Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Chrism Mass

Pic from Mass last night, receiving a blessing during Mass on our wedding anniversary...

Chrism (Greek word literally meaning "an anointing"), also called "Myrrh" , Holy Anointing Oli or "Consecrated Oil," is a consecrated oil used in the church in the administration of certain sacraments.

Tonight we attended the Chrism Mass in our Diocese. A great way to start our Easter. Something important in Holy Week.

Doing a little research, to answer a friend's question, I found the following ~ Multiple early Christian documents discuss the "ordinance" or "several ceremonies...explained in the Apostolical Constitutions" of "chrism," including documents by Theophilus and Tertullian. The most detailed version of the practice is by Cyril of Jerusalem who details how ointment or oil was "symbolically applied to thy forehead, and thy other organs of sense" and that the "ears, nostrils, and breast were each to be anointed."Cyril states that the "ointment is the seal of the covenants" of baptism and God’s promises to the Christian who is anointed. Cyril taught that being "anointed with the Holy anointing oil [Chrism] of God" was the sign of a Christian (Christos means "anointed"), and a physical representation of having the Gift of the Holy Spirit , and it retains this meaning in Catholicism today.

He says; "Having been counted worthy of this Holy Chrism, ye are called Christians, verifying the name also by your new birth. For before you were deemed worthy of this grace, ye had properly no right to this title, but were advancing on your way towards being Christians.
Cyril of Jerusalem - On Chrism

Under normal circumstances, chrism is consecrated by the bishop of the particular church in the presence of the presbyterium at the Mass of the Chrism. The oil of catechumens and the oil of the sick are also blessed at this Mass.

Tonight, in fact.

A great experience for the kids. And so we try to attend each year.

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