CHAPTER THE TWELFTH.
PART THE THIRD. THE CANON OF THE MASS.
THE word Canon signifies a straight rod, then a rule used by masons or carpenters, or a measuring rule. Canon by an obvious metaphor was used and is still used as a rule in art; thus we speak of something being against
all the Canons of literary taste. The underlying sense of something fixed is found
in the various uses to which the word Canon is applied by the Church. Thus, the
Canon of Scripture is the fixed list of books which the Church recognizes as inspired;
ecclesiastical laws and definitions of councils are called Canons, they are fixed
rules in faith or conduct; Canonization is the fixed list of saints whom the Church places on her altars; Canon, now an ecclesiastical title, meant originally a fixed list of clerics attached to a church. The Canon in Mass means the fixed rule according to which the Holy Sacrifice is offered. Briefly, we may say the Canon of the Mass means the fixed portion of the Mass. Other
portions vary with the feast and the season, while the Canon (if you except slight
additions in the prayers Communicantes and Hanc
igitur) always remains the same. As the Sacrifice in itself never varies, there is a special fitness that the prayer which
accompanies it, and as it were enshrines it, should be unchangeable.
Other names are given to the Canon by early writers: thus, St. Gregory calls it the "prayer" by excellence, others
the "action," the latter word is still kept in the Missal and forms the title of the prayer Communicantes in the Canon. The Canon
is called "the action," because the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Mass is wrought or made (conficitur) by the greatest "action " or act in this world. The power to perform that "action" is given to the
priest at his ordination.
Of what does the Canon consist? The Council of Trent (Sess. xxii. ch. 4) commits itself
to these assertions the Canon consists first of our Lord’s very words; secondly,
of prayers received from the traditions of the Apostles; thirdly, of prayers piously ordered by holy Pontiffs. The Council
defines that the Canon of the Mass is free from errors, and that the entire Canon is redolent of holiness.
The words: a holy sacrifice and
spotless Victim were added by St. Leo the Great. Pope St. Gregory the Great (590-604) added the words: and dispose our days
in Thy peace, and bid us be saved from eternal damnation, and to be numbered in the flock of Thy elect. He is also said to
have added the names of the holy virgins and martyrs SS. Agatha, Lucia, Agnes, Cecilia, and Anastasia.
As to the antiquity of the Canon we are certainly safe in saying that it is some 1,300 or 1,400 years old, there
has been no addition to the Canon since the time of Gregory the Great.
But portions of it may be
earlier. The narrative introductory to the Consecration and the words of consecration of the Chalice certainly contain Apostolical
traditions of the actions and words of our Blessed Saviour, who (as we know from St.
John xxi. 25) said and did many things which are not in the holy Gospels. The order in which the Apostles
names are given is not precisely the same as in any of the Gospels; the names of the Apostles may have been written earlier
than the Gospels. Further, the list of saints given in the Canon consists of Apostles
and martyrs merely, a sign that at least a portion of the Canon is earlier than
the fourth century, when the names of Confessors were added to the Church’s list of saints.
The Canon begins after the Sanctus and ends before the Pater noster, according to some; according to others, the Canon ends
with the priest’s Communion.
By the strict law of the Church
in the Council of Trent, the Canon is said by the priest in a low voice (submissa voce) and the priest never raises his voice from the prayer which begins the Canon Te igitur, We therefore humbly pray and beseech Thee, until the
Pater noster, except at the Nobis quoque
The rubric is that the Canon be said so as to be inaudible to the congregation, because the great act of sacrifice in the Canon belongs to the priest alone, and secondly, because silence in the most important portion of the Mass is
most impressive for all who assist at the Sacrifice, and it promotes recollection.
The priest begins the Canon by extending and raising his hands and fixing his eyes on the crucifix. He then lowers his hands and joining
them, he lays them on the altar, and at the same time makes a profound inclination of the body. All these acts indicate the
homage and reverence of the priest before entering on the most august portion of the Mass.
P. Te ígitur, clementíssime Pater, per Jesum Chrístum Fílium tuum,
Dóminum nostrum, súpplices rogámus ac pétímus uti accépta hábeas, et benedícas hæc dona, hæc munera, hæc sancta sacrifícia
illibáta; in primis quæ tibi offérimus pro Ecclésia tua sancta cathólica; quam pacificáre, custodire, adunáre, et régere dignéris
toto orbe terrárum: una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro N., et Antístite nostro N. et ómnibus orthodóxis, atque cathólicæ et aostólicæ
most gracious Father, we humbly beg of You and entreat You through Jesus Christ Your Son, Our Lord. Hold acceptable and bless
these gifts, these offerings, these holy and unspotted oblations which, in the first place, we offer You for Your Holy Catholic
Church. Grant her peace and protection, unity and guidance throughout the worlds, together with Your servant (name), our Pope,
and (name), our Bishop; and all Orthodox believers who cherish the Catholic and Apostolic Faith.
EXPLANATION OF THE FIRST PRAYER IN THE CANON BEFORE
The first prayer in the Canon is divided into three parts. The first part begins We, therefore, humbly pray and beseech Thee,
and ends with the words of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith. The second part is the commemoration of the
Living from, Be mindful, O Lord, of Thy servants, to Living and true God.
The third part is during the Action from the words Communicating with down to through the same Christ
our Lord. These are not three separate prayers, but one prayer with the one and the same ending, through the same
Christ our Lord.
The priest says We therefore
humbly pray and beseech Thee. Therefore connects the Canon
with the Preface. It is as if the priest had said, "After having offered you our thanks, O Father, we come to you with our
petitions." We humbly pray and beseech Thee, the repetition of the same thought in different words indicates the earnestness
of the petition: most merciful Father, the Latin word clementissime refers to the
Father as always lessening the punishment due to sin and therefore merciful. To the Father in imitation of our Lord Himself
in the supper-room the priest prays, as to Him alone sacrifice is offered; through Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, through
whom alone our prayers can be acceptable in Thy sight and because of the Sacrifice instituted by Him which we are about to
offer in His name and in His behalf. That Thou wouldst accept and bless (here having first kissed the altar in reverence and
love to our Lord he makes three crosses) these gifts, these presents, these holy unspotted sacrifices. The priest prays that
God may accept and bless for the good of the Universal Church and consecrate the bread and wine that they may as far as possible
be fit to be changed into the Body and Blood of our Lord. The bread and wine are called by three names gifts, things which
we receive from God, presents, which we offer to Him, holy unspotted sacrifices, in anticipation of the words of consecration
so soon to be pronounced when these gifts will be changed into the Body and Blood of our Lord. Hence they are called holy
and especially spotless by anticipation, (the sense being) which we offer Thee not merely as bread and wine, but as bread
and wine so soon to be converted into the Body and Blood of our Lord.
The priest continues, In
the first place for Thy Holy Catholic Church. Christ on the Cross was the Saviour of all and especially of those
united to Him by the true Faith for them chiefly was the sacrifice of Calvary offered, they
make the Church, which is called holy, because of its Founder, its doctrine and the eminent holiness of so many of its children;
and Catholic, because spread throughout the world, to which vouchsafe to grant peace; as also to protect, unite, and govern
it throughout the world. Four graces are here asked for the Church: peace, internal amongst its own members in freedom from
dissensions, external in a truce from the violent attacks of its enemies, protection against its many enemies visible and
invisible union in faith and in heart the grace our Saviour asked in His prayer to the Father for His Disciples: "My Father,
keep them in Thy name whom Thou hast given Me that they may be one, as we also are . . . and not for them only do I pray,
but for all those also who through their word shall believe in Me, that they all may be one." Lastly, God is asked to govern
the Church through holy and wise Prelates whom He sends. Together with thy Servant N. our Pope, N. our Bishop.
Special mention is made by name of the Pope as Head and ruler of the whole Church in urgent need of help from the Mass, the
greatest of all acts of worship, and of the Bishop of the Diocese who rules and governs in obedience to the Pope that portion
of the Flock assigned to him. As also all orthodox believers and professors of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith. By the orthodox
is meant all members of the Catholic Church, while by the term professors (cultoribus)
is meant such as practice the Faith they believe; those who live up to the Faith, as we say, and the word covers in a special
way missionaries who preach the Faith and help towards the conversion of souls. Although under the term "Orthodox" the Church
prays only for her own children who belong to her by Baptism, still the Holy Sacrifice is applicable to infidels, heretics,
or schismatics in so far as it may obtain for them the grace of conversion, or avert from them the chastisements of God.
THE MEMENTO FOR THE LIVING.
P. Meménto, Dómine, famulórum, famularúmque tuárum N. et N.
O Lord, Your servants and handmaids, (name) and (name),
The Priest joins his hands, and
prays silently for those he intends to pray for.
Then extending his hands, he proceeds:
ómnium circumstántium, quorum tibi fides cognita est, et nota devotio, pro quibus tibi offérimus: vel qui tibi ófferunt hoc
sacrificium laudis pro se, suísque ómnibus, pro redemptióne animárum suarum, pro spe salutis, et incolumitátis suæ; tibique
reddunt vota sua æterno Deo, vivo et vero.
and all here present, whose
faith and devotion are known to You. On whose behalf we offer to You, or who them-selves offer to You this sacrifice of praise
for themselves, families and friends, for the good of their souls, for their hope of salvation and deliverance from all harm,
and who offer their homage to You, eternal, living and true God.
The Memento for the Living is
a prayer named from its first word " Remember " and is introduced in this part of the Mass for all those living persons to
whom the priest may desire to apply in an especial manner the fruit of this Holy Sacrifice.
EXPLANATION OF THE MEMENTO FOR THE LIVING.
not that God forgets, but as a kind and indulgent father remembers his children ("Lord, remember me, when Thou comest into
Thy Kingdom"), so does God minister to their wants. The letters N.N. are placed to remind the priest to mention
certain persons by name or to dwell on them in thought. The mention of the names of Pope and Bishop, the Memento for the Living
before, and the Memento for the Dead after the Consecration, when the priest prays silently for the living and the dead, remind
us also of diptychs once used during the Holy Sacrifice. Diptychs were tablets on which were inscribed the names
of the living and of the dead. They were in use amongst the Latins down to the twelfth and amongst the Greeks to the fifteenth
century. Diptychs of the living contained the names of the Pope, Patriarchs, the
Bishop of the diocese, of benefactors, etc.; the diptychs of the dead contained as a rule the names of those once inscribed
on the diptychs of the living. The way in which these diptychs were used at Mass varied in different times and places. Originally the deacon read out the names from
the Ambo; later the deacon or subdeacon read them in a loud voice to the celebrant; later still they were simply laid on the
altar and the priest in his prayer remembered the names. We may add that in some Missals both Mementoes retain the name Ovatio super diptycha prayer over the diptychs.
The priest joins his hands and prays silently for those he intends to pray for, then extending his hands, he proceeds: and
of all here present, who merit special mention for assisting at Mass, whose faith and devotion are known unto Thee.
By faith is meant the ready acceptance of the truths of faith. Devotion does not consist in sensible feeling,
but in a willingness, as St. Thomas teaches (2-2. q. 82. ad
i) to perform faith fully all that relates to the service of God. For whom we offer; the priest speaks in
the name of the Church; or who offer up to Thee; here again, as in the Orate
Fratres, the people are represented as offering Sacrifice, though not in the same way as the priest offers. This Sacrifice
of praise the Mass is essentially a Sacrifice of praise, but it is much more. To say that the Mass is only a Sacrifice of
praise is heresy condemned by the Council of Trent. For themselves, and for all near or dear to them. For all their belongings,
as we say in these words maybe included their friends and even their temporal possessions. For the hope of their salvation
and safety. The faithful unite with the priest in offering the Mass as a Sacrifice of expiation for the redemption
of the souls of all they know and love; the word salutis, salvation, includes all
super natural gifts of grace in this world and glory in the next; incolumitatis
covers health of body. The prayer is for every blessing for soul and body in this world and the next. And who offer their
vows to Thee. Vows are not taken in the strict sense of a promise made with full deliberation to God binding under sin the
word here means, as frequently in the language of the Church, acts of interior and exterior worship. The eternal,
living, and true God. Each epithet in its strict sense belongs to God alone eternal, who always was, is, and ever
will be; living, the source of all life ("I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"), true God, in opposition to all false deities
and objects of man’s worship,
WITHIN THE ACTION.
et memoriam venerantes, in primis gloriosae semper Virginis Mariae, Genitricis Dei et Domini nostri Jesu Christi: sed et beatorum
Apostolorum ac Martyrum tuorum, Petri et Pauli, Andreae, Jacobi, Joannis, Thomae, Jacobi, Philippi, Bartholomaei, Matthaei,
Simonis et Thaddaei: Lini, Cleti, dementis, Xysti, Cornelii, Cypriani, Laurentii, Chrysogoni, Joannis et Pauli, Cosmae et
Damiani, et om nium Sanctorum tuorum: quorum mentis precibusque concedas, ut in omnibus protectionis tuae muniamur auxilio.
Per eumdem Chris tum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Communicating with, and
honouring in the first place the memory of the glorious and ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ;
as also of the blessed Apostles and Martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew,
Simon and Thaddeus, Linus, Cletus, Clement, Xystus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian,
and of all Thy Saints: by whose merits and prayers, grant that we may be always de fended by the help of Thy protection. Through
the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
EXPLANATION OF THE PRAYER COMMUNICANTES.
We now come to the third portion
of the first prayer of the Canon. This portion is called the Communicantes or "Commemoration of the saints in glory." What is meant by "Within the Action," and why are the
words selected as a heading for this prayer? As already said, the Canon was sometimes
called by ancient writers the Action, as including the great Act or Deed of the priest at the Mass in consecrating bread and
wine, and converting both into the Body and Blood of our Lord. The reason why "Within the Action " is placed over the Communicantes alone, seems to be that on five great feasts of the year, Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension,
and Pentecost, an addition is made to the Communicantes bearing on the feast of
the day. Thus changed, the prayer is found in the Missal after the Preface, and bears the title, "Within the Action," to show
that it ought to be inserted in the Canon. Originally the title was found only
in the Communicantts for the five feasts referred to, and then it passed to the Comimmic antes said in the Canon. That prayer runs thus:
Communicating with and honouring
in the first place the memory of the glorious and ever Virgin Mary. These words, Communicating and honouring are not to be
considered as distinct from the foregoing, but as a continuation of the preceding prayer. The sense is, according to Suarez,
" pay their vows to Thee the living and true God, communicating with Thy saints to whom they are so closely united, whose
intercession they invoke while venerating their memory." (Suarez in in. Disp. 83, Sect. 2. 2. 7.)
In the Canon, mentioned by name, are the Blessed Virgin, twelve Apostles, twelve Martyrs, then all the Saints in general.
Mary, called glorious, an epithet
which the Church is fond of applying to our Lady as she gives more glory to God than Angels and Saints together, ever Virgin,
the Catholic doctrine is that Mary was a Virgin in Conception, in Birth, and after the Birth of her Son. Her name is fittingly
introduced in the Mass as she gave us the Body that suffered and died on the Cross and of His Death, Mass is the re-presentation
and commemoration. Nobis datus, nobis natus, sings the Church, ex intacta Virgine, "given to us, born to us from a spotless Virgin,"
The name of St. Matthias is omitted
from the list of the Apostles, because St. Matthias was not an Apostle at the time of our Lord’s Passion. The number
twelve is made up by the addition of St. Paul who, though
an Apostle, was not one of the twelve. He is always united to St. Peter in the Liturgy of the Church. Martyrs only are mentioned
in this list, not Confessors which shows the antiquity of this portion of the Canon
for only in the fourth century did the Church include Confessors in her Canonized
Saints. St. Peter is the first mentioned, and St. Thaddeus the last.
Next come twelve Martyrs.
The first five are Popes SS. Linus,
Cletus, Clement, Xystus, and Cornelius. Of these SS. Linus, Cletus, and Clement were fellow-labourers with St. Peter in preaching
the Gospel at Rome. St. Cyprian was the celebrated Martyr
and Bishop of Carthage. St. Lawrence was Deacon to Pope Sixtus
II. St. Chrysogonus was an illustrious Roman, martyred at Aquileia
under Diocletian. John and Paul were brothers who, rather than worship idols, were martyred by Julian the Apostate. Cosmas
and Damian were also brothers, and physicians too, who exercised their profession gratis for the love of God and of their
The concluding words of the prayer,
by whose merits and prayers grant that we may be always defended by the help of Thy protection through the same Christ
our Lord, Amen; bring out the Catholic doctrine that the good works of Christians, and far more the holy lives and
glorious deaths of the Apostles and other Saints, and pre-eminently of the Mother of God, derive their saving efficacy through
their union with Christ our Lord.
THE SECOND PRAYER IN THE CANON BEFORE THE CONSECRATION.
Spreading his hands over the oblation,
the priest says:
P. Hanc ígitur oblatiónem servitútis nostræ, sed et cunctæ famíliæ tuæ quæsumus, Dómine, ut placátus accípias, diésque nostros in tua pace dispónas, atque
ab ætérna damnatióne nos éripi, et in electórum tuórum júbeas grege numerári. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. Amen.
accept, then, we beseech You, O Lord, this service of our worship and that of all Your household. Provide that our days be
spent in Your peace, save us from everlasting damnation, and cause us to be numbered in the flock You have chosen. Through
Christ our Lord. Amen.
While saying these words the priest
holds his hands over the bread and wine and the thumbs are stretched one over the other in the form of a cross. This gesture
signifies the transfer of something to another. In Exodus (xxix. 10), before the calf is killed we read that "Aaron and his
sons shall lay their hands upon his head," and again in Leviticus (i. 4): "And he shall put his hand upon the head of the
victim." This laying of hands implied the consciousness of guilt in the person who performed the act, and the wish to transfer
to the victim those sins for which the victim was to die instead of the sinner. Here at the Mass, by the imposition of hands,
the priest signifies that the sins of the world are carried by our Lord who died for them on the Cross "who bore all our iniquities
on the Tree." The Mass is the re-presentation of that Sacrifice on Calvary. This imposition
of hands at Mass did not always exist in the Church: it was introduced at the end of the fifteenth century; and it was prescribed
by St. Pius V. as a general law.
EXPLANATION OF THE PRAYER HANC IGITUR OBLATIONEM.
The word therefore connects the
prayer with the Communicantes which precedes. Encouraged by the prayers of the
Saints, in the hope that God is appeased and that He will show us mercy, the Church through the mouth of her priest beseeches
God the Father to accept this oblation of our service as also of Thy whole family. The Mass is a Sacrifice which we make to
God with all the family of the Church, to acknowledge His supreme dominion over all creatures, and our absolute dependence
on Him. Such is the sense of the phrase oblation of our service. Next, besides the acceptance of the Sacrifice three petitions
are made: (1) dispose our days in Thy peace; (2) command us to be delivered from eternal damnation (compare the line in the
Dies Irae Sed tu bonus fac benigne, ne perenni cremer igne "In Thy goodness grant
that I be not consumed in everlasting fire"); (3) and to be numbered in the flock of Thy elect to make our election SURE (2
Pet.i. 10). In the Te Deum we say Aeterna
fac cum Sanctis tuis in gloria numcvari "Grant that we may be numbered with Thy Saints in glory everlasting."
The following petitions were added
by St. Gregory the Great:
P. Quam oblatiónem tu, Deus, in ómnibus, quæsumus, benedíctam, adscríptam,
ratam, rationábilem, acceptabilémque fácere dignéris, ut nobis Corpus, et Sanguis fiat dilectíssimi Fílii tui Dómini nostri
P. O God, deign to bless what we offer, and make it approved, effective, right, and wholly pleasing in every way, that it may become for our good, the Body and Blood
of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
EXPLANATION OF THE PRAYER.
This prayer is in close connection
with the preceding and serves as an immediate introduction to the act of Consecration.
We ask God first to bless the
bread and wine (the Oblation) in the most perfect of all ways by transforming them
into the Body and Blood of our Lord, the source of all blessings to the world.
The Latin word ad scriptam legitimate is variously explained. Perhaps the best rendering is approved, that is according to the
directions prescribed, laid down by our Lord at the Last Supper. Ad scriptam, says
Father Suarez, may be taken to mean that the oblation should be made as prescribed by our Lord in the words "Do this in commemoration
of Me " and consequently legitimate.
The oblation will be ratified
that is real, valid it offered in the way ordained by our Lord in the institution of the Blessed Eucharist; thus a Sacrament
properly administered we speak of as real, valid as Baptism, Marriage, etc.
The offering or sacrifice is said
to be reasonable (compare St. Paul’s expression, the
reasonable homage of our faith), because on the altar the Victim offered is the Lamb of God, Uncreated Reason and Wisdom,
quite different from the Sacrifices of the Old Law where the victims were animals without reason. Adorned by these four qualities
the Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is infallibly acceptable to the Eternal Father.
That it may become to us the Body
and Blood of Thy most beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
These words express the essence
of the Sacrifice offered by the consecration, and the essential change in the matter of the Sacrifice. Bread and wine become
for us the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. For us, that is, for our Salvation. The Angel said to the shepherds in Luke (ii.
u): "For this day is born to you a Saviour who is Christ the Lord in the city of David."
This prayer is accompanied by
five signs of the Cross. They are made over the bread and wine at the words, blessed, approved, and ratified, one is made
over the host alone at the word Body, and another over the chalice at the word Blood. The connection between the sign of the
Cross and the Crucifixion is evident. The first three signs of the Cross remind us of the Blessed Trinity, by whose power
the consecration of the bread and wine is effected. Some pious souls see in the five signs of the Cross a reminder of the
five wounds of our Lord.
I. CONSECRATION OF THE BREAD.
INTRODUCTION TO THE CONSECRATION.
Qui prídie quam paterétur, accepit panem in sanctas ac venerábiles manus suas, et elevátis óculis in coelum ad te Deum Patrem
suum omnipoténtem tibi grátias agens, benedixit, fregit, dedítque discípulis suis, dicens: Accípite,
et manducáte ex hoc
EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM.
P. Who, the day before He
suffered, took bread into His holy and venerable hands, and having raised His eyes to heaven to You, God, His Almighty Father,
giving thanks to You, He blessed, + it broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying: "Take and eat of this, all of you:
FOR THIS IS MY BODY.
EXPLANATION OF THE INTRODUCTION TO THE CONSECRATION OF BREAD.
Who the day before
He suffered (the Priest takes the Host) took bread into His holy and venerable hands (he raises his eyes to heaven) and with
His eyes lifted up towards heaven, to Thee, God, His Almighty Father, giving thanks to Thee, did bless, break, and give to
His disciples, saying.
The words: into His holy
and venerable hands and with His eyes lifted up towards heaven, to Thee, God, His Almighty Father, are not found
in the Scriptural Narrative: Matthew xxvi. 26 28: Mark xiv. 22 24: Luke xxii. 19, 20 and i Cor. xi. 23 26, but come to us
through the tradition of the Church.
We must distinguish between two
actions of our Lord, giving thanks and blessing. Thanksgiving was offered to His Father, the author of all good; blessing
was intended only for the bread and wine about to be changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Break, our Lord is thought
to have broken the portion of unleavened bread into twelve or thirteen different pieces, saying: Take and eat ye all of this:
FOR THIS IS MY BODY.
OF THE WORDS OF CONSECRATION.
the reason why Christ asked His Apostles to eat. The words that follow must be taken in their plain meaning. The word this
means, what I show you at this moment in My hands and what I give you is My Body. But the Body of Christ is not bread, and
to verify our Lord’s words the meaning must be, this is bread no longer but the Body of Christ. To say that the expression
this is My Body means the figure of My Body, is the same as saying this is My Body, means this is not My Body. For the figure
of the Body is not the Body itself. There is made by virtue of the words, this is My Body, the conversion of the whole substance
of the bread into the substance of the Body of our Lord, the species or outward appearances alone remaining, and this con
version, the Council of Trent teaches, is suitably called Transubstantiation. But as the Body of our Lord cannot exist without
His Blood (for a bloodless body is dead, and Christ can die no more), the Body necessarily brings with It the Blood, and the
Body and Blood are necessarily connected with the Soul and Divinity of our Lord, therefore after the words of Consecration
are pronounced at Mass, Christ is whole and entire under the appearance of bread. Here is the whole doctrine of Transubstantiation.
Man’s reason can never explain it nor disprove it. It remains the mystery of Faith.
II. CONSECRATION OF THE WINE.
modo postquam coenaturn est, accipiens et hunc praeclarum Calicem in
ac venerabiles rnanus suas : item tibi gratias agens, benedixit, deditque discipulis suis, dicens: Accipite et bibite ex eo
EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MET, NOVI ET AETERNI
: MYSTERIUM FIDEI: QUI PRO VOBIS ET PRO
EFFUNDETUR IN REMISSIONEM PECCATORUM.
quotiescumque feceritis, in mei memoriam facietis.
In like manner, after He
had supped (he takes the chalice in both his hands), taking also this excellent Chalice into His holy and venerable hands,
and giving Thee thanks, He blessed, and gave to His disciples, saying: Take and drink ye all of This:
FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE
OF MY BLOOD OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL TESTAMENT I THE MYSTERY OF FAITH I WHICH SHALL BE SHED FOR YOU, AND FOR MANY, TO THE REMISSION
As often as ye do these
things, ye shall do them in remembrance of Me.
EXPLANATION OF THE INTRODUCTION TO THE CONSECRATION OF WINE.
In like manner,
after He had supped (the priest takes the Chalice in both his hands), taking also this excellent Chalice
(so-called from the surpassing treasure of the Precious Blood it is meant to contain) into His holy (as the
hands of Jesus Christ essentially are, as the hands of His priest are by anointing at ordination) and venerable hands,
giving Thee thanks (as before the Consecration of the bread, as Man to His Father, for the incomprehensible gift
of the Eucharist), He blessed it, that the wine might be worthy to be converted into His Blood, and gave to His disciples,
saying, Take and drink ye all of this: For this is the Chalice of My Blood of the New and Eternal Testament,
the Mystery of Faith; which shall be shed for you and for many to the remission of sins.
EXPLANATION OF THE WORDS OF THE CONSECRATION OF THE CHALICE.
Father Suarez says that, according
to the common opinion of theologians, not merely the words of the form, this is the Chalice of my Blood, but all the words
from take to remission of sins, were pronounced by Jesus Christ.
The words which consecrate the
wine this is the Chalice of My Blood correspond in the consecration of the bread to this is My Body. The Chalice of My Blood
means the Cup or Chalice which contains My Blood. The explanation given in the consecration of the bread holds good for the
consecration of the wine. After our Lord had pronounced the words, this is the Chalice of My Blood, according to their plain
meaning, wine was converted by virtue of the words into the Blood of Christ. But as the Blood of Christ cannot exist without
His Body, nor the Body and Blood without His Soul and Divinity, we have consequently the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity
of our Lord whole and entire under the appearance of wine as under the appearance of bread.
The Sacrament of the Eucharist
is complete under one kind, since under either kind there is present the whole Christ.
But the Consecration, according
to our Lord’s command, must ever be under both kinds, since it is only from the double Consecration that the Blessed
Eucharist has the character of a Sacrifice. The separate Consecration of bread and wine represents in a mystical way the death
of Christ, the parting of the Body and Blood on the Cross. That Blood was shed really on the Cross: mystically in the institution
of the Eucharist and daily at Mass on our altars.
The Blood in the Chalice is the
Blood shed on the Cross and that Blood is received by us in the Sacrament. "The Blood," says St. Thomas (Hi. q. 78. a. 3. ad. 7.), "consecrated apart from the Body, more closely represents
the Passion of Christ and there fore more suitably in the Consecration of the Blood than of the Body mention is made of the
Passion of Christ and of the fruit it produced." Chalice in Scripture sometimes signifies passion as in St. Matt. (xx. 22):
" Can you drink the Chalice which I am going to drink?" and it signifies a drink in Psalm (xxii. 5): "And my Chalice which
inebriateth me, how goodly it is."
The words of the New and Eternal
Testament contain an allusion to Exodus xxiv. 8. Testament or Covenant, the original means either. As the Old Covenant
of the Law was dedicated with the blood of the Sacrifice, so now the New Covenant of the Gospel is to be dedicated with the
Blood of Jesus Christ.
The Mystery of Faith.
These words according to some writers (who disagree with Suarez), we owe to St. Peter. Transubstantiation is a truth above
reason which we take on the authority of God’s word, hence a mystery of Faith. The words which shall be shed for you
were addressed to the Apostles then before our Saviour’s eyes. And for many. The Blood is shed for
all: and for many efficaciously that is, many, the saved, reap the full benefit of our Lord’s death while the lost,
through their own fault, use it to their destruction.
To the remission
of sins. These words express the great end of the Sacrifice of the Cross, the washing away of the sins of the world.
After pronouncing the words of
Consecration the priest, laying the Chalice on the Corporal says, As often as ye shall do these things ye shall do
them in remembrance of Me. The Council of Trent defines in Sess. xxii. Can.
2. that by these words our Lord made His Apostles priests, and prescribed that they and other priests, their successors in
the priesthood, should offer the Sacrifice of His Body and Blood.
THE ELEVATION OF THE HOST AND OF THE CHALICE.
The Church has ever adored the
Blessed Sacrament from the time of Its institution. But the outward signs by which the Church has expressed this adoration
have not always been the same. In the Greek liturgies the Elevation of the Eucharist takes place shortly before the Communion.
Formerly in the Latin Mass the Blessed Sacrament was elevated only at the words omnis
honor et gloria just before the Pater Noster. This is now usually known as
"the little Elevation." The Elevation of Host and Chalice immediately after Consecration was introduced in detestation of
the denial of Transubstantiation by Berengarins.
The Elevation of Host and Chalice
seems to have begun as an act of reparation about 1100 in France, of which
country Berengarius was a native; from France it was introduced into Germany, and from Germany it found its way
into other countries of Europe. At first only the Host was elevated and afterwards the Chalice.
The further custom of ringing a small bell at the Elevation began in France
during the twelfth century, and about the same time the ringing of the large bell at the conventual Mass was ordered in the
statutes of some Monastic Orders. The bell is obviously to notify the solemn moment of the Consecration.
THE FIRST PART OF THE PRAYER AFTER THE CONSECRATION.
Unde et mémores, Dómine, nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta, ejúsdem Christi Fílii tui Dómini nostri tam beátæ passiónis,
nec non et ab inferis resurrectiónis, sed et in coelos gloriosæ ascensíonis offérimus præclaræ majestati tuæ de tuis donis
ac datis hostiam puram, hostiam sanctam, hostiam immaculatam, Panem sanctum vitæ ætérnæ, et calicem salutis perpetuæ.
P. Mindful, therefore, Lord,
we, Your ministers, as also Your holy people, of the same Christ, Your Son, our Lord, remember His blessed passion, and also
of His Resurrection from the dead, and finally of His glorious Ascension into heaven, offer to Your supreme Majesty, of the
gifts bestowed upon us, the pure Victim, the holy Victim, the all-perfect Victim: the holy Bread of life eternal and the Chalice
+ of perpetual salvation.
This prayer is divided into three
parts. The prayer begins with the words, Unde et memores (" Wherefore, O Lord,
we thy servants "), and ends with per eumdem Christum
Dominum nostrum, "through the same Christ our Lord," just before the Memento
for the Dead.
EXPLANATION OF THE FIRST PART OF THE PRAYER AFTER THE CONSECRATION.
Father Suarez (Hi. Disp. 75, sect.
5, n. 15), says that the end of these prayers after the Consecration is to implore of the Father to accept from our unworthy
hands the Divine Body and Blood of His Son, lest through our sins the fruit of the Sacrifice be hindered, lessened, or lost.
We Thy servants. Priests are in
a very special way the servants of God, and attached to His Sanctuary. The use of the plural is thought by some writers to
refer to the time when various priests were said to celebrate, that is, to perform one joint action with a Bishop or the Pope
celebrant at the Mass. This custom is referred to by Pope
Innocent III. in his fourth book on the Mass. The custom
seems to have passed out of use in the thirteenth century. The only vestige of it that now remains is to be found in the Mass
at the Ordination of a priest and the Consecration of a Bishop. But the use of the plural in we Thy servants need not refer
to the custom at all. In the prayer Te igitur, which begins the Canon and corresponds closely in form to the present prayer the plural is also used as in the Orate fratres and various portions of the Mass.
Priest and people pray together.
THE FIRST PART OF THE PRAYER.
The words Thy holy people refer
to the grace of Baptism. Those assisting at Mass, though not all perhaps in grace, are presumably all baptized and in that
sense have faith, the beginning, foundation, and root of all holiness. St. Peter speaks of Christians (i Peter ii. 10) as
" the holy people of God."
Calling to mind the blessed Passion
of the same Christ Thy Son our Lord, His Resurrection from the dead and glorious Ascension into Heaven. The three great works
of God Incarnate are His blessed Passion, His Resurrection and Ascension. The first kindles our love, the second is the great
proof of our faith, the third strengthens our hope. Offer unto Thy most excellent Majesty, of Thy gifts and grants. By the
expression gifts and grants we may consider the bread and wine which formed the matter which were converted into the Body
and Blood of our Lord. The words may also be referred with Bellarmine in the Mass (Bk. ii. ch. 34) to Christ Himself as existing
in the Eucharist, the noblest Gift and Grant of God to the world. Compare the words in the Church’s hymn, Nobis datus, nobis natus ex intacta Virgine "Given to us, born for us from a spotless Virgin." We offer to God
a Pure Victim, a Holy Victim, an Immaculate Victim, the Holy Bread of Eternal life, and the Chalice of everlasting salvation.
Bread is used in our Lord’s sense. (John vi. 48.) " I am the living bread." The Chalice of everlasting salvation means
the Blood in the Chalice which is spilt for our everlasting salvation.
These words are accompanied by
five signs of the Cross. The meaning of these five crosses is variously explained. They cannot mean a blessing conferred by
the priest who is a sinner on Jesus Christ infinitely Holy. The signs of the Cross before the Consecration really bless the
bread and wine and prepare them for transubstantiation; after the Consecration they are to be considered as Commemorations
they are in memory of Christ’s Passion. The five crosses may be considered to refer to the Five Wounds of our Lord.
(See Benedict XIV. De Miss.
sect. i. c. 277.)
SECOND PART OF THE PRAYER.
Extending his hands the Priest
P. Supra quæ propitio ac sereno
vultu respicere digneris; et accepta habere, sicuti accepta habere dignatus es munera pueri tui justi Abel, et sacrificium
patriarchæ nostri Abrahæ, et quod tibi obtulit summus sacerdos tuus Melchisedech, sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam.
P. Deign to regard with gracious and kindly attention and hold acceptable,
as You deigned to accept the offerings of Abel, Your just servant, and the sacrifice of Abraham our Patriarch, and that which
Your chief priest Melchise-dech offered to You, a holy Sacrifice and a spotless victim.
OF THE PRAYER.
As already stated, though in Itself
the Adorable Victim on the altar is of infinite value, nevertheless the Church prays that the Victim be accepted from a sinner’s
hands with a propitious and serene countenance.
The gifts of Thy just servant
Abel the allusion is to Genesis (iv. 4), where it is said that the Lord accepted Abel and his offerings. The offerer and offering
were both acceptable.
The sacrifice of our Patriarch
Abraham the allusion is to Genesis (xxii.), when Abraham was ready sword in hand to sacrifice his son Isaac. God spared the
boy and blessed Abraham. The offerings of Abel and Abraham are figures of the bloody Sacrifice of the Cross. Abel offered
a lamb, the figure of the Lamb of God, and was put to death by Cain as Christ was put to death by the Jews. (Heb. xii. 24.)
Abraham is the father of all believers and called our Patriarch because to him was given paternity over the nations: "and
in thy seed shall the nations of the earth be blessed."
That which Thy high priest Melchisedech
offered to Thee, a holy Sacrifice, a spotless Victim.
Melchisedech is the figure of
the Eternal High Priest Jesus Christ. The sacrifice of Melchisedech was of bread and wine (Genesis xiv. 18), and therefore
a figure of the unbloody Sacrifice of the Mass, where our Lord is offered under the appearance of bread and wine.
The words holy Sacrifice, a spotless
Victim were added by St. Leo the Great and refer to the sacrifice of Melchisedech: not that the sacrifice or host in his case
was holy or spotless, but in so far as it prefigured the spotless Sacrifice of the Mass.
Bowing down profoundly, with his
hands joined and placed upon the Altar, the Priest says:
te rogamus, omnípotens Deus, jube hæc perferri per manus sancti Angeli tui in sublime altáre tuum, in conspectu dininæ majertatis
tuæ: ut quoquot ex hac altaris participatione, sacrosanctum Fílii tui Corpus, et Sanguinem sumpserimus, omni benedictione
coelesti et gratia repleamur. Per eumdem Christum Dóminum nostrum. Amen.
P. Most humbly
we implore You, Almighty God, bid these offerings to be brought by the hands of Your Holy Angel to Your altar above, before
the face of Your Divine Majesty. And may those of us who by sharing in the Sacrifice of this altar shall receive the Most
Sacred Body and Blood of Your Son, be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing, Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
EXPLANATION OF THE PRAYER.
The Church begs by the words,
these offerings, that the mystical body of the faithful with their needs, labours, pains and prayers and the adorable Body
and Blood, so far as It is offered by us, may be carried to Thy altar on high, that is, to Heaven, by Thy holy Angel, either
the angel guardian of the priest, or of the altar, or of the Church, or some special angel deputed to assist at the Sacrifice,
or in general by the hands of Thy angels (the singular being put for the plural). Their office is to present to God the prayers
of men, and our offering united to theirs will merit the Divine favour.
We desire our prayers to be carried
to the Father with the intention that as many of us (the priest kisses the altar) as by participating in this Altar shall
receive the most sacred Body and Blood of Thy Son, may be filled with all heavenly blessing and grace.
On the altar lies the Body and
Blood of Christ soon to be our Food and Drink. The Church begs the Eternal Father that the action of sinful men in offering
the Adorable Sacrifice may be mercifully accepted by Him, then all heavenly blessing and grace are to be expected from this
Heavenly Banquet and Sacrifice through the same Christ our Lord.
The profound inclination of the
priest in reciting this prayer signifies the humility and earnestness of the petition.
MEMENTO FOR THE DEAD.
Memento etiam, Domine, famulorum, famularumque, tuarum N. et N.
qui nos praecesserunt cum signo Fidei, et dormiunt in somno pacis.
Be mindful, O Lord, of Thy
servants, men and women, N. and N., who are gone before us with the sign of Faith, and sleep in the sleep of peace.
He prays for such of the Dead
as he intends to pray for:
Dómine, et ómnibus in Christo quiescéntibus, locum refrigérii, lucis et pacis, ut indúlgeas, deprecámur. Per eúmdem Christum
Dóminum nostrum. Amen.
To these, Lord, and
to all who rest in Christ, we beg You to grant of Your goodness a place of comfort, light, and peace. Through Christ our Lord.
The practice of praying for the
dead at Mass dates from Apostolic times. The actual Memento in a low voice now in use was probably introduced in the eleventh
or twelfth century, when the names (where N. and N. are now placed) of the dead were read at Mass from the Diptychs.
The Memento for the Living is
placed before the Consecration. The living can join in offering the Sacrifice with the priest; the dead cannot offer the Sacrifice;
they can only benefit by its fruits, especially by the satisfactory power of the Mass.
The Memento for the Dead comes after the Consecration, when the Lamb is mystically slain, reduced to the state of a victim.
EXPLANATION OF THE MEMENTO FOR THE DEAD.
Be mindful, O Lord, of Thy servants,
men and women, N. and N., who are gone before us with the sign of Faith, that is with the character of Baptism on their soul,
and sleep in the sleep of peace. Our Lord’s own name for death is sleep "the girl is not dead, she sleeps." We too speak
of cemetery, which means the sleeping-place.
The priest in his private capacity
may here pray for any soul who has left this earth, even for such as died in the very act of sin. At the last they may have
To these, O Lord, and to all that
rest in Christ, that is, who died in the grace of God free of serious sin, grant, we beseech Thee (the Church returns to her
earnest and humble entreaty, we beseech Thee) a place of refreshment refrigirium,
a cooling from the heat of the fire and from the fever of the agony of loss. The word indicates relief from the double pain
of sense and loss. Place of light, that is Heaven, as Hell is the place of darkness. Place of peace that is perfect peace.
For there is peace in Purgatory from the certainty of salvation, through freedom from sin and from the love and sympathy of
the suffering souls. But the peace is imperfect in Heaven only is there perfect rest and peace.
THIRD PRAYER OF THE CANON
P. Nobis quoque
peccatóribus fámulis tuis, de multitúdine miseratiónum tuárum sperántibus, partem áliquam, et societátem donáre dignéris,
cum tuis sanctis Apóstolis et Martyribus, cum Joánne, Stepháno, Matthia, Bárnaba, Ignátio, Alexándro, Marcellíno, Petro, Felicitáte,
Perpétua, Agatha, Lúcia, Agnéte, Cæcilía, Anastásia, et ómnibus Sanctis tuis, intra quorum nos consórtium, non æstimátor mériti
sed veniæ, quæsumus, largítor admítte. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.
P. To us sinners
also, Your servants, trusting in the greatness of Your mercy, deign to grant some part and fellowship with Your Holy Apostles
and Martyrs with John, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy,
Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia, and all Your Saints. Into their company we implore You to admit us, not weighing our merits, but
freely granting us pardon. Through Christ our Lord.
OF THE PRAYER.
After praying for the dead who
are resting in Christ, the Church prays for the living whose future is uncertain and exposed to danger. And to us also sinners
(the priest slightly raises his voice) hoping in the multitude of Thy mercies,vouchsafe to grant some part and fellowship
with Thy holy Apostles and Martyrs, with John (St. John the Baptist), Stephen (the first martyr), Matthias (elected to fill
the place of Judas), Barnabas (companion and fellow-labourer with St. Paul), Ignatius (the martyr, successor to Peter in the
see of Antioch), Alexander (fifth Pope after St. Peter), Marcellinus
(priest), Peter (exorcist of the Roman Church), Felicitas and Perpetua (two youthful heroines, first scourged and finally
beheaded A.D. 202), Agatha (virgin and martyr), Lucy (martyred 304), Agnes (virgin and martyr, at thirteen), Cecily (virgin
and martyr; through her love of singing the Divine praises, represented with a lyre), Anastasia (martyr, burnt 304), and with
all Thy Saints, into whose company, we beseech Thee, to admit us, not by weighing our merits, but by a free gift of pardon,
that is, we have no claim of our own, we trust to Thy mercy to freely pardon our offences, and thus to obtain for us fellowship
with Thy Saints. Through Christ our Lord.
CONCLUSION OF THE CANON.
The preceding prayer closes with
the words through Christ our Lord. Amen is omitted to show the close connection between Jesus Christ our Lord and the following
Per quem haec omnia, Domine, semper bona creas, sanctificas, vivificas, benedicis,
et praestas nobis.
By whom, O Lord,
Thou dost always create, sanctify,bless, and grant us all these good things.
He uncovers the Chalice,
and makes a genuflexion; then taking the Host in his right hand, and holding the Chalice in his left, he makes with the Host
five crosses, saying:
P. Per quem hæc ómnia Dómine,
semper bona creas, sanctificas, vivificas, benedicis, et præstas nobis.
Whom, Lord, You always create, sanctify, fill with life, bless and bestow upon us all good things.
CONCLUSION OF THE CANON.
P. Per ipsum, et cum ipso, et in ipso, est tibi Deo Patri omnipoténti,
in unitáte Spíritus
Sancti, omnis honor et glória, per omnia sæcula sæculórum.
Him, and with Him, and in Him, is to You, God the Father Almighty,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and
glory, forever and ever.
EXPLANATION OF THE PRAYER WHICH ENDS THE CANON.
prayer by which the Canon concludes is divided into two parts, the first from by
whom, O Lord, to good things.
Let us explain the first part.
The words all these good things include the bread and wine existing on the altar before the Consecration. They are still through
the species, before the eyes of the priest, the veil, as it were, of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The elements of bread
and wine are created; on the altar from being merely natural gifts they are transformed into heavenly gifts, the Body and
Blood of Jesus Christ, and as such become our inheritance and food. The words praestas
nobis grant us refer to the consecrated elements, to the bread and wine after their conversion into the Body and Blood
of our Lord.
The words of the prayer then may
thus be explained by whom, that is, by Jesus Christ (Coloss. i. 16), Thou dost
always create. Create may refer to the bread and wine before Consecration, or it may refer to Transubstantiation. God who
once created the Body of His Son from a Virgin, daily from bread creates the Flesh of Christ and from wine the Blood of Christ.
God changes by the same Jesus
Christ the created gifts of bread and wine into, as we have seen, the Heavenly gift of the Eucharist. This essential transformation
is presented to us from three different points of view by whom, O Lord, Thou dost always sanctify; bread and wine reach the
highest degree of sanctification when converted into the Body and Blood of the all Holy God; vivify, by consecration they
become the living Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the foundation of all true life; lastly bless, the bread and wine are "blessed"
in the full force of the words when converted into the Body and Blood of Christ, in Itself infinitely blessed, and the fountain
whence flows every blessing to us. God grants us by Jesus Christ these gifts sanctified, vivified, and blessed as a Sacrifice
and a Sacrament, as the ransom and the nourishment of our souls.
A much more profound sense attaches
to these words if we consider the bread and wine as representative (by their outward appearance at least) of all natural productions.
In this way Jesus Christ in Holy Mass comes before us as the Author and Dispenser of the gifts of nature and of grace. In
early times, and on certain feasts, immediately before the prayer, by whom, O Lord, Thou dost always create, a blessing was
read by the priest over the fruits of the earth, which the faithful brought with them and laid within the sanctuary much in
the same way as we now place palms on Palm Sunday. These offerings included amongst other things, articles of food, water,
wine, milk, honey, oil, grapes, and fruit. These offerings, blessed and placed near the altar, could certainly in another
and wider sense be comprised amongst the good things created, sanctified, vivified, blessed and granted through Jesus Christ.
A vestige of the custom of earlier ages is seen in the blessing of the Holy Oil for the sick by the Bishop on Maundy Thursday.
Before saying at Mass the words by whom, O Lord, Thou dost always create, etc., the Bishop exorcises and then blesses in the
name of our Lord Jesus Christ the Oil used in Extreme Unction. The moment selected by the Church for blessing the Holy Oil
is the Canon of the Mass where the death of Jesus Christ is placed before our eyes
in the double consecration of bread and wine. The Oil is blessed after the Nobis quoque
peccatovibus, in which the Church prays that her children may have some share, in spite of their sins, with the saints
in glory. As if in keeping with her request, she commands her Bishop to bless then the Oil of Extreme Unction, which has as
its special sacramental grace, the power to wash away the remnants of sin, which hinder our entrance into Heaven. This close
union between these blessings and the Eucharistic Sacrifice is an eloquent testimony to the belief that the Mass is the centre
of all grace and benediction.
We now come to the second part
of the prayer, through Him, and with Him, and in Him, is to Thee, God the Father Almighty, in the unity of the Holy Ghost,
all honour and glory.
We must bear in mind the two natures,
Divine and Human, in Jesus Christ. Through Him, that is, through Jesus Christ, the Father and Holy Ghost are infinitely glorified,
first by the sacrifice of the Man-God, secondly, because the homage of creatures is only acceptable when presented through
Christ the one mediator. With Him. The Father and Holy Ghost receive all honour and glory with the Son, for Christ is true
God. In Him. The Father and Holy Ghost are glorified in Jesus Christ because the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, by
their one essence and nature, must necessarily receive the same honour and glory.
SIGNS OF THE CROSS MADE DURING THIS PRAYER.
The three signs of the Cross made
over the Chalice at the words sanctify, vivify, bless, signify the sanctification, quickening, and benediction caused in the
bread and wine by conversion into Christ’s Body and Blood at the Consecration; while they remind us of the fullness
of every grace which the Eucharist bestows upon the Church. After the prayer a sudden change is seen in the Rubric. For the
priest in saying the words through Him, with Him, in Him, makes the sign of the Cross three times over the Chalice not with
his hand but with the Host, and at the mention of the Father and Holy Ghost makes the sign of the Cross twice between the
Chalice and his breast. It is extremely difficult to give a satisfactory explanation of these signs of the Cross. Perhaps,
as Gihr suggests (vol. ii. p. 367, French translation), the reason is that as the Son is mentioned three times the Cross is
made thrice over the Chalice which contains His Body and Blood. The Cross and Crucifixion are distinctive of the Second Person
of the Blessed Trinity. The Crucifixion of Christ, whom we believe to be present in the Chalice, is represented to us in a
very marked way in the sign of the Cross made by His own Body. That Body lay extended on the tree in the form of a Cross.
"Who His ownself bore our sins in His Body on the tree" (i Peter ii. 24). But why at the mention of the Father and the Holy
Ghost is the sign of the Cross made outside the Chalice? Possibly to show (this is all we can say) that the greatest honour
rendered to the Father and the Holy Ghost, is through the Passion of Christ, which we commemorate in the Eucharist.
At the words omnis honor et gloria all honour and glory, the priest holds the Host and Chalice together and slightly raises
both. In this action we have the Little Elevation, which is much more ancient than the Elevation after the Consecration. In
some countries, e.g., Belgium, the bell
is here rung three times.
The Canon ends with the words per omnia saecula saeculorum for ever and
ever, to which the people answer Amen through the server or choir. The Canon ends in a burst of praise.