This week’s Liturgical Catechesis: During the preparation of the gifts on the altar, the priest says something while he pours some water into the chalice of wine. What does he say? Also, why do some priests say this out loud, some say it quietly and some don’t seem to say it at all?
The priest has the option to do any of these. The words said are, “By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” It is said silently or quietly because it is a prayer specifically between the priest and God which involves neither the congregation nor a response from the congregation. It also liturgically represents the idea that, sometimes, the voice of God is not clearly heard or understood, although God is still speaking.
To quote Socrates, “Know thyself.” In the Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena we read, “This I do so that, coming to perfect self-knowledge, they may know that of themselves they are nothing and have no grace. Accordingly in time of battle fly to Me, as their Benefactor, seeking Me alone, with true humility, for which purpose I treat them thus, without drawing from them consolation indeed, but not grace. .. What I give and promise to My creatures, I give and promise to them for their sanctification, which is the good and the end for which I created them.”
The other common trap is what Catherine calls “self-love.” They get proud and get attracted- and attached to people telling them how wonderful or holy or spiritual they are. “Such a soul acts imperfectly, for she has not yet unwound the bandage of spiritual self-love, for, had she unwound it she would see that, in truth, everything proceeds from Me ..Thus, those in the first state come to naught through the fear of enduring pain, and those in the second, because they slacken their pace, ceasing to render service to their neighbor, and withdrawing their charity if they see their own profit or consolation withdrawn from them: this happens because their love was originally impure, for they gave to their neighbor the same imperfect love which they gave to Me, that is to say, a love based only on desire of their own advantage.
Tough words from the mystic from Siena. “For those who desire Eternal Life, a pure love is necessary. For it is not enough for eternal life to fly away sin from fear of punishment, or to embrace virtue from the motive of one’s own advantage.”
What is the solution to further growth? Prayer. “If these souls do not abandon the exercise of holy prayer and their other good works, but go on, with perseverance, to increase their virtues, they will arrive at the state of filial love, because I respond to them with the same love, with which they love Me, so that, if they love Me, I pay them their wages according to their deserts.” They will be so pleasing to Me, that they will attain to the love of the friend. And I will manifest Myself to them, as My Truth said in these words: ‘He who loves Me shall be one thing with Me and I with him, and I will manifest Myself to him and we will dwell together… This is the state of two dear friends, for though they are two in body, yet they are one in soul through the affection of love, because love transforms the lover into the object loved, and where two friends have one soul, there can be no secret between them, wherefore My Truth said: ‘I will come and we will dwell together,’ and this is the truth.”