|CONSECRATION OF THE HOST (cont.)
(Taken from Notes Made at the Conferences of Dom Prosper Guéranger).
Formerly the Host was not elevated at this part of the Mass, but only just before the commencing of the Pater. In the Eleventh Century, Berengarius, Archdeacon of Angers, having dared to deny the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, this Showing of the Sacred Host to the people, in the Mass, immediately after Consecration was introduced, in order to excite them to adoration.
After this august ceremony, the Priest lays the Sacred Host on the Corporal and again kneels in adoration before It. From this moment, each time that the Priest touches the Host, he will genuflect both before and after doing so; before, because he is going to touch the Lord, and after, in order to pay Him homage. Besides this, he will not disjoin the thumb and index finger of each hand, until the Ablution, because these fingers are sacred, and have alone the honour of touching the Lord. For this reason, at his Ordination, the Bishop consecrated these fingers in a more special manner, putting the holy oil upon them first, and thence spreading it over the rest of the hand; if a Priest were to lose one of his index fingers, he would need permission from the Pope himself to touch the Body of the Lord with another finger.
Thus is accomplished the Great Mystery of Transubstantiation (that is to say, the changing of one substance into another), according to that word of Our Lord to His Apostles: Do this in commemoration of Me: Hoc facite in meam commemorationem (St. Luke xxii. 19); on condition, however, that the Minister be a Priest validly ordained, and that he pronounce these sacramental words over true bread and natural wine, with the intention of consecrating as the Church does.
These conditions fulfilled, God is not free, He is bound by His own Word, and the Mystery must consequently be achieved. The word enim is put in, to link this phrase with the preceding; it is not to be found in any of the three Gospels which mention the institution of the Eucharist, neither does St. Paul give it in his Epistle (1 Cor. xi. 24). Nevertheless Our Lord must have said this word, as this Tradition has come down to us from St. Peter and the Apostles. A Priest who were to omit the enim would sin, but his consecration would be valid. If he were to omit the meam there would be no consecration, because it is necessary to determine whose Body it is that the Priest is holding in his hands.
As soon as these above named sacred Words are pronounced, the Body of Our Lord is truly on the Altar; but because, since His Resurrection, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Redeemer cannot be separated, he is on our Altar in a Living
State, just as He is in heaven, that is to say, glorious as He has ever been since His Ascension.
The showing of the Body of Our Lord which now takes place, is, as we have explained above, of comparatively modern institution. The Eastern Churches do not observe a similar ceremony, at this part of the Mass; but on the other hand, they give far more pomp and importance, than we do, to the Elevation that immediately precedes the Pater, and thereby attract the attention of the people to profound adoration: for this purpose, the Priest then takes the Body and Blood of the Lord in his hands, and turning towards the Faithful, as at the Orate Fratres, holds Them up for adoration.