By Dr. Jenny O'Brien
The words ‘through Christ our Lord, Amen’ are familiar to us as the conclusion to many of the Church’s formal prayers.
During Mass they end the Prayer over the Offerings of bread and wine, and the Prayer after Communion. At the end of the Collect (Opening Prayer) they appear in the longer form: ‘Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.’ And at the end of the great Eucharistic Prayer there is the even longer form: ‘Through him and with him and in him, O God almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is yours for ever and ever. Amen.’
You may be surprised to know that these simple phrases are extraordinarily rich in theological meaning. They help us to understand how we, the baptised faithful, relate to the risen Jesus and to the three divine persons of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Author: Jenny O'Brien
The beautiful funeral liturgies that marked the passing to eternal life of Archbishop Leonard Faulkner demonstrated very clearly the important role that our Catholic rituals play within the faith community. The coming together of so many people from throughout our diocese and beyond was “cemented” by the prayers, the readings, the songs and hymns, the actions in which we all joined.
As we sang the antiphon of the Responsorial Psalm at both the Vigil service and the Mass of Christian Burial I was reminded of the power that these short but meaning-filled sentences carry.