The Eucharistic Prayer is a section of the Mass which is found in the Liturgy of the Eucharist and follows the Presentation of the Gifts. It is a very special point in the liturgy because it truly is the heart of the Liturgy and of the Mass. In preparation of this prayer we find the Sanctus, which is part of the Ordinary of the Mass.
The word sanctus means “holy” and the prayer begins by repeating this three times. The first part of the sanctus comes from Isaiah 6:3 and as well as Revelation 4:8, which also uses the three “holy’s”. The second comes from the Gospels and reminds us of the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
It is interesting that so much of the Mass uses this picture of “procession”, from the Entrance, to the gifts, and here the words from the triumphal entry. I suppose that the idea is to focus on movement, or more specifically to point out that the Lord is moving or active in our midst. In his covenant with Abraham he proceeds through the sacrifice, the incarnation he comes and dwells among us, he proceeds to Jerusalem and eventually he will bear the cross and again picture the idea of procession. In the end He is now still in movement as we participate in the mass and as He moves into our hearts. I am thinking of all of this when singing the Sanctus because all of this is essential but there is something more. As we conclude the Sanctus we will begin the Eucharistic Prayer and it is at this time that our gifts of bread and wine will become the Body and Blood of Christ. The Real Presence in the Eucharist and the concept of communion are all hinted at in the Sanctus by our profession of Holiness and Christ coming, for now we are entering the Holy of Holies of the mass. As the song concludes the people kneel and until the completion of Communion and the Host has been put away we will either stand or kneel in the Presence of the Lord.
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis.
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis
Holy, Holy, Holy
Lord God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest