The Rosary: The Institution of the Eucharist


Devotion to the elements of Our Lord’s Passion aside, it is in Eucharistic devotions that there is a most clear division between east and west.  Although both teach exactly the same content, both use very different words to very different ends.  Thomas Aquinas and his students made this most clear in their ideas of what exactly is Transubstantiation.  The East does not have such clear definitions about what happens nor about when it happens.  In certain ways the bread is holy from the moment it is formed into a loaf and stamped with the holy seal. It is treated so even before the service starts: prayers of, if you will, pre-consecration happen well-before the scheduled “start” of liturgy.  In a real sense, the one heavenly Liturgy is always on-going (from the standpoint of human time) and our human actions “only connect” with the continual divine moment. To the Orthodox, then, some Western devotions can seem to focus on the consecrated elements in a needless way.  Speaking of Our Lord as a “Prisoner (of Love) in the Tabernacle”  – a common-place in a certain mode of Roman Catholic piety – seems very odd in the liturgical East. Yet for the Fathers, the Eucharist, itself is “the meal that consumes us”. It’s the vehicle by which we are purged in fire.

Even though in the Western Rites of the Orthodox Church there is the feast of Corpus Christi and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, these things do not exist in most Byzantine Rites. One must look – as below – to devotions before and after communion to find what the East teaches on this matter.  I have used the Canon of Preparation for Holy Communion to provide the texts below.

The embolism I use in this decade after the Holy Name is …giving us his flesh to eat and his blood to drink…

The Fifth Luminous Mystery:
The Institution of the Holy Eucharist

Let us contemplate in this Mystery how Our Lord took, in his holy, venerable, and blessed hands, the elements of human food and drink, and making them into his flesh and blood gave them to his disciples – and through them to us – as instruments of divine grace, feeding us salvation.

Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen

O blessed Bride of God, O good and unturned land which produced the corn which saves the world, grant that I may be saved by eating it.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

O all-holy Lady you are the Altar of the Bread of Life coming down from heaven in great mercy giving new life to the world; grant that I who am unworthy may partake of that bread and live!
Hail, Mary, &c.

O taste and see, the Lord is good! Of old He became one of us for us, and offered Himself for the life of the World, sanctifying those who share his human nature.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Lady pray for for me to he whom thou bore. Keep me pure and blameless that I may be sanctified by obtaining the spiritual pearl.
Hail, Mary, &c.

O Mary, Theotokos and holy tabernacle of the scent of Heaven, pray for me and make me a chosen vessel, that I may partake of the Mystery of thy Son.
Hail, Mary, &c.

O Holy Word of God and God, through the prayers of thy most holy mother, sanctify the whole of me as I now approach thy divine Mysteries.
Hail, Mary, &c.

My Saviour, may thy most precious Body and Blood be both fire and light in me: burning the thorns of my passions thus consuming the fuel of sin and enlightening the whole of me to adore thy Divinity.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Pure one, full of Grace, who gave birth to the Saviour Christ in the Holy Mystery of the Incarnation, unclean as I am, I beg thee: I seek to approach the immaculate Mysteries, cleanse thy servant from all defilement of body and spirit.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Partaking of Divine Fire, I tremble, for I should burn as wax and hay. O dread Mystery! O Holy Love! That I who am clay may partake of the divine Body and Blood and become like thee!
Hail, Mary, &c.

God took flesh of thy flesh, bone of thy bone. Therefore, all generations hymn thee, O Lady, and throngs of heavenly minds glorify thee. For through thy womb we have clearly seen He Who is Lord of all united with us in fully human nature.
Hail, Mary, &c.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Mother of mercy and of love, most blessed Virgin Mary, I, a poor and unworthy sinner, fly to thee with all my heart and all my affection. I implore thy loving-kindness, that even as thou didst stand beside thy dear Son as He hung upon the Cross, so wilt thou also stand by me, a poor sinner, and beside all thy faithful people receiving the most sacred Body of thy Son. Grant us, that by thy grace, we may receive it worthily and fruitfully. Amen.

Author: Huw Raphael

A Dominican Tertiary living in San Francisco, CA. He is almost 59. He feeds the homeless as a parochial almoner and is studying to be a Roman Catholic Deacon. He is learning modern Israeli Hebrew and enjoys cooking, keto, cats, long urban hikes, and SF Beer Week.

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