Liturgy of the Eucharist – Part 6

May 14th, 2011  |  Published in New Roman Missal

Dear Friends,

As we continuing looking at the revisions to the Eucharistic Prayers in the third edition of the Roman Missal, I’d like to turn our attention to the Words of Consecration, also known as the Words of Institution. At every Mass the priest repeats the words by which Jesus instituted the Eucharist on the night before He died. These words are those by which the bread and wine truly become the Body and Blood of Christ, not a representation or symbol, but His Real Presence.

The words of consecration are as follows with the revisions in bold print:

Take this, all of you, and eat of it,
for this is my Body,
which will be given up for you.
Take this, all of you, and drink from it,
for this is the chalice of my Blood,
the Blood of the new and eternal covenant,
which will be poured out for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins
Do this in memory of me.

The revision at the consecration of the bread is minor, but there are a few changes for the consecration of the wine that are worth our discussion. The first change is the replacement of the word “cup” with “chalice.” Both refer to vessels from which a person drinks, and both words appear in the Scriptures. “Chalice,” however, implies a special kind of cup, one that is precious and set aside for a noble purpose. In this context that noble purpose is the “new and eternal covenant.” This revision is part of the dignified language brought out by the revised translation.

Another change is the revision of the phrase “shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven.” In the new translation the phrase is: “poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.” The imagery of Christ’s blood being “poured out” is a more vivid one than “shed.” It portrays Jesus’ blood as true drink, as we heard this past Friday at Mass: “my blood is true drink” (John 6:55), and it accentuates that Jesus emptied Himself entirely out of love for us as St. Paul describes in his letter to the Philippians: “Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness;” (2:5b-7).

Next week, we will look at the most noticeable in the words of consecration.

Fr. John