Thursday, February 21, 2013

Devotion for today: The Embolism: a prayer for deliverance, peace, mercy and hope

I Chronicles 29:11
"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.

We have now arrived at the point in the Mass where we recite the Our Father, the prayer Jesus taught us to pray. Since we will be covering it in detail in another series of blogs, I will leave it for now. However, I think it is most worthy to spend a few minutes looking at the words with which the priest introduces the Our Father. Here is one commentary on the wording and changes recently made:    
  In the revised translation of The Roman Missal, there are no changes to the familiar words of the Lord’s Prayer as we pray them at Mass. But you will notice changes to the words with which the priest introduces the prayer: “At the Savior’s command / and formed by divine teaching, / we dare to say.” This introduction reminds us of why we pray: because through the Gospel, Jesus has invited us to pray to the Father as he does. The more we are “formed,” shaped by his teaching, the more we will make the words of this prayer our own, asking for the needs of the day, and praying for the coming of God’s kingdom. .
 It is good for us to ponder these words and ask ourselves at this point in the Mass if we really do believe we are truly formed by God’s teaching, or are we just saying words. The Our Father is so familiar to us that we may be tempted to recite it without remembering that it was by Jesus’ command that we offer this prayer to “Abba” literally translated, “Daddy”. Every word in it is put there by Jesus for a reason, for us to believe God can and will meet our needs and help us enter His kingdom.
The final part is called the Embolism, and here are a few thoughts on that:
…the final part, proclaimed by priest and people, rightly calls us to offer glory and praise to God, under whose authority, rule, and power we disciples live. Following the Lord’s Prayer is the Sign of Peace. God’s kingdom, rule, and power is one of peace, of true communion with and among human persons.
Only the Triune God can give us the peace, communion, and “daily bread” we need.'sPrayerandtheEmbolism.pdf
The embolism (the short prayer inserted between the Lord’s Prayer and the doxology) has also changed slightly, as the priest adds to the Lord’s Prayer a petition for peace. “Graciously grant peace in our days, / that, by the help of your mercy, / we may be always free from sin / and safe from all distress, / as we await the blessed hope / and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
A Prayer Belonging to the People:  While the invitation to pray the Lord’s Prayer is made by the priest-celebrant, the Prayer itself belongs to the people and is sung or recited aloud by all.  Because it is a prayer belonging to the people it should never be sung by the choir alone or by a soloist.   The Embolism:  At the end of the Our Father, the priest prays an additional prayer known as an “embolism” a term used in liturgy to identify a text which expands a portion of a prayer.  The embolism following the Lord’s Prayer is an expansion on the petition deliver us from evil, and, while it reiterates that prayer, it also introduces a note of peace and hope of the Lord’s second coming.  The people respond to the embolism with the words of an ancient doxology which dates back to the very early Church and is even found in manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew:  For the kingdom,  the power and the glory are yours, 
now and forever. The translation of the embolism has been altered somewhat in this edition of the Roman Missal.  One of the more significant of these alterations is the replacing of the word “anxiety” (that we may be freed from all anxiety) with the word “distress” so that the embolism now reads:  we may be . . . safe from all distress.  The bishops agreed that because “anxiety” is a term defined today by its use in the contemporary language of psychology, it may have too limited or specific a meaning in today’s world.  “Distress” was the word selected as a more comprehensive description of human
Any of us who have felt distress will love to say this prayer. “Keep us safe from all distress” makes me picture a child’s confidence in his daddy that no distress will befall him while his daddy is around.  I also love the final words we, the people, utter: For the kingdom, the power and the glory are Yours, now and forever.” Setting aside all doubts and pride, we prepare for communion by admitting we are powerless without God’s grace.

Prayer: The Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

No comments: