New Words for Worship Part 19: Liturgical Texts for the Body and Blood of Christ

Liturgical Texts for the Body and Blood of Christ
In this last of a series of four columns comparing texts from the current Missal with those in the revised translation, I show here the Opening Prayer and a Preface for the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, as the feast will be designated in future.

Current Opening Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ,
you gave us the eucharist
as the memorial of your suffering and death.
May our worship of this sacrament of your body and blood
help us to experience the salvation you won for us
and the peace of the kingdom

Revised Collect:
O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament
have left us a memorial of your Passion,
grant us, we pray,
so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood
that we may always experience in ourselves
the fruits of your redemption.

Illustrated here are two features of the revised collects: the phrase “grant us, we pray”and the capitalisation of many of the nouns.

Either Preface of Holy Eucharist I or II may be used. With limited space, I give here the current and revised versions of the Preface of Holy Eucharist II only.

Current Preface of holy eucharist II:
At the last supper,
as he sat at table with his apostles,
he offered himself to you as the spotless lamb,
the acceptable gift that gives you perfect praise.
Christ has given us this memorial of his passion
to bring us its saving power until the end of time.
In this great sacrament you feed your people
and strengthen them in holiness,
so that the family of mankind
may come to walk in the light of one faith,
in one communion of love.
We come then to this wonderful sacrament
to be fed at your table
and grow into the likeness of the risen Christ.

Revised Preface I of the Most Holy Eucharist:
For at the Last Supper with his Apostles,
establishing for the ages to come the saving memorial of the Cross,
he offered himself to you as the unblemished Lamb,
the acceptable gift of perfect praise.
Nourishing your faithful by this sacred mystery,
you make them holy, so that the human race,
bounded by one world,
may be enlightened by one faith
and united by one bond of charity.
And so, we approach the table of this wondrous Sacrament,
so that, bathed in the sweetness of your grace,
we may pass over to the heavenly realities here foreshadowed.

Again, the structure of the revised text is more complex, mainly because phrases have been placed between subject and verb (“bounded by one world), between “so that” and its outcome (“bathed in the sweetness of your grace”) and after the noun described (“here foreshadowed”).

Elizabeth Harrington