With the Purification and Ablution, the Mass brings us to the concluding moments of the Sacrifice of Calvary. The priest takes water and wine for the purification and cleansing of the Chalice and of his fingers. While performing these actions, his mind should be immersed in the sacredness of the moment with prayers and recollection, for as Gihr writes: “…during the whole period of the corporal presence of Christ in the heart of the communicant, the sacramental grace is being ever increased, provided that the communicant produces constantly new and, at the same time, more perfect acts of devotion.”
It would be a most fitting time for the laity who have communicated, to make loving acts of adoration and reparation as they contemplate the scene of the most Sacred Body being washed and anointed in final preparations before the tomb is sealed.
Fr. Martin J. Scott recommends in his book, THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS, that “While the priest is purifying and covering the chalice, we… contemplate the disciples [and the Blessed Mother] of Jesus preparing His Body for burial, after it was taken down from the cross.”
As an aid in this, it would be helpful to read something of what Blessed Anne C. Emmerich saw in vision: “As the washing proceeded, the awful cruelties to which Jesus had been subjected became more apparent, and roused emotions of compassion, sorrow and tenderness…she [the Blessed Mother] closed the mouth, embraced the Sacred Body of her Son, and weeping bitter tears, allowed her face to rest upon His.” It seems that in removing the crown of thorns, and washing His Sacred Head, she was making reparation for the horrible disfigurement by blood and wounds that made His Holy Face almost unrecognizable.
We ourselves could pray thus: “Lord Jesus Christ, who for me, miserable sinner, now laid to rest, wouldst by Joseph and Nicodemus be embalmed with spices and wrapped in white linen; grant me an increase of love for Thee, the grace to always worthily receive from Thy holy altar Thy true and living Body in the divine Eucharist, and forever to keep Thee in a clean heart. Amen.”
Say to Him: “Beloved of my soul, make of my heart a burning furnace of love for Thee!”
Now, be very still, and just listen. He has words of love for you.
In the N.O., purification of the Chalice is required. But there is no requirement for the ablution of the fingers, although # 278 says “Whenever a fragment of the host adheres to his fingers….. the Priest should wipe his fingers over the paten or, if necessary, wash them.” Yet, in the N.O. who has ever seen a priest doing the ablution of his fingers after handling the Sacred Species, moreover, into the Chalice so that he might consume any Particle of the Sacrament, along with all of the Precious Blood?