Gemma Animae (61-62): The Fraction and Pax


Chapter 61

On the Seventh Office and the Lord’s Resurrection
[Or, Christ’s Soul Returns to His Body]

Joshua 4
Joshua stops the sun and moon, Syriac Bible (Paris).

The seventh office initiates us (insinuat) into the Lord’s resurrection, when, having conquered death and despoiled hell, he gave peace to the whole world. For he had pacified all things in heaven and on earth, supped with his disciples, and gave to them his relics (reliquias). Thus the pontiff, having bested the devil in spiritual warfare, says Pax vobis, extending peace to those in attendance, and distributes the heavenly bread. Jesus did this too, but was prefigured by Joshua, who after besting his enemies distributed the land to the people by lot (Joshua 32). The pontiff places a part of the oblation in the chalice, signifying that the soul of Christ returns to its body [1].

[1] The identification of the Commingling with Christ’s resurrection was already made in various ancient sources, e.g. Theodore of Mopsuesta (Cf. MS II.318). It comes now just after the end of the Canon, which, as we have seen, is the period of Christ’s silent Passion on Golgotha, and his burial in the action surrounding the Our Father.

Joshua 1
Psalter of Saint Louis: Joshua Bids the Sun to Stand Still French Gothic, 1256, Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale (Source)

Chapter 62

On the Lord’s Peace

Then Pax vobis is said, because when Christ appeared to his own he said Pax vobis (John 20). He extends the peace because by his resurrection Christ restored to the human race the peace it had lost. The kiss of peace is given for three reasons. The clergy and people kiss one another for one reason, because men congratulate one another for having won the grace of their Lord and the friendship of the angels through Christ, who is our peace [1]. Another cause is that through this kiss of peace they demonstrate that they are all brothers in Christ, and sons of the Church’s ministers through Christ’s reconciliation, and that they desire to be refreshed by the one bread of Christ, who is the God of peace, concord, and love [2]. The third cause is that, just as the physical kiss unites flesh to flesh and spirit to spirit, so it is a precept that every man is to be loved with regard to the flesh through love of neighbor, and with regard to the spirit through love of God. Those who eat the Body of Christ without being bound together by this kiss of peace, are like Judas, who eat and drink condemnation on themselves through their false peace.  

[1] It is not entirely clear from Honorius’s description how the kiss passes from the clergy to the people. But he seems to be describing a kiss that includes in some way all members of the Church: ministers and faithful. This first allegory is based on the fact that the clergy in the choir represent the angels (see Chapter 140). He makes no mention of substitutes for the kiss, such as the

[2] The Gemma Animae bears no marks justifying the stereotypical accusation against Medieval liturgy, that it was a preserve of the clergy and not meant for popular participation. The unswerving focus on the unity of the “people of God,” ministers and people, Head and Members, Church Triumphant and Church Militant, all throughout the joyful celebration of the Eucharistic action, is what constantly impresses the unbiased reader.


Joshua 3
Sainte-Chapelle: Joshua Takes Hazor, French Gothic stained glass, ca. 1245, Paris (Source)


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