September 21, 2009

At Table on the Feast of St. Matthew

I'm fascinated by the Prayer After Communion for today:

Salutáris gáudii partíceps, Dómine,
quo lætus Salvatórem in domo sua convíviam
beátus Mattháeus excépit,
da, ut cibo semper reficiámur illíus,
qui non iustos sed peccatóres vocáre venit ad salútem.
Qui vivit et regnat in sáecula sæculórum.

which our current American English sacramentary renders as:

Father, in this eucharist we have shared the joy of salvation
which St. Matthew knew when he welcomed your Son.
May this food renew us in Christ,
who came to call not the just
but sinners to salvation in his kingdom
where he is Lord for ever and ever.

So many times we imagine the Eucharist as our approach to the Lord's table; but this prayer seems to invite us to imagine the Eucharist the other way around; as our expression of joy at Jesus' presence at our table. Here we are reminded that it is not us who have approached the Father through Jesus, but the Father who has reached out--and into--us through the humanity of Christ. Jesus has invited himself into our lives with that simple imperative, "Follow me," and it is up to us to consent to the grace of his presence as Guest at our table.


Warren said...

That's true isn't it? There is both the heavenly sublimity aspect in the Eucharistic celebration (heaven on earth), and merciful condescension here (jesus at table with tax collectors and sinners).

Wow. And the latin is really pretty.


Anonymous said...

Not that I think there is any theological ramification here, but as a point of linguistics, is it common to interchange "father" to English from the latin "Dominus/e"? I would have thought that "Lord" would have been pretty straight forward.

Brother Charles said...

Yes, indeed, Anonymous. It is very common for the outgoing American English versions of the prayers to substitute 'Father' for either 'Dominus' or 'Deus.'

Perhaps this is one of those things that will be fixed by the forthcoming third edition Roman Missal in English.