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Christ our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end-Amen." · In repeating the last words of this prayer, the cel. ebrant performs a ceremony which has subsisted from the time of the institution by our Saviour. He breaks the sacrament over the chalice; formerly it was over the Patten, but it was about 1100 years ago regu. lated to break it over the chalice, that any particles separating therefrom might be received into that sacred vessel; and in putting a small particle into the chalice the celebrant as usual concludes the prayer in a loud voice, “ for ever and ever-Amen." And then as he puts the particle into the chalice, he thrice makes the sign of the cross therewith, wishing the congregation_ó. May the peace of the Lord always be with you :" to which the usual answer was given, “and with thy spirit.” Formerly upon this being said the kiss of peace was given through the congregation, in token of unity and charity, by the men to the men, and by the women to the women, who for this purpose sat at different sides of the church. Mention is made of this by Tertullian and other very ancient writers.
The mixing of the host with the contents of the chalice, is very ancient, indeed so much so, that we can find no trace of its introduction; but we find it always customary-and on many occasions. First, bishops living at a distance, frequently sent each to the other, in token of communion, a consecrated host, by a priest or deacon, and the person to whom it was sent put it into his chalice, and took it therefrom at the next Mass that he celebrated. Secondly, it was customary in many churches, to keep a portion of what had been consecrated at one mass to be consumed in the chalice at the next, to shew that the sacrifice though continued on differnnt days, was the same. Thirdly, what had been reserved for the sick was generally consumed in this manner. Fourthly, it
was the custom in many churches where communion was given, under both kinds, to mix them in the chalice, and to give the communion therefrom; and fifthly, there was from the commencement a powerful mystic reason for the practice. The death of Christ had been shewn by the mystic separation of the body and blood, his reanimation and resurrection were to be shewn by their mystic union, which took place in this manner. " Thus," writes Pope Innocent III. " the chalice represents the monument, whence the deacon, who is the angel of the church removes the pall, as the heavenly messenger removed the stone from the mouth of the sepulchre”-and here Christ having died for our sins, and offered himself for our iniquities, is now re-animated, and gives us that celestial food where the flesh which was dead, now vivified by the spirit, is profitable to those who prove and try themselves.
It was on the day of his resurrection that Christ first addressed his apostles, in those memorable words, “ Peace be to you," and celebrating that resurrection, the celebrant prays that this peace may remain always with them, being derived from the blessed trinity through the cross of the Saviour.
He now prepares for communion, and first bowing, he thrice in a penitent manner, strikes his breast, calling upon “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, to have mercy on him," -bit on the third occasion to “ grant him peace''that peace which the world cannot give and then bow. ing down before the altar, he prays for peace and unity for the whole church.
In masses for the dead, we offer for those in purgatory, and hence instead of saying " have mercy on. lis”-“ grant us peace,"—the celebrant says “ grant them rest”-“ grant them eternal rest ;” and the prayer for the peace of the church is omitted, but the celebrant proceeds to read the two other prayers before communion, and then receives the holy sacrament
In high Masses, after this prayer for peace, the deacon, who during its repetition has been on his knees at the celebrant's right hand, rises, and they both kiss the altar, the celebrant, as it were to receive the spirit of peace from Jesus Christ, the deacon through respect, and after embracing each other the celebrant kisses the deacon, saying, “Peace be with thee." The deacon answers, and with thy spirit;" and having made his reverence to the altar, gives the peace in like manner to the sub-deacon in his place below, and they then come up to assist at the altar, the celebrant continuing his prayers for communion, which are so plain as to need no ex. position.
In putting the particle into the chalice the celebrant says - May this mixture and consecration of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, be to us that receive it, eternal life.” The meaning of the word "consecration," in this place has always been understood to be the putting of two holy things together; not a blessing or separation for religious purposes-consecrare, quasi simul sacrare.
The Agnus Dei, &c., “ Lamb of God, &c.," was ordered to be sung at the Mass, by Pope Sergius I., who came to the chair in 687. But the custom of saying it must have prevailed in many places previously to this, because we find very clear allusions thereto in works and liturgies of a much earlier date. St. John Chrysostom who lived 300 years before Sergius has this passage: “ It is not in vain that we make commemoration for the dead at the sacred inysteries, or that we approach the divine Lamb, who is there, and who takes away the sins of the world, 10 beseech his mercy for them.” And the first general council of Nice in the year 325, calls upon us " by faith to conceive and to know that on that holy table is placed that Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, and who is immolated in an unbloody manner by the priests." In the Mass of St. Severus,
Patriarch of Alexandria, the words prescribed for the priest when he breaks the Sacrament, are, “ Thou art the Lamb of God who takest away or blottest out the sins of the world.” In fact, the number of figures was so great, and the expressions upon which its introduction must have been founded, are so strong, that it is next to impossible that the prayer should not have been one of the first formed in the Church, and it appears in one of the ancient liturgies of St. Peter.
It was probably a lamb that Abel sacrificed; it was a male lamb that Abraham substituted for Isaac; it was a lamb that was sacrificed in Egypt, and it was instead of the Paschal lamb that the Eucharist was established : a lainb was the morning and evening sacrifice of the Jews; and these were all figures of that Lamb, for whose arrival Isaias prayed. Send forth, O Lord, the Lamb, the ruler of the earth, from Petra of the desert, to the mount of the daughter of Sion, (Isaias xvi. 1,) and of whom John the Baptist said Behold the Lamb of God-behold him who taketh away the sins of the world, (John i. 29,) and frequent mention is made of the l amb in the Apocalypse.
The prayer for peace is found in some very old copies of the Sacramentaries, &c. The prayers for communion were various, and in a great measure left to the discretion of the celebrant, but those two now inserted and ordered, are two of the most ancient forms that are known. After those prayers the celebrant pays again the tribute of his adoration, and rising, takes the host and says, “I will take the heavenly bread and call upon the name of the Lord," then striking his breast, he says thrice, “ Lord I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my root, say but the word, and my soul shall be healed.” This is a most ancient custom which is mentioned by Tertullian, by Origen, and many other early writers, and is founded upon the expressions of the centurion in the Gospel.
T'he celebrant then communicates himself saying the appropriate prayers which are found in the or der, and afterwards has wine poured into the chalice, with which he thoroughly clears it of any particles of the Sacrament which might remain therein, and afterwards has wine and water poured upon those fingers with which he has touched the Sacrament, and after cleansing them perfectly, he drinks this ablution also from the Chalice, which is then wiped, and dried.
If communion were to be given, it was usually done after the celebrant had communicated himself, and then the choir sung some Psalms, as it is recorded in the Gospel that after they had sung an hymn when the Apostles were first fed with this divine banquet, they went out, and such was the custom of the Jews after partaking of the Paschal Lamb, they sang the 113th Psalm, when Israel went out from
Egypt. The Psalm isually performed on this occa\sion in the early days of Christianity was the 33d.
I will bless the Lord at all times, the 9th verse. 0, taste and see that the Lord is sweet, &c., was sometimes chosen as the Antiphon. Other Psalms were sometimes taken, and then only part of a Psalm, and at present but one or two verses, which is called the communion, though at present the communion is frequently given after Mass, and not at this time.
The book was removed to the side where it originally was, as being its usual place; or for the mystic reason, to shew that the Jewish Church would in the latter days come over to Christ after the fulness of the Gentiles should have been received. (Rom. xi. 19.) The celebrant reads the communion at the bok, and then going to the middle of the altar, gives the people the usual salutation, and then at the book invites them to join in prayer. Oremus. “ Let us pray," and reads or sings the Post-communion, which prayer corresponds with the collect, and secret, and is generally a thanksgiving for communion, and has