Monday, November 3, 2008

Part VIII: The Canon of the Mass.( I I I)

(Supra Quae.)
We now come to the continuation of the sacrifice. This is the moment, so sublime, so mystical, the moment where Christ presents himself to us, his faithful as a sacrificed lamb for us. The white host, lying still on the paten as our Blessed Lord's body hung pale and bloodless on the cross.
So much did he love us that he gave himself without reserve in this manner! And so great is his love, that he should leave to the church a means of making memorial of his death!
The church, like as any faithful bride, as any devoted woman, longs to bask, if just for a moment in this expression, this representation of the love of her spouse.
So then, the celebrant continues this, the sacrifice of the new and eternal covenant by making the oblation, by offering Christ to the Father. Or Rather, Christ offers himself to the Father through the priest.
The celebrant prays:
" Unde et memores, Domine, nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta, ejusdem Christi Filii tui Domini nostri tam beatae Passionis, nec non et ab inferis Resurrectionis, sed et in coelos gloriosae Ascensionis: offerimus praeclarae majertati tuae de tuis donis ac datis hostiam puram, hostiam sanctam, hostiam immaculatam, Panem sanctum vitae aeternae, et calicem salutis perpetuae.

Supra quae propitio ac sereno vultu respicere digneris; et accepta habere, sicut ita accepta habere dignatus es munera pueri tui justi Abel, et sacrificium patriarchae nostri Abrahae, et quod tibi obtulit summus sacerdos tuus Melchisedech, sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam."

"Wherefore, O Lord, we thy servants, and thy holy people also, remembering the blessed passion of the same Christ thy Son our Lord, as also his resurrection from the dead, and his glorious ascension into heaven: do offer unto thine excellent majesty of thine own gifts and bounty, the pure victim, the holy victim, the immaculate victim, the holy Bread of eternal life, and the Chalice of everlasting salvation.
We humbly beseech thee, almighty God: command these offerings to be brought by the hands of thy holy Angel to thine altar on high, in sight of thy divine majesty: that all we who at this partaking of the altar shall receive the most sacred Body and Blood of thy Son, He signs himself, saying: may be fulfilled with all heavenly benediction and grace. He joins his hands. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen."

See Now, Holy Church keeps Christ's command to commemorate his death and resurrection in the Unde et Memores.
See now, Hoe she proclaims her own compete dependence on God! e is the only source of life, of grace, of blessing, and of truth. It is out of his own goodness, and noting else that we are redeemed. Not of our merits, not our goodness, but of the merits of Christ Jesus our saviour, who has himself merited salvation for us through the sacrifice offered, which we now make present in a mystical fashion.
See now the priest, as he bows low, joining his hands and asking he Father to command that these offering be brought to his majesty in heaven by the ands of is holy angels, that we who receive from it the sacred body and blood of Christ may be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing. True it is, this we can receive in holy communion. Jesus is the fountainhead, the source of grace, in him resides the fullness of divinity. (S. John 1:14) We come to Jesus as we are, and if we follow him, as the Christian life commands of us, if we truly follow the law of Agape, of self-sacrificial love for God and neighbor, we shall grow to be like him. ( S.Matthew 22:37-40) We will be conformed to his image , which is what he bids us do. (S.Matthew 17: 24-28)
So then, the priest after rising commemorates the departed Christians:
" Memento etiam, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarum N. et N. qui nos praecesserunt cum signo fidei, et dormiunt in somno pacis.
Ipsis, Domine, et omnibus in Christo quiescentibus, locum refrigerii, lucis et pacis, ut indulgeas , deprecamur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen."

"Remember also, O Lord, thy servants N. and N., who have gone before us sealed with the seal of faith, and who sleep the sleep of peace.

To them, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, we beseech thee to grant the abode of refreshing, of light, and of peace. He joins his hands, and bows his head, saying: Through Christ our Lord. Amen."
The offering of the sacrifice of the Eucharist or the dead is one of the oldest, if not the oldest known private intentions for which it was offered. We see written of the early church:

"As often as the anniversary comes round, we make offerings for the dead as birthday honours." Tertullian, The Chaplut, 3 (A.D. 211).
"[A] woman is more bound when her husband is dead...Indeed, she prays for his soul, and requests refreshment for him meanwhile, and fellowship (with him) in the first resurrection; and she offers (her sacrifice) on the anniversary of his falling asleep." Tertullian, On Monogamy, 10 (A.D. 216).

We know from other documents that the early church did beleive, as you and I should today, that prayer for the dead does work:

"And after the exhibition, Tryphaena again receives her. For her daughter Falconilla had died, and said to her in a dream: Mother, thou shalt have this stranger Thecla in my place, in order that she may pray concerning me, and that I may be transferred to the place of the just." Acts of Paul and Thecla (A.D. 160).
"Let us pray for our brethren that are at rest in Christ, that God, the lover of mankind, who has received his soul, may forgive him every sin, voluntary and involuntary, and may be merciful and gracious to him, and give him his lot in the land of the pious that are sent into the bosom of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, with all those that have pleased Him and done His will from the beginning of the world, whence all sorrow, grief, and lamentation are banished." Apostolic Constitutions, 8:4,41 (3rd Century).

Under the old covenant, men offered the Jewish sacrifices for the dead, that they might rise again. So we who under the new covenant, te covenant of completion and fulfilled types offer the one and only sacrifice of Christ for our departed brethren, that they may be nimbered among those who rise again to the ressurection of the just. Here, you and I should add to our private prayers prayers for all the souls being purified in purgatory.

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