Send Your Holy Spirit on Us

Image courtesy of Sts. Peter & Paul Romanian Orthodox Church, Dearborn Heights

I have mentioned in a previous essay that the Romanian Archdiocese here in America, of which I belong, is working on a new Romanian/English translation of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.  I have been part of this as one of the editors of the text and it has been a fascinating exercise in Liturgical theology.

The words we use are extremely important as they convey the Holiest of meanings.  The Liturgy is a mix of Scripture and the tradition of the Church and lays out the entire theology of our holy church.  So the selection of words is important.  I recall one meeting when we were discussing using the word house rather than church in reference to the building or the community.  Some thought that house was not dignified enough.  This is what I mean by choosing the correct words.

I wish to draw attention to one particular part of the Divine Liturgy.  This part takes place after the Great Entrance with the gifts of bread and wine.  The priest calls on the Holy Spirit on the gifts that are offered with these words:

Again we offer you this spiritual and bloodless sacrifice, and we call on you, we pray you and humbly supplicate you: Send your Holy Spirit on us and on these gifts here offered…

The priest calls upon the Holy Spirit not only upon the gifts to transform them but upon all those who have assembles thus making us a Eucharistic people.  We are, in fact transformed by the Holy Spirit to ready us for the intimate reception of these Holy Mysteries.

After the blessing is pronounced upon the bread and wine the priest prays this prayer that illustrates the fact that we have been transformed:

So that for those who partake of them they may be for awakening of the soul, for forgiveness of sins, for communion with your Holy Spirit, for fulfillment of the kingdom of heaven, for confidence towards you but neither to judgment no to condemnation.

We are asking that by partaking in this Holy Mystery our souls are stirred as the waters were stirred at the creation of the world.  That we are awakened with a yearning for knowledge of not only these mysteries, but of the one who created them.  We ask that our sins be forgiven, so that we are made a little bit more worthy of these gifts.  By reception of this Mystery we come into a greater union with the Holy Trinity and thus the fulfillment of the task that Christ came to perform on earth, and finally for confidence toward God and what He teaches us, but not for our judgment or condemnation.

We must receive the gifts being offered in the proper way and ready ourselves through confession, prayer, and fasting.

What an awesome gift that Christ Himself has given us!

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