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  • Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight

Traditional Catholicity of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Part 6

The Daily Knight | Justin Haggerty

(Mass of St John of Matha, 1666 by Juan Carreño De Miranda)

"And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living creatures, and the ancients; and the number of them was thousands of thousands, Saying with a loud voice: The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and benediction. And every creature, which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them: I heard all saying: To him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, benediction, and honour, and glory, and power, for ever and ever. And the four living creatures said: Amen. And the four and twenty ancients fell down on their faces, and adored Him that liveth for ever and ever." (Apocalypse 5: 11-14)

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:

Offering Myself With Christ

What is the source of our obligation to offer ourselves in the Mass with Christ? We have seen that the Mass is Christ's Sacrifice, that is, the Sacrifice of Calvary made present on the altar.

Now Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross was not an individual, but a social sacrifice. It was a Head of the Mystical Body that Christ consented to die. In offering and immolating Himself on the Cross, He included us in His Sacrifice. Christ was obedient to His Father in His own name, and in ours. Our Lord had a right to include, to integrate us into His Sacrifice; because we belong to Him, we are His members. He could require, therefore, that we should be obedient to His Father, as He Himself was obedient.

On our Lord's side, the Sacrifice is complete, of infinite merit. On our side, it is incomplete, finite, limited in its application.

We carry out this offering, this submission, or this immolation, with the passage of time; and also to the degree in which we do not draw back from immolating ourselves with Christ.

We understand better now St. Paul's words: "I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for His Body, which is the Church" (Col. 1:24). Christ's sufferings are complete in the order of satisfaction and merit, but not in the order of application.

On our side, the Sacrifice of the whole Christ is incomplete. It will terminate with the death of the last member of the Mystical Body, who adds the last thing lacking to the Passion of Christ.

Consequently, our obligation to offer ourselves with Christ in the Mass comes from our membership in Christ's Mystical Body, nto which we were introduced by Baptism.

"It is not surprising," writes Pope Pius XII in Mediator Dei, "that Christians should be raised to this dignity. For by the bath of Baptism, Christians are made members of the Body of Christ the Priest; and by the 'character' which is, as it were, graven on their souls, are ordered to divine worship. They thus participate according to their condition in the priesthood of Christ Himself."

A non-baptized person may be bodily present at Mass, and may even follow the ceremonies intelligently. Yet, in the full meaning of the term, he does not "assist" at Mass; for he who truly assists has to be offered with Christ. Now to be offered with Christ, one must first have been incorporated into Christ - be the prolongation of His life. Hence, the baptismal character comprises a union with Christ, a likeness by reason of which we share in His priesthood. And by virtue of our integration into Christ, we are enabled to be offered with Him; and to share in the offering of His immolation, in His Sacrifice.

Not only is it permissible for us to be offered with Christ, but we are under obligation to offer ourselves with Him - under pain of mutilating the total Christ! For the head alone is not the total Christ. In order for the Mystical Body to be complete, both head and members are needed. This is the whole Christ, as He was offered up to God on Calvary - as He is offered each day on our altars." (Roman Catholic Daily Missal, 1962, pp. lv-lvi)

Sacred Liturgy: From the Offertory to the Preface (Ibid, pp. 859-883)

II. Mass of the Faithful

A. From the Offertory to the Preface

13. The Offertory Verse

/V. The Lord be with you.

/R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

The Antiphon at the Offertory follows.

See Proper of Mass for the Day.

This moment brings us back to our trupe place before God and purifies us. It prepares us to enter into God and share in His divine activities. The Offertory opens the door to the secrets of God and to union with Him.

As this bread on the paten and this wine in the chalice are in a state of expectancy of becoming Christ's Body and Blood, so we present ourselves to God in voluntary expectancy of a change to be made in us - an expectancy of divination.

In the Offertory, Christ unites our desires and prayers to His own offering of Himself to the Father. As our intentions are joined to the Passion of Christ, they assume the value of the Passion in the eyes of God.

14. The Offering of the Bread and Wine

Receive, O holy Father, almighty, eternal God, this spotless host which I, thine unworthy servant, offer unto Thee, my living and true God, for my own countless sins, offenses, and negligences, and for all here present; as also for all faithful Christians, living or dead; that it may avail for my own and for their salvation unto life eternal. Amen.

In the Agony in the Garden, Christ performed His offertory, giving Himself in advance to all the sufferings of Calvary. This is the spirit we should take from the Mass: an entire acceptance in advance of what God's grace will ask of us. The Offertory reminds us that the law of salvation is generosity without discussion.

O God, Who in creating human nature hast still more marvelously renewed it: grant that by the mystery of this water and wine, we may be made partakers of His Divinity Who vouchsafed to become partaker of our humanity, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

The wine represents the divine Nature, water represents our human nature, so that the mixing of the water and wine signifies the Incarnation of Christ; yet it also points to His Passion, in which water and blood poured from His pierced Heart. In this way the rite of commingling the water and the wine calls to mind the beginning and the consummation of the work of our Redemption.

It signifies also our mystical union with Christ by the life of grace - a divine life which is increased in us principally by our reception of the Blessed Sacrament.

Spiritually, we place ourselves and all the joys and sorrows of our lives on the altar during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, upon the Heart of our Redeemer; the Church pours this offering into the chalice of Christ's holy sacrificial Blood.

We offer unto Thee, O Lord, the chalice of salvation, beseeching Thy clemency that, in the sight of Thy Divine Majesty, it may ascend with the svor of sweetness, for our salvation and for that of the whole world. Amen.

The Priest raises the chalice up to the crucifix to show the union of his will with Christ's in offering the same sacrifice. We should unite ourselves to the desires of Christ.

The Priest bows down profoundly, humbled by the sense of his own weakness and the greatness of the sacrifice he is about to offer.

In an humble spirit, and a contrite heart, may we be received by Thee, O Lord; and may our sacrifice be so offered up in Thy sight this day that it may be pleasing to Thee, O Lord God.

Come, O Sanctifier, almighty, eternal God, and bless this sacrifice prepared for Thy holy Name.

The celebrant prays that the Lord would graciously receive him and the faithful people, for the sake of their humble, penitential sentiments, as a spiritual sacrifice. The words of this prayer were first pronounced by the three young men thrown into the Babylonian furnace, martyrs offering their lives to God. Christ offers Himself to the Father in the Sacrifice of the Mass, and His Mystical Body is offered together with Him.

15. The Incensing of the Offerings at High Mass

May the Lord, by the intercession of blessed Michael the Archangel, who standeth at the right side of the altar of incense, and of all His elect, vouchsafe to bless this incense and receive it as an odor of sweetness: through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Michael is the head of the angelic choirs and the heavenly protector of the Church on earth.

The rite and prayer of the incensing symbolize the Offertory itself, as the gifts are enveloped in a holy atmosphere of blessed incense, and so separated from the rest of creation and dedicated to God. The clouds of incense rise to heaven, descend on the faithful, and spread throughout the Church, as we pray that the Eucharistic Sacrifice be accepted for the salvation of the faithful and for the whole world.

May this incense, which Thou hast blessed, O Lord, ascend to Thee, and may Thy mercy descend upon us.

Let my prayer, O Lord, be directed as incense in Thy sight: the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.

The gifts are first incended in the form of a cross and in the form of a circle. Then the crucifix or the tabernacle, the altar, the celebrant and ministers, the clergy present, and finally the people are incensed, expressing the Church's desire that the divine mercy sweetly and plentifully descend on all assisting at Mass, flowing from the altar to the priests and through them to the baptized.

Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and a door round about my lips.

Incline not my heart to evil words: to make excuses in sins.

The incense symbolizes our prayer, whose source is in the love of God, the divine first that our Lord came to cast upon the earth.

May the Lord enkindle within us the first of His love, and the flame of everlasting charity. Amen.

16. The Washing of the Hands

The Priest openly avows his purpose of celebrating the spotless sacrifice of the Lamb with the utmost possible purity and devotion of heart. Clean must be the hands that are to touch, the offer, and to dispense the most holy, spotless Victim.

I will wash my hands among the innocent: and will compass Thine altar, O Lord.

That I may hear the voice of Thy praise: and tell of all Thy wondrous works.

O Lord, I have loved the beauty of Thy house: and the place where Thy glory dwelleth.

Destroy not my soul with the wicked, O God: nor my life with men of blood.

In whose hands are iniquities: their right hand is filled with gifts.

But I have walked in innocence: redeem me, and have mercy on me.

My foot hath stood in the straight way: in the churches I will bless Thee, O Lord.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

In saying the Lavabo, Priest and faithful are saying to Eternal Love: "I join myself to those who have turned themselves deliberately toward the good, rejecting everything that could be an obstacle to Thy love. Now, along with the elect and the redeemed, I will go around Thy altar, which can only be surrounded by innocence of heart."

17. The Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity

Receive, O Holy Trinity, this offering which we make to Thee, in remembrance of the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and in honor of blessed Mary ever Virgin, of blessed John the Baptist, of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, of these and of all the Saints; that it may avail to their honor and our salvation: and may they vouchsafe to intercede for us in heaven whose memory we celebrate on earth. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

The host that is offered but not yet consecrated belongs to God and cannot be used for any other purpose. From this moment on, the Mass truly becomes the sacrifice, the act of Redemption.

The daily life of a Christian should be a series of offertories; the events of our day become the host we offer, and God uses them to help us celebrate our own Mass. In the Communion of Saints, our own "offertories" call down the grace of God upon the world.

18. The Orate Fratres

The Eucharist is the sacrifice of the whole Church; it is not exclusively the priest's sacrifice, but the property of the faithful also. The priest alone performs the sacrificial act itself, for only his hands are anointed and consecrated to other sacrifices. He offers in the name of the faithful and for their benefit. Thus priest and people are at the altar bound together in a communion of sacrifice, and they offer not only the host and chalice, but themselves also. "The Mass will be a sacrifice for us to God, when we have made an offering of ourselves" (St. Gregory the Great).

Brethren, pray that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the Father almighty.

/R. May the Lord receive the sacrifice from thy hands for the praise and glory of His name, for our welfare and that of all His holy Church.

19. The Secrets

Then, with hands extended, without saying Oremus, he recites the Secret Prayers.

See Proper of Mass for the day.

/V. World without end.

/R. Amen.

The petitions contained in the Secret prayer refer particularly to the gifts that have been presented and the sacrifice which is about to take place.

The Priest will no longer turn to face the people until after the Consecration and Communion; after the Orate Fatres, the Priest, like Moses on Mount Sinai, has entered into the holy cloud and communes, "face to face" with the Lord. His eyes and mind are directed only to the altar.

B. From the Preface to the Pater Noster

20. The Preface

The Preface begins the preparation for the Consecration, which is the second principal part of the Mass after the Offertory. At the Last Supper, Christ began His Passion by giving thanks.

/V. The Lord be with you. [Dominus vobiscum.]

/R. And with thy spirit. [Et cum spiritu tuo.]

/V. Lift up your hearts! [Sursum corda.]

/R. We have lifted them up to the Lord. [Habemus ad Dominum.]

/V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. [Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.]

/R. It is meet and just. [Dignum et justum est.]

"The Priest, in saing the Preface, disposes the souls of the brethren by saying, 'Lift up your hearts,' and when the people answer, 'We have lifted them up to the Lord,' let them remember that they are to think of nothing else but God." (St. Cyprian)

Preface of the Nativity, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Cross, Easter and Eastertide, Ascension, Pentecost, Most Holy Trinity, Feast of the Sacred Heart, Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord, Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, Apostles, Common Preface, Dead, Advent, Most Holy Sacrament, All Saints and the Most Holy Patrons, or the Dedication of a Church is said.

21. The Sanctus

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he Who cometh in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

[Sanctus, Sanctus, Santcus Dominus Deus Saboath. Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua: Hosanna in excelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini: Hosanna in excelsis.]

The Preface called us to lift up our hearts, and the people now praise the Divinity of Christ alongside the Angels: "Holy, Holy, Holy"; they praise His humanity alongside the Hebrew children of Palm Sunday, singing as Christ entered Jerusalem to suffer for our salvation: "Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord."

Sacred Scripture continued from the Holy Bible, Douay-Rheims:

"And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold there was a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne one sitting. And he that sat, was to the sight like the jasper and the sardine stone; and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty ancients sitting, clothed in white garments, and on their heads were crowns of gold. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, and voices, and thunders; and there were seven lamps burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. And in the sight of the throne was, as it were, a sea of glass like to crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind. And the first living creature was like a lion: and the second living creature like a calf: and the third living creature, having the face, as it were, of a man: and the fourth living creature was like an eagle flying. And the four living creatures had each of them six wings; and round about and within they are full of eyes. And the rested not day and night, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come. And when those living creatures gave glory, and honour, and benediction to him that sitteth on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever; The four and twenty ancients fell down before him that sitteth on the throne, and adored him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory, and honour, and power: because thou hast created all things; and for thy will they were, and have been created." (Apocalypse 4:2-11)

In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.



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