Voices ever ancient, ever new. Easter Triduum 2014: Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper

“Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feetd and dry them with the towel around his waist.” (John 13:5)

Saint Ambrose of Milan offers the following insight on this verse from this evening’s Gospel:

“I find the Lord divesting himself of his garments and girding himself with a towel, pouring water into a basin, washing the feet of his disciples. This water was that heavenly dew with which, it was prophesied, the Lord Jesus would wash the feet of his disciples. And now let the feet of our souls be extended. The Lord Jesus wishes to wash our feet also. There is a kind of water that we pour into the basin of our soul, water from the fleece and from the Book of Judges, water from the Book of Psalms. The water is the dew of the heavenly message. Therefore, Lord Jesus, let this water come into my soul, into my flesh, that by the moisture of this rain the valleys of our minds and the fields of our inmost heart may grow green. Let your drops come on me, sprinkling grace and immortality. Wash the steps of my mind that I may not sin again. Wash off the heel of my spirit that I may be able to abolish the curse so that I may not feel the bite of the serpent on my inner foot, but, as you yourself have ordered your followers, that I may have the power with uninjured foot to tread on the serpents and scorpions. You have redeemed the world. Redeem the soul of one sinner.” (On the Holy Spirit, 1)

O God, who have called us to participate
in this most sacred Supper,
in which your Only Begotten Son,
when about to hand himself over to death,
entrusted to the Church
a sacrifice new for all eternity,
the banquet of his love,
grant, we pray,
that we may draw from so great a mystery,
the fullness of charity and of life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give You thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.
through Christ our Lord.

For he is the true and eternal Priest,
who instituted the pattern of an everlasting sacrifice
and was the first to offer himself as the saving Victim,
commanding us to make this offering as his memorial.
As we eat his flesh that was sacrificed for us,
we are made strong,
and, as we drink his Blood that was poured out for us,
we are washed clean.

And so, with Angels and Archangels,
with Thrones and Dominions,
and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven,
we sing the hymn of your glory,
as without end we acclaim:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts . . .

Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen.