3a. New Petitions

 The Liturgy of the Faithful

templo  After the Great Entrance the priest goes into the holy Sanctuary and he sends up to God a new series of petitions. These are ten petitions and they prepare the faithful spiritually to offer the Mystery of the holy Eucharist.
   Let us examine the first two of these petitions.
1. “For the precious Gifts, here presented, let us pray to the Lord”.
   If the Gifts are precious, why do we need this petition? Yes, they are precious. They have been pure since the Service of Preparation. But now they are on the holy Table and the great Mystery is about to take place. The bread will become Christ's Body and the wine will become Christ's Blood; and the priest calls everyone who is going to receive Communion, to pray.
   Also, at this time when the precious Gifts are placed on the Table, we are being told to remember that our hearts must be clean of every evil and vengeful stain, as the Lord has said: "So, if you are about to offer your gift to God at the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there..." (Mt 5:23-24). That is to say, unless you forgive your enemies, you should not offer gifts. Look at your gifts on the holy Table: Your hearts must be pure!
2. The next petition is "For this whole day, that it may be perfect, holy, peaceful and sinless..."
   God appointed the day for man's work. As David says in the Vesper Psalm: "The sun ariseth, and they are gathered together, and they lay them down in their dens. But man shall go forth unto his work, and to his labour until the evening' (Ps (104:22-23)103:22-23). Day is the time to work, and you can see everybody, except for the sick, the old and the lazy, leaving for work in the morning. But during the day, they meet with problems, snags and temptations stemming from many sources. We are not living in a society of angels and archangels; we are living in a society of men having faults and vices. All of us are encircled by temptations from within and around. As St. Anthony the Great once saw in a vision, the entire earth is filled with traps, and wherever we go or wherever we are, if we are not careful, we are in danger of falling into sin. Traps in the cities, traps in the towns, traps in the streets and squares, and even traps in deserts and monasteries, where you may think there are no temptations!
   What do we need to save ourselves from life's many temptations? First of all, we need attention. Let us pay attention to our thoughts, because every sin and crime starts there. If we stay alert and drive evil thoughts out of our minds, we will have the first victory over temptation. Because temptation comes on us very strongly and we are spiritually weak, we need God's help. Whoever thinks he has a strong character and is invincible, he is in a position to commit even more horrible crimes. There are terrible times in our lives that can destroy all spiritual life, and only the divine grace can save those who ask for it in humility. Therefore, let us pray at the beginning of every day that it may be "perfect, holy, peaceful and sinless."