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A History Of The Mass And Its Ceremonies In The Eastern And Western Church -Rev John O'Brien A.M.

As much of what we have said of the consecration of the bread applies to that of the chalice also, it will be only necessary to dwell upon what refers to the chalice directly in the following remarks:

This is the Chalice of my Blood”

By a figure of speech called metonymy the container is here put for the thing contained, so that, according to St. Thomas (Quœst. 78, iii. art. 3), the real form would be: “This is my Blood contained in the chalice.”

“Æterni Testamenti”—Eternal testament

These words are not in the Holy Scripture, but it is the universally received opinion that they were added by some of the apostles, and this to point out directly that the sacred priesthood of our Divine Lord would continue for ever, in accordance with the prophecy expressed in the One hundred and ninth Psalm, “Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech.” There is also allusion here, by way of opposition, to the “Old Testament” which was ratified by the blood of bulls and goats only, not by the Blood of Christ.

The mystery of faith”

The Holy Eucharist is called the “mystery of faith” from the fact that its real greatness is hidden from the senses, and nothing is left to enable us to form a judgment of the extraordinary change which has been wrought any more than if no such change had ever taken place. All is left to pure faith; and, therefore, well may it be called a mystery. How beautifully this is expressed in the Lauda Sion of St. Thomas Aquinas:

Quod non capis,

Quod non vides,

Animosa firmat fides,

Præter rerum ordinem.”

Which for you and for many shall be shed.

According to the best authorities, and Pope Benedict XIV. among others (Enchirid., p. 72), the word “many” is here to be taken as meaning all, a mode of expression by no means uncommon in the Holy Scripture. St. Thomas Aquinas also interprets it in this way. If taken in any other sense it would hardly be possible to keep free of the Calvinistic error that our Lord died only for a certain class of persons.

At each elevation the little bell is rung to remind the people that our Lord is now present on the altar; and the end of the priest’s chasuble is lifted up by the server, who kneels for this purpose (just as consecration is about to take place) on the highest step. This ceremony of lifting the end of the chasuble is not observed now through any necessity whatever—for, if so, there would be as strong a reason for doing it at every other part of the Mass at which the priest genuflected—but is kept up merely as a vestige of that ancient custom of having the deacon and subdeacon hold up the priest’s robes at this place when the ample and long-flowing form of chasuble was in use. This was required to be done then in order that the priest might not be impeded in any way at the solemn moment of consecration, when the slightest accident might cause an incalculable amount of distress. In some places the practice of lifting the chasuble here is going, or has already gone, into desuetude; but this should not be tolerated for a moment, for it is a flagrant act of supreme disobedience which no authority in the Church, short of the Pope himself, could sanction. We do not know an instance in which the Rubrics are departed from without a sacrifice of real beauty, for which reason alone, to pass over many others, the slightest innovation in this respect should be looked upon as a species of sacrilege, and should in no case be allowed.








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