A woman at the church where I go on weekends stopped me recently and asked for the pope’s address; she wanted to write him about something. I was curious and enquired what it was about.
“The prayers at the offertory of the Mass are so beautiful,” she said, “and I want him to tell all the priests to recite those prayers out loud so we can hear them.”
I’ve heard comments like hers lately; people are listening to the prayers at Mass and elsewhere and want to know more about them. There’s criticism of the present translations of our Mass texts, of course, but still the prayers and actions of the Mass remain the best ways we have to understand the mystery we celebrate.
The woman was especially touched by the mingling of water with the wine that takes place after they’re brought to the altar. As he pours a little water into the wine, the priest says:
“By the mystery of this water and wine
may we come to share in the divinity of Christ
who humbled himself to share in our humanity.”
The wine represents the humble Christ who comes into our world that we may share in his life. The water, so insignificant, represents us who become sharers in his divinity in this mystery.
A priest I know helped out in one of Mother Teresa’s missions in India for awhile and when he was leaving, he told her he was going to pray for her and her sisters. “Just remember us when you put the little drops of water into the chalice at Mass,” she told him.
We’re the water mixed with wine.