Expert Answer Forum
Consecration and Communion QUESTION from Lisa January 14, 1999
What is the significance of mixing water with the wine in the chalice before consecration? Why is it that some priests pour liberally, while others take great care to mix only a drop? Also, why does the priest put a piece of the host into the chalice? Is it ok if someone other than the priest i.e.,deacon or eucharistic minister, consumes this while drinking from the cup? Thank you, and God Bless you ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on January 17, 1999
Dear Lisa Thank you for your interesting question. Mixing a little water in with the wine just prior to the consecration has much historic and theological significance and is a beautiful example of Sacred Tradition. According to the Roman Catechism of Pope St. Pius V; With the wine, however, the Church of God has always mingled water. First, because Christ the Lord did so, as is proved by the authority of Councils and the testimony of St. Cyprian; next, because by this mixture is renewed the recollection of the blood and water that issued from His side. Waters, also, as we read in the Apocalypse (book of Revelation), signify the people; and hence, water mixed with the wine signifies the union of the faithful with Christ their Head. This rite, derived as it is from Apostolic tradition, the Catholic Church has always observed.
There are historical as well as practical reasons for commingling the Host with the Precious Blood. It signifies that both species belong together, and together they form the one perfect sacrifice. The commingling also represents the unity of the Church. It doesn't matter who drinks this small portion of the Host, although I would imagine that it is almost always consumed by the celebrant as he is the first to drink from the chalice. The Eastern Churches saw the commingling as a symbol of Christ's resurrection. The fraction (breaking) of the Host as representing Christ's passion and violent death. The commingling reunites both Body and Blood in a symbol of His rising from the dead. I hope this helps. In the two Hearts, John Miskell Back to Index Page