Thursday, May 15, 2014
SACRIFICE AND MEAL, NOT EITHER/OR BUT BOTH/AND
For them the altar should look like a table, be simple and the bread and wine should dominate it with nothing superfluous on it like a crucifix that would detract from the bread and wine.
For them, it is absolutely necessary that the bread and wine even prior to the consecration and offering of the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ to the Father, be seen by the congregation and be as close to them as possible. Food and Drink as well as food and drink are what is emphasized.
I happen to disagree with this theology, although it isn't a wrong theology just wrong headed.
In the ad orientem style of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the bread and wine is not emphasized as much as the Bread and Wine. The elements placed on the altar are normally hidden by the priest who stands in the same direction as most of the congregation.
During the lead-up to the sacrificial offering, the priest only shows the consecrated Bread and Wine at the elevations immediately following the consecrations. Then the Eucharist Prayer formally offers our Lord and His sacrifice to the Father--in an "unbloodly" way.
Following the Great Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer is when the preparation begins for the Sacred Banquet, the meal aspect of the Holy Sacrifice. This is the Rite of Holy Communion. At the precise moment following the Agnus Dei, the priest turns with Chalice and Host towards the congregation and exclaims, "Behold the Lamb of God...Ecce Agnus Dei..." which initiates the meal aspect of the Holy Sacrifice. Then the priest completes the Sacrifice by consuming the Body and Blood of our Lord and He must consume the Host and drink the Precious Blood. He must do both; it is not an option based upon either being completely Christ, both must be received.
The laity then who are in a state of grace are invited to the Banquet properly dressed in the sanctifying grace of forgiveness of sins. Today and under expanded norms allowing the laity to receive both elements and approved by the Holy See, they are able to eat and drink as the Scriptures make explicit during the institution of the Mass on Holy Thursday and in what Jesus says to all in the Gospel of John's "Bread of Life" discourse.
The ad orientem position of the priest makes clearer the two aspect of the Holy Sacrifice that are intimately bound together in a unity.