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This latest offering from Gerard Moore is a welcome addition


By: 'Marie Farrell, RSM' - 29th of January 2009

This latest offering from Gerard Moore is a welcome addition to his recent user-friendly series designed to ‘form’ and ‘inform’ Catholic laity about sacramental rites – their history, theology and practice. Moore’s aim, as always, is to enable greater ‘lay’ participation in the rich liturgical life of the Church. This work will best be read in conjunction with ‘Why the Mass Matters: A Guide to Praying the Mass’ (St Pauls, 2004) and ‘Mystery: The Heart of Life and the Core of Faith’ (St Pauls, 2006).

 

Moore’s immediate intention here is to ‘instruct’ his readers but in such a way as to surprise them with nuances that too frequently have been lost because of routine familiarity with ‘Prayer of the Faithful’ experiences. Readers are invited to discover a ‘broader perspective’ than commonplace – one that reveals the ‘specific genius of this rite that still is able to maintain the richness having arisen from diversity in the Christian traditions of general intercessory prayer within the Mass.’

 

An attractive feature of the work is that it can be read at a single sitting. This allows for appreciation of how the whole text is much more than the sum of its parts. Chapter 1 discusses how the mandate for petitionary prayer found in the New Testament (Matt 7:11; Luke 6:27-28; 10:29-37; 11:9-13; 1 Tim 2:1-4 and Rom 8:19-23) had been take up as an integral part of liturgical celebration of the Lord’s Day as early as the mid second century. This chapter also provides a concise account of the theological foundations necessary to appreciate the ‘Prayer of the Faithful’ as a response to the Readings by the baptised members of Christ, when acting as ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood and a holy nation …’ (1 Pet 2:9), they are moved to pray for the Reign of God in the world. Clear guidelines (cf. ‘General Instruction of the Roman Missal’), are commented upon briefly to emphasise how the petitions of this ritual reflect a theology of prayer. Practical points are made to allow for the Prayer of the Faithful to be ‘authentic’ for a given liturgy, versus mini-homilies, political statements, or slogans of persuasion! The liturgical occasion, whether Sunday Mass, weddings, funerals, baptismal and other sacramental rites will determine the content of the petitions.

 

Chapter 2 situates the Prayer of the Faithful within the context of a given liturgy as a whole. This rite does not bear the whole weight of supplication, thanksgiving and prayer of praise. Helpful reference is made to rites of intercession outside the Eucharist, and also to ecumenical considerations noting Catholic differences with respect to Anglican and Uniting Church forms of petitionary prayer.

 

Chapter 3 addresses all manner of practical questions that arise in preparing and composing, celebrating and performing the Prayer of the Faithful. Moore’s final word is that ‘… even as the community takes up the challenge to intercede, it is challenged to become a “larger” community, a “broader” church, a people who see with the eyes, heart and love of God.’

 

– Marie Farrell, RSM, Review of ‘Lord, Hear Our Prayer’ by Gerard Moore in ‘The Australasian Catholic Record’, vol. 86, no. 1 (Jan 2009).


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