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may He deign to illuminate more fully the eyes which He gave you, through His only-begotten Son, King and Saviour, our Lord God, through whom He has, with whom He has praise, honor, glory, magnificence, power, together with the Holy Spirit, from the ages and now and always, and forever and ever. Amen.
THE SACRAMENTS: V
(1) Yesterday our sermon and tractate was brought up to the sacraments of the holy altar. And we learned that the figure of these sacraments preceded the times of Abraham, when holy Melchisedech offered a sacrifice, 'having neither beginning of days nor end.' Hear, man, what the Apostle Paul says to the Hebrews! Where are they who say that the Son of God is of time? As for Melchisedech, it is said that he has neither beginning of days nor end. If Melchisedech does not have beginning of days, could Christ have had it? Yet it is not more a figure than truth. You see, then, that He himself is both the first and the last: first, because He is the author of all; last, not because he finds the end, but because He includes all things.
(2) We have said, then, that the chalice and bread are placed on the altar. What is put in the chalice? Wine. And what else? Water. But you say to me: 'How, then, did Mel
1 Cf. Heb. 7.3. 2 Apoc. 1.17.
chisedech offer wine and bread? What does the admixture of water mean?' Accept the reason!
(3) First of all the figure which preceded in the time of Moses, what does it mean? For, when the people of the Jews were thirsty and murmured, because he could not find water, God ordered Moses to touch the rock with a twig. He touched the rock, and the rock poured forth a great deal of water, just as the Apostle says: 'And they drank of the rock that followed, and the rock was Christ.'3 It was not an immovable rock that followed the people. And do you drink, that Christ may follow you. See the mystery: ‘Moses,' that is, the Prophet, ‘with a twig,' that is, with the word of God—The priest with the word of God touches the rock, and water flows, and the people of God drink. Then the priest touches the chalice, water abounds in the chalice, the people of God spring up into eternal life and drink, who acquired the grace of God."
(4) Have you learned this, then? Accept another example. At the time of the Lord's passion, when the great sabbath was approaching, because our Lord and the thieves were living, men were sent to beat them. They came and found our Lord Jesus Christ dead. Then one of the soldiers touched His side with a lance, and from His side flowed water and blood. Why water, why blood? Water, that He might cleanse; blood, that He might redeem. Why from the side? Because from where fault comes, from there also comes grace: fault through a woman, grace through our Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Cf. 1 Cor. 10.4. 4 Cf. John 4.14. 5 Cf. 19.31-34. 6 Cf. John 1.17.
(5) You have come to the altar; the Lord Jesus calls you -both your soul and the Church—and He says: 'Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth.' Do you wish to prepare for Christ? Nothing is more pleasing. Do you wish to do so for your soul? Nothing is more pleasant.
(6) 'Let him kiss me.' He sees that you are clean of all sin, because transgressions have been wiped away. Thus He judges you worthy of the heavenly sacraments, and thus invites you to the heavenly banquet. 'Let Him kiss me with the kiss of His mouth.'
(7) Yet on account of the following-both the condition of man and the Church—your soul sees that it is cleansed of all sins, that it is worthy so as to be able to approach the altar of Christ—for what is the altar of Christ but a form of the body of Christ—it sees the marvelous sacraments and says: 'Let him kiss me with the kiss of His mouth,' that is, 'Let Christ impress a kiss upon me.'
' (8) Why? 'For thy breasts are better than wine,"? that is, your perceptions are better, your sacraments are better than wine, than that wine which, although it has sweetness, has pleasure, has agreeableness, yet in it is worldly pleasure, but in you is spiritual delight. Already at that time Solomon introduces the marriage either of Christ and the Church or of the spirit and the flesh or of the spirit and the soul.
(9) And he added: 'Thy name is as oil poured out; therefore, young maidens have loved thee.” Who are these young maidens but the souls of individuals who have put aside the old age of this body, renewed through the Holy Spirit?
1 Cani. 1.1. 2 Cant. 1.1.