I have heard that when Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address and ended with the part about ”government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” he stressed the word people in each phrase, not the prepositions of, by, and for. I think about that sometimes when, at Mass, we pray:
Through him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever. Amen.
I like the idea of stressing, in my speech and in my prayer, the word him, and not just the prepositions, through, with, and in. It may seem like a small thing, but it emphasizes just whose invitation for help and guidance we are accepting. We can depend on Jesus. We read in John 14:13-14:
I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
And in John 15:16:
You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.
Several times in the Mass, we also use prayers that end with through Christ our Lord. Saying those words almost gets to be automatic and might lose some of its impact through the repetition. Christ, our Lord! Is he truly my Lord? Is he the person I follow and look up to daily in reverence, obedience, and gratitude? Christ is the right person to follow, the right person to show me the right way to go.
Often, when someone is asked to pray out loud, I hear them end the prayer with in Jesus’ name, we pray. It is so important to invoke the name of our Savior when we pray for anything. In humble supplication, we trust that Jesus is right there with us, loving us, wanting the Father’s will for us. We read in Scripture that Jesus would go off alone and pray. He set a wonderful example for us.
Being home so much this past year, I have seen many commercials on television for life insurance, home insurance, and the like. I can see Jesus as my eternal life insurance agent who gave his very life so that I might have eternal life in heaven. Believe me, I try not to take for granted the great sacrifice Jesus made for all of us. I treasure the words St. Paul wrote in Colossians 3:17:
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
I pray, in Jesus’ name, that we may all stay positive and hopeful in our current challenging world situations. We know we are divinely loved.
Image: Detail of Jesus from The Dinner at Emmaus, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610)
The scripture passages are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, Connecticut. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.