Q: I was studying our liturgy materials for class and the following lines from Eucharistic Prayer II jumped right off the page at me:
Therefore, as we celebrate
the memorial of his Death and Resurrection,
we offer you, Lord,
the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation,
giving thanks that you have held us worthy
to be in your presence and minister to you
Specifically, the last line. From what I understand, this prayer is spoken by the priest and addressed to the Father. So it would mean that we, in the assembly, are to “minister” to the Father. Wow!
From a pastoral perspective, what would this look like? It is obviously a charge to the assembly to be active in the mass, but I’m curious as to what this might mean more specifically? And what would us “ministering” to the Father look like?
I think this beautiful text—and want to live up to it more fully during the mass which is why I’m asking. Any thoughts would be great. Do you have any insight?
A: That is indeed a beautiful line from Prayer II, and as you can see from the slide I used in class, that expression dates all the way back to the earliest version of Prayer II that we have from the 3rd or 4th century.
Yes, the priest is addressing the Father on behalf of the people, who are to minister to the Father–and we’re not complaining about it. We’re THANKING the Father for being considered worthy enough to do this. It’s like thanking an employer who gives you a job. You’re happy to have the work for many reasons, even though it’s work. There’s something affirming about it.
As to what ministering means, we don’t know more than the words on the page, but it surely entails both worship and Christian service.