Traditional Catholicity of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Part 3
Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight
“When you come therefore together into one place, it is not now to eat the Lord's supper. For everyone taketh before his own supper to eat. And one indeed is hungry, and another is drunk. What, have you not houses to eat and to drink in? Or despise ye the Church of God and put them to shame that have not? What shall I say to you? Do I praise you? In this I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke and said: Take ye an eat; this is my Body, which shall be delivered for you. This do for the commemoration of Me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: this chalice is the New Testament in My Blood. This do ye, as often as he shall drink, for the commemoration of Me. For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord, until He come. Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and the Blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself; And so, let him eat of that bread and drink at the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord. Therefore, are there many infirm and weak among you: and many sleep. But if we would judge ourselves, we shall not be judged. But whilst we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord, that we be not condemned with this world.” (I Cor. 11: 20-32)
The following text is from the Roman Catholic Daily Missal, 1962, p. xlix-1.
At this tragic moment in the history of humanity when the Blessed Trinity could have, conceivably, left us in our state of hopeless misery, Jesus intervened: “Father, these are for Me the sign and expression of Thy love. They are My children. They are Mine, for it was for My sake that you gave them life and bearing. Never will I abandon them! Since they are incapable of knowing My joy, I am determined to share their misery.”
Chris was to have come in glory like the bridegroom whose arrival on the wedding day is joyously awaited by the wedding guests. Now His coming will take place under the reign of Sin; in a body capable of being crushed by suffering, with a heart that affliction will overwhelm, He will come to destroy sin, this “wall of separation” between God and man- between man and man. He will reconcile in His blood heave and earth. He will unite the peoples.
One day, in the long procession of men groping in the shadow of death, Christ appeared. To this poor, purblind race of ours, He revealed the Father’s wondrous plan. “The Father Himself loves you…. He has not abandoned you… I am your Savior…. I am Life.”
It was bearing His Cross that He came- weighted down under the burden of our sins. He climbed Cavalry’s hill and reddened it with His Blood. He was barbarously crucified on a Cross and died between two thieves.
Let us look for a moment at our suffering Savior. Taking place before our horrified gaze is the drama that dominates the world. Christ was “made sin” for us, wrights St. Paul.
On the high hill of Calvary, overlooking the world, a terrible struggle is taking place between Love and Hate- a struggle of unheard- of force. As a result of this fearsome combat, Hate dies in the blood of his immolated victim. The last words of Christ are a shout of triumph: “Father, it is consummated.” Love has conquered Hate.
Sin is now in full flight, a moment ago, enormous tidal wave, made up of all the crimes of earth, has sought to engulf with its corrupt depths Him who offered Himself as the life of the world. Now, life descends victorious from Calvary, drawing back sin to its ultimate retrenchments. God's plan now unfolds in all is majesty to return to the Father to the Father's house.
How may we bring about this return? By following Christ the way, and what is to be henceforth His sorrowful way. “If anyone wishes to follow Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” Integrated into Christ by Baptism, I (and not somebody else) ought to die to self, and live the life of Christ. “Christ died for all; that they also who live, may not now live to themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again.” (II Cor. 5:15)
With St. Paul we should say, “those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, I fill up my flesh, for his body, which is the church.” (Col. 1:24)
If our good works, sacrifices, and sufferings are to count for eternity and be pleasing to God, it is necessary for us (as we have seen above) to be united to Christ. It is through him and with him, and in him that we become recipients of God’s loving-kindness and mercy.
Our union with Christ, our integration into His Mystical Body, is affected by the sacraments. It is by Baptism that we are introduced into Christ mystical family. It is through Baptism that we receive divine life; become adopted sons of God the father; brothers of Jesus Christ; temples of the Holy Spirit, in heirs of heaven!
But how should we offer up- following our Lord's example- our adoration, Thanksgiving, satisfactions, and petitions to God? How should we nourish the divine life within us? By means of the Mass- the sacrifice of the Mystical Body.” (Roman Catholic Daily Missal, 1962, pp. xliv-1)
A continued look at the Sacred Liturgy of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The Public Confession
“I confess to almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to you, brethren, that I have send exceedingly in thought, word, and deed: through my fault, through my fault, through my most previous fault. Therefore, I beseech blessed Mary ever virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, all the saints, and you, brethren to pray to the Lord our God for me. May almighty God have mercy upon thee, forgive thee thy sins, and bring thee to life everlasting.
The Confiteor create an interior silence from the beginning of the Mass, as Priests and faithful turn away from their temporal concerns to face the reality of Calvary, for which their sins are responsible. It is the first expression of that humility which will accompany us throughout the sacrifice of the mass.
Our sins intended God alone, and our personal responsibility is before Him alone. By invoking all the Saints, beginning with the blessed Virgin Mary, we guaranteed the value of humiliation before God, calling to witness all of the sanctified that we are guilty and responsible before God.
Our bowing down to confess is the first act of true courage of every man who recognizes his sins. By refusing sin, he declares his dignity as a creature able to recognize spiritual beauty and embrace God.
The striking of the breast means that the heart concealed within is the cause of sin and deserving, therefore to be punished, bruised, a humbled; the insolent pride of the sinful heart is to be broken and destroyed, in order that God may create a new, clean heart within us.
V. May the almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, absolution, and remission of our sins.
V. Thou shalt turn again, O God, and quicken us.
R. And Thy people shall rejoice in Thee.
V. Show unto us, O Lord, Thy mercy.
R. And grant us Thy salvation.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
The Confiteor is not meant to paralyze us with sadness or even shame; we do not confess our sins to remain guilty. It is a plea for reconciliation and forgiveness; it is as a child full of repentance who goes to embrace his Father. “I confess to God, for whom I was made, and to Whom I desire to return.”
The Priest Goes Up to The Altar
Let us pray.
Take away from us our iniquities, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be worthy to enter with pure minds into the Holy of Holies. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, by the merits of thy Saints whose relics are here and of all the Saints, that thou wouldst vouchsafe to forgive me all my sins. Amen.
Confident in the mercy of God, the Priest immediately advances toward to altar. With the Priest, we enter into the silence of Christ in his permanent sacrifice. The Mass dies not divided sins into categories: we ask God to take away all of our sins and imperfections because they are an obstacle to love of Him.
Incense represents grace and the effects of grace. Christ was filled with the grace as with a sweet fragrance, and “of His fullness we have all received.” From Christ it spreads to the faithful by the work of His ministers. Thus after the alter, which represents Christ, has been incensed on every side, then all are incensed in their proper order.
Be blessed by Him in whose honor thou art burnt. Amen. (Roman Catholic Daily Missal, 1962, pp. 841-847).
Offering Christ to the Father (ibid, pp.lii-liii)
“Is the Mass the same as Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross, or is it a different Sacrifice? It is the same Sacrifice. Christ offered Himself once for all. “…[W]e are sanctified by the oblation of the Body of Jesus Christ once” (Heb. 10:10).
To understand this, we have only to go back to the concept of oblation, renunciation, and choice. The renunciation is summarized by Christ’s death accepted once and for all. On Calvary, this act of renunciation was made once, and it passed.
But above all, our Lord’s Sacrifice consists in this constant desire for His Father’s will in preference to His own’ and this preference remains eternally fixed in heave. Suffering passes- the face of having suffered remains.
It is the same thing for us when we renounce anything. The fact of self-denial is, like all acts, temporary; but the disposition of the will to deny itself for a greater good remains just so long as we do not take it back. Death fixes us forever in this disposition in which it finds us. Chris’s sacrifice persists in heave, because the legacy of His life made on the Cross has never been cancelled. That which he gave was given for all time… Christ’s immolation is eternal. St. John, in his vision of heaven, sees Jesus as ‘a lamb standing upright, yet slain (as I thought) in sacrifice.” (apoc. 5:6) [Knox]
This is understandable. The purpose of our Lord’s Sacrifice having been to glorify God, the act where-by He glorifies Him must, of necessity, be eternal. When the priest brings Christ down upon the altar, he renders Him present such as He is in Heaven; and He is in Heaven with the same loving dispositions that He had on Calvary at the moment of His death.
The Mass, is therefore, not a new Sacrifice by Christ; but the same Sacrifice actualized in the present. “We know that Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more.” (Rom. 6:9)
The Mass is thus the perpetual prolongation of the Sacrifice made on the Cross. Consequently, every Mass is the one immolation of Christ repeated in the Act of Oblation. By the same act of the will, Jesus offers at the Last Supper His death in the future; on Calvary His death in the present; in heaven and on the altar His death in the past. This special presence of Christ on the alar is peculiar to the Mass and demonstrates it grandeur.
When we celebrate the other mysteries of Christ’s life, we merely commemorate them. There is no real renewal of the mystery on the day devoted to it. At Christmas, the Church recalls to our minds the Savior’s birth, but this birth does not really take place- is not actualized in the present. On Ascension Thursday, our Lord does not renew His ascent into heaven. It is quite otherwise for the Mass. It is no simple symbolic representation, for the same Sacrifice that Christ accomplished on the cross is made truly present in an unbloody manner on the altar.
In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.