1 December 2010

Epicleses and Elevations

Should the Body and Blood of the Lord still be shown for adoration in the traditional places, after the Words of Institution, when a Eucharistic Prayer is being used which defers the Epiclesis until later? For those determined to use such prayers and who would like an answer out of the older Western Catholic tradition: Yes! In 1912, Fortescue wrote:

"The whole consecration-prayer is one thing, of which the effect is the change of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. During this Prayer we ask continually for that grace; although the Prayer takes time to say and God grants what we ask at one instant, not necessarily the last instant of the Prayer. So in all rites constantly people still ask for what, presumably, they have already received. Our Baptism and Ordination services furnish obvious parallel examples [Hunwicke adds: compare here Catherine Pickstock's words about 'liturgical stammering' and repeated beginnings and their basis in pre-'Enlightenment' orality]. The Epiclesis is surely also to be to be explained in this way ... the Canon is one Prayer. Consecration is the answer to that one Prayer. It takes place no doubt at the Words of Institution, but it is the effect of the whole Prayer. There is no sequence of time with God. He changes the bread and wine intuitu totius orationis'.

And in Cardinal Ximenes' edition of the Mozarabic rite, in which some 20 or so of the 200 Eucharistic Prayers have an Epiclesis after the Institution Narrative, the elevations always happen in the 'Roman' place.

I wrote that in 2004; I haven't reverified the last paragraph.)


Joshua said...

From the Coptic Liturgy of St Basil:

"Master Lord Jesus Christ, the Co-eternal, the Word of the unblemished Father, Who is of one essence with Him and the Holy Spirit, for You are the Living Bread which came down form heaven, and did aforetime make Yourself a Lamb without spot, for the life of the world; we ask and entreat Your goodness, O Lover of mankind; show Your face upon this bread, and upon this cup, which we have set upon this Your Priestly table. Bless them, sanctify them, purify them and change them; in order that this Bread, on the one hand, may become indeed Your holy Body; and the mixture, on the other hand, which is in this cup, indeed Your precious Blood; and may they become for all of us a partaking, healing, and salvation of our souls, our bodies, and our spirits. For You are our God; and glory is due unto You with Your Good Father and the Holy Spirit, the Life-Giver; Who is of one essence with You; Now and at all times and unto the ages of all ages. Amen."

-This astoundingly direct logos epiclesis is the last prayer of the prothesis, occurring before all the readings, long before the Anaphora. Because of where it occurs, it would not be thought of as the moment of consecration; yet put in an Anaphora, after the Words of Institution?

Patrick Sheridan said...

Interesting, I addressed this issue on my blog a few days ago - I argued that the Elevation should come at the end of the Canon before the Pater Noster, the Canon being one uninterrupted Eucharistic Prayer, adding emphasis to the phrase ''panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie'' in the Lord's Prayer, and restoring the symbolism both of oblation and adoration in the act of elevating the Eucharistic species together, under both forms together.

Fr Anthony Howe said...

Thank you for this quotation. Could you please be kind enough to give a citation? I have argued much the same thing about elevation to a 'liturgically minded' prelate who, nevertheless, failed to understand. Mind you he did not have the benefit of an Oxford education....

Jonathan said...

This a helpful piece thank you Fr. I am in a part of the world in which the Anglican rites (there are several) all have an Epiclesis after the Institution Narrative. I have tried leaving elevation and genuflection until the doxology at the end and it just feels wrong. On the basis that manual actions serve to draw attention to, and punctuate, the words of the Eucharistic prayer, I have resorted to elevating in the traditional places but not genuflecting until after the great elevation at the conclusion. This seems to me to be a good balance and means that servers entrenched in English missal useage don't have to re learn when to ring the bells.

Doodler said...

Most Eucharistic Prayers (with the exception of the Roman Canon and Addai and Mari) contain a pre-consecratory epiclesis in which the Father is asked to send the Holy Spirit to change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Elevations in the traditional place would then seem correct. The anamnesis and post-consecratory epiclesis concentrate on our participation in the sacrifice which then naturally seems to lead to a great elevation at the end of the prayer as a climax to the whole offering. It works for me!

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Fortescue The Mass 1912 where he begins by discussing whether the signings of the Elements after the Consecrations are truly meant to bless.

Joshua said...

The biggest mistake is to think that an epiclesis must explicitly pray that the Holy Spirit effect the change in the elements. It amazes me that the counter-example of the Roman Canon, whose Quam oblationem, directly preceding the Words of Institution, is certainly epicletic, praying that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood, yet does not in so many words ask for the Holy Spirit to be the agent of transsubstantiation, is so easily laid aside.

As Dix, I think, noted, there is something confused in the idea that the Holy Spirit is the active agent in making Christ present, when Christ, our High Priest, is not passive but active in the Liturgy, He being the One and Invisible Priest acting through His visible, earthly priests.

Joshua said...

As was mentioned some time ago on this blog, the Sarum Secret for the 3rd Sunday after Trinity is quite epicletic:

Munera tibi quesumus domine oblata sanctificata: ut tui nobis unigeniti corpus et sanguis fiant ad medelam, qui tecum....

Again, used before the Words of Institution, it appears proleptic; yet if this appeared, say, as the Post Pridie of a Mozarabic Rite Mass - which in all but its brevity it closely resembles, it is startling how much some of them look like Secrets, and can even be quite short - all would leap to the conclusion that it was "the Epiclesis", and hence that the old Spanish rite, and all its doctors and saints, were hot for the Eastern theory of consecration...

As an example, here are some Mozarabic Orationes Post Pridie, which illustrate some of these ideas:

1. For the First Sunday of Advent (two Sundays ago of course - the Mozarabic, as the Ambrosian, has six weeks of Advent):

Dómine Iesu Christe, hanc hóstiam vivam illustratióne advéntus sanctífica, ut ex illa libántes mundémur a crímine et tuam grátiam mereámur percípere sine fine.
R/. Amen.
Præsta, Pater ingénite, per Unigénitum tuum, Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum, per quem tu hæc ómnia nobis indígnis servis tuis valde bona creas, sanctíficas, vivíficas ac præstas nobis, ut sint benedícta a te Deo nostro in sæcula sæculórum.
R/. Amen.

(This is the usual conclusion, evidently similar to the Roman Per quem hæc omnia.)
2. For the Second Sunday of Advent:

Deus, qui sic dilexísti mundum, ut Fílium tuum unigénitum dares pro mundo; tu hæc libámina tibi benedicénda assúme, et nobis tuæ benedictiónis dona largíre; ut qui, ob mystérium incarnatiónis suæ, hæc tibi sacrifícia veneránda litámus, horum sacrificiórum propitiatióne ómnibus criminíbus expiémur.

3. For the Third (just past):

Veni, Dómine, noli tardáre; reláxa facínora plebi tuæ, cónferens ómnibus vitæ præmium repromíssæ; ut sicut incarnatióne tua olim reparáti sumus, ita quoque te ad iudícium veniéntem placábilem sentiámus.
His quoque, te quæsumus, sacrifíciis nostris ita sanctificatiónem tuam infúnde, quo ex his sumptúri nullo decidámus in crímine, sed sanctificáti tuum, Dómine, mereámur advéntum impávidi sustinére.

(The first part is a curious riff on the Anamnesis, somewhat of a Syrian Jacobite flavour.)

4. For the Fourth (due this weekend):

Fácimus, Dómine, Fílii tui Dómini nostri Iesu Christi commemoratiónem, quod véniens ad hómines, humánam formam assúmpsit; quod pro homínibus quos creáverat rediméndis passiónem crucis est pro hóminum salúte perpéssus; quod superatúrus atque conculcatúrus débitam mortem nostram, mortem ultro suscépit pro nobis ipse indébitam; quod inférnum ex parte exspoliávit relinquéndo impíos, et sanctos qui ibídem tenebántur resúrgens secum in cæléstibus sublevándo; quod rédiens in cælum viam nobis patefécit, per quam conscendamus in cælum; quod ventúrus sit íterum ad iudícium vivórum et mortuórum scelerátos et peccatóres ætérno supplício damnatúrus, suísque fidélibus sua præcépta servántibus æternitátis suæ glóriam collatúrus.
Per ipsum te ergo, summe Pater, exspóscimus, ut hanc tuæ placatiónis hóstiam, quam tibi offérimus, e mánibus nostris placátus accípias, eámque de cælica a sede placátu vultu respíciens benedícas, ut quotquot ex eius sumptu libavérimus, salubritátem ac remédium ánimæ et córporis hauriámus.

(This last, lengthier prayer contains an anamnesis in its first paragraph, and its second a very compressed parallel to the thoughts in the Roman Unde et memores and Supplices te rogamus.)

Joshua said...

P.S. Here is the alternate form of the concluding formula above:

Te præstánte, sancte Dómine, quia tu hæc ómnia nobis indígnis servis tuis valde bona creas, sanctíficas, vivíficas ac præstas nobis, ut sint benedícta a te Deo nostro in sæcula sæculórum.
R/. Amen.

Sorry for the mix-up!

Anonymous said...

In the Byzantine Rites, there is a double adoration: 1) after each of the institution fomulae; 2) more profoundly after the words of the Epiclesis. As to when the consecration and transubstantiation takes place, there are 3 answers; the best, I believe, to be that the whole Anaphora (Canon) is what makes Christ present through the action of the Holy Spirit.

Joshua said...

One can never make too many genuflections (in the Western Rites) or metanias (in the Eastern Rites).