Jesus used bread for He is the "Bread of Life" (cf. John 6:35) and wine for He is the "true Vine" (cf. John 15:1). 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. 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 Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, applies to us that merit and reward of His Bloody Death through the unbloody oblation of His Body and Blood during Mass. 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 re-enactment of the event. Though it cannot happen again, we are reliving it as though it were. So also the Holy Sacrifice of 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 His eternal sacrifice on the Cross. 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.
When we consider these things, isn't it sad that so few attend Daily Mass? Isn't it even sadder that so many Catholics attend Sunday Mass without truly realizing what they are partaking in? We need to re-emphasize the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to instill in all the Catholic faithful the value of the Mass which 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. We need to let all our brothers and sisters know that 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.
Our Lady is constantly reminding us of the importance of Holy Mass, always drawing us closer to her Divine Son Who is ever present in the Tabernacle but never closer to us than during Mass and at Holy Communion for this sacrifice is accomplished at this special time 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. It is so vital to remember that the Mass is not a remembrance or memorial of His death as our protestant brethren assume, but an actual renewal, in the separate consecration of the bread and wine, of the death of Jesus - the separation of His Body and Blood. Isn't it interesting that our protestant brethren waited sixteen centuries before denying the true presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. They denied it and introduced a different doctrine, one which goes against all that Christ intended. We can't help but wonder how, then, they can 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 for 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. Shouldn't that prompt us to commit to receiving Him more frequently? After all, it is the greatest Sacrament. That's why the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, Soul and Divinity, is called the "Blessed Sacrament!"
"...and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, 'Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed'" (Luke 2:34-35).
Maybe Mary recalled this as she made her way toward Jerusalem for the Passover. Maybe she was recalling an earlier journey... "Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem" (Luke 2:41-43).
He said He must be about His Father's work, she recalled. She knew then that this work entailed more than just teaching, than just performing miracles. She heard the stories of His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. However, these didn't fill her with joy. She knew public acclamation wasn't what He was here for. As she drew near to Jerusalem, her heart begins to feel heavy.
When she entered Jerusalem, her heart feels the first of many swords. Her Son is the talk of the town. "Oh you poor souls", she must say to herself. "How fickle you are. In just one week you rejoice at His coming to you in triumphant, and now you rejoice at his arrest."
As she listens to the talk, she hears how He has been treated. Temple guards boasting of how silent He was when they struck Him, pulled His beard from His face. " I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I hid not my face from shame and spitting" (Isaiah 50:6).
"They answered, 'He deserves death.' Then they spat in His face, and struck Him; and some slapped Him, saying, 'Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck You?'" (Matthew 26:66-68).
Her heart nears breaking as she hears how Pilate had Him scourged, and how, somehow, He survived this. So terrible was scourging that it was against Roman law to scourge a Roman citizen. In fact, most died from the punishment.
Coming to a crowd near the city center, she hears an uproar. Getting closer, she sees her Son standing beside Pilate. Her beloved Son is so badly beaten as to be almost unrecognizable. A mockery of kingship. A crown made of thorns, a scepter made of a reed, a horse's blanket for a 'royal' robe. As she draws nearer, she hears how Pilate wishes to release Him. She knows this won't happen. Her heart goes into even greater sorrow. "… Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, 'If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar.' When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, 'Behold your King!' They cried out, 'Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!' Pilate said to them, 'Shall I crucify your King?' The chief priests answered, 'We have no king but Caesar.' Then he handed Him over to them to be crucified" (John 19: 12-16).
Her heart sinks further. Not only for her Son, but also for these, her other sons and daughters. She hears the rumor that one of her Son's followers, the one who betrayed Him, has committed suicide. "Oh my little one, why did you despair of the mercy of God?" She is near tears to think of a lost soul.
Making her way through the crowds, she finally reaches the way her Son will come. Seeing Him she approaches. For some reason, the Romans do not stop her. She looks at her Son. Tears begin to well up in her eyes. There are no words, none are needed. She comforts Him as best she can. As a mother she is near death in sorrow. As a daughter, she is overjoyed as to their approaching deliverance. She tries to give Him what strength she can for the rest of His journey.
She follows Him on His way to execution. Along the way, she is met by His Apostle John. John holds her up, comforts her. Lends his support. As she leaves the city, she sees the Romans raise her Son high over the earth. The Lamb of God is sacrificed for His people, here for all the world to see and acclaim.
"Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood which is in the basin;… and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to slay you" (Exodus 12:22; 23). The wetting of the lintel and two door posts forms a cross.
Mary watches in the greatest sorrow as even in death, her Son is abused. Not content with His death, she watches as a soldier thrusts his spear point into His side and water and blood spill out. (Plasma and whole blood). As the spear enters His side, she feels it enter hers.
Finally, He is removed from the cross. Her sorrow is beyond measure. She watched each step of the way with Him. Felt every blow, every spit, every fall, every nail, every lance.
"O Lord, in Whose passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, a sword of sorrow pierced the sweet soul of Mary, mother and virgin, grant, that by the glorious merits and prayers of all the saints who stood faithfully by the cross, we may experience the happy effects of Thy passion. Who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen" (Prayer in Honor of Our Sorrowful Mother)
On the morning of the third day, a curious thing. "And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Him. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen" (Mark 16:1-2).
Where was Mary His mother? Surely she would go with them to anoint her son? Surely she would want to make sure He was properly anointed and for one last look. Where was Mary?
There is no need for he to be there. She knows He is not there. No angel
need tell her, no one need tell her the body is gone. She knows.
Happy Easter. May the peace of Christ, that only He can give, be with you all and yours. Now and forever.
Death of Saint Hugh of Grenoble, a Benedictine bishop who was in demand of the Popes of his time. He was canonized two years after his death by Pope Innocent III.
Death of Queen Elanor of Aquitaine, the Catholic Queen of both England and France.
Saint Catherine of Siena receives the Stigmata while on a visit to Pisa in northern Italy to organize religious revival in that city. Though the stigmata was invisible during her life, it became visible upon her death.
Death of King Robert II of Scotland.
Death of King Sigsimund I, monarch of Poland.
Gallileo, under scrutiny by the Church for his views and theories, is received in private audience by Pope Paul V.
Pope Sylvester II elected as the 139th successor of Peter. Like Pope John Paul II, Sylvester was also a non-Italian and this French Pontiff, born in Auvergne, France, would prepare his universal flock for the second millennium - just as our Polish Pope is doing for the third millennium. Sylvester II would try to repress the debauchery of these times and, highly cultured, he would introduce the use of Arabic numbers.
The Seventh Crusade, led by Saint Louis, King of France, is forced to surrender to the Muslimsm because of broken promises to the crusaders by Pope Innocent IV and Frederick II Hohenstaufen and his son Manfred.
Death of King Ferdinand I, monarch of Aragon which would be annexed as an intricate part of Spain.
Death of Prince Arthur, Prince of Wales and oldest brother of England's King Henry VIII.
Death of Saint Francis of Paola, Franciscan and religous founder whose optional feast we celebrate today.
The Marriage of Philip II King of Spain to Queen Isabella of France, solidifying the Catholic bloc in those two nations and ensuring Catholicism would prosper despite the reformation.
Archbishop Gerbert of Aurillac is consecrated the first French Pope, taking the name Pope Sylvester II.
Birth of Philip III, nicknamed "the Bold" who would become the King of France.
Death of Pope Honorius IV, the 190th successor of Peter who, during his two year pontificate, sought to establish closer relations with the Eastern Orthodox Church as well as the leaders of the Islam world. One of the first measures of this Roman-born Pontiff was to establish order in the Papal States. He gave great encouragement to the University of Paris.
Pope Clement V, the first of the Avignon Popes, dissolves the Knights Templar who had grown increasingly in power and abuse of their privileges.
Birth of Henry IV who would become King of England
I solemnly say to all the world: Behold, you embark upon a season of prayer, penance, mortification and sacrifice. I desire you to invoke the grace of the Holy Spirit, so you may fully understand the great graces received during the Holy Season of Lent. These graces purify and strengthen. They enable you to draw ever closer to my Divine Son, and assist you to embrace each and every cross of your life with loving obedience.
Little children, practice mortification of your body to the degree inspired by the Holy Spirit, and permitted by the spiritual direction of those cherished souls who bear my words to the world. When you do this, dear children, obedience becomes sweet and joyful, and you comfort the Sorrowful Heart of Jesus, Who gave His life that you may have life, and seek Him in Trust.
Learn each day to meditate on my Son's Passion and the Holy Spirit shall help you. Pray from your heart. I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
This is a holy season. I solemnly tell the world: Do now what Nineveh did in the time of Jonah and the Divine Justice shall be mitigated. Do not reject Me. No longer give to Me, your God, the lip service of idle minds. I look into the heart. I search for hearts capable of loving Me. I find so few because you have grown lukewarm in your faith.
Awaken the faith that is God's gift to you! Walk in the path of holiness, for soon, very soon, all evil shall be wiped from the face of the earth. Then shall My flock be united.
Watch and wait. Pray and work. For all who are called, I implore you to come together as the first Christians, living in humility, simplicity and obedience. Let My chosen souls give their very lives that these places of refuge may exist, for I see My hungry children and long to nourish them.
Come, then, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, and walk My Way of the Cross. Trust Me, console Me, love Me! I shall come to claim My kingdom.
I love and bless you. Come to Me - My Heart is an abyss of Mercy.