A reader writes in:
Am I the only one who finds jarring the all-too-common Sunday morning experience of having a hastily recited Eucharistic Prayer followed an invitation to sing The Lord’s Prayer that in turn almost invariably becomes a funeral dirge?
No reader, you are not the only one. I too resonate with your concerns. In fact, I would add that when Eucharistic Prayer II is used I have come to expect a hastily recited Eucharistic Prayer, followed by an awkward transition to The Lord’s Prayer, and a sudden slowdown in the pace of the Mass at this point in the liturgy.
The transition from the Eucharistic Prayer to The Lord’s Prayer is a weak transition point in the Mass. While there is a natural connection between the Eucharistic Prayer and The Lord’s Prayer, without purposeful presiding this transition can become very abrupt.
The natural connection between the Eucharistic Prayer and The Lord’s Prayer lies in the theological connection between the two. The theological connection between these prayers should make for a smooth transition between these two components of the Mass. In fact, the theological connection is so strong that in some Lutheran traditions The Lord’s Prayer follows the Sanctus and precedes the Words of Institution.
The problem with the transition between these two prayer units stems from the way in which most priests preside at the Eucharist. Most priests make an abrupt transition between these two prayers, thereby breaking the theological connection between them.
In my experience, the best presiders keep a moderate pace in their recitation of the Eucharistic Prayer. This moderate pace is maintained during the introduction to and singing of The Lord’s Prayer. This prevents an abrupt rupture in cadence between the two. The best presiders also appear to slowly lower the host and chalice after the doxology, take a brief pause, and then go directly into the Lord’s Prayer.
What is your experience with the transition from the Eucharistic Prayer to The Lord’s Prayer? How should it be done? How should it not be done?
Please comment below.