Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Compendium of the 1961 Revision of the Pontificale Romanum - Part 8: The Blessing of Linens (1595 & 1961)

In the Pontifical of 1595, the blessings of vestments is followed by the blessings of altar cloths and corporals. Both of these begin with the bishop saying “Adjutorium nostrum” and “Dominus vobiscum”, and the prayers noted below, each of which is preceded by “Oremus”. At the places marked, the bishop makes the sign of the cross over them with his hand; after the prayers, he sprinkles them with holy water.

For altar cloths, two prayers are said.
Hear our prayers, o Lord, and deign to bless + and sancti+fy these linen cloths prepared for the use of Thy sacred altar. Through Christ, our Lord. R. Amen.
Lord, God almighty, Who for forty days taught Thy servant Moses to make ornaments and linen cloths, which Mary (Miriam) wove and made to be used in service to the tabernacle of the covenant; deign to bless +, sancti+fy and conse+crate these linen cloths (made) to cover and enshroud the altar of Thy most glorious Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with Thee etc. (long conclusion).
In the 1961 revision, the first prayer is suppressed, and the words “sanctify and consecrate” are removed from the second prayer, which ends with the short conclusion.

For corporals, three prayers are said in the Pontifical of 1595.
Most clement Lord, Whose might is beyond all telling, Whose mysteries are celebrated with wondrous secrets, grant, we beseech Thee, that this linen cloth may be sanctified by the blessing + of Thy mercy, that there may be consecrated upon it the Body and Blood of our God and Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son etc. (long conclusion)
Almighty and eternal God, deign to bless +, sancti+fy and conse+crate this linen cloth (made) to cover and enshroud the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ Thy most Son, Who with Thee etc. (long conclusion)
Almighty God, by our hands pour forth the wealth of Thy blessing, that by our bless+ing this linen cloth may be sanctified, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit become a new shroud for the Body and Blood of our Redeemer. Through the same our Lord etc. (long conclusion)
In the 1961 revision, the second and third prayers are suppressed; the remaining prayer ends with the short conclusion.

The revision of 1961 also adds to the Pontifical three other blessings of various kinds of altar linens. Each of these follows the same pattern as the blessings noted above. The first is that of an antimension, as it is called in the Byzantine Rite, a cloth to be used in place of a table for the celebration of the Mass; permission to do so must be given by an indult of the Apostolic See. The rubric specifies that after the bishop has officially recognized the authenticity of some Martyrs’ relics, he places them in a small sack of cloth, which is then sewn into the right hand corner of the antimension. The prayer of blessing is as follows.
We humbly implore Thy majesty, o Lord, that through our humble service Thou may deign to bless + this linen cloth, made to receive the gifts of Thy people; that upon it we may be able to offer to Thee the Holy Sacrifice, to the honor of the Virgin Mary, and of Saints N. and N., whose relics we have laid within it, and all the Saints, and grant that through these most holy Mysteries, the bonds of our sins may be loosed, the stains (thereof) cancelled, forgiveness obtained, graces received; that together with Thy holy Elect, we may merit to receive eternal life. (short conclusion)
The second is the blessing of a pall; the prayer is a modified version of the second prayer for the blessing of a corporal in the Pontifical of 1595, omitting the words “sanctify and consecrate” and “enshroud”, and changing “linen cloth” to “pall”.
Almighty and eternal God, deign to bless +, sancti+fy and conse+crate this linen cloth (made) to cover and enshroud the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ Thy most Son, Who with Thee etc. (short conclusion)
The third is the blessing of a purificator; the prayer is a modified version of the first prayer for the blessing of sacred vessels and ornaments in the Pontifical of 1595, (to be described in a later article.) The original version said “deign Thou to purify, bless and sanctify”.
Hear our prayers, o Lord, most clement Father, and deign Thou to bless + this linen cloth that has been prepared for the use of the sacred chalice. (short conclusion) 
A Greek antimension of the early 18th century