A detailed catechesis on the water and wine in the chalice

I’d like to get some feedback on the following essay I’ve written on the rite and prayer of mixing water with wine in the chalice during the Offertory.

This prayer from the Mass is said quietly by the deacon or priest during the Preparation of the Gifts, while he prepares the chalice by pouring in some wine and then adding a few drops of water:Per huius aquæ et vini mystérium
eius efficiámur divinitátis consórtes,
qui humanitátis nostræ fíeri dignátus est párticeps.

By the mystery of this water and wine (2 Macc. 15:39; John 19:34)
may we come to share in the divinity of Christ (Rom. 5:2; 2 Pet. 1:4)
who humbled himself to share in our humanity. (Phil. 2:8)The simple act of pouring water into wine, and the prayer accompanying it, is a synthesis of the whole Mass, of the whole Catholic faith, and of all salvation history. In order to unearth the theological and doctrinal riches of this easily-overlooked rite, we should first examine the history of this prayer.

Do not be surprised that so much can be written about such a small prayer. The rite and its prayer are of phenomenal significance, as they represent the totality of redemption, from the Incarnation to the Passion and beyond, to the Resurrection and our eventual sharing in the divine life of God in Heaven.

The whole thing can be read here.

Does the priest kind of move the Cup a little as to swirl the contents during the Eucharistic prayer to further mix the water and wine ? I have noticed this action by more than one priest but do not know why it is done. Could this be the reason?

Quick question: when you provide evidence, for example, of “Its oldest known ancestor is a Collect for the Nativity of our Lord from the Leonine Sacramentary”, did you do that research yourself (e.g., did you study the Leonine Sacramentary and other older works to discover this) or are you relying on someone else’s research?

as an off topic note, do you know where the picture on the side of your essay (on that website) is from, what church.

HERE IS THE ANSWER, and i try to go every sunday, if not i go to my parish

Fr. Z’s research, as well as whoever runs this blog.

It shouldn’t really be necessary to mix the wine and water any further (water mingles with wine rather easily), but I don’t think it would hurt any for a priest to do so. It should happen before the consecration, of course, so as to avoid any possibility of spilling the Precious Blood.

It is possible what you see is the priest trying to get any drops of wine that are clinging to the inside walls of the chalice to join the rest of the wine.

i know the priest does this at the end of Communion when he wipes the patens and the empty vessels and makes sure all the particles are swept into the cup. then he swirls it to make sure all the particles of the Body of Christ are mixed into the Precious Blood so that all will be consumed by him. but during Eucharistic prayer? i haven’t noticed it, perhaps some priests feel there is a necessity to mix it, but its not really asked of them to do so

Why does the priest mix a little water with the wine? Because Jesus wasn’t a hic (and neither are we).

That’s actually being serious. An excellent priest explained to us that in Jesus’ time, drinking straight wine was what people did to get drunk quickly (“hics”). Therefore Jesus would have added water to dilute the wine, because that’s what people who drank socially did (“non-hics”). I believe the priest said that the theological understanding came later (which is fine, theology takes time sometimes), but the original reason is that we add the water is for the same reason we use wheaten bread and grape wine: because Jesus did.

The theology is very cool too. I never thought about it all that way.

I really liked it japhy! I think the last part could perhaps be made a bit clearer in the idea that you are trying to convey - water restoring humans, but through the blood.

Also, something you might want to consider (though I don’t know whether you might want to since the piece focuses on the Roman liturgy and that focus might be diluted) is illustrate the subsidiary points by references to the prayers used in other liturgies for the mingling? So for point (1) very frequent in liturgies of the East and West, either verbatim from the Gospel of S. John including "one who saw it, etc.) or by analogy (2) could use the West Syriac liturgy (3) and (4) Roman liturgy and those based on it.

This rubric likely originated as a purely practical and customary action, so there are any number of theological interpretations of it that may be valid.


It was a nice article.
Thanks for shearing such a nice post.

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