The Roman Canon, commonly known in recent decades as Eucharistic Prayer I, has been central to the Mass for a thousand years. For most of those years, it was the only Eucharistic Prayer. It is the second-longest Eucharistic Prayer in the Third Roman Missal, and this is because it has two lists of Saints mentioned by name, all of whom hold special places among the Communion of Saints who are with us at every Mass. Over the next few weeks I will endeavor to go through those lists so that we can all get an idea of who those Saints are.
First of all and, therefore, more than all, we honor the memory of the “glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Mary is rightly named in the first place; She is Queen not merely of the Apostles amid Martyrs, but of all the Saints. Her name is not mentioned simply, but with honorable qualifications, that proclaim Her grandeur and dignity. She is called “the glorious”; for as Queen of Heaven and of earth, She is elevated above all the choirs of Angels and Saints in eternal bliss and glory. She was taken up to Heaven in body and soul in glory; there She wears the most beautiful crown of honor. As on earth She excelled all creatures by the fullness of grace, the wealth of virtues, so in the next life She surpasses all the citizens of Heaven by the splendor and magnificence of Her glory. Because She was on earth the most humble, the most pure, the most devout, the most loving, the most sorrowful, therefore, She is now in Heaven the most glorious amid the most happy. For all these reasons and more, Mary is rightly named first in the Canon.
For the Greater Glory of God,