Sep 17, 2004

Offertory Prayers

In the Offertory of the 1962 Missal the priest offers the bread and wine to God referring to them already as the ‘immaculatam hostiam’ and ‘calicem salutaris’ before the consecration has taken place. In point of fact, they are as of yet only bread and wine, though many theologians have justified these terms as properly looking forward to the consecration. The Carthusian Ordo Missae is entirely missing any of the prayers of offering. It begins simply with the prayer of preparation of the Chalice (mixing of water and wine) and continues straight to the washing of the hands. The single prayer of offering seems to be composed of ‘In spiritu humilitatis, et in animo contrito suscipiamur a te Domine: et sic fiat sacrificium nostrum, in conspectu tup hodie, ut placeat tibi, Domine Deus.’ The Dominican Ordo Missae has the offertory in a shorter form than the 1962 Missal.1

“The priest stands at the altar as the representative and authorized agent of the Church, therefore he offers the Host, as well as the Chalice, in the name of all the faithful, and they, especially those who are present, offer in conjunction with the priest. St. Cyprian says, that the Christians assemble in common with the brethern and celebrate with the priest of God the Divine Sacrifice (in unum cum fratribus convenimus et sacrificia divina cum Dei sacredote celebramus. De Orat domin. C 4.) Already the Apostle (1 Cor 10:16) writes “The chalice of benediction which we bless,” that is, consecrate; in this the faithful are included, who assist at the Sacrifice, and, by the Amen they say, make the prayers of the priest, as it were, their own.”2

This theological point (which has always been believed) is made more prominent by the procession of the gifts to the altar that takes place at the hands of the faithful in the 1970 Missal. For “in ancient times the Church permitted the faithful in general to bring bread and wine to the house of God and to place them on the altar, and the priest accepted them as well for the Sacrifice as for his daily support.”3 This is made clear in the Offertory of the 1970 Missal by the term ‘offerimus’ used in the offerings of both the bread and the wine. Whereas in the 1962 Missal this point had to be explicated in catechesis, it is now made apparent in the text itself.4 In the 1970 Missal, the ancient tradition of the Church is without doubt restored to the Roman Rite.

“The preparation of the offering, that is, the pouring of the wine into the chalice and the mixing of the water in it, took place, in the Middle ages, usually before the prayers at the foot of the altar, that is, immediately after the priest had ascended the altar, and also the bread and the wine were then offered to God not one after the other, but both together by a single prayer. (Cf. Dominican Rite)”5

The prayers Orate, fratres and Suscipiat Dominus said by the priest and the faithful respectively are the same in the 1970 and 1962 Missals. The Dominican Rite includes the Oratre, fratres, but with no prescribed response from the faithful, and a different form.6 The Carthusian Rite, however, completely changes the intent of the prayer that asks not that the Lord accepts the Sacrifice from the hands of the priest, but rather that the faithful pray for the sins of the priest.7 The Carthusian Rite also omits any prescribed response from the faithful.

The prayer Veni Sanctificator is entirely missing in the 1970 Missal as also with the Carthusian and Dominican Rites. The prayers for the washing of the hands are different between all these mentioned Rites. In the final analysis, the forms of blessing before the actual Canon in the 1970 Missal bear striking resemblance to the Jewish Sabbath meal. The blessing of the bread was said in this manner: “Blessed be thou, Lord our God, who bringest forth the bread from the earth” and that of the wine: “Blessed be thou, Lord our God, who hast created the fruit of the vine.”8 The prayers of benediction in the 1970 Missal seem also to draw upon the Didache as a source document9, though because of a lack of resources I am not certain on either of these points, but merely offering similarities between the texts.

Either way, Rev. Dr. Gihr concludes that “this preliminary sanctification of the Eucharistic elements, if not essentially necessary, is yet in the highest degree just and proper.”10 For this position he quotes Dionysius Carthusianus from Expos. Missae Art 18, the text of which appears in a footnote in the original Latin therefore I have provided it in hopes that someone may be able to translate it accurately.11 I’m inclined to agree with the position here on the basis of the omission of certain texts in approved rites, that while ‘just and proper’ these prayers are not essential to the Sacrifice.

It is also my opinion that the 1970 Missal in all probability restores to the liturgy a closer resemblance to ancient Church tradition, if not several of the texts and ceremony of the Offertory itself, then at least a clearer manifestation of the significance of the teaching that the faithful assist at Mass. However, to be fair to the 1962 Missal, the clear statement of intention of offering sacrifice signified in the words ‘hostiam’, ‘calicem salutaris’, ‘oblationem’, and ‘sacrificium’ is not present with the same repetitiveness which leaves no doubt as to the intention of the offering. This belief can be shown in the 1970 Missal, for the ‘offerimus’ must refer to the ‘panis vitae’ and the ‘potus spiritalis’. In the latter case it is explicit that through ‘mystery of the water and wine’ we come to share in the divinity of Christ. Similarly both these gifts are truly ‘sacrificium nostrum’, ‘meum ac vestrum sacrificium’ and ‘sacrificium de manibus tuis’. So that it cannot be interpreted in any other manner that the gifts of the altar are a sacrifice offered by the faithful at the hands of the priest. In either Missal we are left with points that must be thoroughly explained by catechesis. Though in neither do we find either of these two beliefs of the Church absent.

1 P: Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus quae retribuit mihi? Taking up the chalice with the paten and host thereon, he says: Calicem salutaris accipiam et nomen Domini invocabo. And then: Susipe sancta Trinitas.... Dominican Ordo Missae, 1948.

2 The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Dogmatically, Litugically and Ascetically Explained, Rev. Dr. Nicholas Gihr, 1877 1st edition, 1897 6th edition, translated from German ©1902, printed 1924, page 525 and footnote 1.

3 Ibid., page 506.

4 The 1962 Missal has Offero – I offer- for the offering of the Host and Offerimus – We offer- for the offering of the Chalice.

5 The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Dogmatically, Litugically and Ascetically Explained, Rev. Dr. Nicholas Gihr, 1877 1st edition, 1897 6th edition, translated from German ©1902, printed 1924, page 514 footnote 1. The blessing follows a simple form. The server says Benedicte (Bless) and the priest responds “In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti” and the server responds, “Amen.”

6 Oratre fratres, ut meum ac vestrum pariter in conspectu Domini sit acceptum sacrificium.

7 Oratre fratres pro me peccatore ad Dominum Deum nostrum.

8 Gerhard Rauschen, Ph.D., S.T.D., Eucharist and Penance: In the First Six Centuries of the Church, 1st ed 1908, 2nd ed 1910, Translated from German 1913, page 107.

9 Didache, c. 10.; “...but us thou hast blessed with spiritual food and drink...” as found in Raschen, page 101.

10 The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Dogmatically, Litugically and Ascetically Explained, Rev. Dr. Nicholas Gihr, 1877 1st edition, 1897 6th edition, translated from German ©1902, printed 1924, page 514, in reference to the Missal of Pius V, though the same position would certainly hold true for the 1970 Missal as well.

11Per prolationem sacrorum verborum et sigua crucis panis et vinum aptantur et quasi meliorantur, ut sint condigna materia, quae in corpus et sanguinem Christi convertatur. Si enim vestes et templum ac vasa ecclesiae benedicuntur et sanctificatur, ut sint apta instrumenta divini obsequii, quanto rationabilius est, panem et vinum ante consecrationem benedici, ut sint apta materia transsubstantiationis supermirabilis atque diviniae. Nam et aliorum sacramentorum materiae propter reverentiam sacramenti ante usum suum sanctificatur, ut aqua baptismi vel chrisma seu oleum.” Ibid., page 514.

No comments: