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Traditional Catholicity of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Part 4

Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight




“The Jews (because it as the Parasceve), that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day (for that was a great Sabbath day) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. The soldiers therefore came and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with Him. But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it hath given testimony: and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true, that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture might be fulfilled: You shall not break a bone of Him. And again, another Scripture saith: They shall look on Him Whom they pierced.” (John 19: 31-37).


To further illustrate the traditional Catholicity of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the following text has been taken from the Roman Catholic Daily Missal, 1962, pp. liii-liv.


“Does the Mass differ in any way from the Sacrifice of the Cross?

1). Externally

We have seen that on the Cross, Christ expressed inner adoration toward His Father, by loving Him more than the thing most precious to Him- His own life. We find that the same interior adoration in the Mass, since Christ’s preferential love for His Father persists eternally.

The difference appears in he outward expression of Christ’s inner sentiments. On the Cross, Christ manifests His love for His Father by His death in a bloody manner. In the Mass, Christ offers Himself to His Father in a non-bloody manner.

What sign, then, in the Mass gives outward expression to Christ’s inner adoration? For the Mass, like the Sacrament, has a visible sign that signifies and actualizes the Sacrifice. This sign is the separate Consecration of the bread and wine, representing the separation of our Lord’s body and blood on the Cross. The active Consecration- that is, not yet accomplished, but in process of accomplishment- effectively signifies Christ’s Sacrifice; since it renders present on the altar the same Sacrifice as that of Calvary.

Note that the Real Presence of Christ in the tabernacle is not, properly speaking, a sacrifice; since the exterior sign- the Consecration- is lacking. Where the exterior element is lacking, there can be no sacrifice.


2). By The Mode of Offering

Two things are needed to make a sacrifice: (a) Renunciation of immolation; (b) preference, choice, oblation or offering.

Now on the Cross, as in the Mass, it is the same Victim that is immolated- our Lord. A difference exists, however, in the method or mode of oblation. In the Mass, it is still our Lord who offers Himself as He did on Calvary, but through the ministry of His priests. Nevertheless, the priest is merely Christ’s representative. There is only one priest- Jesus Christ. But our Blessed Lord, in His great mercy, and in order to make us participate still more intimately in His Sacrifice, has self-imposed the condition whereby He cannot offer Himself on the altar without His priests. Thus, on the Cross, Christ offers Himself by Himself in our name. In the Mass, It is the priest who, in the name of all the people, offers Christ exteriorly. For interiorly, it is always Christ who offers.


3). As To Time and Place

The Sacrifice of the Cross occurred at a given moment in a given spot on the earth. Christ offered His death in the present. In the Mass, Christ offers Himself throughout the whole universe, exactly as the prophet Malachias had prophesied, and at each moment of the day and night. He offers His death as an accomplished historical fact.


Sacred Liturgy: From The Introit To The Collects (Ibid, pp.847-851)

“Then the Celebrant signs himself with the sign of the cross and recites the Introit antiphon. The Introit is part of the preparation for the sacrifice; we begin by praising God.

The chants of the Introit, Gradual, Offertory, and Communion harmonize with the variable prayers and instructions, so that the idea of the feast or the thought of the day pervades the whole Mass.


The Kyrie Eleison (Lord, have mercy.)

V. Kyrie, eleison. R. Christe, eleison. V. Kyrie, eleison.

V. Kyrie, eleison. R. Christe, eleison. V. Kyrie, eleison

V. Kyrie, eleison. R. Christe, eleison V. Kyrie, eleison


After praising God, we recall our own misery; each of the three invocations is repeated thrice, in honor of the Holy Trinity.

The Kyrie is the long cry of our wounded nature, like the cry of the sick and the cripled along the path of Jesus, trying to draw His attention to their misery and obtain His pity.

We throw ourselves on the mercy of God, full of love and free of fear now that we have acknowledged our sins and our desire to be healed.


The Gloria In Excelsis

Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. Laudamus te. Benedicimus te. Adoramus te. Glorificamus te. Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam. Domin Deus, Rex caelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens. Domine Foli unigenite, Jesu Christe. Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris. Qui rollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis. Qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostrum. Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis. Quaniam to solus Sanctus. Tu solus Dominus. To solus Altissimus, Jesu Christe, cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.


Standing at the middle of the altar, the Celebrant extends, elevates, and joins his hands, slightly bowing, and says the Gloria in excelsis. When he says Deo, he bows to the Cross. When saying Adoramus te, Gratias agimus tibi, and Jesus Christe, and Suscipe deprecationem, he bows his head; and finallu upon saying Cum Sancto Spiritu, he signs himself with the sign of the cross.

The Gloria is also a part of our preparation, reminding us of the heavenly glory to which, after this vale of tears, we are tending.

Freed from preoccupation with his sinfulness and confident that God will heal his wretchedness, the Priest intones this cry of joy and admiration before the greatness of God’s absolute existence: “I Am Who Am.”

The Church sings the goodness of God in His great act of kindness toward the human race, His Incarnation. The first words of the Gloria are the words of the Angels at Bethlehem, announcing the birth of the Savior.

It invites us to answer His greatness by turning the lowly details of our existence into acts of fidelity and love.

The four ends of the Sacrifice of the Mass are to be found in the Gloria: Adoration (“Glory to God in the highest”), Thanksgiving (“we give thee thanks”), Atonement (“Son of the Father, have mercy on us”), Impetration (“receive our prayer”).

The Priest’s kiss of the altar, which represents Christ; immediately precedes the Dominus vobiscum. The Priest breathes in, so to speak, the love and spirit of Jesus Christ. Which he in turn bestows upon the people using the words of the Angel Gabriel to our Lady. No sooner is the priest’s gift received when back it bounds to him in the people’s response (Et cum spiritu tuo).


The Collects

The final part of the preparation is the prayer which the Priest makes the people, that they may be made worthy of such great mysteries.

The Collects are rich in the doctrine of the Church, and teach us how to speak to God, urging us always to plead not of our own merits, but to depend rather on the merits of our Lord.


Let us continue to observe the traditional Catholicity of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the following text: (Ibid, p.liv).


“To whom is the Sacrifice of the Mass offered? To God alone. Why to God alone? (a) Because the Mass is an act of adoration; (b) because the dignity of Christ, Victim, and Sacrifices, is infinite, hence His offering can be addressed only to God; (c) because an offering made to a creature would be idolatrous, since the end of Sacrifice is to acknowledge God’s pre-eminence and kingship over all creation. Nevertheless, the Sacrifice of the Mass may be offered in honor of the angels and saints: (a) to thank God for the wonderful way in which He has rewarded their virtue; (b) to ask graces from God through their intercession or patronage; (c) to celebrate their virtues and their triumphs; (d) to stir us up to imitate them. The custom of offering the Mass in honor of the saints is a very ancient one. In the early days of the Church, it was customary to gather round the tombs of the martyrs on the anniversaries of their deaths and have Mass celebrated to honor their memory.”


In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.

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