January 15, 2004
Thursday
vol 15, no. 15

chapter two:
    The Meaning of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
    The second installment of this multi-part series, deals with what was foretold in the Old Testament and how Jesus fulfilled the prophecy that He would be immolated as the New Sacrifice. Through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we relive, in an unbloody manner, everyday the Sacrifice on the Cross on which the Lamb offered Himself up for the redemption of all who believe in His words said by the alter Christus - a consecrated, ordained priest on our behalf: "This is My Body" first, and followed by "This is the Chalice of My Blood of the new and eternal covenant: the Mystery of Faith: which shall be shed for you and for many unto the forgiveness of sins" Thus is offered for us as a New Covenant in which we, members of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which Christ founded, partake in this ultimate Sacrifice of Christ for the remission of sins only in the True Mass - the Latin Mass of the Roman Rite of Saints Peter and Paul.

    The only difference between the Sacrifice of the Cross and the Sacrifice of the Mass is that on the former Jesus physically shed His Blood, while in the latter there is no physical shedding of blood nor physical death because Christ has already been immolated once. By His death He gained for us the merit and, through the True Mass, applies to us that merit and reward of His Bloody Death through the unbloody oblation of His Body and Blood during Mass.
Qui pridie quam pateretur, accepit panem in sanctas, ac venerabilis manus suas, et elevatis oculis in Coelum ad te Deum Patrem suum omnipotentem, Tibi gratias agens, bene dixit, fregit, deditque discipulis suis, dicens: Accepite, et manducate ex hoc omnes.

HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM

Who, the day before He suffered, took bread into His holy and venerable hands, and with His eyes lifted up towards heaven unto Thee, God, His almighty Father, giving thanks to Thee, He blessed it, broke it and gave it to His disciples saying: Take and eat ye all of this,

FOR THIS IS MY BODY

    It is very similar to what one would see on video tape. What was taped happened at the moment it was being filmed. When it is being played over and over, no matter how many times, it is a enactment of the event. It is and cannot be happening again. But we are reliving it. So also the Mass for Jesus continues to offer Himself as a Sacrifice in order to unite us with Him, to give us a gift worthy to be offered to God (cf. Mal 1:11), "a clean oblation" and allow us the opportunity to share in the merits of the His eternal sacrifice on the Cross.

    Fr. O'Sullivan states that "The Mass is the birth of Jesus Christ. He is really born on the Altar each time that Mass is said, as He was born in Bethlehem." St. John Damascene is attributed with saying: "If anyone wishes to know how the bread is changed into the Body of Jesus Christ, I will tell him. The Holy Ghost overshadows the priest and acts on him as He acted on the Blessed Virgin Mary" while St. Bonaventure assures us that "God, when He descends upon the altar, does no less than He did when He became man the first time in the womb of the Virgin Mary." St. Alphonsus states: "Even God Himself could do nothing holier, better, or greater than the Mass." St. Timothy gives one of the greatest accolades when he says: "The World would have been destroyed long ago because of the sins of men, had it not been for the Mass. There is nothing that obtains for us so many blessings as the Mass."

    Those are powerful words from great saints who understood the real purpose of the Mass. The four main purposes for which the Mass is offered are Adoration, Thanksgiving, Petition, and Atonement. We adore God as our Creator and this is the worthiest gift from Him and to Him. We thank God for His graces and favors to us for this greatest of gifts. We ask God to hear our prayers through petition and various parts of the liturgy. Through the most perfect vehicle of the Mass our petitions have a clear channel to Heaven. Finally, through the Mass we atone for the justice of God for the sins committed against Him and reconcile ourselves with Him as Christ said that His Blood is being shed "for many unto the forgiveness of sin" (Matthew 26:28). Through the priest Christ's sacrifice is renewed and continued until the end of the world and therefore, in itself, becomes His very Sacrifice every time Mass is said. For united with Him in this Sacrifice we continue to be members of His Mystical Body which we entered into at Baptism. The fruits are many from Our Lord's heavenly vineyard.
Simili modo, postquam coenatum est, accipiens et hunc praeclarum Calicem in sanctas ac venerabilis manus suas: item tibi gratias agens, bene dixit, deditque discipulis suis, dicens: Accipite, et bibite ex eo omnes,

HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MEI. NOVI ET AETERNI TESTAMENTI: MYSTERIUM FIDEI: QUI PRO VOBIS ET PRO MULTIS EFFUNDETUR IN REMISSIONEM PECCATORUM

In a low voice the Priest says:
Haec quotiescumque feceritis, in Mei memoriam facietis.

In like manner, after He had supped, taking also this excellent chalice into His holy and venerable hands, and giving Thee thanks, 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 TESTAMENT. THE MYSTERY OF FAITH: WHICH SHALL BE SHED FOR YOU AND FOR MANY UNTO THE REMISSION OF SINS

In a low voice the Priest says:
As often as ye do these things, ye shall do them in remembrance of Me.

    The fruit of the vine becomes the fruits of Redemption, made possible by Christ's death, a death which totally made it possible for every one of God's children to be redeemed. Through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we live in continuous and intimate communion with Jesus, as well as the Father and the Holy Ghost. The fruits obtained from the Mass is a cornucopia of graces through the Sacrifice on the Altar and prayers. We specifically obtain the grace of Forgiveness for venial sins for all those who are not in mortal sin; and we receive Remission of sin regarding the temporal penalty due to sin. All we need do is remember the Good Thief whose sins Christ forgave instantly on the Cross. He does the same for us.

    The proof that our prayers are heard in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass comes from the very fact that Jesus Himself prays for us. The fruits of attending Mass worthily and in the state of grace are that He not only answers our heartfelt prayers, but we gain even more of the merits of Christ for our souls as well as gaining temporal blessings. All who participate in the Mass, both here on earth and in Purgatory, reap the general fruits since the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered for everyone. This not only includes all who are present, or assist, especially the priest who represents Christ, but also the person for whom it is being offered as well as the souls in Purgatory -The Church Suffering.

    The value of the Mass is infinite because it is the renewal of Christ's death. Therefore to attend Mass devoutly is the greatest prayer we can offer. There is no more holy and divine act that can be performed here on earth than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Fr. O'Sullivan points out the importance of sharing and offering each Mass for he says, "we should have the intention of hearing and offering all the Masses being said at the same time all over the world. In this way we receive a share in these innumerable Masses!"

    Our Lady is constantly reminding us of that, always drawing us closer to her Divine Son who is ever present in the Tabernacle but never closer to us than during Mass for the Eucharist is a sacrament that Fr. Loret describes as drawing us "into the mystery of His broken body, His blood poured out..."

    This sacrifice is accomplished at the Communion, when the species of bread and wine, now Our Lord's Body and Blood, are consumed just as His Sacrifice was accomplished when He cried out "It is consummated" and then expired on the cross. Again, it is vital to repeat that the Mass is not a remembrance or memorial of His death, but an actual renewal, in the separate consecration of the bread and wine, the death of Jesus, the separation of His Body and Blood.

    Christ had instituted the essence of the Mass, now He left it to His Church to build a lasting ritual around the New Sacrifice and liturgically give the Mass form and expression for those who would participate down through the ages.

    The Apostles were the "first priests", ordained by Christ, and after the Holy Spirit had descended upon them on Pentecost Sunday, they went out fearlessly into the world to preach the good news and celebrate the New Sacrifice.

    The passages in 1 Corinthians 10:16 and 11:27-29 confirm that the Apostles understood that Christ's words were not to be taken figuratively, but literally! St. Augustine reaffirmed this continuous belief of Christians when he wrote, "Our Lord held Himself in His Own hands, when He gave His Body to the disciples." Bishop Morrow states that "It was only in the sixteenth century that Protestants, breaking away from the True Church, denied it and introduced a different doctrine." We wonder how, then, can they explain the powerful meaning of Christ's own words in John 6:54-59?

    That is also the principle of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The word "sacrament" signifies a means unto holiness. "A Sacrament," the Catechism tells us, "is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace." Of all the Sacraments, the Holy Eucharist is the most outward sign instituted by Jesus and which we can receive daily. It is the greatest Sacrament. That is why the Holy Eucharist is called the Blessed Sacrament

    Just as we are nourished in the Bread of Life today, so also the early Christians, amidst fierce persecution, took their strength from the Eucharist. In the next issue we will delve into how the Mass evolved in the first centuries as well as the how and why Christ's disciples made a total break from Jewish Law while maintaining some of their traditions. We'll also see how the disciples' greatest persecutor Saul became God's greatest traveling evangelist Saint Paul.


A Chronicle of Catholic Tradition
January 15, 2004
Volume 15, no. 15