Society of Saint Pius X Africa

by Fr. Justin Swanton

(Part II)

This second part of the commentary on the Mass covers the Offertory and the Canon. There is a great deal more to the prayers and gestures of the priest than at first meets the eye.

D) The Canon (suite)

PER IPSUM. (Minor elevation) "Per ipsum, et cum ipso et in ipso, est tibi Deo Patri omnipotenti, in unitate Spiritus Sancti, omnis honor et Gloria. Per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen"—"Through him, and with him, and in him, is to thee. God the Father almighty, in the union of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory world without end. Amen."

Here, Our Lord's Sacrifice is offered for the glory of His Father - adoration - which is the first end of sacrifice. It is a climax and serves to close the Canon.

"Through him": Christ is our Mediator, and we give glory to His Father through Him. "None come to the Father except through me" Our Lord said to His Apostles.

"With him": Giving glory to the Father means giving glory to Christ since He shares the Divine Nature with the other two persons and is God with them.

"In him": this refers to circumcision, or the fact that the three divine Persons are "in" each other, thanks to the unity of the divine Nature.

Whilst saying this prayer, the priest makes five signs of the cross holding the Host: three over the chalice and two in front of it, over the corporal. The number five again recalls the Passion—Our Lord's five wounds. The first three are made over Our Lord's precious Blood during the words that refer to Him: "Through him, with him and in him". The last two are made away from the chalice when the Father and the Holy Ghost are mentioned. The implication is that the glory that comes to Christ and to his Father and the Holy Ghost is derived from His Passion, as Christ said on Maundy Thursday: "Father, the time has come: give glory now to thy Son, that thy Son may give. glory to thee." - Jn 17:1.

After the signs of the cross the Chalice and Host are elevated. This constitutes the offering of the Divine Victim to the Father (the raising of the Host and Chalice at the Consecration is for the adoration of the Real Presence by the priest and faithful.

E) Communion

PATER NOSTER. Placed here, this prayer is a transition between the Canon and Communion.

"Hallowed be Thy name" takes up the theme of adoration in the "Per ipsum".

"Give us this day our daily bread" is used here to refer to Communion, for which the faithful begin now to prepare.

LIBERA NOS. "Libera nos quaesumus, Domine, ab omnibus malis, praeteritis, praesenfbus et futuris: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genetrice Maria, cum beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque Andrea, et omnibus Sanctis, da propitious pacem in diebusnostris: ut ope misericordiae tuae adjuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab omni perturbatione securi. "- Deliver us, O Lord, we beseech Thee, from all evils, past, present, and to come; and through the intercession of the glorious and blessed Mary, ever virgin, mother of God, together with Thy blessed apostles, Peter and Paul and Andrew, and all the saints, grant of Thy goodness, peace in our days, that aided by the riches of Thy mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all disquiet. "

This is a prayer for perseverance, which is the effect of the grace of Communion.

PER EUNDEM. (Fraction of the Host) "Per eundem Dominum nostrum Jesus Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen. "-"Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the union of the Holy Ghost; God world without end. Amen."

During this prayer the Host is broken in half over the Chalice and then a small piece is detached from one half and used to make three signs of the Cross over the Chalice before being dropped into the precious Bood. The Host is broken over the Chalice because:

a) it is practical. No particles are lost,

b) it symbolizes how the redeeming Blood in the Chalice comes from the broken (i. e. wounded) body of Our Lord.

Breaking the Host symbolizes also the preparation of food: Our Lord's body is made our spiritual food in Communion.

Mingling the piece of the Host with the precious Blood

a) shows that the whole Christ is under each species, which we will receive;

b)symbolizes the Resurrection (the reuniting of the Body with the Blood)

PAX DOMINI. "Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum. Et cum spiritu tuo."-"May the peace of the Lord be always with you. And with thy spirit. " Whilst saying this prayer makes three signs of the Cross with the particle of the Host over the Chalice. This symbolizes how true peace comes from the Cross of Calvary.

HAEC COMMIXTIO. "Haec commixtio et consecratio Corporis et Sanguircis Domini nostri Jesu Christi, fiat accipientibus nobis in vitam aeternam. Amen."-"May this mingling and hallowing of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ help us who receive it unto life everlasting. Amen."

"Hallowing": the species of bread and wine, once united, become even more sanctified

"Unto life everlasting": this is the effect of Communion, namely admittance into Heaven.

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