December 31, 2014

The Glorious Exchange

They recommended it to us when we were students, but I've rarely preached on one of the orations for a Mass. But I did on Monday (December 29) so taken I was with the Prayer over the Gifts (is that what it's called in English?):
Receive, Lord, our gifts,
which exercise a glorious exchange,
that, offering what you have given, we may win you yourself.
That's my translation. Maybe someone can post how the English really goes (I don't have an English missal here) and we can see how close I got.

That 'glorious exchange' is the joy of Christmas. We who have so little to give receive a gift greater than we can contain or comprehend: God himself. In the mystery of the Incarnation, God abandons his divinity into our humanity, lifting it into the mysterious inner life of the Blessed Trinity himself. This is the gift of which St. John speaks in the Gospel of Christmas Day: "But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave the power to become children of God; who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13) Our rebirth in God becomes available through the birth of the Word of God as one of us.

When we realize the depth and greatness of the gift we have received in Jesus Christ, no response makes sense but to give ourselves totally to him. Our giving of ourselves to God remains a gift ever meager and poor; God's gift of himself to us remains ever greater than we can think or imagine. As St. Francis puts it in the Letter to the Entire Order, "Hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves, that He Who gives Himself totally to you may receive you totally."

7 comments:

Sophie said...

“Lord, receive our gifts in this wonderful exchange: from all you have given us we bring you these gifts, and in return, you give us yourself.”

Best wishes to you in 2015, Brother Charles, and also to your Order.

Brother Charles said...

Thanks and thanks!

Brian Garcia-Luense said...

I, too, love this particular oration and look forward to its use annually. By the way, the current English missal refers to these orations as the "Prayer over the Offerings"

Brother Charles said...

That's it! The "Prayer over the Offerings." I knew it had been changed. Thanks, brother!

Louis M said...

Fratello,

Beautiful!

I think that last sentence should read "Hold back nothing of yourself, etc". Buon anno!

-Lou

Brother Charles said...

Thanks for the correction!

Judy Kallmeyer said...

I would love to see you preach on that beautiful prayer said silently by the celebrant during the Mass: "By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the Divinity of Christ Who humbled Himself to share in our humanity." This prayer really touches me and I really do wish that it were pronounced aloud.