Our weekly journey through the Mass has taken us at long last to the end of the Eucharistic Prayer and its concluding Doxology. This prayer reads:
Through whom you continue to make all these good things, O Lord; you sanctify them, fill them with life, bless them, and bestow them upon us.
Through him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever.
This final movement in the Eucharistic Prayer recalls us to a very simple reality that is for all its simplicity very hard for us to really hold on to, really remember and apply to our lives. It is this: Christ is everything (Col 3:11).
That is, He is the absolute center, the source, the goal of our lives. He is our food and drink, our life and our joy, our peace and our sure help in every circumstance. To Him all creation is yearning, from Him all creation derives both its existence and its meaning. He is the One, the only One, who gives us access to the Father and the life of the Triune God in which is all the delight and rapture of the human person found, and He is the One, the only One, through whom all of the blessings of God come down upon the human race.
Jesus is it, simply. And this end of the Eucharistic prayer simply expresses all of this in words of faith, and then does what is appropriate and right—we give all glory and honor to God the Father through, with, and in Jesus Christ, united by the Holy Spirit as one body to do so with one another and with Him, here and now in this liturgy, in anticipation of doing this forever in heaven.
And the people say: Amen.
So living this out seems fairly obvious to me. It’s not complicated, truly. How is my personal relationship with Jesus Christ going? How is yours? Are the words of the Gospel ever on our lips and hearts? Is the name of Jesus readily at the surface of our thoughts and on our tongues, not (as is so often tragically the case in our fallen world) as a curse word in anger, but as a prayer of grateful praise and constant intercession?
Do we turn to Him immediately for help and guidance in times of perplexity and trouble? Do we turn to Him just as immediately in times of joy and delight, with thanksgiving? Above all, do we come to the liturgy knowing that, however else we have done in our daily lives making Jesus what He truly is—the very center and source, the true King of our hearts and homes—at the very least we come before Him there to offer the worship He has commanded us to do (cf. Lk 22:19, 1 Cor 11: 24)?
To live this part of the Mass simply means to live our lives with Jesus as our constant companion, not our equal for sure, but our Lord who happens to live with us in close proximity every day. It means to live our lives in Jesus, to know that He is in fact one with us and that our lives and His life are one life and that the life we live is in fact His life in the world as His Body.
And it means to live our lives through Jesus, always patterning ourselves on Him and on His Word, always going to Him to do, well, everything we do. When we love, we love through Jesus. When we pray, we pray through Jesus. When we work, we work through Jesus. When we play and rejoice and delight, it is through Him. When we suffer and mourn and die, it is through Him. Nothing is apart from Him, nothing is done without His mediation and help.
I don’t have much more to say about this—it is so simple, and we either believe it and try to live it, or we don’t. And of course the Lord does not leave us on our own to flounder about with all this stuff, but comes to us in a direct and concrete physical way to help us in all this. And that is where the liturgy takes us next, and where we will go next in this series.