In the first Eucharistic prayer, the priest says, “…that you accept and bless these gifts…and unblemished sacrifices, which we offer you firstly for your holy catholic Church.” Notice the priest uses the word “we”. As Catholics, we are to offer our sacrifices for the good of the Church. We are called to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ and for the hierarchy of the Church.
The priest also says, “firstly for your holy catholic Church.” It should be our first disposition to pray for the good of others. Yes, we do pray for ourselves, but this is a prayer of the Church. We belong to that Church. We are part of the body of the Church. When we have ill will for other members of the Church, weather in the hierarchy or not, we will evil for ourselves. We are bound to each other; poor or rich, smart or not so smart, nice or not so nice. We are bound together by love, but not by human love for each other. We are bound by the love of God. We are bound to love each other because Jesus has loved us first.
When we have a pope or bishop we like, it is easy to pray for them. In a similar way, when we have members of the Church that we like, it is easy to pray for them. But how often do we pray for those we do not get along with? It is through this prayer of the church that we learn to love as God has loved us. If you really want to grow in the spiritual life, add your intentions for those you do not get along with. A particular good time to do this is when the priest pauses for a moment for you to add your own intentions. This is when he says, “Remember, Lord, your servants…” then he remains silent for a couple seconds.
We get to add our intentions to Jesus’ intention for us. Take advantage of this opportunity. In the bread, wine and collection, we bring the gifts to the altar, where God receives those gifts. But this is where we can do something about those gifts, our joys and sorrows. You may bring your gifts to the altar, but God may ask, “What do you want me to do with them?” That is the time to tell Him. Do you use this time to pray for all those who need your prayers? Even those who might not appreciate them? Jesus did this while He was on the cross. If you cannot find yourself able to do it today, be open for the graces to do it tomorrow. With God’s healing power in the Mass, He can set you free.