WEYDEN, Rogier van der
Seven Sacraments (central panel)
Of The Divers Parts of The Mass: And By Whom The Holy Mass Was First Ordained
The holy and dreadful Sacrifice of the Masse, hath two essential parts. The one is Consecration: the other is, the Receiving of the Priest, or Communion. Touching these two principal and essential parts of the holy Masse. it is most certain, by the Evangelists themselves, Mt.16.Mk.14.Lk.21. and likewise by St. Paul 1.Cor.11. that they were instituted by Jesus Christ himself. and by no other, neither man nor Angel: our Saviour contenting himself, to institute so much as was of the nature, necessity, and essence of the thing, leaving other ceremonies and rites requisite to celebrate the same, to the judgment and prudence of his Apostles and of their successors, to whom he committed the care of his Church, and of all his faithful and Christian flock: In which respect he said unto his disciples: Yet many things I have to say to you, but you cannot beare them now: but when he, the Spirit of truth commeth, he shall teach you all truth: and the things that are to come, he shall show you. Jn.16.12.
2. We see the like also performed in other points of our Religion, as when our Lord ordained that we should fast, he contented himself to institute only, so much as was of the essence of the thing, saying, jeiunate, Fast yee, Mt.17. prescribing neither how, when, not how often, his holy pleasure was to have it to be ordered and accommodated according to the care and discretion of his disciples. The like he did and performed concerning prayer, willing, & ordaining that men should pray, saying Orate, Pray yee, Mk.13. and Lk.18. and added thereto, this word semper, ever: but that ever, I fear me by many, would be turned into never, if his spouse the Catholic Church, had not decreed and straightly commanded and prescribed the time, the place, the Ceremonies, and the manner how the same should be accomplished.
3. Hence therefore it is, that we affirm & say with very good reason, the holy Mass to have been instituted and ordained the most essential and principal parts thereof, to wit, Consecration and Communion, referring the Ceremonies, and other circumstances, to the care and discretion of his Apostles, and their successors: who in this behalf, have taken such order, as might best reduce his death and passion, into our memories, according to that which he commanded, that so often as they should do it, they should do it in remembrance of him. But all of this, we shall speak: hereafter more at large.
4. Now, in a word I may say, that these Ceremonies, or additions, may be reduced to these heads, to wit, to giving of Thanks, Confession of sins, Prayer, Doctrine, Profession of faith, and such other parts of our devotion: which albeit they be no essential parts of this holy Sacrifice, yet are they very requisite & convenient to induce us, the more to reverence and contemplate, the Majesty and excellency of so great a mystery, to stir up & move our hearts, being present at the same, and to prepare and dispose ourselves, before we come to receive so great a Sacrament. For which cause, we ought to hold for very laudable, these other parts of the holy Mass, annexed to the former, all tendings to the greater ornament, reverence, and majesty of so ineffable a mystery.
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