August 13-15, 2001
volume 12, no. 142

The Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar

Part Three: Nature and History of Sacrifice

    From the beginning of man's existence, sacrifices have been offered to God. The children of Adam and Eve, Abel and Cain, offered sacrifice to God. Abel offered sheep, Cain, fruits of the earth. Because they did not have a knowledge of the true God, the ancient Greeks and Egyptians offered human sacrifices. The Caanaites used to offer human victims to their idol Moloch, heating the brazen statue of the god red-hot, and casting the victims into its arms. Even today some pagan peoples offer human sacrifices. Thus we see how perversion enters when the true God is not known.

    A sacrifice is the offering of a victim by a priest to God alone, and the destruction of it in some way, to acknowledge that He is the Creator of all things.

    Man offers sacrifice to God, in acknowledgment of His supreme power, and in gratitude for His gifts, especially for the gift of life. The need for offering sacrifice is innate in human nature, as natural as breathing. Since man was made for God, his soul flies to Him if unchecked, as a balloon soars up into the air unless tied down.

    God gave us life; He breathed into us a soul that is immortal, like God Himself. Without life and a soul, we would be nonexistent, nothing; we would not be able to do anything, not even to recognize God. Our living soul therefore is our most precious possession, and for it we must thank God.

    We must repay God for His gifts, especially for the invaluable gift of life. But because our life is so precious, we cannot give God enough for it, to repay Him. If someone gave us a diamond ring worth five thousand dollars and we gave him two cents in payment, that would not be as great a difference between the value of what we receive and the amount we pay as there would be when God gives us life and we repay Him with material things. But because we have nothing with which we can repay God adequately, we do our best, by offering Him what we can. This is what men do when they offer sacrifice.

    Yet today we insult God so by diminishing the sacrificial nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in order to emphasize the "Eucharistic Celebration" and celebrate self rather than the true purpose we must offer God: sacrifice. Jesus Christ, Son of God, offered Himself in sacrifice and has given us this eternal sacrifice in perpetuation. Unfortunately since Vatican II it has been rejected in favor of a better idea conjured up and rationalized by proud men.

    They forget that from the very beginning of the world, men have acknowledged God's existence and power by offering sacrifice. It was first offered, then destroyed or changed, as by consuming or by fire. The oblation of a visible object is a symbol of the interior adoration and offering, by which the soul gives itself completely to its Creator.

    In common language we speak of "sacrificing" for the sake of another; for example, a mother sacrifices herself for her children, a soldier sacrifices himself for his country. The meaning is that some valuable thing is given up-time, luxuries, health, life-for the sake of another. So in offering a sacrifice to God, we give it up, for love of Him.

    The offering of sacrifice is an honor reserved to God alone, since the formal act of offering and destroying an oblation is an act of worship or adoration. In order to make a solemn religious act of sacrifice to God, men have from earliest days asked priests, those consecrated to the service of God, to offer their sacrifices, to be the intermediary between man and God.

    In ordinary life, we offer valuable things to those we love or respect, as a sign of gratitude or affection. In this way we give Christmas and birthday presents, commemoration gifts, etc. But these offerings are a "sacrifice" only in the common sense of the term and are not included in the formal sacrifice that can be offered to God alone. This last is the offering and destroying or changing of something, in acknowledgment of God's infinite majesty.

    Yet, since Vatican II in the Novus Ordo we have "gifts" not sacrifice. The purposes of sacrifice are: to give honor or adoration to God, to offer Him thanks, to beg a favor, or to make propitiation. In other words, the purposes of sacrifice are: Adoration, Thanksgiving, Petition, and Atonement. It is natural for man to give outward expression to the feelings that move his interior being. For this reason he bursts out in praise when he thinks of the greatness and holiness of God; he must give something up as a sign of gratitude; he must offer a gift when he feels his insignificance in begging a favor; and he tries all kinds of penitential works when he realizes his iniquities.

    Sacrifice is offered in either the bloody or the unbloody form.

    A sacrifice of living animals, such as an ox, a lamb, or a dove, is a bloody sacrifice. A sacrifice of some food, such as fruit, wine, or wheat, is an unbloody sacrifice.

    Among the Jews, the animals used to be slaughtered, their blood poured out upon the altar, and their flesh consumed by fire or eaten by the priests and those for whom the sacrifice was offered. The unbloody oblation was burned up or eaten by the priests after being offered; the wine was poured out on the altar.

    The heathen, with perverted ideas, offered human sacrifices to their idols. It was the Mother of God who appeared to a simple peasant on Guadalupe hill near Mexico City in 1531 asking Juan Diego to convey to his bishop and to the people that the human sacrifice by the Aztecs must stop, they must turn it to another sacrifice - the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Today, Mexico is one of the leading Roman Catholic countries in the world with 90% of the population claiming to be Catholic. Yet the sacrificial nature of the Holy Mass has been muted by the eclipse of the New Order of the Mass. Coincidentally since its rise the pagan human sacrifice of abortion and euthanasia has increased to where the human sacrifices to pagan gods of the past pale in comparison with the numbers today of those who offer these sacrifices to the gods of convenience, lust, selfishness and greed.

    More than ever before we need to return to the true sacrificial nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which can only be found in the Traditional Latin Mass - the Mass decreed by Pope Saint Pius V that could never be altered, never be abrogated.

August 13-15, 2001
volume 12, no. 142
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