08 September 2008

Prayer to the Theotokos II: Post-communion prayer, part 3

"I thank thee that thou hast vouchsafed me, who am unworthy, to be a partaker of the most pure Body and precious Blood of thy Son."

The Greek original says, "Eucharisto soi, hoti exiosas me ton anaxion koinonon genesthai"--"I thank you, that you have accounted me (the unworthy) worthy to become sharer..."

There are two issues here:

1) Can the saints share in works that are God's works?

The answer, as we have seen elsewhere, is "yes." To cite but two examples: The handkerchiefs and shadows of the apostles healed people, and Paul told Titus that he (Titus) would save people by paying attention to himself and to his teaching.

Now making someone worthy of communing is God's work. But he carries out his works in and through means, and when he does so, we can use those same verbs in connection with those means.

2) How are we made worthy to partake of the Sacrament?

Certainly we are made worthy by faith. But that faith does not exclude the prayers of others. Those prayers play a part in our worthy partaking--hence the priest prays for himself and for the other communicants before they receive the sacrament: "To you, Master, Lover of mankind, we entrust our whole life and our hope, and we entreat, pray and implore you: count us worthy to partake of your heavenly and awesome mysteries at this sacred and spiritual table..." If the priest's prayer aids in the people's worthy partaking, how much more do the prayers of the Theotokos aid such partaking!

So in this particular petition, we are thanking the Mother of God that through her prayers for us, she participates in the divine work of making us worthy to receive Christ's body and blood.

1 comment:

Ignatius said...

Fr. G,

It has been a while so I thought I would pop into your blog. I love the posts on the "Prayer to the Theotokos". May our Lady keep you in her favour and interceede for you always in compassion.

I miss you all!

Love in XC,