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violence, or crime, of a handful of men, could be the origin and cause of the whole world's salvation.'
It is on this account, that, lifting up his eyes to his Father,2 and giving thanks, he says, and in the present, (as the Greek text gives the words): This is my Body, which is given for you; this is my Blood, which is shed for you.' These words,—which he bequeaths, and with all their efficacy of power, to the representatives of his Priesthood,—really produce what they express. They not only change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ; but, as a mystical sword, they truly separate under the twofold species, and, as far as their own power is concerned, they offer separately to the Father, the Body and Blood of our Lord, which are, indeed, united, but they are so by the omnipotent will of the infinite Majesty of God, who was abundantly and eternally satisfied by the offering made on Calvary. As often, then, as the words of Consecration, which may be likened to those which drew the world out of nothing, are pronounced over wheaten bread and wine of the grape, by the mouth of a Priest,—no matter how long may be the time, or how distant the place, from the Sacrifice offered on Calvary,—that same moment, the august Victim, our Jesus, is then and there really present.' It was one and the same Victim both at the Last Supper, and on the Cross, and It continues the same in the oblation made to the Father, now, and to the end of time, and in all places, by the One High Priest, Christ our Lord, who borrows, and makes them his own, the hands and voice of the Priests of his Church, who have been chosen and consecrated, in the Holy Ghost, for this dread Ministry. Oh! how great will not these men be, who have been taken from among the rest of men, by the imposition of hands! New Christs, that is, new anointed Priests, identified, by their ministry, with the Son of Mary, they are the privileged members of divine Wisdom ; they are closely united, by love, with the power which he himself has; they are the companions of this* Jesus in the doing that grand work which he, Wisdom, is ever doing throughout all ages: that is, the immolation of the great Victim, and the mingling of the Chalice,1 wherein our humanity, blended with its Head in the unity of the one same Sacrifice, derives also love for both its God and its fellow-members, and is made to be partaker of the divine nature, as St. Peter words the mystery of union.2
1 St. Greg. Nyss. Oral I. in Chr. resurr. 2 Canon Miss. s St. Luke, xxii. 19, 20.
Praise, then, and glory be to our Jesus, the sovereign High Priest, for these noble sons of the human race! they are a marvel to heaven, and the pride of our earth! Surrounded by them, as is the palm-tree with its victory-speaking palms, or the cedar with its incorruptible branches,3 this divine Pontiff of ours comes forward, like the olive-tree budding forth its young plants, in which he puts, and with such an overflowingness, dignity, power, and holiness.4 And as the Cyprus-tree, that rears itself on high,5 hides its vigorous trunk beneath the forest of its ever-green branches,—so, hiding his own direct action, and, as it were, retreating behind the countless Priests on earth, who derive all their power and unction from Him, our true High Priest draws them all to unity with his own adorable Self.
On that night ever-blessed, that night of the divine Supper, when, as he said, the hour had come for the Father and Son to glorify one the other;' it was just as he was on the point of ascending the blood-stained steps of the altar of the Cross, where was to be consummated the perfection of glory ;' yes, it was then, and thus early, that he manifested the power of his own divine Priesthood. Under the likeness and name of Simon, Son of Onias, who did such great things for the Temple, and saved his people from destruction ;a we have our Jesus, whose praises are inspired and celebrated by the Holy Spirit, in that last of the Books descriptive of eternal Wisdom,—Ecclesiasticus. It is into the, as yet, feeble hands of his Apostles, whom he vouchsafes to call his friends,3 and his Brethren,1 that our Lord intrusts the oblation, which was to immortalise, and so, in a manner, extend his Sacrifice to the King of Ages. His divine hands are stretched out, offering, as a libation, the blood of the grape : he pours it forth at the very foot of the altar, which is already being put up; and the fragrance of that offering makes its way to the Most High Prince. Our High Priest saw into the future; he heard the songs of triumph which would hymn the praises of the divine Memorial; he heard the sacred Psalmody, which would fill the great House, the Church, with ceaseless and sweet harmony, around the Tabernacle of his Presence; he saw millions prostrate in the adoration of Him, the Lord their God, and paying to the Almighty their now perfect homage. Then did he rise from the table of the Supper; he went out in his strength and his love,6 that he might, for a whole long day, stretch forth his hands in presence of the crowd of unbelieving and hostile children of Israel;6 he renewed his oblation, consummated his Sacrifice by his Blood, for, by the Cross, he wished to show the power of God.'
1 Prov. ix. 2. 1 Ecolus. L 11.
* 2 St. Pet. i. 4. 'Ibid.
• 'Ecclus. L 13, 14. • St. John, xvii. 1.
1 Ecclus. L 11, 12. » St. John, xiv. 81.
2 Ibid. 1. 1-5. 'Is. lxv. 2.
3 St. John, xv. 15. 7 Ecclus. 1. 16-23. * Ibid. xx. 17.
"The evening Sacrifice, which was the Passion of "Christ," says St. Augustine, "became, in his Resur"rection, the oblation of the morning."1 It was a Sacrifice, whose mysterious transformation was signified, under the Law, by the solemnly presenting to the Lord of a sheaf of the first-fruits of the wheat-harvest; the presentation was to be made on the third day following the slaying of the Paschal Lamb.2 But the time for offering the very bread itself, the true wheat and food of souls, was not as yet come; and the law subjoined as follows: Ye shall count, therefore, from the morrow after the Sabbath, wherein ye offered thesheaf of the firstfruits, seven full weeks, even unto the morrow after the seventh week be expired, thai is to say, fifty days: and then ye shall offer a new Sacrifice unto the Lord:—two loaves of flour,—the first-fruits of the Lord.3
Fifty days were to transpire, in the New Covenant, before the divine agent came, who alone could transform these gifts, this Bread and Wine. Pentecost, the glorious Pentecost, arose at last; and the creating Spirit came with a mighty wind. The flesh of the Word, and the divine Blood, which he formed at the very onset, and are still in his keeping, awaited, for their being re-produced in the sacred Mysteries, the incommunicable operation of Him whose glorious master-piece they are. "It was by Him who is eternal "Fire, that is, by the Spirit," says the Abbot Rupert, "that Mary conceived; it was by him that Jesus "offered himself, a living Victim, to the living God; "and it is by the same Fire that he now burns on our "altars, for it is by the operation of the Holy Ghost "that the Bread is changed into his Body."4 So, too, St. Denis the Areopagite, the great disciple of the Apostle St. Paul, teaches us,6 that our Jesus, the supreme Hierarch, when he called his disciples to share in his sovereign priesthood,—although, as God, he was the author of all consecration, yet did he leave the consummation of their priesthood to the Holy Ghost; and he bade his Apostles not to depart from Jerusalem, but there wait for the promise of the Father, that is, for their being baptised with the Holy Ghost a few days later on.1
1 In Psalm. cxl. 'Rupert in Exod. lib. ii. c. 10.
* Lev. xxiii. 10, 11. 6 De Eccl. Hier. cap. v. 3. sec. v. »Ibid. 15-17.
"The Priest," says St. John Chrysostom, "comes "forth, carrying, not fire, as under the Law, but the "Holy Ghost."* "It is a man who appears before "us, but it is God who works."3 How shall this be done, said Mary to the Angel, for I know not man. Gabriel answers her.: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee.* "And thou now askest me," says St. John Damascene to an inquirer, "'How do the bread and "' wine and water become the Body and Blood of "' Christ?' I answer thee: The Holy Ghost over"shadows the Church, and achieves this Mystery, "which is beyond all word and all imagination."5
Therefore it is, that, as St. Fulgentius observes, "the "Church cannot have any better reason for praying "the coming of the Holy Ghost, than for the conse"cration of the Sacrifice, wherein, as under the "shadow of the Spirit in the Virgin's womb, the "Wisdom of the Father united himself with the Man "chosen by him for the divine espousal, so the Church "herself is united, by the Holy Ghost, to Christ, as a "bride is to her spouse, or the body to its head."" It is on account of all this, that the hour of Tierce, (our hour of nine o'clock,) the hour wherein the divine Paraclete came into this world, is the one set apart, by the Church, on each of her Festivals, for the
1 Acts, i. 4, 5. 4 St. Luke, i. 34, 35.
J De Sacred, lib. Hi. o. 4. s De fid. orthod. lib. iv. o. 13.
• Tom. v. serm. 38. * Ad Monim. lib. ii. o. 10.