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    A View from the Pew

    Old Words, New Meaning in the New Roman Missal

    OBLATION  The offering of the bread and wine for consecration at Mass, expressed by the offertory procession of the faithful and the offertory prayers of the priest. Also applied to any other gifts presented by the people at Mass, either symbolically on special occasions or actually when the gifts are offered for the use of the clergy, the Church, or the poor. (Etym. Latin oblatio, offering.)  

    CONSUBSTANTIATION  The belief, contrary to Catholic doctrine, that in the Eucharist the body and blood of Christ coexist with the bread and wine after the Consecration of the Mass. John Wyclif (1324-84) and Martin Luther (1483-1546) professed consubstantiation because they denied transubstantiation.

    TRANSUBSTANTIATION  The complete change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of Christ's body and blood by a validly ordained priest during the consecration at Mass, so that only the accidents of bread and wine remain. While the faith behind the term itself was already believed in apostolic times, the term itself was a later development. With the Eastern Fathers before the sixth century, the favored expression was meta-ousiosis, "change of being"; the Latin tradition coined the word transubstantiatio, "change of substance," which was incorporated into the creed of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. The Council of Trent, in defining the "wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the wine into the blood" of Christ, added "which conversion the Catholic Church calls transubstantiation" (Denzinger 1652). after transubstantiation, the accidents of bread and wine do not inhere in any subject or substance whatever. Yet they are not make-believe they are sustained in existence by divine power. (Etym. Latin trans-, so as to change + substantia, substance: transubstantio, change of substance.)

    INEFFABLE  That which is inexpressible. Only God is ultimately ineffable because only he cannot be fully comprehended by the finite mind. Since knowledge determines expression, the divine ineffability is a result of the divine incomprehensibility. In the words of St. Augustine, "More true than our speech about God is our thinking of Him, and more true than our thinking is His Being" (De Trinitate, VII, 4, 7).

    HOST A victim of sacrifice, and therefore the consecrated Bread of the Eucharist considered as the sacrifice of the Body of Christ. The word is also used of the round wafers used for consecration. (Etym. Latin hostia, sacrificial offering.)

    INCARNATE Like Christ, who is God become man, the adaptation of the divine to the human, the eternal to the temporal, in the preaching and teaching of the Gospel. Always without compromise of revealed truth, it is the Church's readiness to adjust her message to the culture of the people, even as Christ became incarnate not only in the human nature he assumed as God, but in the society and the times in which he lived. (Etym. Latin incarnare, to make flesh; Latin in- + caro, flesh.)

    MISSAL  The book containing the prayers recited by the priest at the altar during Mass. Since the Second Vatican Council the Missal includes both the sacramentary (or ritual part of the Mass) used only by the celebrant, and the lectionary (containing readings from Scripture) for  presider and assisting ministers.