…I will ramble on I promise, but these are a few thoughts I wanted to quick jot down. Now I begin to turn my thoughts to prayer , the prayer at the last supper, at the stoning of Saint Stephen, and those of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. But that ramble is not quite ready…
The prayer I begin my ramble on is Jesus’s High Priestly Prayer Jn 17:20-26. It is His conversation with the Father on behalf of us, His disciples. I think of what it says, certainly. I also ponder it as conversation, and its conversation on the behalf of others. The point is that prayer is a conversation. For us, it is the conversation between the human and the divine. A conversation between creation and creator. Think of the conversation between Saint Stephen and the LORD Acts 7:55-60 . First Stephen sees the Father and Son in Heaven, and then he asks that they receive his spirit. He talks to the divine as humans converse to one another. Secondly he pleads his persecutors are forgiven. It is not the structure of the words that count, it is the sincerity of the conversation.That’s prayer.
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
“Holy Father, I pray not only for them,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one,
as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that they also may be in us,
that the world may believe that you sent me.
Jesus ‘s prayer is a bit more lengthy, and even a tad more formal, but it remains a conversation. It is a conversation between a Father and His Son. It is an explanation, and also a petition. We are brought into the conversation. Sitting in a pew, I hear this petition. Its words are vaguely familiar. Not its words, but its structure? A prayer said on my behalf, I have heard it before. But where? Then it dawns on me, I hear it during the liturgy. Precisely I hear it at the Liturgy of the Eucharist . It is the Priest pleading on my behalf that the Divine accept this flawed humans gifts, and that Jesus descend into the Bread and Wine. The priest, in the person of Christ , pleads on my behalf.
In the entirety of these readings, what is it that I see? I see the paten and the chalice raised up in prayer. I see Stephen raise it up in his suffering, I see Jesus raise it up in His passion, and I see the Priest raise it up for me.