The Calvary Test|
The Altar is the extension of Calvary and any deviation from that truly reveals that whatever is being passed off as a Mass is not the True Sacrifice and must be avoided and vigorously opposed as being contrary to the will of Almighty God.
"Since the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is supposed to be a bloodless reenactment and recollection of Christ's ultimate sacrifice for our sins and for our salvation, this test is most appropriate and fitting as a measure of the proper conduct, tone, attitude, and approach that should be taken when approaching the Mass. Taken in this context, we can add that anything that detracts, disturbs, distorts, or ignores this connection or perpetuates and promotes a conduct, tone, attitude or approach inconsistent with that clear connection to Calvary is clearly contrary to God Almighty's Will and Word and must be avoided."
Tomorrow is the traditional true feast of Corpus Christi - the Body of Christ. The Saint Andrew Daily Missal, with a 1945 imprimatur, documents the following about the essence of this feast.
"After the dogma of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit reminds us of the dogma of the Incarnation of our Lord, in celebrating with the Church the greatest of all sacraments, summing up the whole life of the Redeemer, giving infinite glory to God and applying the fruits of the Redemption at all times to ourselves.
It was on the cross that our Lord redeemed us and the Holy Eucharist, instituted on the night before our Lord's Passion, remains its memorial. The altar is the extension of Calvary; the Mass shows the death of the Lord.
Jesus is there in the state of a victim, for the words of the double consecration mean only that the bread is changed into the Body of Christ and the wine into His Blood. On account of this double action with different effects, which constitutes the sacrifice of the Mass, we are entitled to speak of our Lord's Presence under the appearance of bread as that of the Body of Christ, although, since He can die no more, the whole Christ is there contained; similarly we may speak of the Presence under the appearance of wine as that of His Blood, although He is contained there whole and entire. Through His priests, our Lord Himself, the principal Priest of the Mass, offers in an unbloody manner His Body and Blood which were really separated on the Cross, but on the altar only in a representative or sacramental sense, the matter and words used and the effect produced being different in the two consecrations. Besides the Eucharist was instituted under the form of food, that we may be united with the Victim of Calvary, so that the Sacred Host becomes the "wheat" which feeds our souls."
Those words above are seldom heard in the New Order churches today. Unity of community is the central focus and sacrificial aspect of the Holy Mass is sacrificed for political correctness so as not to offend non-Catholics. Never do we hear anymore that "the altar is the extension of Calvary" for the New Order has taken the altar away, thus eliminating Calvary and replaced it with a table which might be called an "altar" but is merely a preparation platform to present to the people the "community meal" which, while told that it still feeds our souls, in truth is no different than the Protestant communion service for the very reason that Calvary has been compromised. You see this even more evident in churches where the Crucifix has been replaced by either a corpseless cross or the 'resurrexix', bypassing Calvary to show the Resurrected Christ rather than the Crucified Christ.
So what does one do? Amid all of the confusion and rhetoric about what is and is not proper in the Holy Mass, whether the New Order mass is valid or invalid, whether those ordained after 1969 are truly priests, and and how people should behave at this most Sacred Rite, Christ Our Lord has provided us with the most simple and concise test of all…The Calvary Test.
An Obvious Connection
Since the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is supposed to be a bloodless reenactment and recollection of Christ's ultimate sacrifice for our sins and for our salvation, this test is most appropriate and fitting as a measure of the proper conduct, tone, attitude, and approach that should be taken when approaching the Mass. Taken in this context, we can add that anything that detracts, disturbs, distorts, or ignores this connection or perpetuates and promotes a conduct, tone, attitude or approach inconsistent with that clear connection to Calvary is clearly contrary to God Almighty's Will and Word and must be avoided.
The Calvary Test is simply as follows: How would you act, speak, think, posture yourself, and perceive the sight of Christ crucified before you at Calvary? Using common sense, logic, and reverence as our guide, we must consider how we would behave and think if we were before our crucified Lord on the Cross at Calvary. This simple test will guide us toward what is and is not fitting for this most Sacred Sacrifice.
Any behavior, actions, thoughts, attitudes, approaches, and views that would detract from such an experience and disrespect the significance of that event is therefore evil.
Applying our test to the Holy Mass begins by asking Would you refuse to go to Calvary with Our Lord, even if only to stand witness to His great sacrifice and love for us? Obviously, if we claim to love Christ and sincerely desire to follow Him, absence at Calvary is completely unacceptable. Anyone who claims to be a true Catholic yet refuses to go to Calvary with Christ is a liar, a fraud, a hypocrite, and need not continue with this test, for until we attend Calvary, there is nothing else to test! The huge percent of so-called Catholics who do not attend Mass regularly simply stand witness not to Christ's great love or sacrifice but to their own arrogance, ingratitude, and laziness.
Continuing with our test, we could then ask Once at Calvary, would you then change Christ's words spoken from the cross in any way for any pretext? Obviously, we have been given Christ's Seven Words from the cross as guides to a greater appreciation of His message of love, service, obedience, and salvation. There is no excuse for ignoring or selectively choosing or altering any words spoken by Our Lord either leading to Calvary or at Calvary itself. This would include, of course, at The Last Supper with the Words of Consecration and continue up until Our Lord's last words from the cross.
Changing those Words of Consecration, the language of the Mass, or the various prayers and components of the Mass to suit human, secular, or other agendas is akin to ignoring or altering Christ's Own words spoken up to and at Calvary. Hence, we cannot continue any further with this test if we disrespect the words from Our Lord's Own mouth to suit our taste!
Assuming we are still on track with this test, we can then ask Would you join the ranks of the evil ones in mocking the Crucified Christ? Many of us cannot imagine laughing or ridiculing Christ as He hung on the cross, but do we not do this when we do not take the Mass seriously, when we joke around and speak during the Mass, when we treat the entire process as some kind of annoying duty?
Continuing in this vein, Would you applaud, laugh, joke, or have conversations and games at Calvary? Obviously, any of these behaviors would have been an abomination at the foot of the Cross. Yet, these same behaviors are still so at Mass today, yet how many people partake in such conduct during the Holy Mass?
Would you come to Calvary in revealing or slovenly dress? How would one have looked at Calvary in a bathing suit or other revealing or inappropriate outfit? Then why is it suddenly acceptable to so dress at Mass? How many times do we see ladies not looking like ladies but more like ladies of the night? Is scandal and temptation now something which we no longer fear? Or the uniform of political correctness - women looking more like men dressed in slacks and men dressed more in effeminate clothes? Where are the suits and ties of past generations? Are jeans and t-shirts the dress code to visit a high dignitary? Hardly! Then why would one don such garb in the presence of the highest Dignitary the world has ever known?
Would you dance or play wild music or chant or perform other activities while at Calvary? Imagine dancers or musicians or merchants doing their thing at Calvary while Christ hung at the Cross. Would this not be even a height of blasphemy which even the infidels who crucified Him did not think of? Then why is it suddenly acceptable to do these things at Mass? Why do some bishops not only allow but encourage "liturgical dance" which again brings up the revealing dress question as the previous paragraph. Why are the modern liturgists trying to tie in the Dance of Salome with the Mass?
As Christ hung on the Cross, would you pretend that He was elsewhere or in everyone else at Calvary or floating around? It is inconceivable to imagine someone faced with a crucified Christ pretending that this Christ was somewhere else, everywhere else, or only a symbol, yet is this not what we are doing if we accept the New Order trash about Christ being everywhere, in everyone, or deny The Real Presence?
Would you approach the Cross steeped in sin? If we all feel rightly unworthy to approach the Crucified Christ due to our hand in His sacrifice, such feelings stem from our continued sinfulness. It is only in seeking to confess and be forgiven for our offenses in the Sacrament of Penance that we gain the courage and qualification to approach the Cross. If this is so, why do so many people attend Mass while steeped in mortal and serious sins? Do we not owe Our Lord the respect and honor to at least try to approach Him in contrition, sorrow, and seeking purity through redemption?
Would you reject Christ's blood as it spilled upon you from the Cross? One cannot imagine cringing away from Christ's saving blood as He hung as the Sacrificial Lamb offered for our sins, yet do we not do this if we do not receive the Eucharist at Mass? Would you leave Calvary as Christ was still hanging alive on the Cross? Imagine merely walking away from Our Lord as He was still hanging there alive. Beat the crowds rushing back down from the summit of Golgotha.
Is this not what we do if we leave Mass in the middle or during Communion or before the Last Gospel or Prayers at the end of the Mass?
Where Do We Stand?
If we were all standing at Calvary with a priest, would we be all facing Our Lord on the Cross, including the priest or would we be facing each other or the priest? Would the priest be facing us with his back to Christ or facing the Crucified Christ as well, with his back to us? We cannot imagine facing anyone other than Christ at Calvary. We rightly imagine that the magnitude of His Presence there would demand our undivided attention. We cannot imagine anyone giving his or her back to this Presence, and we cannot imagine anything or anyone other than Christ being the center of attention.
Despite this, is not the Holy Mass becoming more and more about everything and everyone other than the Crucified Lord? Is not the architecture today designed more as an antithesis of worship and praise and more of a "theater in the round" to better all hold hands and "be in touch with the cosmic divinity within all of us?" There was a reason the cathedrals and basilicas and churches of old were designed in the shape of a cross with the head of the Cross serving as the Sanctuary, the apse - the foot of the Cross where the faithful would humbly kneel in Adoration, Repentance, Thanksgiving and Petition.The altar was the the focal point of why we were there. It is, after all, the House of God. There on the main altar - front and center - was the very Ark of the Covenant - the holy Tabernacle which contained the Living God in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, Soul and Divinity! Today, one needs a map to find Him; if He is even there!
If we just see the Holy Mass as the reenactment of Calvary that it is, all of our conduct, behavior, tone, approach, attitude, and perceptions should rightly gravitate toward their proper place. Our comportment will become more reverent and our souls uplifted. The time-worn addage of how one prays governs how one believes - lex orandi, lex credendi makes this crystal clear for the farther we stray from Calvary and the Calvary Test with respect to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the more we stray from what those proper behaviors and practices should be. Given the present state of the Holy Mass, perhaps Christ's call to His Father Almighty that we be forgiven for we know not what we are doing becomes a message geared as much to the present as to the original witnesses at Calvary!
Editor's Note: Heaven is once again under attack by those who would seek to ignore and overthrow God's majesty and authority. Gabriel Garnica, educator and attorney, submits regular insights and commentaries to remind and help guide readers toward a deeper and more assertive faith. Touching on topics and issues ranging from personal faith, doctrine, education, scripture, the media, family life, morality, and values, Gabriel's notes are music to traditional ears but unpleasant tones to those who have bought into the misguided notions so prevalent and spreading in today's Catholic world.