Julie Storr shares a reflection on the Prayer after Communion for the Mass for the First Sunday of Advent.
Today we Lectio the Liturgy with the Prayer after Communion for the First Sunday of Advent. The purpose of the Prayer after Communion is to summarize and state again what we have experienced, in word, action, and belief. The priest prays on our behalf that the Mass will not let us go unchanged, that the Body of Christ which we received will have an effect in our lives.
This week’s prayer reads:
May these mysteries, O Lord, in which we have participated, profit us, we pray, for even now, as we walk amid passing things, you teach us by them to love the things of heaven and hold fast to what endures. Through Christ our Lord.
We begin the prayer asking God that what we have received will profit us. Used here, the verb means to benefit, to do good. However, there is another meaning that may help us more: serve. May our participation in today’s liturgy serve us as we go forth because we’re going to need it.
Our prayer today reminds us that we’re going to be out in the world. However, the things that we pass by, the things that we deal with from day to day are merely passing things. They are earthly things that we are not to cling to, they’re there to remind us of heavenly things, and the Father wants to teach us the difference between the two.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot this week: which events of my day are earthly and which are heavenly. It’s fun to watch a ball game, especially when your team wins, but while it’s enjoyable, watching the game isn’t something I can take into eternal life.
An example of what we can take into eternal life is the Mass. We enter into the prayer. God becomes present. This is eternal. This is heaven on earth. I’ve been told that when we’re at Mass we are no longer on Central Time (here in Iowa); instead, we enter Kingdom Time as we join heaven in prayer.
Those leftover tacos I had for lunch a few days ago—it was just lunch, as the earthly physical body needs food to function. However, receiving Holy Communion is eternal. My eternal soul needs food as well, and this Food is heavenly food.
As we journey through Advent, Jesus is our example to follow. Jesus walked amid passing things and I’m sure that Jesus enjoyed earthly things. He knew how to fish and cook on a fire (see John 21). In John 2, we learn that Jesus was invited to a wedding feast. He probably knew how to dance, and I’d bet He was good at it.
However, even though he was on earth, Jesus kept His mind on heavenly things. He did what He saw the Father doing (John 5:19) and he said what he heard the Father say (John 12:49). He walked among us, amid earthly things, using water to baptize, mud to heal, and His blood to save. Our lives are similar: we are amid the earthly water and wine; however, by the power of God, they become heavenly. This is what we should be holding fast to, the heavenly things that endure.
May we begin this Advent season truly striving to be more mindful of the earthly that points to the heavenly in our lives.
Oh, and by the way, if you’re one of the folks who leaves Mass right after Communion, don’t! Stay for the prayer and the blessing. The graces we receive at Mass have the power to change us. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “the fruits of the sacraments … depend on the disposition of the one who receives them” (1128). What we receive begins with us.
Copyright 2022 Julie Storr
About the Author
Julie Storr is a convert and Benedictine Oblate who is in awe of the depth of the relationship with God that can be found in the Catholic Church. Julie and her husband live in Pocahontas, Iowa. They have two sons, and is learning girl things from a new daughter-in-law. She writes and is available for speaking engagements. Visit her website at LectioTheLiturgy.com.