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النشر الإلكتروني

TUESDAY

WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF CORPUS CHRISTT.

Christum regem adoremus Let us adore Christ, the

dominantem gentibus, qui King, who ruleth the nations:

se manducantibus dat spin- who giveth fatness of spirit to

tus pinguedinem. them that eat him.

Wisdom prosecutes the fulfilment of the divine plan framed before all ages. His union, or, to use the scriptural expression, his marriage, with human nature, in the womb of his Virgin-Mother, has shown his love; and Jesus, that Son of Man, who never had any personality but the Word Himself, immolated on the Cross, in a daily renewed Sacrifice, offers an infinite glory to the Eternal Father. But the august Victim, who comes down upon earth at the word of the Priest, does not return to heaven amidst some sacred flame, like that which used to consume the ancient holocausts. Immoveable and passive as are the elements, whose substance has been changed into His, by the marvellous power of the sacrifice,—He, Jesus, remains at the Altar under the appearance of Bread and Wine, for such they seem to be to the eyes and the other senses:— this is the Blessed Sacrament, the outward sensible sign of a mysterious banquet.

"O Sacrament of Sacraments!' O most divine and "holy Sacrament! lifting up the veil of the symbolic "mysteries which surround thee, show thyself tons "in thy perfection, and fill our mental vision with "thine incomparable and pure light!" * Thus, in his inimitable style, speaks the interpreter of the divine hierarchies, the Eagle of Athens, when, having explained the holy ceremonies of the Sacrifice, he soars aloft in the consecration of the architypes, or principles, of the sacred rites, which he has just been describing. Let us follow, as far as may be, the sublime philosophy of our Christian Plato, who has given a sort of consecration to the language and formulas of pagan wisdom, by making them the receptacles and teachers of Christian dogma; and, like St. Paul, has made every height of science obey and subserve the mysteries of Christ.l

1 S. Dion. De Heel. hier. c. iii. 1. 2 S. Dion. I.e. 3, { 2.

The Priest, then, has just pronounced the words of Consecration, and the tremendous Mysteries are there on the altar: he shows them, veiled under the sacramental species. The host, after being concealed for a few moments, is held up before the adoring multitude; it was one, and, now, he divides it into several portions: he presents to all the faithful the one same Chalice; he mystically multiplies and distributes Unity; and thus completes the Sacrifice. For the simple and hidden Unity of the Word, by uniting, by espousing, to himself the whole nature of man, came forth from the bosom of his Father into this visible, this many-creatured world of the senses; and, conforming himself to this multiplicity, without, in any way, changing his own oneness, uniting our lowliness with his own dignity, uniting our life with his own, uniting us as his members to himself as our Head, he would have us all be one with himself:2 so, the divine Sacrament, which in its own essence, is one, and simple, and indivisible, lovingly multiplies itself, under the exterior symbol of the species; in order that, returning from the multiplicity of the receivers into the unity which is its own principle, it will bring into Unity them that received it in holy dispositions.3

1 2 Cor. x. 5. 2 S. Dion, I.e. § xii. xiii.

3 S. Dion. l.c. } 3.

The name of Eucharist is the most suitable; for, Eucharist signifies thanksgiving; and this Sacrament holds within it, Him who is the object of all praise, and all the heavenly gifts he has bestowed upon us. It is the admirable summary of all the divine operations which God has achieved for man: it is the stay of our life; it gives back to our souls the divine image, and that upon the model of an architype, which is eternal beauty; it leads us, by admirable ascensions, into a path which, naturally, we could never have entered; by it, are repaired the ruins of the original fall; by it, we cease to be poor; it takes our whole being, gives its whole self to us, and, thereby, makes us partakers of God himself and all his gifts.1

"It is on this account," continues St. Denis, " that "what is common to all the Sacraments, is attributed, "by excellence, to this one; and hence it is, by a "special name, called Communion and Synaxis. For "albeit every Sacrament be such as gathereth our "lives, divided asunder as they are many ways, into "that one state whereby we are joined to God, and "by a godlike bringing together of things which stand "apart, brings these our lives into communion and "union with Him who is One; yet, to the reception "of those sacred symbols, there is given consum"mation, by the divine and perfective gifts of this "one Sacrament. For there is no function performed "by the sacred minister, to which the most divine "Eucharist does not succeed, bringing with it the "completion of conjunction with the One God, and "conferring on the receiver (of that previous Sacra"ment) the communion with God by the gift of the "consummating Mysteries (of the Eucharist). So, "then, if the other Sacraments, not giving what they "do not possess, remain, so to say, incomplete, not "able to achieve perfect union between us and the "One God; if their aim is to prepare the receiver to

1 S. Dion. l.c. §. 7.

"become partaker of the more excellent Mysteries of "God; it was with all reason and justice that the "wisdom of the hierarchs gave it this name of Com"munion or Synaxis, which is grounded on the truth . "of what it contains." 1

"O Sacrament of love !" cries out St. Augustine: "0 sign of Unity! 0 bond of charity!"2 The unitive power of the Eucharist produces, as St. Denis so sublimely teaches, the union between God and his creature; but St. Augustine dwells on it as peacefully forming Christ's mystical body; and so preparing it for the eternal sacrifice, and for the universal and perfect communion in heaven. This is the leading idea, which inspires the holy Bishop of Hippo with those magnificent passages, which we have already put, at least in part, before our readers. Though others of the Holy Fathers and Doctors are very fine when treating upon the Eucharist, yet we have kept to St. Augustine more closely than to the rest; and in so doing, we were but following the example set us by the Church herself, who finds her own teachings, regarding the Blessed Eucharist, so faithfully expressed by his words, that, up to this Tuesday, she has taken him, in the beautiful Homilies of her Matins during the Octave, as her exclusive preacher.

He was telling us, eight days back, and he was but giving us the echo of all tradition, that the Holy Eucharist is the centre and bond of the great Catholic communion, in this land of exile. On the very Feast itself of Corpus Christi, he completes his teaching, when commenting the passage for the day's Gospel; the Church took his commentary, making it the official explanation of her Gospel. The holy Doctor then told us, that the words of our Saviour, when announcing his intention to institute the Mystery of love, included not only the earth, but heaven itself; they signified the whole body of Christ's Church. I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh for the life of the world; for my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.1 This meat, this drink, which he promises to give us, is, truly and primarily, his own veritable Flesh, and the very Blood which flows in his veins; it is the very Victim slain on the Cross: but, as a consequence of this, it is also the Church, which is established upon his own, his own real substance, and is immolated with him, as one same victim with himself, in one and the same Sacrifice: "It is the holy Church," says St. Augustine, " the "Church of all Christ's members, the predestined and "the called, and the justified, and the glorified . . . "Seeing that men desire this, by the food and drink "they take, that they may suffer neither hunger nor "thirst,—this result is not gained by any other than "this food and drink, which makes them immortal "and incorruptible who take it,—that is, the very '• fellowship of the Saints, where there is peace, and "full and perfect unity." 2 It is a banquet of ineffable sweetness and plenty, wherein each of the elect is a partaker of the whole body, and gives it, by the very fact of his own participation, increase and completeness.

1 S. Dion. l.o. §. 1. 8 In Johan. Tract, xxvi. 13.

This was the eternal Passover spoken of by our Redeemer, when he put an end to the figurative one by the reality, veiled though it was, of the Sacrament. / say unto you, that, from this time forward, I will not eat it again, till it be fulfilled, (that is, till it be completed,) in the kingdom of God;3 I will not drink from henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day iclien

1 St. John, vi. 61,52, 56.

2 In Johan. Tract, xxvi. 15, 17. sSt. Luke.xxii. 16.

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