Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 17, 2008
Stop reading menu to God – Penna
Prayers of petition should lead us to bow to God's will
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"It seems to me that very few people anymore talk about the sacrifice of the Mass,"
So what should we pray for? Not simply for healing from cancer, not simply for peace in Afghanistan. Why? "Because we are not asking enough," he said.
"Be audacious," Penna said. "Our prayers of petitions are to ask for nothing less than God.
"The first point when it comes to thinking about our prayers of petition is that we have to surrender ourselves to the incredibly humble audacity of the children of God who say 'Lord, I'm sick, Lord, I am in trouble, I want nothing less than you.'"
Our problem is that we understand the Eucharist not as a sacrifice but as a banquet. When we pray to God we are reading a menu.
"It seems to me that very few people anymore talk about the sacrifice of the Mass," lamented Penna. The Eucharist is the sacred banquet but it is a banquet that brings us into contact with the reality of Jesus' death on the cross.
"At the Holy Eucharist we are going to Calvary, we are going to a place of sacrifice, we are going to a place where someone is surrendering themselves to sacrifice," the priest said.
"We don't think about that because you and I are Sobeys and Safeway people. We don't taste what goes on in our food.
"What goes on in our food? Death. Absolutely! How many of your children have actually seen a chicken have its head cut off? We are completely denying to them the reality of what our food is about. Chickens die, cows die. Those little carrots, nice and cozy, they were screaming (when you ate them). It's a living, breathing reality that dies so that you might live."
We have severed the taste of sacrifice because we are self-satisfied people, lamented Penna.
But if we change our understanding and turn to the truth that the Eucharist is a sacrifice, then we will be drawn into the love of the Christ who said, "Not my will but yours be done," Penna said.
When we gather together to pray our petitions we have to think about Jesus praying in the garden. And what does Jesus say? "I don't like this. I don't want this.
"I don't like my cancer. It sucks. I don't want violence. This is horror. I want a different cup to drink. This is my desire but not my will but your will be done," Penna said.
God has saved us through suffering. "God has saved us through his Son saying, 'I don't want to do this but out of love I will because I want nothing less than you and your will,'" he said.
A true prayer of petition, Penna said, requires us to stop reading the menu to God and surrendering ourselves to the will of God. "This is the prayer of petition - an entry into the love of God for the world."
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