Domine, Non Sum Dignus

After dinner last night, my husband and I along with our 14 year old son were talking in the family room.

I was telling them about a Catholic friend, a convert, who told me that her RCIA hadn't led her to understand certain truths about the Eucharist and Precious Blood. She noted that another friend told her that in the Latin Mass the congregation does not drink the Precious Blood. Perhaps she thought they were only receiving the Body of Christ and not His Precious Blood...and she wondered why was it different in this form of the Mass?

(Baltimore Catechsim question 351. Is Jesus Christ whole and entire both under the appearances of bread and under the appearances of wine?
Jesus Christ is whole and entire both under the appearances of bread and under the appearances of wine.)

I shared my response to her and took a teaching moment with our son to affirm that Our Lord was present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the host AS WELL AS in the Precious Blood and that He could be received entirely in one or the other. It occured to my husband and I and also to my eldest that the Novus Ordo Mass, by offering both substances may have confused a generation.

While it is not "wrong" to receive both under both species, the "new" way might lead one to think that the Host is His Body and the Wine is His Blood...separately...

Which lead me to relate this story to our son....I wish every Christian would consider this...

Bishop Samonas of Gaza had come to Jerusalem with a group of pilgrims. A man of another faith asked him there, before a large crowd of people, to answer some questions regarding the Blessed Sacrament. When the bishop consented to his request, this man asked:

"How is it possible for bread and wine to become the Body and Blood of Christ?"

To this question the bishop replied, "You have not always been as tall as you are now. You have grown since childhood and today you have more flesh and blood than you had then." He continued: "What is the reason for this? Your body changed the food you ate into flesh and blood. Now if the human body changes food and drink into flesh and blood, then indeed, God can do it also."

Satisfied with this reply, the questioner continued: "But how is it possible for Christ to be present in His entirety in the little Host."

"The landscape that you see before you with the blue sky above it," responded the bishop, "is something immense while on the other hand your eye is very small. Yet your tiny eye contains in itself the whole gigantic picture of the landscape. When you consider this, it will not seem impossible for Christ to be present in His entirety in the little host."

The man put another question to the bishop: "How is it possible, then, for the same body to be simultaneously present in all your churches?"

"To God nothing is impossible," answered the bishop. "This answer alone should be sufficient. I will, however, show you something similar in everyday life. When I speak to a single individual, he hears me and takes to himself what I say. If I should address the same words to a thousand people, they would all hear the same thing. Or, look into a large mirror. You see your image reflected in it only once. Yet, when you break the mirror into a hundred pieces, you see the same image of yourself in each of the hundred fragments of glass. If such phenomena occur in everyday life, how should it be impossible for the Body of Our Lord to be present in many places at the same time?"

Astonished at this remarkable analogy, the man made no reply, but went on his way, deeply engaged in thought...

Christians, this God whom you believe created the universe and all things, the One you pray to for miracles because of this power, can you not see that He too can even more easily BE THE EUCHARIST? Scripture supports it.

In the Extraordinary Form, the Traditional Latin Mass, Like the Apostles, who Christ ordained into priesthood at the Last Super, only the Priest consumes the Precious Blood. Those assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass receive Our Lord, in His entirety, at the communion rail, on our knees. The Blessed Sacrament is placed on our tongues, which is the only way the Pope will administer communion.

As soon as the words of consecration have been said, he (the Priest) kneels and adores the consecrated host. He rises, shows it to the people, puts it on the corporal, and again adores. Then, uncovering the chalice, he says:
"In like manner, after he had supped,"
He takes the chalice with both hands.
"taking also this excellent chalice into his holy and adorable hands; also giving thanks to thee,"
Holding the chalice with his left hand, he makes the sign of the cross over it with his right.
"he blessed , and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, and drink ye all of this;"
He utters the words of consecration over the chalice silently, attentively, carefully, and without pausing, holding it slightly raised.
"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 unto the remission of sins."
As soon as the words of consecration have been said, he puts the chalice on the corporal, and says silently:
"As often as ye shall do these things, ye shall do them in memory of me."
He kneels and adores; then rises, shows it to the people, puts it down, covers it, and again adores. Then holding his hands apart, he says:
"Wherefore, O Lord, we thy servants, as also thy holy people, calling to mind the blessed passion of the same Christ thy Son our Lord, and also his rising up from hell, and his glorious ascension into heaven, do offer unto thy most excellent majesty, of thine own gifts bestowed upon us,"
He joins his hands and makes the sign of the cross three times over the host and chalice together.
"a pure victim, a holy victim, a spotless victim,"
He makes the sign of the cross once over the host and once over the chalice.
"the holy Bread of eternal life, and the Chalice of everlasting salvation."
He continues with his hands stretched out:
"Upon which do thou vouchsafe to look with a propitious and serene countenance, and to accept them, as thou wert graciously pleased to accept the gifts of thy just servant Abel, and the sacrifice of our patriarch Abraham, and that which thy high priest Melchisedech offered to thee, a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim."
Bowing low with his hands joined together and then laid on the altar, he says:
"We most humbly beseech thee, almighty God, to command that these things be borne by the hands of thy holy angel to thine altar On high, in the sight of thy divine majesty, that as many of us (he kisses the altar) as, at this altar, shall partake of and receive the"
He joins his hands together and makes the sign of the cross over the host and once over the chalice.
"most holy Body and Blood of thy Son (he makes the sign of the cross on himself), may be filled with every heavenly blessing and grace (he joins his hands together). Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen."


Lindsay said...

What great analogies! Even when one isn't doubting, it is so good sometimes to hear articulated why you can believe as you do.

Suzie said...

Interesting, I hadn't thought of it that way. I believe all the kids at our parish are well educated on Christ's full presence in both the body and the blood. Due in part to a very good religious ed teacher and the fact that many are home-schooled. Of course, the kids might not remember a couple years down the road if they are not reminded.

Sarah - Kala said...

Thank you for sharing this. Wonderful!! I have stopped receiving the Precious Blood a few months ago . . . with the flu warnings etc., and then I decided that I did not have to since He is whole in the Host anyway - I'm getting All of Him in the One Bread. I'm glad I home schooled and read the Balt. Cat. a few times.

Jenny said...

your words about a confused generation made me think of the scripture, I don't know where it is...
"...for lack of knowledge the people perish..."
I am so thankful we have the TLM here and this is the Mass my children are being raised in.

Christine said...

Thanks for sharing this. I love learning more about the faith when I come to visit here.

Love the pics of the kiddos also. Very handsome and pretty!

Melissa said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. I assumed we had to take both and was never taught otherwise as a new Catholic.
Like Sarah I stopped receiving from the cup months ago and even before that wouldn't always drink from it.
I always learn something new visiting your blog. Thank you!!

TuckerMomof3 said...

I wouldn't say RCIA prepared me to know everything I needed to know either. It was only through a lot of reading did I have a greater understanding. There is still a lot I don't know, but I have many years try to figure it out...or at least I hope.

Anonymous said...

Okay, now I'm truly confused, and maybe one of you can help me.

I thought that the body was the body (Christ said, "Take and eat, this is my body...") and that the blood was the blood (Christ said, "Take this and drink it, this is the blood of the new covenant...")

So why can't we eat and drink, as he commanded us?

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