from Essence of Prayer
Sr. Ruth Burrows, OCD
But a rich source of theology and prayer at hand for each of us is the Missal. Here we find theology at its purest, theology that is prayed, that is prayer. If we were to absorb the contents of the Missal we would need little else. Study the four Eucharistic Prayers, the prefaces throughout the yearly seasons and the great doxology "Glory to God in the Highest." . . . a wealth of prayed theology, the Church's understanding at its purest consisting of treasures old and new.
It is our precious Catholic inheritance to realize that the essence of worship and prayer must always lie with God's Self-communication to us and that our part is merely response. We who know Jesus do not depend on our own prayers, our own ways of getting in touch with God, pleasing him, atoning for our sins and so forth. We know that all this has been given for us in Jesus. We have to go and claim it. The fountain is there for us, overflowing, and all that we have to do is drink. We notice in the Mass prayers how we are, so to speak, continually "mingling" with Jesus, immersing ourselves in what He is doing. Our offering of ourselves is to become one with the perfect offering of Jesus. We too are to become the perfect offering that the FAther lovingly accepts, an offering that is first and foremost God's own gift to us. O marvellous exchange.
All of the theology in the world starts with God's revelation to us, perfect and complete. The finest teaching of this revelation is the teaching which is prayer--the Mass, the Mass in which we become in a special way "the body of Christ" (Although we are always and at all times part of the Body of Christ. But this is also true because there is not one moment of the day when the prayers of Mass are not rising to God and incorporating us fully, His sons and daughters into His Son.)
Have you ever looked closely at exactly what it is we pray when we pray the full Mass? Perhaps that might be a start for the scripture shy--see how it is structured and why it is the central prayer of faith. In it we are, for a moment, perfected, brought into Union with Him through His Son. As Sr. Ruth says, "O marvelous exchange."