You’ll notice the Opening Prayer of Mass, Prayers over the Gifts and Closing Prayers are linked together. They are often called the Collect (Collecta – gather together). Usually the Opening Prayer follows a common theme for the Mass and is connected to the Readings. It can recall a particular feast or intention. After the call to prayer ‘let us pray’ there is a brief time of silence for us to gather our thoughts. The priest, presiding in the person of Christ, addresses the prayers to God in the name of the entire assembly of God’s people and of all present, and they are sometimes called presidential prayer. The prayers are addressed to God the Father through the mediation of Christ in the Holy Spirit.
Serving as the conclusion and climax of the introductory rites, the Opening Prayer is one of the fathered community whose members are now aware “that they are in God’s presence”. After an invitation which may be expanded to focus upon the character of the celebration, the assembly silently expresses in needs and desires which are then “gathered up” by the Presider and presented to the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit. Each of these three linked prayers spoken by the priest are affirmed by the people saying “Amen” thereby making it their own. The priest opens his hands in the ancient sign of “Orans” offering up the prayers of the people of God.
Whereas the opening prayer is more expansive and frequently characterizes the mystery of the day or liturgical season, the prayer over the gifts is more concise. It requests divine acceptance and expresses the community’s desire to unite itself with the offering to come.
The closing prayer asks for the spiritual effects of the Eucharist.
Questions for Reflection:
1. How do I quiet myself to enter into this prayer?
2. How do I prepare myself to gather my prayers and petitions to be offered to God at the Mass?
Scripture: Colossians 4: 2
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
Matthew 7: 7-8
Philippians 4: 6