Tag Archives: Blessing of Grapes

Blessing of Grapes reminds us of the Transfiguration, the Lord’s and ours

The faithful way of reading the sacred Scriptures and living the sacred Liturgy, you could also say, live the Scriptures, is understand that the Lord works in our lives as he did in the lives of the Apostles. He is contemporaneous with our human experience today.

A great line in today’s second reading at Mass stands out: “We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eye-witnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16)

The author of Second Peter is not communicating to us a doctrine, a formula, or a moralism. He’s communicating to us that he met a person that changed his life and oriented the rest of his existence. The meeting he’s speaking of was that a meeting of God in the person of Jesus Christ. An experience is not fiction; it is not a cleverly devised myth, an experience is not a casual entertaining fantasy. The meeting Peter speaks of is the keen meeting with the Divinity, and thus all is changed. We believe, based on Scripture, that the divine encounter allowed the Gospel of Mark to write, “And he was transfigured before them, and his garments became glistening, intensely white” (9:2).

The economy of our salvation, that is, God’s plan of salvation given to us through the divine person of Jesus Christ, shows us that in and through creation we are brought into God’s life, into God’s existence. The natural grape is transformed into wine and by  the action of the priest and the power of the Holy Spirit the wine becomes the Blood of Christ. And by the Precious Blood of Christ we are healed and saved.

What does the feast of the Transfiguration have to do with the blessing of grapes? Here, and read.

The Blessing of Grapes may be found here. I recommend that the blessing be prayed!!! How else are we to remember that we are graced by the Transfiguration?

Blessing of Grapes

Blessing grapes.jpgA pious liturgical custom is for the priest to bless grapes on the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. Why do we bless grapes on the Transfiguration? Symbolically and on a concrete level grapes represent real transformation, an old vine produces new fruit, a new harvest for God. As the Lord was transfigured on Mount Tabor, so we too are given the grace by God to transform our lives more and more according to His will, the Gospel. The hard of personal conversion is done by authentically following the Church. 

Theologically, one might say that the grape is symbolic of new life; think of the fruit derived from grapes, wine, used at Mass. That after the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit and the prayer of consecration the wine becomes the Precious Blood of Christ. It is by His Blood we are saved, given new life, a pledge of future glory with the Blessed Trinity in heaven. Many liturgical families, including the Latin, Byzantine and Armenian Churches have a liturgical theology and rite for the blessing of grapes and situate the blessing of grapes as a needed reminder of our real and on-going conversion to Christ in hearts and minds of Catholics. (Read this blog post on the blessing of grapes where the author brings together several elements: work, harvest, offering, human transformation by God, liturgy, new life, etc.). 

The prayer

Priest: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

Response: Who made heaven and earth.

Priest: Let us pray to the Lord.

Response: Lord, have mercy.

Bless, O Father, this new fruit of the vine, which you permitted to ripen through good weather, and drops of dew and may it bring joy for us who will partake of this fruit of the vine, and forgiveness of sins to those who offer it, through the pure Body and Blood of Your Christ, with whom You are blessed, together with Your all holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and always and forever and ever.

R. Amen.

(this blessing is taken from the August Menaion, Byzantine Melkite Euchologion published by the Melkite Eparchy of Newton.)

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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