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of the mystery of sharing in the divine nature that this entire commentary is dedicated to them without a Preface. The two parts of the phrase, reaching out in love, correspond to specific dimensions of divine life. First of all, “reaching out” corre- sponds to self-transcendence whereby we are freed from preoccupations with the self to respond to a greater reality beyond the self. Secondly, “in love” corresponds to offering one’s self to another. Self-transcendence and self- offering, then, are another way of talking about “reaching out in love” and sharing in the divine nature. These two dimensions correspond in turn to freedom and union. Self-transcendence requires a certain freedom from self- preoccupation and prepares one to respond freely and creatively to one’s particular call- ing. Offering one’s self in love to another tends towards union. Personal freedom and loving union, then, present yet another way of talk- ing about “reaching out in love” and sharing in the divine nature. These two dimensions are also used to describe Christ. Humanity and divinity in Christ are distinct without division, united without confusion. The union of humanity with divinity in Christ expresses their loving union, while their lack of confusion safeguards the freedom of each. The distinction of human- ity from divinity in Christ expresses the freedom of each, while their lack of division safeguards their loving union. What is said of the divinity and humanity

of Christ may also be said of the three per- sons of the Trinity in the divine embrace of love without confusion of their three persons, each distinct from the other without division. We share in the divine nature when we reach out in love, because reaching out and loving are proper to Trinitarian life and to the Word who became flesh. The assembly of the Church is also characterised by unity in diversity, our love in freedom. We share in the divine nature not only in the sacramental cel- ebration but also in service, which reaches out in loving service for the benefit of others.

Textual analysis: In the collect, the exhorta- tive petition, praestet, “make sure, guarantee”, is one of a class of verbs of bringing about,

14 | THE TABLET | 2 October 2010

Reaching out in love R

Three prayers of stunning composition and beauty explore the action of grace on humanity, writes Daniel McCarthy. They conjure the flowing of divine love that transforms love of one’s neighbour

eclaimed from obscurity, the Prayer After Communion with the Opening Prayer and Prayer Over the Gifts make such a satisfactory exposition


Opening Prayer May your grace both precede and follow us always, we ask, O Lord, and may it continually make sure that we are intent upon good works.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ … Amen.

Prayer Over the Gifts Receive, O Lord, the prayers of the faithful with the offerings of sacrifices,

so that, through these services of sincere devotion,

Collecta (Opening Prayer)

semper et praeveniat et sequatur,

ac bonis operibus iugiter praestet esse intentos. Per Dominum … (Missale Romanum 2008)

we may cross over to heavenly glory. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

allowing, permitting. What we ask God to guar- antee is the concrete result that “we are intent”, which is expressed in the sentence whose sub- ject is the accusative nos and verb the infinitive esse. Although this Latin sentence may be understood as an expression of inten- tion and thus rendered in the subjunctive in English, “that we may be intent”, the study text takes it as an expression of the concrete result of God’s action, and thus presents it in the indicative, “that we are intent”.

Ritual development Opening Prayer:Divine grace precedes and follows us, suggesting we are on a journey. For this journey, we need both the freedom to go beyond ourselves and the capacity to offer our- selves in love. God prepares our way and entices us along with love, and then following us respects our freedom as we respond and dis- cern the way. Undertaking the journey, we discover and become who we are and so come to an accurate self-representation. Prayer Over the Gifts: In the procession

of gifts, our journey leads to the altar, where we are mindful of our good deeds, elicited and accomplished in grace. These are among the sacrifices we offer as we present ourselves as gift, with the bread and wine and an offering for people in their need. In both the good deeds and our present offering, we transcend our- selves to offer ourselves in love to God and neighbour. Thus, we respond to the divine out-

Tua nos, quaesumus, Domine, gratia

Prayer After Communion We humbly beseech your majesty, O Lord, that, just as you nourish us with the food of the most holy Body and Blood, so may you make us to be sharers of the divine nature.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(The study texts are translated from Latin in collabor ation with Frs Reginald Foster OCD and James Leachman OSB. These texts are not

polished translations, but are intended to reveal a theological richness and beauty.)

reach in love to humanity, by our outreach in love to our neighbour, by our unity in diver- sity as Church and by our response in love to God. By mirroring the divine outreach in love, we embody and so cross over into heavenly glory. Prayer After Communion:The transcen- dent is discovered in the mystery of the human person. It is nourished within us by the body and blood of Christ that we share among us. By reaching out in love, we personally, and the liturgical assembly corporately, mirror the life of the Trinity, a unity in diversity, a dis- tinction of persons without division. We mirror in our lives and association the divine outreach to draw all of humanity together in love, ever respectful of our diversity. Thus, our humility before divine majesty gives way to our sharing in the divine nature.

The art of celebrating We gather as children, adolescents and adults, respectful of the freedom of each to respond to the divine overture to give ourselves in love. Again and again throughout our lives, in the good deeds we do daily and when we pres- ent ourselves at the altar as gift, we continually mature in our capacity to mirror the divine outreach in love.

■Daniel McCarthy OSB is a monk of St Benedict’s Abbey, Kansas, who writes and teaches on liturgy.

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