This post is part of a series called The Mass: An Augustinian Perspective offered on AugustinianSpirituality.org.
As the Introductory Rites come to a close, the Priest calls upon the people to pray. Saint Augustine says:
God wants you to pray so that you may experience desire, itself a gift from him, and thus, having this desire satisfied by him, you will not take for granted what he gives.Saint Augustine (Sermon 56, 3-4).
Prayer at this juncture enables us to pause and reflect on the longings, desires, and intentions we bring as we prepare to encounter God in His Word and in the Eucharist. As the Presider says “Let us Pray” the Presider therefore observes a brief moment of silence that has two effects. First, it enables time for the people to call to mind the intentions they brought with them to Mass. Second, it gathers all the prayers of the people into one that enables us to achieve unity as we journey together into the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Through the Collect, the entire celebration “finds expression” as the words relate to the theme of the readings and/or the Saint/Blessed who is remembered in prayer that day.
Reflection Questions: How do the words of the Collect relate to the circumstances I brought to Mass with me today?
 General Instruction on the Roman Missal, no. 54.