In the recent new translation of the Roman Missal, it seems that many priest celebrants often chose to use the second of the four regular Eucharistic prayers for the heart of the ritual. In the early part of it there appears a phrase we are not used to hearing: “Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, …” Have you ever wondered, is that image simply a flight of poetic imagination? Or is there something else responsible for that image? May I suggest that in the Old Testament, the manna in the desert provided the daily bread for God’s people as they wandered in preparation for entering the promised land. The manna has from the earliest Fathers of the Church been seen as prefiguring the Eucharistic bread of life , just as the prayer Our Lord Himself taught us, alludes to the Eucharistic bread as well as ordinary sustinence.
The new translation of the Roman Missal tries to make clearer the numerous Biblical references contained in our Mass prayers. In light of the manna in the desert prefiguring the Eucharist, cf. Exodus 16: 12-14: “In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread, so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God. In the evening quail came up and covered the camp. In the morning a dew lay all about the camp, and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert were fine flakes ….(i.e manna)” Thus, just as the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament provided the staff of life to God’s people mediated by the dewfall, now we pray that the Spirit do so for our supernatural life.