25 November 2010

Sanctus angelus tuus

A very interesting piece on Fr Ray Blake's blog about Christ described as the Angel in the Supplices te rogamus.

I share the view of many that the archaic Christology of that phrase in the Canon is one indication of its extreme antiquity. It is interesting that the version in the de Sacramentis indicates that, even by S Ambrose's time, it was already misunderstood. And that some clever-clogs at Milan had 'corrected' it.

People shouldn't 'correct' the Canon Romanus. Not even if they are Doctors of the Church.


Anonymous said...

I have always imagined the holy angel in that prayer to be the Holy Ghost. I think it may even have been the shade of Fr Fortescue that put that thought into my head - by means of his book on the Roman Rite, that is.

Anonymous said...

It would be most unusual to refer to the third person of the Trinity as an "angel", although there is that business, esp. in the OT, of the angels of the presence, that is angels who convey God's presence to man. But in this case the angel is acting the other way around.
As far as not changing the canon, I would agree with Fr. Hunwicke. But what about adding the name of St. Joseph, as was done by Bl. John XXIII? I tend to think that all right (as well as adding other saints in the appropriate place), although I should think that our Patron, St. John the Baptist, who ranks above the aforementioned Saint in the economy of salvation, would be deserving of mention :-)

Anonymous said...

It would be no odder than referring to the second Person as an angel, though.

Anonymous said...

St Gregory says that "angel" is the name of an office rather than a nature. Perhaps it is in this sense that Christ can be regarded as an "angel" i.e. messenger of God, as well as being the Word or message.

Joshua said...

In mediæval times, several other saints made their way into the Canon at the Communicantes, as Jungmann avers, such as SS Hilary, Martin, Augustine, Gregory, Jerome and Benedict. The Milanese retained twenty-two more saints in their Communicantes, plus seven more at the Nobis quoque.

Since French and other devotees of St Joseph had been petitioning the Holy See from the nineteenth century onwards to include his name, not only in the Canon, but in the Confiteor, Suscipe Sancta Trinitas, and Libera nos, it seems a reasonable thing for John XXIII, following mediæval precedents, and that of his remote predecessor Gregory III, in adding a name to the Canon.

(Gregory III prescribed a whole phrase to be added to the Communicantes for an oratory richly endowed with relics.)

Joshua said...

But really, Fr H!

Don't you recall what was said by one learned mediæval commentator - that the mysteries of the Supplices ought rather be feared than understood?

Sir Watkin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sir Watkin said...

To repeat the substance of my comment on Fr Blake's blog ....

Perhaps rendering angelos/angelus as "angel" in this context is unhelpful.

Just as not all apostoloi are "apostles" (pace those enthusiasts for the "Apostle Junia"), so not all angeloi are "angels".

It is in the normal, general sense of the word that Christ is an angelos, not the technical sense of a spiritual being. He is a messenger, not an angel. (cf. S. Gregory as cited by an earlier commenter.)

Gallery said...

Haec perferri - the haec being the Body and Blood of Christ, would it not be strange for Him to carry the sacrament of Himself? I am for an angel in the strict sense of the term, one of those who links heaven to earth along Jacob's ladder.

Joshua said...

Durandus commented as follows on the Supplices te rogamus, first quoting St Gregory the Great's well-known words, then giving various interpretations of the prayer in question, such as that what is borne up to God are merely prayers, or again, that the angel spoken of is the priest effecting the transubstantiation, or again, that Christ, the Angel of Great Counsel, unites His mystical Body on earth, the Church militant, with the same His Body in heaven, the Chuch triumphant:

Sequitur, Jube hæc perferri &c. tantæ sunt profunditatis hæc verba, ut intellectus humanus vix ea sufficiat penetrare. Unde beatus Gregor. de consecr. distinct.2 quid sit sanguis, et in fine dialogi, tanti sacramenti dignus interpres de illis tanquam de re ineffabili pene ineffabiliter loquens, quis inquit, fidelium habere dubium possit in ipsa immolationis hora ad sacerdotis vocem cœlos aperiri? in illo Jesu Christi mysterio Angelorum choros adesse, summis ima sociari, terrena cœlestibus jungi, unumque ex invisibilibus atque visibilibus fieri? Idem etiam alibi dicit. Uno eodemque tempore ac momento in cœlum, id est, cœlestem naturam rapitur, ministerio Angelorum, consociandum corporis Christi, scilicet mysterio, et ante oculus sacerdotis in altari videtur.

Salvo tamen occulto cœlestis oraculi sacramento, possent hæc verba licet simplicius, tamen securius sic exponi. Jube, id est fac, hæc, s[c]. vota fidelium, id est supplicationes et preces, perferri, id est præsentari, per manus sancti Angeli tui, i[d est] per ministerium Angelorum, qui sunt administratorii spiritus [Heb. 1], et vota nostra coram Deo offerunt. Juxta illud, quod sit Raphael Angelus ad Thobiam. Thobiæ duodecimo. Quando orabas cum lachrymis, obtuli orationem tuam Domino.

Ex hoc ergo evidenter apparet, quod Angelus sacris mysteriis adesse credendus est, non ut consecret, quia hoc non potest, sed ut orationes sacerdotis et populi Deo representet, secundum illud Apoc. [8] Ascendit fumus aromatum in conspectu Domini de manu Angeli, quæ sunt orationes sanctorum.

In sublime altare tuum, supple, hoc est in conspectu divinæ majestatis tuæ, id est in contemplatione majestatis, et curiæ tuæ cœlestis; nam ipse Deus dicitur altare sublime. Exod. vigesimo. Non ascendas ad altare meum per gradus, id est, in Trinitate non facies gradus.

Porro si, ut beatus Augustinus determinat, non dicitur Angelus offerre orationes Deo, quasi tunc primo Deus noverit, quid velimus, quia Deus omnia novit ante, quam fiant, sed quia necesse habet rationalis creatura temporales causas ad æternitatem referre, sive petendo, quid erga se fiat, sive consulendo quid facit, aut quid Deo jubent implendum esse cognoverit, hoc nobis, vel evidenter, vel latenter, reportet.

[to be continued]

Joshua said...


Possunt etiam secundo modo præmissa verba sic exponi: Omnipotens Deus jube hæc, scilicit panem et vinum, perferri, id est, transmutari, in sublime altare tuum, id est, in corpus et sanguinem Filii tui, super choros angelorum exaltari, quia corpus Domini dictum est altare juxta illud (Exo. 12) Altare de terra facietis mihi, per manus Angelus tui, id est, per ministerium sacerdotis. Non enim secundum Augustinum deposcit ob illud illic deferenda, nisi ut intelligatur, quod illa fiant, id est transubstantietur in eo sacerdotis, id est in ejus mysterio, virtute Spiritus sancti.

Sed cum jam transubstantiatæ sint, exponi possent tertio modo sic. Jube hæc, id est, corpus Christi mysticum, sc. ecclesiam Christi militantem perferri, id est, associati, in sublime altare tuum, id est, in ecclesia triumphantem, quæ dicitur altare secundum illud Leviticum (6). Ignis in altare meo semper ardebit, id est, fervor charitatis in ecclesia triumphabit, et hoc per manus Angeli tui id est per operationem et virtutem Christi Filii tui, qui est magni consilii Angelus. Esaiæ nono. Ipse enim corpus suum mystico Deo Patri conjungit, et ecclesiæ triumphanti.

Quarto modo hic Angelus magni consilii. Consiliarius ille, cujus consilio Pater mundum creavit et recreavit sublime altare, in conspectu Dei est Christus crucifixus, sedens in dextera Patris. Igitur Angelus fert hæc sacramenta in sublime altare in conspectu Dei dum cicatrices ostendens interpellat apud Patrem pro nobis, hæc sacramenta conscientibus. Quæ vero sint illa, quæ petit in sublime altare perferri, determinat Dominus dicens: ut quotquot &c. per hoc enim demonstratur corpus Christi mysticum, quod Christus quotidie ad se trahit per membra, unde Jeremias [3], Patrem vocabis me, et post me ingredi non cessabis.

(Rationale divinorum officiorum, Lib. IV., Cap. 44, De Nona parte Canone, nn. 6-9)

Joshua said...

And I have now recalled that 'twas Florus the Deacon who wrote that "These words of mystery, so profound, so wonderful and inconceivable - who would suffice to comprehend them? They are more to be revered and feared than to be discussed..."

Hæc verba mysterii tam profunda, tam mira et stupenda quis comprehendere sufficiat? Magis veneranda sunt et pavenda quam discutienda... Sic cogitanda sunt, ut aliquid quo nihil sit melius atque sublimius illa cogitatione conemur attingere.

(De actione Missæ, n. 66)

Anonymous said...

I am convinced, that the angel in the canon is a real angel. All other explanations seem fanciful. It behooves the Angels to bring thet sacrifice to God's Altar in Heaven, and back to our earthly Altar to partake of. compare the Liturgy as described in the Apocalypse.