Making Sense of Sensus Catholicus (jul19ssc.htm)

Tuesday
July 19, 2005
vol 16, no. 200

The Precious Blood of Christ
Part Two

        What the necessary words of the consecration Pro Multis mean in the Triune Divinity's Plan for Salvation
by
Father James F. Wathen

    "The Lord's priestly act in the self-immolation of the cross was, on the one hand, the individual act of the Supreme High Priest, sent to us by the Father to represent the race before Himself; on the other hand, it was an act in which all men were included, in that the Priest was human and therefore representative and mediator of the whole race. Hence, we consider the sacrifice of the cross a collective act in which all men, particularly in so far as they unite themselves to it through penitence, faith, and Baptism, die to sin. In other words, even though the sacrifice of the cross was offered for all men, and in Christ, the New Adam, all men were offered, its fruits flow only to those who enter the Church and unite themselves to it through the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is why the Mass exists, in order that those who believe and will it, might, by emulating the dispositions of the crucified Christ, offer themselves in obedience and adoration to the Father. "


    The following thoughts are prompted by the fact that July is devoted to the adoration of the most Precious Blood of our divine Savior.

    We address our Lord as our Redeemer, and we say that He redeemed us by shedding His Blood on the cross. We can still ask the questions: How did our Lordís death accomplish our redemption? How was our Lordís death a redemptive act? How and by Whom is the power of this redemptive act communicated to us?

    The answer is that, in the words of St. Paul, "in Christ, all died, and in Christ, all rose again," all, that is, who have been united to Him by entering the Church, the Mystical Body. As St. Paul says: "For the charity of Christ preset us: judging this, that if one died for all, then all were dead. And Christ died for all: that they also who live may not now live to themselves, but unto Him Who died for them and rose again" (2 Corinthians 5:14, 15).

    In becoming Man, the Second Person of the Trinity not only established a physical relationship with men, but He also took upon Himself the guilt with which the race was burdened. As man had fallen under a curse through Adamís sin, so Christ, by becoming Man, assumed all the guilt of Original Sin and all other sins. To quote St. Paulís bold expression:

    "Him [Christ], Who knew no sin, He [the Father] hath made sin for us: that we might be made the justice of God in Him [Christ]" (Ibid. 21).

    However, Christ, though divine and incapable of sin, by possessing a human nature was identified with our race and its estrangement from God, in order that He might be the perfect Mediator, Priest, and Victim for sinful man.

    The Lord's priestly act in the self-immolation of the cross was, on the one hand, the individual act of the Supreme High Priest, sent to us by the Father to represent the race before Himself; on the other hand, it was an act in which all men were included, in that the Priest was human and therefore representative and mediator of the whole race. Hence, we consider the sacrifice of the cross a collective act in which all men, particularly in so far as they unite themselves to it through penitence, faith, and Baptism, die to sin. In other words, even though the sacrifice of the cross was offered for all men, and in Christ, the New Adam, all men were offered, its fruits flow only to those who enter the Church and unite themselves to it through the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is why the Mass exists, in order that those who believe and will it, might, by emulating the dispositions of the crucified Christ, offer themselves in obedience and adoration to the Father.

    The following is an excerpt from St. Paulís Letter to the Ephesians. It is addressed to the community of Catholics in Ephesus, though the Apostle knew that it would be copied and circulated throughout the Church. In these lines, he describes the results of Christís redemptive sacrifice and the consequent status of Jews and Gentiles who have entered the Church. Unfortunately, many read these lines and apply them to themselves in one way or another, even though, since they choose to remain outside the Church, their application is erroneous and ineffectual.

Ephesians 2:11-12 "For which cause be mindful that you, being heretofore gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by that which is called circumcision in the flesh, made by hands: That you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the conversation of Israel and strangers to the testament, having no hope of the promise and without God in this world."

    This Epistle was written about thirty years after our Lordís Ascension. Most of the Ephesians were gentiles (non-Jews), referred to by the Jews (derisively) as "the uncircumcised." As pagans, they lacked the advantages of the Jews, whom God had favored for over a thousand years since Moses (c. 1250 BC), who had mediated the first testament or covenant between God and the Israelites (who later were called Jews). If, before their conversion, the Ephesians had any religion at all, their gods were those of the Grecian pantheon, the goddess, Diana, being their favorite. In their condition as pagans, that is, before entering the Church, they were without any hope of salvation and ignorant of the true God, the God of the sacred Scriptures. (This the condition of all who are outside the Church: "without hope," even though Protestants insist that they are already "saved.")

    2:13. "But now in Christ Jesus, you, who some time were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ."

    Having entered the Church, the Ephesians, who had been "far off" (Cf. Isaias 33:13), are now, like the Jewish Christians, "nigh" (near). The phrase, "by the blood of Christ" means that they, like the Jews, now enjoy all the benefits of Christís redemptive death.

    2:14-16 "For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and breaking down the middle wall of partition, the enmities in his flesh: Making void the law of commandments contained in decrees: that he might make the two in himself into one new man, making peace. And might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, killing the enmities in himself."

    These three verses tell of the wondrous effects of Christís redemptive death, which all, Jews and Gentiles equally, enjoy and are a party to, through their membership in the Church. The key word is "reconcile," because through the cross, and their Baptism, Christ has reconciled men with God, and Gentiles with Jews. Before, the Jews considered themselves superior by virtue of their special status with God, and had nothing to do with Gentiles, and wanted nothing to do with them (except engage in business with them). And the Gentiles despised the Jews for their attitude of superiority and exclusiveness. (The Jews altered Godís predilection to mean racial superiority--and still do.) This enmity between the Jews and Gentiles was the result of the laws which bound the Jews to keep to themselves, and was the "middle wall of partition of which the Apostles speaks in verse 14. By the New Testament, established in the Blood of Christ, the Old Testament laws have been abrogated, so that, in the Church there is no distinction now between Jews and Gentiles. Christ has reconciled the two peoples "in Himself," causing that together with Him, they now make "one new man," the Mystical Christ.

    2:17-18."And coming, He preached peace to you that were afar off [the gentile Ephesians]: and peace to them that were nigh [the Jews]. For by Him we have access both in one Spirit to the Father."

    St. Paul here says that Christ through His blood and through the Church has fulfilled the prophecy of Micheas, who preached:

    "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared in the top of the mountains, and high above the hills: and people shall flow to it. And many nations shall come in haste, and say: Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob: and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth out of Son, and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem" And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off: and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into spades: nation shall not take sword against nation: neither shall they learn war anymore" (Mich. 4:1-3).

    The "last days" are the final era of time, the New Testament, the time between Christís Ascension and His Second Coming. The "house of the Lord" is the Church, which, like the highest mountain, is visible to all. The Church will be universal: people from all nations will be called to it and will stream into it. One of the works which the Church will strive to achieve is peace among nations. (The peoples of the world do not need the anti-Christian United Nations, but the Church.)

    But before this, the Church establishes peace among her own members. It has this purpose, and all Christians are supposed to be peacemakers, that is, to strive to live at peace with all their brethren. For the sake of peace and amity, they are to overlook the sins and faults of others in so far as this is possible, ignore unimportant differences of opinion, stay clear of agitation and divisiveness. Instead, they should practice charity and patience, keep their singular opinions to themselves, mind their own business, recognize and be content with their humble station, ignore slights, accept humiliations, readily forgive, and manifest unflagging hope and confidence in our Kingís supreme power and invincible dominance.

    Priests, before all other things, are to help people to practice their faith and not put obstacles in their way, either by scandal or obstreperousness or pomposity or extreme volatility or despotism. They must not claim more authority than the Church has given them: no Traditionalist bishop or priest, for example, has the right to impose a censure upon anyone, or deny him the Sacraments because he has attended or occasionally attends the (true) Mass of some other priest with whom he has personal differences or treat people as heretics on his own say-so.

    Priests must do all they can to draw the people to church and the Sacraments, and nothing which might provide them with an excuse, even the flimsiest, to stay away. They must not develop their own theology, their own liturgy, their own "regime," so that "their" church and their way of doing things is markedly "unusual" or irregular. They must avoid anything that suggests a "personality cult," so that, in the eyes of "their" people, theirs is the only authentic teaching, theirs the only correct way--all others are unacceptable and "unapproved" (by them). With regard to peopleís imperfections--their tepidity, their worldliness, their imperfect understanding--they are not to be tolerant, but realistic; which is to say, that, no matter how hard they try, their success will be marginal, and in the case of some, imperceptible.

_____________________________

    Please continue to pray for me, that I may get well enough to be of some further service, which I hope will be (relatively) soon. I greatly appreciate this. May the good God bless everyone who has shown concern for me in their admirable charity. I send my priestly blessing to everyone who is united with me in the Blood of our most glorious Savior, Jesus Christ.

In Christ,

Father James Wathen


    For past articles of Making Sense of Sensus Catholicus, see 2005ssc.htm Archives
    July 19, 2005
    vol 16, no. 200
    Making Sense of Sensus Catholicus