January 17th

Last week, we looked at the Epiclesis and what happens during the Consecration; this week, we shall look at the Consecration itself.
The Consecration begins with what is known as the “institution narrative”: the narrative tells what Jesus did at the Last Supper and the priest imitates what he describes in the narrative. For example, the priest says that Jesus took bread and looked up to Heaven while giving the Father thanks and praise. As the priest says these words he, himself, takes the bread and looks up.

This acting out, as it were, of the institution narrative is meant to convey to us that the priest is “standing in” for Jesus. During the Mass, the priest stands in persona Christi: in the person of Christ. It is Jesus Christ Himself Who acts through the priest during the Mass. That is why the priest says: “This is my body” and not “This is the body of Jesus.”
After the words of institution, by which the bread has been changed into Christ’s body, the priest holds the Lord’s body up high so that all can see and adore Him. He then replaces the consecrated Host onto the paten and genuflects as a sign of his own adoration.

The Consecration of the wine takes place in much the same way. As the priest narrates the fact that Jesus took the cup at the end of the Last Supper, he takes the chalice into his hands. He bows and repeats the very words of Jesus over the chalice and then holds it aloft for all to adore. He sets the chalice down and then makes his own act of adoration towards the Precious Blood.

The priest then invites all of us to “proclaim the mystery of faith.” This part of the Mass is known as the “memorial acclamation” and it is meant to commemorate three things: it should remind us of what Christ has done for us, what He is doing for us, and what He will do for us.
This acclamation calls to our minds that Christ has died for us. Almost two thousand years ago, Christ became a man and died in order to free us from sin and death.

Beyond just remembering the past, we further call to mind, by this acclamation, the fact that the offering that Jesus made of Himself continues to be offered upon our altars. The Eucharist is the same offering that was made upon Calvary: it is the un-bloody re-presentation of the one Sacrifice that Jesus made of Himself to the Father.
Finally, the memorial acclamation has us recall the fact that we are still waiting for Christ to come again. The Mass is only a foreshadowing of our eternal destiny: Heaven, where, we will be united with Our Lord forever. We are all waiting for Our Lord to come in His glory.

God bless,
Father White

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