In today’s Prayer after Communion we offer to God, a request for continued help so that we can, in return, please him.
Complete within us, O Lord, we pray,
the healing work of your mercy
and graciously perfect and sustain us,
so that in all things we may please you.
Since the days of Adam and Eve God has desired us to be within His love. And since the fall we have tried to regain this intimacy of communion. But as our history has shown, we fall short again and again and again. In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus relate both the promise and disappointment. One line in particular strikes me:
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
Is this what we think makes us known to God, listening to Him teach, taking nourishment with Him? Party with Him? Is this all that is needed? No wonder He replies as He does. So how do we go about attaining what we prayed for in the Prayer after Communion.
Today is the Memorial of St. Louis, or would be if it wasn’t suppressed by Sunday. The second reading of Matins for his feast day is a beautiful example of how to attain what we prayed for – how to please God in all things. Please listen to the spiritual testament of St. Louis to his son:
“My dearest son, my first instruction is that you should love the Lord your God with all of your heart and all of your strength. Without this there is no salvation. Keep yourself, my son, from everything that you know displeases God, that is to say, from every mortal sin. You should permit yourself to be tormented by every kind of martyrdom before you allow yourself to commit a mortal sin.
If the Lord has permitted you to have some trial, bear it willingly and with gratitude, considering that it has happened for your good and that perhaps you well deserved it. If the Lord bestows upon you any kind of prosperity, thank him humbly and see that you become no worse for it, either through vain pride or anything else, because you ought not to oppose God or offend him in the matter of his gifts.
Listen to the divine office with pleasure and devotion. As long as you are in church, be careful not to let your eyes wander and not to speak empty words but pray to the Lord devoutly, either aloud or with the interior prayer of the heart.
Be kindhearted to the poor, the unfortunate and the afflicted. Give them as much help and consolation as you can. Thank God for all the benefits he has bestowed upon you, that you may be worthy to receive greater. Be just to your subjects, swaying neither to right nor left, but holding the line of justice. Always side with the poor rather than with the rich, until you are certain of the truth. See that all of your subjects live in justice and peace, but especially those who have ecclesiastical rank and who belong to religious orders.
Be devout and obedient to our mother the Church of Rome and the Supreme Pontiff as your spiritual father. Work to remove all sin from your land, particularly blasphemies and heresies.
In conclusion, dearest son, I give you every blessing that a loving father can give a son. May the three Persons of the Holy Trinity and all the saints protect you from every evil. And may the Lord give you the grace to do his will so that he may be served and honored through you, that in the next life we may together come to see him, love him and praise him unceasingly.”
Here is how we please God in all things.
A king of France, who is involved in the power politics of leading a country in 12th and 13th centuries, and all that entails – the political intrigue, the gamesmanship of medieval Europe – who has as more power than anyone in his day and what did he pass on to his son? How to please God!
When we achieve this then we will see the prayer after communion answered.