Monday, January 21, 2013

Fr. Maurice De La Taille, S. J. Victory Over Death In The Supper

David built the altar small, it was enlarged later by Solomon (II Kings, XXIV, II foll.). Cyril develops the allegory, showing that not only was death destroyed at the moment when our Lord partook of the Supper, but, also, that on the very Eucharistic altar a sacrifice was offered by our Lord whereby death was overcome: for, He says, it was offered on an altar, which later as it were grew, until gradually the Eucharistic celebration was spread throughout the nations. The victory over death in the Supper is found in writers of the Middle Ages. The following is a chant in a prayer Oratio ad communionem (A. H. 51, 297), in an English manuscript prayer book of the eighth or ninth century:
"For thy all-powerful Flesh is food indeed;
And thy Blood, O Jesus, the true drink of the faithful
By this sacred mystery thou didst redeem us from death
That we may live in thee, O Lord, in faith and sobriety.
Deign therefore we beg of thee, that we may be
Partakers of this holy mystery, to the glory of thy name."
But at a much earlier date, we find in the most ancient of our anaphorae, what I believe to be the expression of the same idea; I refer to the passage which introduces the Supper narrative:

"And who when He was given over to His voluntary Passion, in order to overcome death, to break the ties of the devil, to trample hell underfoot, to illuminate the just, to come to the end, and to manifest His Resurrection, taking bread and giving thanks to thee, said: 'Take ye and eat, this is my body which shall be broken for you,'" 
etc. (Latin Verona Fragments, ed. Hauler, 1900, p. 106-107).
That is to say, the ends enumerated, though all reflect the Redemption, seem nevertheless to be referred to the actual consecration of the Eucharist, as the cause of it all. Christ, as it were, willed to celebrate the rite, in order to redeem us from death, from the power of the devil, from the pains of hell, and to restore us to light and life.
Link (here) to the full work by Fr. Maurice De La Taille, S. J. entitled, THE MYSTERY OF FAITH Regarding The Most August Sacrament And Sacrifice Of The Body And Blood Of Christ

No comments: