Thursday, August 25, 2011

A reply to a comment on a post of Fr. D. Longenecker

cc. to Fr. Dwight.

Dear Steve,

I'm writing here, because it turned into what I think is a "blog post", not a comment, and the good Father has (iirc) requested generally that we blog these things rather than stand in his sitting room to rant at the world. So, here we are.

Certainly the words of scripture with which the Blessed Sacrament is confected are taken from accounts of the Last Supper, (Gospel and Epistle); I think in some Missals there is a heading "Commemoration of the Last Supper" to name the relevant section of the Roman Canon. But that section of the Canon is not the Mass, it's not the end of the Mass, it's not the purpose of the Mass. Maybe it's the peak, the perfection... But the purpose of the Mass is to offer the One Sacrifice of Our Lord unto Our Lord Father, and to feed and strengthen first the Priest celebrant for his sacramental works, and then to feed the members of the Body of Χρ. with the Body of Χρ. It isn't belittling of the Commemoration to acknowledge the primacy of other ends; rather, it belittles the Mass to inflate the Commemoration!

It even belittles the meaning of the Last Supper. One may recall a letter of Paul, covering the subject of eating meat sacrificed to idols; it is helpful to note that this was the fate of most sacrificed meat: it would be eaten. And if any was to be eaten, the priest making the sacrifice would always have a share; so notes St. Thomas (ST III.82.iv.Respondeo). The very pious and special sort of sacrifice called a holocaust was an unusual and exceptional thing --- and difficult! You may recall that God commanded a holocaust of captive Amalek, which Saul tried to spoil. But Jesus' self-sacrifice is paterned on the ordinary sort, after the Pasch (but becomes a holocaust in the eating!); but we cannot eat anything in the accidents of human flesh, and the apostles could not have done so. Whenever by a miracle the accidents of human flesh are restored in consecration, that host has been reserved, and not consumed. The Body of our Lord given at the Last Supper is how the apostles first partook of the One Sacrifice. Hence, to exaggerate the supperness of the Last Supper --- meats and fruits unspecified, e.g. --- is to ignore that even the Last Supper was a participation in the Body of Our Lord.

That is all.

In Christ's charity,
the undersigned


/dev/null said...

er... does anyone out there know how to email Father? I tried the thing at his website, but it tells me it's not working.

Salome Ellen said...

No, but a gentle correction: it's the Roman Canon, not the Roman Cannon. (Althought here are a few people I'd shoot if it WAS a cannon.....)

/dev/null said...

OH! thanks... you've no idea how much trouble I have with single and double letters...

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