Divine Dialogue of God with the Soul
Today I want to look at the opening prayer for the Sunday Liturgy (Mass). Here it is:
O God, who founded all the commands of your sacred Law upon love of you and of our neighbor, grant that, by keeping your precepts, we may merit to attain eternal life.
Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen.
When I taught religious education to little children I found them to be like little sponges, eager to hear anything about God. He was still very much a part of their lives at age 6, 7, 8 and 9, their having so recently come from His Hand into their families. (I firmly believe that they were known by God intimately before their birth into our world, and God was at the center of their created souls.) I think of my little ones in those Saturday morning classes—while their friends were playing tag or watching cartoons, mine were sitting in their chairs, legs tucked underneath them, leaning on their elbows as we talked about ‘holy things,’ eating up every word and asking for more.
I often grieve the way children sometimes lose their way through childhood as they are influenced by so many forces outside the circle of their loving families. That’s especially the case today when we seem to be losing our moral compass as a nation. Who could have ever imagined some of the ‘philosophies’ our children are being exposed to in some school systems? And what of the things they might accidentally come across while innocently doing homework on their tablets?
Yet, there is a hunger. Teenagers, college students, young executives, parents, the people in the pews, the elderly in their rooms rocking quietly as they reminisce all know moments of great hunger for more. Today’s opening prayer speaks of this desire to attain eternal life by keeping the beautiful Law of God given to us in the Commandments (His precepts). While we might think of them as a list of do’s and don’ts, they are actually the pathway to personal peace and eternal communion with God. The first three commandments speak of our relationship with God, and the last seven show us the way to fraternal harmony with our sisters and brothers, as we read in the opening prayer. We learned them as children in Catholic school, in ‘catechism class,’ or at the knees of our parents. They weren’t so hard to understand when we were small (though there were a few big words!), but we tended to complicate them as we grew up and began to measure things out more than necessary. God gave us these precepts to feed our hunger for Him. They are the clearest way, the most basic way to keep our eyes fastened on Him, our hunger satisfied by His Word, and our lives rooted in healthy relationships with everyone God sends into our lives. Ultimately, the lessons we learned as little children are meant to accompany us as we mature into holy sons and daughters of our God.
Give us the grace of the innocence of childhood, O Lord, that we may move beyond the distractions and errors of this present world.
Grant that we may merit to attain eternal life, by faithful adherence to Your precepts.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, Our Lord, Amen.
Have a prayerful week.