Double Consecration

2018 Addition to the Revised Basic Course Manual, Lesson 12

By Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

On page 145 of your Revised Basic Course Manual, replace the fourth paragraph which begins, “In the institution narrative, the circumstances of the Last Supper…” with the following text. This addition assists with these questions: Basic Course 12-19, 12-47, 12-57, 12-74, 12-77; Advanced Course 20-21, 2022, 20-49, 20-55. If you are a Group Leader, add this information to these questions in your answer books.

In the institution narrative, the circumstances of the Last Supper are briefly narrated, and then the words of institution (also called words of consecration) spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper are spoken by the ordained priest. First, he speaks the words of institution over the hosts to be consecrated, “This is My Body.” Transubstantiation of the hosts takes place at this moment. The priest then elevates a consecrated Host for adoration by the faithful. The elevation of the Host is followed by the second Consecration, the Consecration of the wine. The priest speaks the words of institution over the chalice, “This is My Blood.” Transubstantiation of the wine takes place at this moment. The priest then elevates the chalice which now contains the Precious Blood of Our Lord for adoration by the faithful.

By the power of God through these words of institution, two Consecrations take place and Christ makes Himself sacramentally present under the Species of bread and wine. Only the accidents of the bread and wine now remain upon the altar as the substance is now the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Risen Christ; the whole Christ is present in each and every drop or particle of the Sacred Species.

The separate Consecration of the bread and wine signify the separation of Christ’s Body and Blood on the Cross and His resulting death. The moment the priest pronounces the second Consecration, the Consecration over the wine, the sacramental re-presentation of Christ’s Death is renewed in an unbloody manner on the altar. The separate Consecrations re-enact Christ’s Death and signify that Christ is sacrificially offering Himself freely, with His human will, to the heavenly Father, just as He did on Calvary. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to have both consecrations for the renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary. Without this double Consecration there is no Mass.

As previously discussed, the sacramental re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Calvary is the single most effective means by which Christ applies the merits He gained and the graces He won for us by His Sacrifice on the Cross. Through this Sacrifice, a plenitude of graces and blessings flow from the Risen Christ on the altar, not only to those assisting at Mass, but also to the whole world. The completion of the Mass occurs when the celebrating priest consumes the Sacred Body and Precious Blood. He must consume both Species for the Mass to be licit but, even if he does not communicate, as long he was validly ordained, had the proper intention and matter, and correctly performed the double Consecration, Mass is valid—meaning the grace was conferred.

Christ teaches us that through His Church, every time the double Consecration, that is, a separate Consecration of bread first and then of wine, is enacted, He is making an act of His human will and is offering the sacrifice of His life for us, just as He did for us on Calvary. He can no longer die, which is the essence of His sacrifice but He can continue to offer the fruit of His sacrifice in virtue of His Resurrection and Ascension. The essence of sacrifice is in the human will that is unreservedly prepared to die. With His human will, Christ offers His human life to His heavenly Father, not to merit the graces for our redemption, as He did that already on Calvary, but to transmit those graces to us through the Mass. The double Consecration is the Sacrifice or sacrificial part of the Mass and, therefore, the essence of the Mass. The double Consecration is also the Sacrament or sacramental part of the Mass, as it is the outward sacramental sign instituted by Christ that confers the graces of Calvary.

The grace conferred by the Holy Eucharist is the grace of supernatural charity which includes, for those who participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, even if they do not receive Holy Communion, the special grace to love God with the generosity of self-surrender, that is, to surrender our wills completely to the will of God. For those who receive Holy Communion during or outside of the Eucharistic Sacrifice it includes the distinctive grace of selfless love of God and neighbor. For those who worship the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the monstrance or reposed in the tabernacle it includes the distinctive grace of a sense of intimacy with Christ—a growing awareness of His presence in our midst.