Traditional Catholicity of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Part 7
The Daily Knight | Justin Haggerty
"In the year that king Ozias died, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and elevated: and his train filled the temple. Upon it stood the seraphims: the one had six wings, and the other had six wings: with two they covered his face, and with two they covered his feet, and with two they flew. And they cried one to another, and said: Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts, all the earth is full of his glory. And the lintels of the doors were moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: Woe is me, because I have held my peace; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people that hath unclean lips, and I have seen with my eyes the King the Lord of hosts." (Isaias 6:1-5)
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:
"What are the three principal parts of the Mass? The three principal parts are: (1) the Offertory or oblation; (2) the Consecration or immolation; (3) the Communion or reception.
These three parts belong together and are the indispensable elements of every sacrifice. Every Mass demands an offering, a relinquishment, a renunciation. Every offering calls for a consecration, an immolation, a choice. Every consecration presupposes a communion-love calls for love, sacrifice for reception.
What is meant by this expression: "The Mass must be lived?" Christ included us in His Sacrifice by offering us together with Himself to the Father. The Mass is the means the Church has at her disposal for offering supreme homage to the Blessed Trinity.
The Mass is not Christ's Sacrifice alone, but that of the whole Mystical Body as well. If we are content to offer up our Lord's sufferings, there is no sacrifice on our part, but a petition ("Dear God, here are the sufferings of your Divine Son. In return, please grant me such and such a favor!")
If the Mass is to become my Mass, my sacrifice offered to God, if I am to offer the Blessed Trinity my portion of thanksgiving and praise, I must live the way Christ lived; in the same dispositions of denial of self and of placing God first, of obedience, of daily immolation. My sacrifice must be added to His!
It is only when we offer our sacrifices to God in union with Christ's Sacrifice that they become as gold, just as the tiny drop of water that falls into the chalice becomes wine! It is "through Him" and "in Him" that our sacrifices acquire all their value. Hence, the extreme importance of centering our lives on the Mass.
Our Sacrifice, our Mass, is in two parts:
(1) The ritual offering in union with that of Christ in His name. I offer myself completely, and in advance, for the hours that lie ahead.
(2) The second action-too often forgotten-is as important as the first. This consists in the carrying out of the offering, throughout the course of the day, in the midst of the series of actions that make up its warp and woof. This is what is known as "living the Mass."
Everything does not end with the Ite, missa est. On the contrary, it is then that everything begins. For when a person has offered himself, all himself, with Christ, how is it possible for him to think, speak, and act as do those who have never offered themselves?
Remember! God gives Himself to the one giving himself, and God is not pleased with half gifts! God never lets Himself be outdone in generosity. That is why, after giving ourselves to God through Christ, our Mass is completed by Communion, which gives God to us through Christ." (Roman Catholic Daily Missal, 1962, pp. lvi-lvii.)
Sacred Liturgy: Cannon of the Mass (Ibid, pp. 885-901)
"From all time, the Canon has been recited silently. The congregation present can contribute nothing to the sacrificial act itself; the people are present before a mystery which it is for the consecrated Priest alone to accomplish. The Priest has entered alone into the Holy of Holies topray and offer sacrifice for the whole Church.
The Consecration of the Sacrament, its acceptance by God, and its fruits all proceed from the virtue of the cross of Christ, and the Priest uses the sign of the cross wherever mention of them is made. Thus at nine occasions throughout the Canon, the sign of the cross is used to bring to our minds the Passion and death of our Lord in its various stages.
The first triple sign of the cross represents Christ's betrayal, which was the work of God, of Judas, and of the Jews.
22. The Prayers Before the Consecration
a) For the Church and Ecclesiastical Authorities
Wherefore, O most merciful Father, we humbly pray and beseech Thee through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to receive and bless these + gifts, these + presents, these + holy and unspotted sacrifices, which in the first place we offer Thee for Thy holy Catholic Church, that it may please Thee to grant her peace; as also to protect, unite, and govern her throughout the world, together with Thy servant N., our Pope; N., our bishop; as also all orthodox believers and professors of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith.
The Priest mentions by name those for whom he wishes to pray, and those to whom he is under an obligation of justice, charity, or gratitude. In the name of the Church, he begs of God to be mindful of all those present at Mass; they will receive grace in the measure of their faith and devotion, visible to God alone. The devotion that God demands is a certain determination and cheerful readiness of heart to give and devote ourselves and all that we have totally to His service.
b) Commemoration of the Living
Be mindful, O Lord, of Thy servants and handmaids, N. and N. and of all here present, whose faith and devotion are known to Thee: for whom we offer, or who offer up to Thee, this sacrifice of praise for themselves and all their own, for for the redemption of their souls, for the hope of their safety and salvation, and who now pay their vows to Thee, the eternal, living, and true God.
c) Invocation of the Saints
In communion with and honoring the memory, first of the glorious, ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ: as also of blessed Joseph, her Spouse, and of Thy blessed Apostles and Martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon, and Thaddeus; Linus Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Thy saints; by whose merits and prayers grant that we may in all things be defended by the aid of Thy protection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Communicantes should give us joy in knowing that we are expected in heaven not only by the saints named, but also by a myriad of others, who resembled us in their sinful nature.
The name of Mary, Queen of Martyrs, is inseparable from the sacrifice of Christ. She teaches us to offer the Lamb of God and ourselves at the foot of the altar. St. Joseph is invoked as the patron of the universal Church. Then the Priest names the twelve Apostles, sent by our Lord to the four corners of the earth to continue the work of the Redemption. Finally, the twelve saints named are all martyrs, since until the fourth century martyrdom of blood is the characteristic trait of the saints. All of these twelve were held in universal and high esteem in Rome since ancient times: five popes, a bishop, a deacon, and five lay persons.
23. The Prayers at the Consecration
a) Oblation of the Victim to God
We therefore beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously to accept this oblation of our service, as also of Thy whole family; dispose our days in Thy peace, command us to be delivered from eternal damnation and to be numbered in the flock of Thine elect. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Son of God is about to renew His supreme miracle, by the sole authority of His Word spoken through the Priest. Our Lord, by the same authority that once drew all of Creation out of nothing, will transform the substance of the bread into His own Body and the substance of the wine into His own Blood, leaving only the appearance of bread and wine upon the altar.
The Priest extends his hands over the offering, symbolizing that the Eucharist is a sacrifice, for Christ takes our sins upon Himself and offers Himself in our place and for our sake. This recalls the Old Testament practice of sprinkinling a goat with blood (symbolizing wrongdoing) and letting it escape into the wilderness (symbolizing vicarious satisfaction). This animal was called the "scapegoat."
The Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord will be fully present under the appearance of both the bread and the wine; the entire Trinity will also be present on the altar, since the Three Persons are present where One is present.
Which oblation do Thou, O God, vouchsafe in all things to make blessed, + approved, + ratified, + reasonable, and acceptable, that it may become for us the Body + and Blood + of Thy most beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
These signs of the cross call down the blessing of God, that the bread may be changed into the same sacrificial Body that hung on the Cross, and the wine into the same sacrificial Blood which was shed on the Cross. The first three signs of the cross, at benedictam, adscriptam, ratam, signify the selling of Christ to the Priests, to the scribes, and to the Pharisees, or signify the thirty pieces of silver for which He was sold. The following two signs of the cross signify the person of Judas the seller, and Christ Who was sold.
The Priest narrates the first offering and institution of the unbloody sacrifice by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper and at the same time imitates as far as possible the actions of Christ. He pronounces the effective words of the Consecration in the person of Christ.
b) Words of Consecration and Elevation
Who, the day before He suffered, took bread into His holy and venerable hands and with His eyes lifted up to heaven, unto Thee, God, His almighty Father, giving thanks to Thee, He blessed, + broke, and gave It to His disciples, saying: Take all of you and eat of this.
FOR THIS IS MY BODY. [HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM.]
Jesus desired intensely to celebrate the Last Supper with His Apostles and institute the Eucharist, because He desired to stay among us to the end of time. "Having love His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end."
The double consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of our Lord represents the death of Christ by the separation of His Body and Blood. At each of these Consecrations, the Priest makes one sign of the cross foreshadowing His Passion.
The Host and the Chalice upon the altar plead before God on our behalf just as our Lord sacrificed on the Cross pleaded for us on Good Friday because it is identically the same sacrifice which is renewed on our altars in an unbloody manner.
In like manner, after He had supped, taking also this excellent chalice into His holy and venerable hands, also giving thanks to Thee, He blessed + and gave It to His disciples saying: Take and drink ye all of this.
FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD,
OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL TESTEMENT:
THE MYSTERY OF FAITH:
WHICH SHALL BE SHED FOR YOU
AND FOR MANY
UNTO THE REMISSION OF SINS.
[HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MEI,
NOVI ET AETERNI TESTEAMENTI:
QUI PRO VOBIS ET PRO MULTIS
EFFUNDETUR IN REMISSIONEM
As often as ye shall do these things, ye shall do them in memory of Me.
The chalice itself represents the three theological virtues: its base symbolizes our being rooted in Faith. Its stem rises straight upward in Hope, like a plant seeking the sun or our soul seeking the heights of heaven. Finally, the cup of the chalice opens like a flower in full bloom, representing the flowering of Charity, which we imbibe from the Holy Sacrifice.
Immediately after the Consecration and the elevation, the Priest proclaims that we are the continuation of the Redemption of Christ and offer the same sacrifice. The Catholic is called to offer himself to Christ, freely and in full awareness, in order to help in the salvation of the world. "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).
c) Oblation of the Victim of God
Wherefore, O God, we Thy servants, as also Thy holy people, calling to mind the blessed Passion of the same Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, His resurrection from hell, and glorious ascension into heaven, offer unto Thy most excellent majesty of Thine own gifts bestowed upon us, a pure + Victim, a holy + Victim, and immaculate + Victim, the holy Bread + of eternal life and the Chalice + of everlasting salvation.
These five signs of the cross represent the five wounds of Christ, present even now in heaven as a witness of His love for us.
The Priest asks God not to resist the pleading of His Son for us, as He did not resist the less perfect victims of Abel, the Just, of Abraham, the Leader of the people, and of Melchisedech, the Priest.
Upon which do Though vouchsafe to look with a propitious and serene countenance, and to accept them, as Thou wert graciously pleased to accept the gifts of Thy just servant Abel, and the sacrifice of our patriarch Abraham, and that which Thy high priest Melchisedech offered to Thee, a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim.
Supplex, from sub-plice: the Priest is "bent beneath" the awareness of the greatness of almighty God, present before us in the Host in a state of voluntary humiliation. The Priest bows profoundly, asking the Angel, the messenger between us and God, to go before God with his hands full of the powerful supplication contained in the Host and offer it to the Father.
We most humbly beseech Thee, Almighty God, to command that these offerings be borne by the hands of Thy holy Angel to Thine altar on high in the sight of Thy Divine Majesty, that as many of us as at this altar shall partake of and receive the most holy Body + and Blood + of Thy Son +, may be filled with every heavenly blessing and grace. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Man no longer has a role, except to be bent down in humility and gratitude before what is now taking place between the omnipotence of God and the omnipotence of the Host.
These three signs of the cross (the third one being upon himself) signify the outstretching of Christ's Body, the shedding of His Blood, and the fruits of the Passion.
24. The Prayers After the Consecration
a) Commemoration of the Dead
Be mindful, O Lord, of Thy servants and handmaids N. and N., who are gone before us with the sign of faith and sleep in the sleep of peace.
To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, we beseech Thee, grant a place of refreshment, light, and peace. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
As members of the Church Militant on earth, the living may and ought to unite with the Priest in offering the sacrifice, and offer themselves alongside our Lord before the Consecration. The departed are no longer in a state to unit in offering, but merely partake of the fruits of the sacrifice which we apply to them; hence it is most proper to be mindful of them when the Sacrificial Victim is resting on the altar.
The preceding prayer is a momento mori for the living. We are strangers and pilgrims upon earth, like our fathers before us. Our days are as a shadow, and there is no permanent remaining. Soon we shall be standing on the brink of the grave, and we pray that the Lord would receive us, in His mercy, into the eternal dwellings of light. One of the joys of eternal salvation will be the ravishing society of all the other citizens of heaven, who are now praying for us to join them.
b) Invocation of the Saints
To us sinners also, Thy servants, hoping in the multitude of Thy mercies, vouchsafe to grant some part of fellowship with Thy holy Apostles and Martyrs: with John, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicitas, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia, and with all Thy saints, into whose company we pray Thee to admit us, not considering our merits, but of Thine own free pardon.
Yet we should remember that when we beg for "some part and fellowship" with the Apostles and Martyrs, that we are accepting to share also in their labors, sufferings, and combats-in their daily offertory.
The Sacrificial prayer of the Canon is closed and crowned by this prayer. These three signs of the cross represent Chris's threefold prayer upon the Cross: one for His persecutors, "Father, forgive them;" the second for deliverance from death, "My God, My God, why ahst Thou forsaken Me?"; the third referring to His entrance into glory, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit."
c) Final Doxology of the Canon and Minor Elevation
Through Christ our Lord.
Through Whom, O Lord, Thou dost create, hallow, + quicken, + and bless + all these good things and give them to us.
THROUGH + HIM AND WITH + HIM AND IN + HIM,
The sign of the cross is now made with the sacred Body of the Lord three times over the chalice of His precious Blood, when Christ Himself is mentioned, and twice before the chalice when the Father and the Holy Ghost are mentioned. These first three signs of the cross signify the three hours during which Jesus Christ hung on the Cross. The two subsequent crosses represent the separation of His soul from His body in death.
BE TO THEE, GOD THE FATHER + ALMIGHTY, IN THE UNITY OF THE HOLY + GHOST,
ALL HONOR AND GLORY,
Sacred Scripture continued from the Holy Bible, Douay-Rheims:
"In the which will, we are sanctified by the oblation of the Body of Jesus Christ once. And every priest indeed standeth daily ministering, and often offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this man offering one sacrifice for sins, for ever sitteth on the right hand of God, From henceforth expecting, until His enemies be made His footstool. For by one oblation He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. And the Holy Ghost also doth testify this to us. For after that He said:
And this is the testament which I will make unto them after those days, saith the Lord. I will give My laws in their hearts, and on their minds will I write them: And their sins and iniquities I will remember no more. Now where there is a remission of these, there is no more an oblation for sin. Having therefore, brethren, a confidence in the entering into the holies by the Blood of Christ; A new and living way which He hath dedicated for us through the veil, that is to say, His Flesh." (Hebrews 10:10-20)
In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.