry of priests, teaches: The Eucharist is offered bloodlessly and sacramentally through the hands of the priests in the name of the whole Church until the Lord Himself comes” (2:4). Thus, the faithful, rightly understood, find their participation in the sacrificial offering at Mass surprisingly true. )
Each person who attends Mass is immersed in the Sacrifice of the Lord and enjoys the efficacy of its power. That is why the prayers of the priests for the living and the prayers of the faithful for the “redemption of their souls in the hope of health and well-being” rely on the life-giving sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. . When we pray at Mass, God’s mercy, God’s gracious life, and God’s love of healing are at our fingertips. Priests and believers participate together in the Sacrifice of the Lord, “honoring unto Thee, Eternal God, living and true.” It is a great honor and blessing to be able to attend Mass!
So come to Mass with renewed faith and a heart full of praise! Let’s confidently pray for each other and for all who need our prayers!
Master William J. Walterscheid
Auxiliary Bishop of Pittsburgh