Gemma Animae (49-56): Further commentary on the Roman Canon

“But there are six orders of crosses, because the world is made in six days, and Christ’s body is restored by the same six-fold number.”

This section of Gemma Animae‘s commentary on the Roman Canon is organized around the several sets of signs of the cross made over the offerings. The multiplication of these signs of the cross was a medieval phenomenon that inspired a raft of mystical interpretations and became a stock object of ridicule for critics of medieval liturgy.

Scholars say that the primitive meaning of these signs was indicative, pointing out the offerings as they are mentioned in prayer: Haec ☩ dona, haec ☩ munera, etc. Honorius seems to go far beyond this literal sense, interpreting them through layers of Scriptural themes.

He takes them as place-markers, divisions of the larger plot of the Canon, which he understands as a story, a recapitulation of salvation history in six acts. The life-giving Cross stands at the center of this history, following humanity through every age. Along the way, every generation is united to the Cross (crux) through its cruciform suffering (cruciatus).

Though we might disagree with the way it has been grafted onto the Mass ritual, I think his account of sacrifice is rather theologically astute, not ridiculous at all. The way it integrates the creation, redemption, and passion is deeply Scriptural and soundly orthodox.

As John Behr has observed, from Genesis’s “Let us make man in our image and likeness” to John’s “Behold the Man,” history as the story of God’s creative action reaches its summit in the God-man Christ. In the Canon of the Mass, the Church re-performs this creative action, taking matter from the earth, breathing upon it with the Holy Spirit, and thus making sacramentally present the New Adam, the fairest of the children of men, and along with Him His Body the Church.

From a theological point of view then, our Canon is the daily-repeated completion of God’s creative act in the Church, every day the Incarnation made present and efficacious on the altar. So it makes sense why Honorius sees a special significance in the “Amen”–God’s creative word, the Hebrew equivalent of the Latin “fiat”–that ends the Canon:

We say Amen to confirm the whole sacrament because through this word the world is created. For Amen means fiat, the word God used to create the world when he said: Fiat lux, etc.” (GA, Ch. 99).

Further, Honorius’ historical vision is taken straight from the Book of Revelation: history as the patient com-passion of Christ’s saints in the hope of glory. Honorius makes the connection between the Cross (crux) and the “sufferings” (cruciatus) of the Old and New Testament saints explicit in the chapters below.

Ultimately we are free to dispense with the literal particulars of Honorius’s commentary: the six orders, the five-fold divisions, etc., etc. But in what is most important for theological understanding, I think Honorius has given a deeply satisfying account. What is the sacrifice the priest designates with signs of the cross? Medieval commentary can help us regain a vision of the full cosmological grandeur of the sacrificial act, a vision firmly based in Scripture and the Fathers.

Image result for creation in the cross + painting

Chapter 49
On the Cross

This sacrament (sacramentum tantum) is accomplished through the Cross alone, because Christ hung on the cross as the sacrifice of the Father, where he redeemed the world in a four-fold manner. But there are six orders of crosses because the world is made in six days, and Christ’s body is restored by the same six-fold number. For a blessing is given through an odd number, which cannot be divided into two equals. We make either three crosses, and thus express our Trinitarian faith; or we sign through five crosses, and denote the five-fold passion of Christ. Through these six orders of crosses we comprehend the whole history of the world, expressing it as a unity united through the cross of Christ.

CAP. XLIX. – De cruce.

Hoc sacramentum tantum per crucem fit, quia Christus sacrificium Patris in cruce pependit, et in cruce quadruplum mundum redemit. Sex autem ordines crucum fiunt, quia sex diebus mundus perficitur et senario numero corpus Christi reficitur. Per imparem vero numerum, qui in duo paria non potest dividi, benedicitur; quia corpus Christi permanens non scinditur. Aut enim tres cruces facimus, et fidem Trinitatis exprimimus: aut per quinque signamus, et quinquepartitam Christi passionem denotamus. Per sex ordines cuncta mundi tempora comprehendimus, quae per crucem Christo unita exprimimus.

Ch. 50
On the First Order and the Three Crosses

In the first order we make three signs of the cross at Haec dona, an allusion the first age before the Law, which had three phases: one ran from Adam to Noah, the next from Noah to Abraham, and the third from Abraham to Moses. The just men in this age had faith in the Trinity and made tribute to Christ from afar through their sacrifices, and also bore many terrible sufferings for their faith. For in the first age, Abel offered Christ in the form of the lamb and for his sake suffered the pain of death. In the second age, Melchisedech offered Christ’s Body and Blood in bread and wine and for his faith in Christ he suffered the ravages of war with the kings of the Gentiles. In the third age, Abraham sacrificed Christ in the person of Isaac, slaughtered the ram, and bore various hardships for his faith.

CAP. L. – De primo ordine, et de tribus crucibus

In primo ordine, tres cruces facimus ubi Haec dona dicimus, et primum tempus ante legem innuimus, quod tribus interstitiis distinguimus, quia unum ab Adam usque ad Noe, aliud a Noe usque ad Abraham, tertium ab Abraham usque ad Moysen. In quibus iusti in fide Trinitatis Christum a longe suis sacrificiis salutaverunt, et multos cruciatus in hac fide pertulerunt. In prima quippe aetate, Abel Christum in agno obtulit, et pro eo cruciatum mortis pertulit. In secunda, Melchisedech Christi carnem, et sanguinem in pane et vino obtulit qui cruciatus bellorum a regibus gentium in fide Christi pertulit. In tertia, Abraham Christum in Isaac sacrificavit, in ariete mactavit, qui variatos cruciatus in hac fide toleravit.

 Ch. 51
On the Second Order, and the Five Crosses

In the second order we make five signs of the cross, at Benedictam, ascriptam, portraying the time of the Law, in which the just men portrayed Christ through the five sacrifices of the books of the Law and suffered many torments for their faith.

Five is divided into two parts, three and two, just as this age is divided into two parts. One was from Moses to David, another from David to Christ. The number three signifies the judges from Joshua to David, the kings from David to the Babylonian captivity, and the princes from Zorobabel to Christ. The number two on the other hand signifies the priests and prophets, among them Moses, who immolated Christ in the form of the Paschal Lamb, and according to the Apostle suffered many things for his faith in Christ, whom he preached in the Law (Hebrews 11).

Samuel anointed Christ in the person of David,and both of them expressed Christ in their sacrifices, and as figures of Christ bore persecution at the hands of the unfaithful king Saul. Elijah and the other prophets gave figures and signs of Christ in their sacrifices, words, and writings, and were struck with many punishments for their faith.

CAP. LI. – De secundo ordine, et de quinque crucibus.

In secundo ordine, quinque cruces facimus, ubi Benedictam, ascriptam dicimus, et tempus legis exprimimus, quo iusti per quinque librorum legis sacrificia Christum expresserunt, et multos cruciatus pro eius fide pertulerunt. Quinque namque in duas partes, scilicet trinarium, et binarium solvitur; et illud tempus in duo interstitia dividitur. Unum a Moyse usque ad David fuit, alterum a David usque ad Christum exstitit. Per trinarium, iudices a Iosue usque ad David, et reges a David usque ad captivitatem Babylonis, et principes a Zorobabel usque ad Christum notantur. Per binarium vero sacerdotes et prophetae significantur, ex quibus Moyses Christum in paschali agno immolavit, qui Apostolo teste multa adversa pro fide Christi toleravit, quem lege praedicavit (Hebr. XI); Samuel Christum in David unxit, qui uterque Christum et sacrificiis expressit, et in figura Christi persecutionem a perfido rege Saul pertulit; Elias et alii prophetae Christum sacrificiis, vocibus, scriptis praemonstraverunt, et pro eius fide varia supplicia perpessi sunt.

Ch. 52
On the Third Order

In the third order we take bread in our hands and bless it, signifying the time of grace in which Simon received the new-born Christ into his hands as the living bread and blessed him with great joy. Next we raise the chalice and bless it, portraying the time of the Supper, in which Christ raised up bread and wine in his hands, blessed them, and gave them to the apostles as his Body and Blood. For this reason to this very day when the words of the Lord are recited in this order (in ordine), the bread and wine are changed into his Body and Blood.

CAP. 52. – De tertio ordine

In tertio ordine panem in manum suscipimus, et benedicimus, et tempus gratiae innotescimus, quo Simeon Christum iam natum panem vivum in manus accepit, et gaudens benedixit. Deinde calicem levamus, et benedicimus, et tempus coenae exprimimus, quo Christus panem et calicem manibus elevavit et benedixit, et inde corpus et sanguinem apostolis tradidit. Unde adhuc cum verba Domini in ordine recitantur, panis et vinum in corpus et sanguinem Domini commutantur.

Ch. 53
On the Fourth Order

In the fourth order we make five crosses at Hostiam puram, recalling the time when Christ received five wounds on the Cross and redeemed the five ages [1].

[1] I.e., the three-fold time before the Law, the Law, and Grace.

CAP. LIII. – De quarto ordine, et de quinque crucibus.

In quarto ordine, quinque cruces facimus, ubi Hostiam puram dicimus. Et illud tempus ad memoriam reducimus, quo Christus quinque vulnera in cruce accepit, et quinque saecula redemit.

Ch. 54
On the fifth order and the three crosses

In the fifth order we say three signs of the cross at omnia bona creas, sanctificas, alluding to the Body of Christ, viz. the primitive Church, which received the Trinitarian faith and withstood many torments for Christ.

CAP. LIV. – De quinto ordine, et tribus crucibus

In quinto ordine, tres cruces ubi Omnia bona creas, sanctificas dicimus, et corpus Christi scilicet primitivam Ecclesiam innuimus, quae fidem Trinitatis accepit, et multos cruciatus pro Christo sustinuit.

Ch. 55
On the sixth order and the five crosses

In the sixth order we make five crosses at per ipsum, expressing the Body of Christ, this time the Church gathered from amongst the Gentiles who reverently received the five-fold Passion of Christ and patiently bore various sufferings in imitation of it.

CAP. LV. – De sexto ordine, et de quinque crucibus.

In sexto ordine quinque cruces facimus, ubi Per ipsum dicimus, et item corpus Christi, videlicet Ecclesiam de gentibus exprimimus, quae Christi quinquepartitam passionem veneranter excepit, et eam imitando patienter diversa tormenta pertulit.

Ch. 56
On the five orders of crosses

Thus through five orders of crosses we symbolize the five ages of the world saved by the Cross and by the Body of Christ. Per Christum Dominum nostrum is said five times in the Canon because the world is redeemed through Christ’s five wounds. In the sixth order the chalice is touched with the oblata because in this way Christ is shown to have drunk the chalice of his Passion on the Cross for the sake of all at a certain age in time. When we say Per ipsum, we make four signs of the cross over the chalice with the oblata and a fifth on the side of the chalice, because thereby we make known that Christ received four wounds on the hands and feet and a fifth in his side. When the body of Christ has been confected, we touch the lip of the chalice, and in this way we signify that when the body of the first man had been formed, God breathed the breath of life into his face and from him brought the woman to life (Genesis II). In a similar way God, per quem, cum quo, in quo omnia, breathed the Holy Spirit into the face of the perishing human race and out of it gave life to the Church through his Body. The chalice is touched in four places because the human race, scattered to the four corners of the world and brought to life by the four parts of the Cross, will be raised to life through Christ at the end of the world.

CAP. LVI. – De quinque ordinibus crucum.

Item per quinque ordines crucum, quinque aetates mundi designantur, quae per crucem et Christi corpus salvantur. Unde et in Canone quinquies Per Christum Dominum nostrum dicitur, quia per quinque vulnera Christi mundus redimitur. In sexto ordine calix cum oblata tangitur, quia in certa aetate Christus calicem passionis in cruce pro omnibus bibisse innuitur. Cum Per ipsum dicimus, quatuor cruces super calicem cum oblata facimus, quintam lateri calicis imprimimus; quia Christus, quatuor vulnera in manibus, et pedibus, et quintum in latere suscepisse innotescimus. Confecto ergo corpore Christi, labia calicis tangimus, ac per hoc, quod formato primi hominis corpore, Deus spiraculum vitae in faciem eius spiravit et mulierem ex eo vivificavit (Gen. II), significamus. Et hoc Deus, per quem, cum quo, in quo omnia, in faciem mortui humani generis Spiritum sanctum spiravit, et Ecclesiam ex eo per corpus suum vivificavit. Per quatuor autem partes calix tangitur; quia humanum genus in quatuor mundi partes dispersum, per quatuor crucis partes vivificatum, in fine mundi per Christum ad vitam resuscitatur.

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Gemma Animae (81): Christ’s Duel with the Devil

Ch. 81
The Battle with the Philistines


Now, as we have already explained, this battle happened before hand when David met Goliath and freed the people from his tyranny (1 Kings 17), because Christ also dueled the devil and saved the people who had been oppressed by him.

The Philistines were making war on Israel, and the host of demons was waylaying the human race; their enemies had sent troops against the people of God, and the devils raised up tyrants against the just; the enemies were protected by a wall, and the demons refined their wiles through the philosophers and poets. Goliath taunted God’s armies, and the devil mocks God’s devout through idolatry. David is sent into battle by his father, and Christ is dispatched into the world to wage his contest. David pastured sheep, and Christ led the flock to the fields of life. David defeated a bear and a lion, and Christ overcame the devil’s temptation. David left his sheep and hasted to the place of battle, and Christ, deserted by his disciples, came into the enemy’s assembly place.

At David’s arrival there was great shouting in the camp, and when Christ came among the Jews the cry went up “He deserves to die!” David puts on Saul’s suit of arms, but takes them off again (I Kings 17), and Christ is dressed in Pilate’s military uniform, i.e. the royal purple and the scarlet mantle, then stripped of them immediately [1]. David carried a staff against the Philistines, and Christ carried the cross against the devil. David took a milk bucket, and Christ took a jar of vinegar. The enemy is toppled by a sling and stone, and the devil is beaten by Christ’s flesh. For we should understand the sling to be Christ’s flesh, the stone his soul, and David his divinity. The stone hurled by the sling pierces Goliath’s skull because Christ’s soul, driven from his flesh by cruel torture, invaded and despoiled the tyrant’s dominion of Hell. He kills him with his own sword, because by his death Christ conquered the author of death. The people rejoice at David’s return, and the faithful people celebrate Christ’s return from Hell. David is received by singing crowds on his way back to Jerusalem, and in Christ’s ascent from Jerusalem into the heavens he is met by the angels singing hymns of praise.

[1] 1 Samuel 17:38-40:

Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a bronze helmet (galea) on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail (lorica). David strapped Saul’s sword over the armor, and he tried in vain to walk, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these; for I am not used to them.” So David removed them. Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the wadi, and put them in his shepherd’s bag, in the pouch; his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine.

Temptation painting.jpg

CAP. LXXXI. – De pugna Philistaei.

Hoc ut dictum est in figura praecesserat, quando David cum Goliath congressus populum a tyrannide eius eruerat (I Reg. XVII), quia et Christus cum diabolo duellum subierat et populum oppressum ab eo eripiebat. Philisthim namque Israel impugnabat, et daemonum caterva humanum genus vexabat; hostes contra populum Dei aciem direxerant, et daemones contra iustos tyrannos incitaverant; hostes se vallo munierant, et daemones per philosophos et poetas errores firmaverant. Goliath agminibus Dei exprobrabat, et diabolus cultoribus Dei per idololatriam insultabat. David a patre suo ad pugnam mittitur, et Christus a Patre in mundum ad certamen dirigitur. David oves pavit, et Christus innocens ad pascua vitae congregavit. David ursum vel leonem superavit, et Christus diabolum se tentantem superavit. David ovibus derelictis ad locum certaminis tendit, et Christus a discipulis derelictus ad conciliabula hostium venit. Veniente David clamor in castris oritur, et Christo inter Iudaeos veniente clamor reus est mortis exoritur. David a militibus armis Saul induitur, moxque eisdem exuitur (I Reg. XVII), et Christus a militibus vestibus Pilati, scilicet purpura et Chlamide coccinea induitur, moxque eisdem exuitur. David contra Philistaeum baculum portavit, et Christus crucem contra diabolum baiulavit. David mulctrum, et Christus accepit vas aceto plenum. Hostis funda et lapide prosternitur, et diabolus Christi carne vincitur, Per fundam quippe, Christi caro; per lapidem, eius anima, per David, deitas intelligitur. Petra itaque de funda excussa frontem superbi penetrat, quia anima Christi, de carne tormentis excussa, regnum tyranni penetrans infernum spoliat. Proprio ense victum iugulat, quia per mortem auctorem mortis vicit. Reverso David populus laetatur, et Christo ab inferis regresso populus fidelium congratulatur. David Ierusalem veniens a turbis cum cantu excipitur, et Christus ab Ierusalem coelos ascensurus ab angelis hymnologis laudibus suscipitur.

Lebrun: The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar


The Public Preparation at the Foot of the Altar


This first part of the Mass contains three things 1. The desire to go up to the altar with confidence in God’s good will. 2. The confession of one’s faults. 3. Prayers to obtain their remission and the grace to ascend the altar with complete purity. These preparatory prayers take place at the foot of the altar, or often at a slight distance from the altar, since they are meant as a preparation for going there. They are mentioned in the Missals only very rarely, and are absent entirely from the first Roman Orders. The six ancient Orders printed by Fr. Mabillon tell us that the bishop, after dressing in the sacristy and signaling the choir to chant the Introit psalm, went first to the head of the choir with all his officers; that he made a bow there,[1] made a sign of the cross on his front, gave a sign of peace to his officers, and stood for some time in prayer before making the sign to the chanter to say the Gloria Patri; that then he advanced to the steps of the altar,[2] and there asks pardon for his sins;[3] that the ministers, except for the acolytes and thurifers, remain kneeling and praying with him; and that he continued to pray until the repetition of the Introit verse.[4]

None of these ancient Ordines describes the prayers of the preparation. In the Latin Church they are not found in writing before the ninth century, being left to the private devotion of the bishops and priests to say them either individually and silently[5] or with the other ministers. No council or pope prescribed the form or terms of these prayers, any more than the moment when they should take place. Some have performed them in a particular chapel, as it is done today at Tours at the tomb of St. Martin; others do it in the choir, as at Laon and Chartres, or at the entrance of the sanctuary, far from the altar, as at Soissons and Châlons-sur-Marne; others at the left or Gospel side of the altar upon entering, as the Carthusians who have taken many of their usages from Vienne and Grenoble; finally, others do them in the sacristy, as at Reims.[6] Various bishops have determined the place they are to be said and used whatever prayers were convenient for their devotion. This is why these prayers differ in their wording and content. Since the ninth century they have been included in some Missals, and more commonly in Pontificals, Manuals, or Ordinaries of the churches. We must look for them there, at least until the 14th century.

These preparatory prayers pertain as much to the assistants as to the priest, and they are said publicly at the foot of the altar, so that no one need assist at Mass without preparation.

Carthusian Rite Confiteor.jpg
Carthusian Confiteor (Source)


[1] Pertransit Pontifex in caput scholae et inclinat caput ad altare, surgens et orans (Ordo Romanus I; Mus. Ital. p. 8) In caput scholae et in gradu superiore (Ordo Romanus II; p. 43); In tribunal Ecclesiae (Ordo Romanus III; p. 56).

[2] Non prolixa completa oratione… annuat cantori ut Gloria dicat: ipse vero ductus a diaconibus pergat ante altare, inclinatisque ad orationem cunctis, stantibus acolythis cum candelabris et thuribilus, etc (Ordo Romanus V; p. 66).

[3] Inclinans se Deum pro peccatis suis deprecetur (Ordo VI; p. 71).

[4] Pontifex orat super ipsum oratorium [prie-Dieu] usque ad repetitionem versus (Ordo I; p. 8). Stat semper inclinatus usque ad versum prophetalem (Ord. II; p. 43).

[5] Pontifex concelebrat interim secreto orationem ante altare inclinatus (Ord. III; p. 56).

[6] See Meurier, writing in 1585, “Sermon 6” and the Ceremonial reprinted in 1637.

Margaret Deansely: The Bishop’s Familia and the Ecclesial Cursus Honorum

In his commentary on the seven holy orders, Honorius prefers to trace each order to a precedent in the Old Law, so that the hierarchy of the Church is a sort of mirror of the Temple ministry instituted by David and Solomon.

But the orders are also bound up with the distinctively Roman culture of the Latin Church, as we can see in the following extracts from Margaret Deanesly, A History of the Medieval Church, page 28:

“In the time of Gregory I the conception of the clergy as the ‘clerical militia’ was already long developed. The imperial civil service had provided a ladder of offices, by which a candidate, beginning at the bottom, might proceed through the ‘cursus honorum’ to the highest civil or military rank. The parallel between this ladder and the various grades of the Christian minister had not been unnoticed by Christian bishops, and by 600 the commonest collective description of the clergy was the ‘clerical militia,’ or the ‘celestial’ in opposition to the ‘secular’ militia. The celestial militia consisted of seven orders, its sevenfold nature denoting the perfection of the divine service: ostiarius, lector, acolyte, subdeacon, deacon, presbyter, or sacerdos [….]

About the year 600 the first three minor orders were usually conferred together; boys were ordained lectors at about seven years of age, and received the other grades at intervals of several years, till they were ordained to the presbyterate at the age of forty-five [….]

This was due to the system of education in the bishop’s familia. After the destruction of the rhetorical schools in the barbarian invasions, the bishop’s house became the only place where the clergy might reasonably hope for an education [….]

Gregory of Tours relates how, at the death of a Gallic bishop, the bishops summoned for his funeral encountered a claim from one Cato, a presbyter of his clergy, to be ordained bishop almost as of right, from his due canonical reception of the various grades. ‘For,’ he said, ‘I have been allotted these grades of clerkship with canonical institution. I was a lector ten years, I ministered in the office of subdeacon for five years, fifteen years was I bound for the diaconate, and now for twenty years I have enjoyed the honour of the presbyterate. What now remains for me but to receive…the episcopate?'”

Gemma Animae (78-79): David and Christ, Goliath and the Devil Compared

Gemma Animae reads three Old Testament battles through the same allegorical lens, with Christ as the hero in each case.

1) Moses’ battle with Amalech (Ch. 44)
2) Joshua’s conquest of the Holy Land (Ch. 72)
3) David’s duel with Goliath (Ch. 78)

Ch. 78
David and Christ, Goliath and the Devil compared

David 1
Morgan M.619 Winchester Bible, f. v (1160-1180) from Winchester, England (Source)

When Jesus, or Joshua, for they are the same, had defeated many foes and the victorious people became lax in the long peace that followed, the Philistines once again rose against Israel and waged a bloody war on them. Goliath steps out from their lines and asks for a duel. David comes against him with his shepherd’s bag and sling. Having knocked him down, he kills him with his sword. The liberated people sacrifice a victim to God and jubilate their praise and thanksgiving, then meet David on his way to Jerusalem and receive their savior with hymns.

In the same way, when the Christian people have overcome the vices once they rise once again and bring another bitter war to the negligent soul. The devil, our Goliath, comes forth and asks for a duel when he tempts Christians to each of the vices. Strengthened by Sacred Scripture, the soul comes against him with its milk bucket [1] and slings a stone when it defeats him through the humanity of Christ (which was a stone to the thirsting people [2] and the corner-stone to those who believe in him). Having laid the devil low, the soul beheads him with his own sword when it overcomes the malignant foe through fragile flesh.

David 2 (morgan)
David slays Goliath and cuts off his head. The Crusader Bible, MS M.638, fol. 28v (detail). The Morgan Library & Museum (Source)

[1] The Biblical account doesn’t mention a milk bucket. I Kings 17:38-40:

Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a bronze helmet on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail. David strapped Saul’s sword over the armor, and he tried in vain to walk, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these; for I am not used to them.” So David removed them. Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the wadi, and put them in his shepherd’s bag, in the pouch; his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine.

[2] An allusion to the Paul’s interpretation of Exodus 17, where Moses draws water from the rock for the thirsty Israelites. 1 Cor. 10:4 “For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.”
CAP. LXXVIII. – De David cum Christo et Goliath cum diabolo comparatis.

Multiplici itaque hoste, ab Iesu, qui et Iosue, superato, et victori populo ob pacis abundantiam negligentia resoluto, rursus Philistaei adversus Israel conveniunt, crudele bellum indicitur. Ex quibus Goliath procedit, duellum petit. Cui David cum pastorali pera occurrit funda, et lapide cum deiecit, proprio mucrone perfodit. Populus autem liberatus, pro victoria Deo immolat victimam, pro gratiarum actione laudes iubilat. David Hierusalem venienti turba populorum obviam ruit, salvatorem populi hymnis excepit. Sic quoque vitiis a Christiano populo superatis, denuo consurgit, negligenti animae acrius bellum infertur. Ex quibus gigas Goliath, scilicet diabolus, procedit, duellum petit, dum quemlibet Christianum ad singularia vitia allicit. Cui fortis animus cum sacra Scriptura, ut David, cum mulcro lactis occurrit funda, et lapide, deiecit: dum per humanitatem Christi quae sitienti populo erat petra, et credentibus populis lapis angularis eum devincit, proprio ense prostratum iugulat, dum hostem malignum fragili carne superat.

Ch. 79
The Mystery

David 3 (Paris)
“David and Goliath”, from the Paris Psalter (Source)

Thus when the subdeacon and other ministers commence the sacrifice, it is like David is being armed by Saul and the people (1 Kings 17). When the oblations are placed on the altar, David’s weapons are laid there. Then when the pontiff comes to the altar, David moves against the Philistines. The chalice is his milk bucket, the corporal his sling, the oblation his rock. The sung Preface is the cheering of Goliath’s comrades egging the giant on to fight. The Canon is the people’s prayer. The priest’s bow is the stone’s swinging in the sling. The elevation of the bread is the casting of the stone. When he bows again, he signifies that the enemy has been knocked down. When the deacon comes to the priest, elevates and puts down the chalice, he indicates that David has run to the prostrate giant and taken off his head with his drawn sword. Finally, after giving the peace the people communicates because having received peace through David they participate in God through sacrifice. The Communion chant is the people’s praise, flush with victory. The [Postcommunion] prayer and [final] blessing that follow is the trophy the people of Jerusalem gave David upon his return. At the end of all these things, the people go back to their homes, because after their victory the people returned home with joy.

David 4
David with the Head of Goliath, Bernardo Strozzi, 1636 (Source)

CAP. LXXIX. – Mysterium

Cum ergo a subdiacono, et aliis sacrificium instituitur, quasi David a Saul et populo armis induitur (I Reg. XVII). Cum oblationes super altare ponuntur, quasi arma David deponuntur. Porro cum pontifex ad altare venit, quasi David adversus Philistaeum procedit. Per calicem mulctrale accipitur, per corporale funda, per oblatam petra intelligitur. Praefatio quae cantatur, fuit clamor quo pugil gigas ad duellum provocabatur, per Canonis deprecationem, intelligimus populi orationem. Sacerdotis inclinatio, est fundae lapide imposito rotatio. Panis elevatio est lapidis iactatio. Ubi denuo inclinatur, significat quod hostis prosternitur. Ubi autem diaconus ad sacerdotem venit, et calicem cum eo elevans deponit, designat quod David ad prostratum cucurrit, extracto gladio caput abstulit. Deinde data pace populus communicat quia accepta per David pace populus Deo sacrificans participat. Cantus in communione, est laus populi pro victoriae exsultatione. Oratio et benedictio quae sequitur, est trophaeum quo David a populo Ierusalem veniens excipiebatur. His peractis, populus ad propria remeat, quia populus tunc post victoriam cum gaudio ad propria repedabat.