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Re: [liturgy-l] Blessing Water

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  • Thomas R. Jackson
    ... It never occurred to me to interpret the words in this way. I have always taken a much more concrete approach: The mixing of the water and wine are a
    Message 1 of 20 , Apr 5, 2001
      Ormonde wrote:

      >I have no problem with mixing water (although it really needs to be more
      >than a couple of drops), as a relic of Middle Eastern meal customs. The
      >problem comes when we try to overlay the custom with an unbearable
      >theological interpretation. In the Roman rite, and among some Anglicans, the
      >deacon prays, pouring water into the wine: "By the mystery of this water and
      >wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled myself to
      >share in our humanity." So water is humanity and wine divinity! Impossible!


      It never occurred to me to interpret the words in this way. I have always
      taken a much more concrete approach: The mixing of the water and wine are
      a step of the rite (the purpose of which seems unstated in the current
      rite) and the become elements in the Mystery by which we share in Christ's
      Divinity. More like a dedication of the elements than a blessing or
      theological interpretation.

      But that is just my own unreflective reading. I've been following along
      because I hadn't given this aspect much thought before.

      thomas
    • Ormonde Plater
      ... to ... Maybe I should have explained more clearly. The problem is the first phrase, or maybe just water. Leave out this water and and you get a
      Message 2 of 20 , Apr 5, 2001
        > "By the mystery of this water and
        > wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled myself
        to
        > share in our humanity."

        Maybe I should have explained more clearly. The problem is the first phrase,
        or maybe just "water." Leave out "this water and" and you get a perfectly
        acceptable--scriptural and patristic--statement. Include water, and you get
        a parallel structure that suggests the division of the sacramental Christ
        into water (humanity) and wine (divinity), or maybe it's the opposite, which
        would be even more problematic.

        Ormonde Plater
        oplater@...
      • Thomas R. Jackson
        ... No, I think you explained just fine. I just don t read it that may. Now if it were to say the mystery of the mixing of this water and wine then I would
        Message 3 of 20 , Apr 5, 2001
          Ormonde wrote:

          > > "By the mystery of this water and
          > > wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled myself
          >to
          > > share in our humanity."
          >
          >Maybe I should have explained more clearly. The problem is the first phrase,
          >or maybe just "water." Leave out "this water and" and you get a perfectly
          >acceptable--scriptural and patristic--statement. Include water, and you get
          >a parallel structure that suggests the division of the sacramental Christ
          >into water (humanity) and wine (divinity), or maybe it's the opposite, which
          >would be even more problematic.

          No, I think you explained just fine. I just don't read it that may. Now
          if it were to say
          the mystery of the mixing of this water and wine" then I would see it. As
          it stands, I'm just not convinced that the short text is making the
          parallel to which you object. I do see how the parallel suggests itself to
          you, I am just not sure that it is exegesis rather than eisigesis. But, I
          am still listening. the emphasis is on the I am not sure.

          thomas.
        • James O'Regan
          ... In don t see the exegsis here. I would have thought that the reference to water and wine was a recollection of water and blood, which, if I recall
          Message 4 of 20 , Apr 5, 2001
            Ormonde wrote and I snipped:

            > "By the mystery of this
            > water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who
            > humbled myself to share in our humanity." So water is humanity and wine
            > divinity! Impossible!

            In don't see the exegsis here. I would have thought that the
            reference to water and wine was a recollection of water and blood,
            which, if I recall correectly, was retained in scripture to battle
            those who doubted the true humanity of Christ. Real human death
            involves a settling out of solution of water and blood? I don't see
            the evidence for any parallelism here.


            James O'Regan
            http://www.jamesoregan.com
            tel 613-824-4706
          • James O'Regan
            ... It may have been Kendall who, in an earlier post, commented that why bless that which will be consacrated. And that is the general thought behind the
            Message 5 of 20 , Apr 5, 2001
              Kendall Reimer asked:

              > But Glenn, et al, do you "bless" the water before you use it such. Why?
              > Why not?

              It may have been Kendall who, in an earlier post, commented that why
              bless that which will be consacrated. And that is the general
              thought behind the removal of a distinct blessing at the preparation
              of the gifts in RC tradition.

              In past times or ritual purity, a blessing of water to be used both
              for lavabo and for mingling with wine had a psychological and
              liturgical sense. But those times have changed.

              Now having said the blessing was suppressd, let's look at the
              preparation of the gifts rite. It is full of blessing - it really can
              be seen as a rite of blessing including all artifacts and ministers
              within the space, including the assembly, when incense is used. That
              blessing rite proclaims creation theology especially as it pertains
              to bread and wine. It is God who is explicity called blessed. While
              the water and wine mix received a sotto voce prayer, that prayer is
              not a blessing but a petition. Nevertheless, the visual impact of
              water and wine registers and then the cup is used in a blessing.

              The action seems to folloow the spirit of widening the sacramental
              act to include all, even when marking off specific artifacts. A
              specific blessing of a cruet of water would call undue attention to
              it.


              James O'Regan
              http://www.jamesoregan.com
              tel 613-824-4706
            • vistanfl@aol.com
              There is another thing at play here, at least in the ECUSA. The dramatic increase in Deacons and specifically in Deacons who prepare the altar with the gifts
              Message 6 of 20 , Apr 5, 2001
                There is another thing at play here, at least in the ECUSA. The dramatic
                increase in Deacons and specifically in Deacons who prepare the altar with
                the gifts has detatched the Priest/Celebrant from all but the lavabo actions
                at the end. Most priests I have served (and that's a pretty big number after
                47 years as an acolyte) were trained, grew into the habit, became accustomed
                (you pick any or all) to blessing the water when presented with the wine
                cruet. Since it isn't them receiving the water and wine any more, I think
                (at least from what I see) it is just left out -- not particularly a thought
                out, or chosen action -- just a product of changed circumstances.
                In omnibus pax,
                George Carlson
                Acolyte Master, Holy Trinity, Melbourne, Florida


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • rlwrightmd@aol.com
                I recently read Hugh Wybrew s THE ORTHODOX LITURGY. I was intrigued by his discussion of the history of adding water to wine at the consecration. By the
                Message 7 of 20 , Apr 5, 2001
                  I recently read Hugh Wybrew's THE ORTHODOX LITURGY. I was intrigued by his
                  discussion of the history of adding water to wine at the consecration. By
                  the beginning of the seventh century a ceremony known as 'zeon' had
                  developed. Cold water was added to the wine before consecration and then hot
                  water was added later to the consecrated mixture. Water represented Christ's
                  humanity. His death was symbolized by the cold water, and the hot water
                  symbolized Christ's reurrection.

                  Lewis Wright
                • Robert J. Riley
                  The beautiful prayer Deus, qui humanæ substantiæ does not contain the phrase who humbled myself, although who humbled himself is a possible English
                  Message 8 of 20 , Apr 5, 2001
                    The beautiful prayer "Deus, qui humanæ substantiæ" does not contain the
                    phrase "who humbled myself," although "who humbled himself" is a possible
                    English rendering. "Who vouchsafed" or "deigned" are also acceptable and in
                    fact closer to the Latin. This prayer, which was said in the Offertory of
                    the pre-Vatican II Roman Mass, is in full:

                    <<<
                    Deus, qui humanæ substantiæ dignitatem mirabiliter condidisti, et mirabilius
                    reformasti: da nobis per hujus aquæ et vini mysterium, ejus divinitatis
                    esse consortes, qui humanitatis nostræ fieri dignatus est particeps, Jesus
                    Christus, Filius tuus, Dominus noster: Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate
                    Spiritus sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
                    >>>

                    The English as found in the Saint Andrew Daily Missal is:

                    <<<
                    O God, who in a wonderful manner didst create and ennoble human nature, and
                    still more wonderfully hast renewed it; grant that, by the mystery of this
                    water and wine, we may be made partakers of His divinity who vouchsafed to
                    become partaker of our humanity, Jesus Christ Thy Son, our Lord: who liveth
                    and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world
                    without end. Amen.
                    >>>

                    The Anglican Missal has the comment:

                    <<<
                    The Priest at the Epistle side of the Altar pours Wine into the Chalice,
                    then prays that as the Water is to be united with the Wine, so our weak
                    human nature may be united to the divine nature of Christ.
                    >>>

                    The text of the prayer as found in the Anglican Missal is:

                    <<<
                    O God, who didst lay the foundation of man's being in wonder and honour, and
                    in greater wonder and honour didst renew the same : grant by the mystery of
                    this water and wine, that he who was partaker of our humanity may make us
                    joint-heirs of his very Godhead, even Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Who
                    liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God,
                    world without end. Amen.
                    >>>

                    According to Joseph A. Jungmann, S. J. (The Mass of the Roman Rite, tr.
                    Brunner) the prayer was adapted from "an ancient Christmas oration amplified
                    by a reference 'per huius aquæ et vini mysterium' and by the solemn
                    invocation of Christ's name before the concluding formula." (Vol. II, p.
                    63.) The oration in its original form dates as far back as the Leonine
                    Sacramentary. (Vol. I, p. 62; see also Vol. II, p. 63, footnote 113.) As a
                    Christmas collect it is appointed in the American 1979 Book of Common Prayer
                    for the Second Sunday after Christmas Day, as follows:

                    <<<
                    O God, who didst wonderfully create, and yet more wonderfully restore, the
                    dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who
                    humbled himself to share our humanity, thy Son Jesus Christ; who liveth and
                    reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and
                    ever. Amen.
                    >>>

                    (Note in this Episcopal version, the phrase "who humbled himself" renders
                    "dignatus est.")

                    How did this prayer come to be used to accompany the admixture of water with
                    wine at the Offertory? And what was its interpretation? And were there
                    other formulas with different interpretations? And how did the water come
                    to be blessed? The following excerpts from Jungmann's The Mass of the Roman
                    Rite (written before Vatican II) enlighten us on all these points:

                    <<< Excerpt from Jungmann
                    A change which was to be found quite early in the rite of the Roman curia,
                    and was then confirmed by the reform of Pius V, consisted in this, that the
                    preparation of the chalice, or in the first instance at least, the admixture
                    of the water, was transferred to the altar and was thus incorporated into
                    the oblation rite. (Vol. II, pp. 59-60.)

                    <<< Excerpt from Jungmann
                    After the preparation of the chalice was thus transferred once more to the
                    altar, texts to accompany this action also begin to come to our notice. It
                    stood to reason, for instance, that in the Roman liturgy as accommodated to
                    Frankish tradition, the admixture of water, whose symbolism had so early and
                    so generally become the object of profound consideration, would not long
                    remain without accompanying words. That type of oblation rite which we
                    first encounter in various scattered points along the northern border of the
                    Carolingian realm, and then in the eleventh century in the Italian sphere
                    affected by the Cluniac movement, presents a definite form for this, one
                    which has been retained more or less in the Roman Mass of the present day.
                    This form is as follows: the water is put into the chalice at the altar
                    itself, either before or even after the offering of the chalice; and
                    meanwhile is said the oration, 'Deus qui humanæ substantiæ', an ancient
                    Roman Christmas oration amplified by a reference 'per huius aquæ et vini
                    mysterium' and by the solemn invocation of Christ's name before the
                    concluding formula.

                    <<< Continuation of excerpt from Jungmann . . .
                    Thus the Christmas thought, which hardly ever came under discussion in this
                    connection in the literature of the foregoing centuries, the thought of
                    man's participation in the divinity through the Incarnation of the Son of
                    God, suddenly comes into prominence. It is a concept which presupposes and,
                    to some extent, comprises both the oriental interpretation of the admixture
                    rite, the human and divine natures of Christ, and the western
                    interpretation, our own union with Christ.

                    <<< Continuation of excerpt from Jungmann . . .
                    Much oftener, however, we come across a very different formula, even in
                    Italian Mass ordines. This formula derives from the symbolism of the
                    water-and-blood, and outside of Italy it appears, along with the mixing rite
                    connected with it, not in the offertory itself (though there are
                    exceptions), but rather right after the Epistle, or even at the start of
                    Mass, where it is said by the deacon. The reference to the blood and water
                    from the side of Christ must have been very much a favorite; it did, of
                    course, come within the compass of the ordinary allegorism which explained
                    the Mass in terms of Christ's Passion. . . .

                    <<< Continuation of excerpt from Jungmann . . .
                    If the symbolism of the water was thus to be emphasized, at the same time
                    the water was also to be blessed. This is done at the present time by a
                    sign of the Cross which is coupled with the words 'per huius aquæ et vini
                    mysterium', and which is omitted at a Requiem Mass because all formal
                    blessings therein are bestowed only on the dead. In the oldest Roman
                    ordines, as we have already seen, the act of pouring the water into the
                    chalice was done in the form of a cross. In medieval missals this blessing
                    was not infrequently accented even more forcefully. . . .

                    <<< Continuation of excerpt from Jungmann . . .
                    For the blessing itself various formulas were handed down. According to the
                    Pontifical of Durandus, the bishop spoke as follows when he blessed the
                    water at the Mass of his chaplain: 'Ab illo benedicatur, cuius spiritus
                    super eam ante mundi exordium ferebatur'. According to English Mass books,
                    the celebrant said the following over the water: 'Ab eo sit benedicta de
                    cuius latere exivit sanguis et aqua. In nomine Patris. . . . ' Elsewhere
                    the priest used words analogous to those used at the commingling of the
                    species before Communion: 'Fiat commixtio et consecratio vini et aquæ in
                    nomine D. n. J. C., de cuius latere exivit sanguis et aqua', or: 'Fiat
                    commixtio vini et aquæ pariter in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus
                    Sancti'. Most often such a blessing, coupled with the sign of the Cross,
                    was appended to the formula which was designed to explain the commixture, or
                    it was even combined with it into a single formula.

                    <<< Continuation of excerpt from Jungmann . . .
                    The later Middle Ages were a thriving era for blessings. All the products
                    of nature and all the objects of human use were recipients of the Church's
                    benedictions. No wonder, then, that a blessing was bestowed here at the
                    oblation not only on the water, but also on all the other gifts which were
                    destined for so exalted a purpose. (Vol. II, pp. 62-65.)
                    >>>

                    Joseph A. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, tr. Francis A. Brunner,
                    C.Ss.R., 2 vol., appeared in 1950. The translation is based on the German
                    Revised Edition of Missarum Solemnia (1949) published by Herder Verlag,
                    Vienna, Austria. The Brunner English version has been reprinted by
                    Christian Classics, a division of Thomas More Publishing, Allen, Texas. UK
                    edition: ISBN 1-85182-053-1. USA edition: ISBN 0-87061-129-1. It is
                    presently on back order at Amazon (USA). At Barnes and Noble it ships in
                    1-2 weeks. At Amazon (UK), "We expect to be able to find this title for you
                    within 4-6 weeks."

                    Sincerely,
                    Robert J. Riley
                    mailto:rriley@...

                    --- In liturgy-l@y..., "Ormonde Plater" <oplater@h...> wrote:
                    > I have no problem with mixing water (although it really needs to be more
                    > than a couple of drops), as a relic of Middle Eastern meal customs. The
                    > problem comes when we try to overlay the custom with an unbearable
                    > theological interpretation. In the Roman rite, and among some Anglicans,
                    the
                    > deacon prays, pouring water into the wine: "By the mystery of this water
                    and
                    > wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled myself
                    to
                    > share in our humanity." So water is humanity and wine divinity!
                    Impossible!
                    >
                    > Ormonde Plater
                    > oplater@h...
                  • atombomb
                    Blessed be God. From: Pepper Marts ... I doubt any traditional Jew or Christian could agree with this. Things are blessed by referring
                    Message 9 of 20 , Apr 6, 2001
                      Blessed be God.

                      From: Pepper Marts <pmarts@...>

                      > By the work of human hands in its production, the wine has
                      > been blessed before the offertory. Water, a natural, 'elemental'
                      > substance, has not; hence the blessing you describe.

                      I doubt any traditional Jew or Christian could agree with this.

                      Things are blessed by referring them to God (through an expression of
                      words), not simply because men or women had a hand in their making.

                      Human labor is not inherently sanctifying; only God sanctifies.

                      In Jewish tradition, humans bless *God* over the things he has given
                      them. In Christian tradition, more commonly at least for some centuries
                      now, a blessing is usually a petition for God-in-Trinity, or Christ, to
                      sanctify the *thing* (or person) (or an avowal that he does). But in
                      both cases, it is God's presence and/or unique act that sanctifies; this
                      sanctification is the one thing precisely not attainable by "the work of
                      human hands in its production", which is why a blessing is offered or invoked.

                      From: "James O'Regan" <oregan@...>

                      > why
                      > bless that which will be consacrated. And that is the general
                      > thought behind the removal of a distinct blessing at the preparation
                      > of the gifts in RC tradition.

                      But a blessing and the eucharistic consecration two different things,
                      not to be confused with one another. In a schematic way, aren't they
                      perhaps related to one another as creation to redemption?

                      > In past times or ritual purity, a blessing of water to be used both
                      > for lavabo and for mingling with wine had a psychological and
                      > liturgical sense. But those times have changed.

                      Equally, blessing and purification are two different things. True,
                      things must be pure in order to be blessed, but the blessing is a
                      thanksgiving to God for the creation of the item (or person).

                      A purification is the removal of some obstacle to the item's being fit
                      for God's service.

                      I don't have the prayer in front of me, but I don't seem to recollect
                      anything there about removing impurity. It simply asks God to set this
                      particular cruet of water aside for use in the eucharist.

                      As I mentioned, in Christianity, the concept of "blessing" has moved
                      somewhat away from the OT and Jewish idea of a thanksgiving to God over
                      some thing, towards a petition that God would come and sanctify it. That
                      is where the confusion arises, I think.

                      The classic OT formula of a blessing was always "Blessed art Thou, O
                      Lord" , elaborated in Jewish tradition to "Blessed art Thou, O Lord our
                      God, King of the Universe, Who [bringest forth bread from the earth;
                      createst the fruit of the vine; etc]". As I mentioned, in OT and Jewish
                      usage, it is always God who is blessed and thanked over the thing.

                      But even in our Christian forms of blessing, wherein we don't so much
                      bless God as ask God to come and bless the thing, there is usually
                      somewhere the idea of gratitude for the thing which is to be regarded
                      henceforth as dedicated to the Divine will, even if it is to be used
                      only in a secular context.

                      The eucharistic consecration of course is something much more than this,
                      though I think sometimes it has been collapsed into a simple blessing in
                      the sense just mentioned, at least in some churches' theologies. But I
                      don't think we should confuse the two things by going to the left or to
                      the right.

                      > Now having said the blessing was suppressd, let's look at the
                      > preparation of the gifts rite. It is full of blessing - it really can
                      > be seen as a rite of blessing including all artifacts and ministers
                      > within the space, including the assembly, when incense is used. That
                      > blessing rite proclaims creation theology especially as it pertains
                      > to bread and wine. It is God who is explicity called blessed. While
                      > the water and wine mix received a sotto voce prayer, that prayer is
                      > not a blessing but a petition. Nevertheless, the visual impact of
                      > water and wine registers and then the cup is used in a blessing.

                      I agree that the liturgy of preparation is full of blessings. So why
                      remove one of them?

                      > The action seems to folloow the spirit of widening the sacramental
                      > act to include all, even when marking off specific artifacts. A
                      > specific blessing of a cruet of water would call undue attention to
                      > it.

                      I just don't see this "undue attention". It would be undue, of course,
                      if it were calling attention to something that is essentially
                      meaningless, or of negligible meaning. But just because redemption is
                      (patristically) arguably greater than creation, creation is not
                      something we should just ignore.

                      Regards,

                      John Burnett
                    • Paul Walton
                      ... -- I came across this quotation from Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. V.1.3, looking into another issue. It seems that both Irenaeus and the Ebionites saw the wine
                      Message 10 of 20 , Apr 6, 2001
                        >Ormonde wrote:
                        >
                        >>I have no problem with mixing water (although it really needs to be more
                        >>than a couple of drops), as a relic of Middle Eastern meal customs. The
                        >>problem comes when we try to overlay the custom with an unbearable
                        >>theological interpretation. In the Roman rite, and among some Anglicans, the
                        >>deacon prays, pouring water into the wine: "By the mystery of this water and
                        >>wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled myself to
                        >>share in our humanity." So water is humanity and wine divinity! Impossible!
                        >
                        >
                        >It never occurred to me to interpret the words in this way. I have always
                        >taken a much more concrete approach: The mixing of the water and wine are
                        >a step of the rite (the purpose of which seems unstated in the current
                        >rite) and the become elements in the Mystery by which we share in Christ's
                        >Divinity. More like a dedication of the elements than a blessing or
                        >theological interpretation.
                        >
                        >But that is just my own unreflective reading. I've been following along
                        >because I hadn't given this aspect much thought before.
                        >
                        >thomas
                        >



                        --
                        I came across this quotation from Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. V.1.3, looking
                        into another issue. It seems that both Irenaeus and the Ebionites saw
                        the wine representing the divinity of Christ, and the water the
                        humanity.

                        Vain also are the Ebionites, who do not receive by faith into their
                        soul the union of God and man, but who remain in the old leaven of
                        [the natural] birth, and who do not choose to understand that the
                        Holy Ghost came upon Mary, and the power of the Most High did
                        overshadow her: wherefore also what was generated is a holy thing,
                        and the Son of the Most High God the Father of all, who effected the
                        incarnation of this being, and showed forth a new [kind of]
                        generation; that as by the former generation we inherited death, so
                        by this new generation we might inherit life. Therefore do these men
                        reject the commixture of the heavenly wine, and wish it to be water
                        of the world only, not receiving God so as to have union with Him,
                        but they remain in that Adam who had been conquered and was expelled
                        from Paradise ...

                        Paul Walton
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