Wednesday, May 30, 2012


 Lamb of God upon the altar

Continuing our review of "The Bible and Liturgy" by Fr. Jean Danielou SJ, we now turn to Fr. Danielou's examination of the anamnesis.    The Anamnesis is the efficacious commemoration on the altar of the mystery of Christ's Passion, Resurrection and Ascension.    Fr. Danielou cites Theodore of Mopsuestia's observation that "Each time that the sacrifice of Christ is offered, the Death of the Lord, His Resurrection, His Ascension and the remission of sins are signified."  Fr. Danielou notes that "[t]o signify does not here mean only to recall.  The word also intends to state that the sacrifice is not a new sacrifice, but the one sacrifice of Christ rendered present."   Unlike pagan sacrifices, the sacrifice of Christ is perfectly efficacious, and therefore does not need to be repeated.  Although the sacrifice of the Mass is offered daily in many places, it is offered as the anamnesis of Christ's sacrifice which is, in the words of St. John Chrysostom, "unique, not multiple."  St. John Chrysostom teaches further that the "anamnesis is the figure of His death.   It is the same sacrifice that we offer, not one today and another tomorrow.  One only Christ everywhere, entire everywhere, one only Body.  As everywhere there is one Body, everywhere there is one sacrifice.  . . .  This is the meaning of the anamnesis: we carry out the anamnesis of the sacrifice."

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