Saying Amen — Golden Mass

Can you guess what word I’m thinking of? It’s a Hebrew word… it’s four letters long… and you’ll say it seven times in this (weekday) Mass. Have you got it?  I’ll give you one more hint… It starts with “A” and ends with “Men.” That’s right… “Amen.”

What do we mean when we say “amen”? Sometimes we say “amen” as a declaration of our faith. In this case our “amen” translates to us saying, “I believe it; this is true.” The sign of the cross, the Gloria, and the Creed all end with “amen’s” by which we declare, “This is true.”

At other times, we say “amen” to entrust our prayers (and ourselves) to God. Whenever we come to the end of our prayers, whether we’re alone or in a group, we always conclude by saying “amen.” With this “amen” we are saying, “Please, Lord, let this be done for us.”

What do we mean when we say “amen”? We’re saying “This is true,” as a confident profession of our faith, or we’re entrusting our prayers to God, saying, “Let this be done for us, Lord, according to your will.” That is what we’re saying when we say “Amen.”

Now here’s another riddle… Who was the first Christian, by which I mean, the first person to believe in Jesus Christ? You might be thinking it was John the Baptist, or one of Jesus’ apostles, but it wasn’t. Mary was the first Christian; she was the first person to believe in Jesus Christ. (Adam and Eve believed in the Redeemer, but they did not know His name.)

The angel announced to Mary, ‘Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. …and He will be called the Son of the Most High.’ And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

In a word, Mary said “Amen,” in both senses, to the angel’s message: “I believe it, Lord; let this be done.” With this word, the Second Person of the Trinity took on flesh within her. Jesus the Christ was small within her, but truly present as God and man. Imagine the joy Mary must have experienced as she thought of His presence within her.

Just minutes from now, you will stand before a Eucharistic minister who will say to you, “The Body of Christ.” And you will answer “Amen,” like Mary answered the angel. “Amen, Lord, I believe you that are truly present in the Eucharist,” and, “Amen, Lord, let this be done to me, let me become your body; your presence in the world.”

With this word, you will receive the Christ; small within you, but truly present as God and man. When you return to your pew today consider Jesus’ presence within you and ask Mary that you be given a taste of her joy from the day the Lord first dwelt in her.


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