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Canon
Canon

Canon

Preface and the Beginning of the Canon

The most solemn part of the Mass is now near. The Preface leads to the Canon which may be translated as meaning “the rule.” It is used for this part of the Mass to show that the prayers said during it are never changed. All is still now. The Angels have come down from Heaven and are waiting to adore their God when He comes to earth at the words of the priest.

The priest prays in a low voice. We must now pray in our hearts with him. After the Preface is completed and just before the Canon, the Mass server rings the cymbal or the bell three times. You will observe that the priest begins the Canon by bowing low. He kisses the altar, to show that he is united to Christ, Who is about to offer Himself.

The priest then prays for all the living members of the Church Militant and then he seeks the help and intercession of those members of the Church who now reign triumphant in Heaven. In following your Missal, you will observe that the priest commemorates many of the saints in name.


The Priest Places His Hands Over the Chalice and Host
The Priest Places His Hands Over the Chalice and Host

The Priest Places His Hands Over the Chalice and Host

The celebrant begins the prayer,

“Therefore, we beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously to receive this oblation which we, Thy servants, and Thy whole family offer: …”.

You will recall from your study of the Old Testament that it was the custom of the priest to place his hands over the articles or subjects of sacrifice. By doing this he symbolizes the transference of sins to the holocaust so that the sacrifice would be a victim offered in penance for sin. In doing this he also indicates that Christ Who was sacrificed on Calvery gave His life for our sins.


The Prayer Before the Consecration
The Prayer Before the Consecration

The Prayer Before the Consecration

The most important and significant part of the Mass, the Consecration, is about to take place. The celebrant continues with the following prayer:

“Therefore, we beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously to receive this oblation which we, Thy servants and the whole family, offer up to Thee. Dispose our days in Your peace."

You will observe how the celebrant offers up the unbloody Sacrifice, not only for himself but for the Faithful present and for the whole church. Here he displays his power as mediator between God and man. The solemn moment of Consecration is at hand.


The Priest Receives the Host
The Priest Receives the Host

The Priest Receives the Host

The priest takes bread into his hands as our Lord did at the Last Supper.

“Who the day before He suffered, took bread into His holy and venerable hands.”


The Priest Raises His Eyes to Heaven
The Priest Raises His Eyes to Heaven

The Priest Raises His Eyes to Heaven

At the Last Supper we recall the Bible story of our Lord lifting His eyes to Heaven giving thanks to God,

“And having lifted His eyes to Heaven to Thee, God, His Father Almighty.”


He Blesses the Host
He Blesses the Host

He Blesses the Host

You will observe how the priest says the words of consecration as Jesus Christ spoke to them at the Last Supper and his actions are identical to those of our Lord’s.

“He blessed it, broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying: ‘Take ye and eat ye all of this.’ ”


The Consecration of the Host
The Consecration of the Host

The Consecration of the Host

“This is My Body!”

At this moment the bread is changed into the Body of Jesus Christ. The priest kneels to adore Jesus Who is really present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. You will observe that the bell rings three times. The ancient custom was to sound a trumpet at the time of execution of one who had been condemned to death, to drown the cries of the sufferer. This custom was followed at the Crucifixion of our Lord, the Supreme Sacrifice.


The Consecration Continued
The Consecration Continued

The Consecration Continued

The Divine mystery or miracle of transubstantiation has taken place on the altar and although the bread may seem to be bread as before the Consecration, it now through the power of Christ vested in the priest, is the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

“For This Is My Body!”


The Elevation of the Host
The Elevation of the Host

The Elevation of the Host

After genuflection in adoration, the priest raises the Host so that the Faithful may also adore Jesus Christ, true God and true Man present on the altar. Look at the sacred Body of Jesus and then say with all your heart (interiorly):

"I adore Thee, O Sacred Body of Jesus Christ, Thou art my Lord and my God; I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee above all things."


The Consecration of the Chalice
The Consecration of the Chalice

The Consecration of the Chalice

Like our Lord at the Last Supper, the priest now takes the Chalice of wine into his hands, blesses it, saying:

“This is the Chalice of My Blood of the New and Eternal Testament, the Mystery of Faith, which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins. As often as you shall do these things, do them in remembrance of Me.”


The Adoration of the Consecrated Wine
The Adoration of the Consecrated Wine

The Adoration of the Consecrated Wine

The wine has now been changed into the true Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The priest is following the command of our Lord to do these things in commemoration of Him. As you have observed the priest has knelt to adore Jesus and now holds up the Chalice for the people to adore. Look at the Chalice and say with all your heart (interiorly):

"I adore Thee, O Sacred Blood of Jesus Christ; Thou art the price of my salvation. Cleanse and preserve my soul to life everlasting."


After the Consecration
After the Consecration

After the Consecration

Jesus Christ Himself is now with us on the altar. Let us tell Him what we want and ask Him to love and help us. Ask Him for the things you want yourself and for all whom you love. Jesus loves hearts that forget themselves for others. You will notice since the Consecration that the priest is careful with the fingers which have supported the Consecrated Host. In reverence to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, his fingers and thumbs are kept together as indicated in the picture until the washing of the hands after Communion.


The Priest Kisses the Altar
The Priest Kisses the Altar

The Priest Kisses the Altar

At this time the priest again shows his reverence for the saints and for the Blessed Sacrament by kissing the altar and immediately after kissing the altar he makes the sign of the cross over the Consecrated species.

“O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.”


The Priest and Parishioners Acknowledge Their Sins
The Priest and Parishioners Acknowledge Their Sins

The Priest and Parishioners Acknowledge Their Sins

The priest strikes his breast as a sign of contrition and commences the action with a prayer for the Church Militant which is as follows:

“And to us sinners also Thy servants, hoping in the multitude of Thy mercies, vouchsafe to grant some part and fellowship with Thy holy Apostles and Martyrs: with John, Stephen, Mathias, … Into their company admit us we beseech Thee not weighing our merits but by freely pardoning us our offenses through Christ our Lord.”


The Minor Elevation
The Minor Elevation

The Minor Elevation

You will observe how the priest holds the Consecrated Host over the cup of the Chalice. He raises both slightly above the Corporal after saying,

“Through whom, O Lord, Thou doest always create, sanctify, vivify, bless and grant to us Thy gifts. Through Him and with Him and in Him, is to Thee God the Father Almighty in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honor and glory world without end. Amen.”

As he says these last words, he raises both the Host and the Chalice as you observe in the photo above.


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