The ALTER CHRISTUS FACTORWhy the Priest is the alter Christus|
in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
OFFERTORY and CANON OF THE MASS
There is truly meaning in the ceremonies of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - the Immemorial Mass of Tradition - the Traditional Latin Mass. Consider below what each action signifies as the priest - the alter Christus - re-enacts an action by or to Our Lord as being an exposition of the Agony, Death and Passion of our Divine Lord from Holy Thursday night until forty days after His resurrection, when He gave the final command to the Apostles to go forth and preach the Gospel to the world. These reasons are taken from The Catholic Church Alone: The One True Church of Christ, Catholic Education Company, New York, 1902, page 551.
THE MASS OF THE CATECHUMENS
1. Introibo ad altare Dei
2. Judica me, Deus...
- The priest going to the foot of the altar represents Christ going to Mount Olivet.
3. Confiteor Deo...
- The priest commencing the Holy Mass represents Christ beginning to pray in the Garden.
4. Oramus Te, Domine, per merita Sanctorum Tuorum
- The priest saying the Confiteor represents Christ falling down and sweating blood at Mt. Olivet.
- The priest going up and kissing the altar, after praying Aufer a nobis..., represents Christ being betrayed by Judas with a kiss.
6. The INTROIT
- The priest going to the Epistle side represents Christ being captured, bound and taken to Annas.
7. Kyrie Eleison
- The priest reading the Introit represents Christ being falsely accused by Annas and blasphemed.
8. Dominus vobiscum
- The priest going to the middle of the altar and saying the Kyrie eleison represents Christ being brought to Caiphas and these three times denied by Peter.
9. The EPISTLE
- The priest saying the Dominus vobiscum represents Christ looking at Peter and converting him.
10. Munda cor meum
- The priest reading the Epistle represents Christ being brought to Pilate.
11. The GOSPEL
- The priest saying the Munda cor meum represents Christ being taken to Herod and mocked.
- The priest reading the Gospel represents Christ being taken to Pilate and again mocked.
12. The OFFERTORYCOMMUNION and THANKSGIVING
13. Suscipe and Offerimus...
- The priest uncovering the chalice represents Christ being shamefully exposed.
14. In spiritu humilitatis...
- The priest offering bread and wine represents Christ being cruelly scourged.
- The priest covering the chalice represents Christ being crowned with thorns.
16. Orate Fratres
- The priest washing his hands represents Christ being declared innocent by Pilate.
17. The SECRET
- The priest saying the Orate Fratres represents Christ being shown by Pilate to the people with the words "Ecce Homo."
18. The PREFACE and Sanctus
- The priest praying in a low voice represents Christ being mocked and spit upon.
- The priest saying the Preface and the Sanctus represents Christ being preferred instead of Barrabas and condemned to crucifixion.
20. CANON Prayers
- The priest making the memento for the living represents Christ carrying the cross to Mount Calvary.
21. Hanc igitur
- The priest continuing to pray in a low voice represents Christ meeting His Mother.
22. HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM...
- The priest blessing the bread and wine represents Christ being nailed to the cross.
23. HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MEI...
- The priest elevating the host represents Christ being raised on the cross.
- The priest elevating the chalice represents Christ shedding blood from the five wounds.
25. Nobis quoque peccatoribus
- The priest praying in a low voice represents Christ seeing His afflicted Mother at the foot of the cross.
- The priest saying aloud the words Nobis quoque peccatoribus represents Christ praying on the cross for men.
26. Pater Noster
27. Fraction of the Host
- The priest saying aloud the the Pater Noster represents Christ saying the seven words on the cross.
28. Haec commixtio...
- The priest breaking and separating the host represents Christ giving up His spirit.
29. Agnus Dei...
- The priest letting a portion of the host fall into the chalice represents His soul going to Limbo.
30. HOLY COMMUNION
- The priest saying the Agnus Dei represents Christ being acknowledged on the cross as the Son of God by many bystanders.
31. Cleansing the Chalice
- The priest administering Holy Communion represents Christ being laid in the sepulchre with the white linen over the communion railing representing the pure shroud.
32. Preparing the Chalice
- The priest cleansing the chalice represents Christ being anointed by pure women.
33. Dominus vobiscum...
- The priest preparing the chalice again represents Christ rising from the dead.
- The priest saying the Dominus vobiscum represents Christ appearing to His mother and the disciples.
35. Dominus vobiscum
- The priest saying the last prayers in the Postcommunion represents Christ teaching for forty days.
36. Ite Missa est and FINAL BLESSING
- The priest saying the Dominus vobiscum just before the Ite Missa est represents Christ taking leave of His disciples with His final words in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to "Feed My sheep" and ascending into Heaven.
37. LAST GOSPEL
- The priest saying the Ite Missa est blessing represents Christ sending down the Holy Ghost on Pentecost Sunday.
- The priest saying the Last Gospel, which is really the First words of the beloved Disciple Saint John, represents sending the Apostles into all parts of the world to preach the Gospel and preserving His Holy Church for all time.
Alter Christus at the Altar