THE CHALICE OF BENEDICTION
Participation in His Blood, more active on our part, is what our Lord desires. This yearning we hear expressed in the words in which our Savior offered His Blood to His disciples, and it can be read from His sacred countenance as He inclines His head on the Cross to the open wound in His Heart. It can be gleaned from the admonition of the Apostle: The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communication of the blood of Christ? The Mass you attend every Sunday is the representation of the Cross with a something else, namely, your presence, your share and part in the act of infinite religion. Jesus, your Priest and your Victim, is there acting divinely through His human minister; but Jesus should not be alone, offering and offered up on the Eucharistic altar. On the Cross He was alone; it was the original sacrifice giving birth to the Church. On the Eucharistic altar, the Church must be with Him, offering and offered up. We Catholics are, in the words of St. John, purchased from among men, the first-fruits to God and to the Lamb, but as such we have the grave responsibility of being channels of grace to the rest of the world, for if the first-fruit be holy. The Precious Blood has been given to us as the treasure of the Church, as St. Catherine calls it, which we may offer again and again all day long both for ourselves and for others.
Before the elevation at Mass, let us present our own bodies as a living sacrifice by slaying our vices and dying to this world, but with hearts alive with faith and love offering all that we have to Him Who delivered Himself up for us. After elevation let us go forth to the Victim on Calvary that he might sanctify the people by his own blood, by him therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise always to God. The second duty we owe to God, and to satisfy which we should offer the Precious Blood, is to make expiation and reparation for sins committed. For this purpose the Precious Blood was spilt on the Cross and is consecrated in the Mass, which shall be shed for you and for many, to the remission of sins. Then, again, we must make oblation of this Blood in gratitude for the numberless gifts and favors we receive at the hand of God and as the mightiest petition for further benefits. There is no more efficacious means at our disposal to touch the heart of God and to obtain His grace and mercy than the oblation of the Precious Blood. This Blood of the Atonement appeased the wrath of the Father, opened Heaven to us and made us children of God. Ah, how great, then, must be its power of intercession!
How many millions of sins are committed daily whereby the love and goodness of God is outraged! By offering up daily the Precious Blood of Jesus, consecrated on many hundred thousand altars, to save the sorely tempted from falling into sin, what untold honor and glory we should give to the majesty and holiness of God! If we truly loved God our zeal would prompt us to raise the chalice by making these oblations as a barrier to the perversity of the human will and to draw down the grace of God for the enlightenment of the sinner that he might not heap insults upon his Lord and Creator by his reckless sinning. This act of love and zeal would be, at the same time, a means of atonement for our own sins. What joy, what happiness, what merits in heaven we should prepare for ourselves by this simple but soul-saving practice. The practice of offering the Blood of Christ for this purpose should occupy your mind a few moments every morning at Mass after elevation. He must know that he who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins. More precious, however, than His own Blood is to us, are souls in the eyes of the Lord. – St. Bernard.
The most magnificent piece is a gold chalice that Catherine II of Russia commissioned as part of a communion set in 1791. It was made in St. Petersburg by Iver Windfeldt Buch of gold, diamonds, chalcedony, bloodstone, nephrite, carnelian, and cast glass. – Hillwood estate museum