03/07/2018, 13.03
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Pope: 'You don’t pay for Mass, 'Christ's redemption is free'

"Learning to" give thanks, always and everywhere ", and not only on certain occasions, when everything is all right; second, make our life a gift of love, that is free; third, to build concrete communion in the Church and with everyone ". These are the three "attitudes" present in the Eucharistic prayer.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - ""Learning to" give thanks, always and everywhere ", and not only on certain occasions, when everything is all right; second, make our life a gift of love, that is free; third, to build concrete communion in the Church and with everyone ". These are the three "attitudes" present in the Eucharistic prayer outlined by Pope Francis at today's general audience, in which, in unscripted remarks, he returned to repeat that you do not pay for Mass, including those for the dead, redemption is free ".

The audience was also an opportunity for Francis to invite the faithful to participate in the penitential liturgy which he will celebrate on Friday for the traditional 24 Hours for the Lord and to send greetings for the Paralympic Winter Games which will open in two days at PyeongChang, South Korea.

To the people present in the Paul VI hall, the Pope recalled that the Eucharistic prayer comes after the presentation of bread and wine. "In this solemn prayer the Church expresses what she does when she celebrates the Eucharist and the reason why she celebrates it, that is, to make communion with Christ truly present in the consecrated bread and wine".

"In the Missal there are various formulas of Eucharistic Prayer, all made up of characteristic elements, which I would like to recall now (cf. OGMR, 79, CCC, 1352-1354). First of all there is the Preface, which is an act of thanksgiving for the gifts of God, especially for sending us His Son as Savior, ended by the Memorial Acclamation, which is normally sung: the whole assembly unites its own voice to that of the Angels and Saints to praise and glorify God. Then there is the invocation of the Spirit - the epiclesis -, so that by its power bread and wine is consecrated. The action of the Holy Spirit and the efficacy of Christ's own words uttered by the priest make truly present, under the species of bread and wine, his Body and his Blood, his sacrifice offered on the Cross once and for all. (see CCC, 1375). It is Jesus himself who said this clearly: 'this is my body, this is my blood'

Then there is the "mystery of faith". Celebrating the memorial of the death and resurrection of the Lord, awaiting his glorious return, the Church offers the Father the sacrifice that reconciles heaven and earth: she offers the paschal sacrifice of Christ by offering herself with him and asking, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, to become "in Christ one body and one spirit" (Preface III, cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 48, OGMR, 79f). This is the grace and the fruit of sacramental Communion: we nourish ourselves with the Body of Christ to become, we who eat it, his living Body today in the world. In the Mystery of communion, the Church unites herself to the offering of Christ and to his intercession. In this light, "in the catacombs the Church it is often portrayed as a woman in prayer with her arms wide open, praying, in a petitioning attitude. There is a passage in the Acts of the Apostles, when Peter was in prison, the Christian community prayed for him the 'praying' Church. As Christ has stretched out his arms on the Cross, so through him, with him and in him, she offers herself and intercedes for all men "(CCC, 1368)".

"Nobody and nothing is forgotten in the Eucharistic Prayer, but everything is brought back to God, as the doxology that concludes it recalls. No one is forgotten and if I have any person, relative or friend, in this world or the next, I can say [their name]. But how much do I have to pay for their name to be pronounced "nothing, the Mass is not paid for, redemption is free, if I want to make an offering, well and good, but Mass is free".

"This codified formula of prayer, perhaps may feel a little distant to us, but if we understand its meaning well, then we will certainly participate better. In fact, it expresses everything we do in the Eucharistic celebration; and besides it teaches us to cultivate three attitudes that should never be lacking in the disciples of Jesus: first, to learn to "give thanks, always and everywhere", and not only on certain occasions, when everything is all right; second, make of our life a gift of love, a free gift; third, to build concrete communion in the Church and with everyone. Therefore, this central prayer of the Mass educates us, little by little, to make of our whole life a 'Eucharist', that is, an action of grace ".

At the end of the audience, Francis also recalled that in two days the Winter Paralympic Games will open in the city of PyeongChang, in South Korea, which recently hosted the Olympics. "These have shown how sport can build bridges between countries in conflict and make a valuable contribution to prospects for peace among peoples. The Paralympic Games, even more so, attest that through sport you can overcome your disabilities. Paralympic athletes are an example for everyone of courage, constancy and tenacity in not allowing themselves to be overcome by limitations. Sport presents itself as a great school of inclusion, but also an inspiration for one's own life and a commitment to transforming society. I address my greetings to the International Paralympic Committee, to the athletes, to the Authorities and to the Korean people. I assure them of my prayer that this event may foster days of peace and joy for all ".

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