The first 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 "This is My Body", "This is My Blood" offered to us as a New Covenant in which we, members of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which Christ founded, renew this ultimate Sacrifice of Christ for the remission of sins.
With this first installment, we bring you an extensive series on both the Mass - the sacrifice of the New Law in which Christ, through the ministry of the priest, offers Himself to God in an unbloody manner under the appearances of bread and wine...and the One, True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church He founded approximately one thousand nine hundred and sixty seven years ago: the Roman Catholic Church which we reverently refer to as Holy Mother Church.
All that is Roman Catholic is contained within this New Sacrifice - the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Over the next year we will detail the evolution of the Mass from the early Christian times to our present day so that all may better understand the true meaning of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the sacred structure of the Church which Jesus set in place for His Kingdom on earth.
We will be using various sources, but the best are "My Catholic Faith - A Manual of Religion" (now out of print) by Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow, S.T.D., "The Mass of the Roman Rite" by Fr. Josef Jungmann, S.J., "The Story of the Mass" by Fr. Pierre Loret, "Rubrics of the Mass" by Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas, "The Wonders of the Mass" by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P., the "Catholic Dictionary"amassed by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, the "Catholic Encyclopedia", both the Baltimore Catechism and the new Catechism of the Catholic Church along with the 1983 edition of the "Code of Canon Law", numerous missals, as well as out-of-date publications with an imprimatur such as "The Catholic Church Alone The One True Church"(1902), "Cabinet of Catholic Information" (1903), "Ancient and Modern Masterpieces of the Leading Lights of the Catholic Church", "Historical, Theological, and Miscellaneous Subjects on Catholicism" by Archbishop M.J.Spalding of Baltimore circa 1885, "The Glories and Triumphs of the Catholic Church" (1907), and "Lives of the Saints" from Benziger Brothers(1922), "The Story of the Church" by Father George Johnson, Father Jerome Hannan, and Sister Marie Dominica, O.S.U., "The Oxford Dictionary of Popes" by J.N.D. Kelly, "Popes who shaped History" by John Jay Hughes, and "The Papal Princes" by Glenn D. Kittler. In addition we will use either the Douay-Rheims version for quoting Sacred Scripture or the Confraternity Text for Old Testament passages. Other documents we will refer to are the Vatican Council II Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents: Volumes I and II" edited by Dominican Fr. Austin Flannery, O.P. Again, there will be many other sources we will use, but these are the primary ones.
With a better perception of what the Mass truly is, we will not so easily be swayed by new-fangled gimmicks and liturgical abuses being introduced by individual celebrants and ICEL, theInternational Committee for English in the Liturgy. We will discover why the basis for the use of vestments and sacred vessels, the purpose for the Rubrics of the Mass, the logic of Church Scholars and Popes through the ages for fending off changes that would water-down the Sacrifice and even invalidate the greatest remembrance Christ gave to His Church.
Too often, today, the Mass is being referred to as "a meal", "sharing of the bread", "a supper." True, that is an important aspect of the ritual, but it is so much more than that for its roots are steeped in Old Testament Law. In the Old Law sacrifices were the ultimate oblation to God. But they were not perfect- goats and sheep, which were slaughtered for Yahweh, were unworthy offerings to one so mighty. In Malachias 1:10-11, God said to the prophet, "Who is there among you, that will shut the doors, and will kindle the fire on My altar gratis? I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts: and I will not receive a gift of your hand. For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, My name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to My name a clean oblation: for My name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts. And you have profaned it in that you say: The table of the Lord is defiled: and that which is laid thereupon is contemptible with the fire that devoureth it." Malachias had foretold in the words "a clean oblation" the universality of the sacrifice of the Mass. This prophecy is fulfilled today for "a clean oblation" is indeed offered throughout the world in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Holy Mother the Church has always taught that the Mass is a true sacrifice.
St. Paul confirms this in Hebrews 13:10-15 when he says, "We have an altar, from which they [the Jews] have no right to eat who serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the Holies by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp; and so Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people by His blood, suffered outside the gate. Let us therefore go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach; for here we have no permanent city, but we seek for the City that is to come. Through Him, therefore, let us offer up a sacrifice of praise always to God." Paul was making clear the separation of the Old Law with the New Law instituted by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper on the night before He died.
Christ, too, was making the separation between the Old Law and the New Law but He did not do so in a rebellious manner. Rather He chose the Passover, the occasion when the old sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb was celebrated. He became the New Lamb. It was a fulfillment of Genesis 22 where Abraham was willing to sacrifice his own son Isaac, whom he told that "God will provide Himself a victim for an holocaust" until the Angel of the Lord intervened. In Isaac's place Abraham offered up a male lamb, caught in the thornbush nearby. It was a symbol of the Lamb of God, His head ensnared with thorns, Who would be sacrificed on the cross. The similarities between the Old Law and the New Law are too numerous to detail here, but suffice it to say that Jesus exercised the rites of the Old Law to usher in the observance of the New Covenant which He instituted on Holy Thursday.
The very words He used in establishing the Sacrifice of the Mass, the New Covenant, were almost identical with those used in the creation of the Old Law.Though all four Evangelists differ on the exact words Our Lord said over the Bread and the Wine, one thing remains constant: The words: "THIS IS MY BODY...THIS IS MY BLOOD" as well as the word: "COVENANT."It was a fulfillment of what He had said in the Synagogue at Capharnaum in John 6, "Amen, amen I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from Heaven, but My Father gives you true bread from Heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from Heaven and gives life to the world" (John 6:32) and "I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst" (6:35) and finally the clincher, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has life everlasting and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood, abides in Me and I in him. As the living Father has sent Me, and as I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me. This is the bread that has come down from Heaven; not as your fathers ate manna, and died. He who eats this bread shall live forever" (6:54-59).
For Catholics this is one of the most important passages in Sacred Scripture for it is truly proof of the Transubstantiation which takes place at the Consecration of the Mass. It is sad our Protestant brethren don't realize Christ's real meaning here for it is not a symbol as they profess, but the re-enactment of the transformation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Our Blessed Lord did not say to the Apostles that evening in the upper room, "Tell people about this," or "relate it to them"; no, He said "Do this in remembrance of Me"(Luke 22:19). By those words, He instructed the Apostles to do, offer in sacrifice to God His Body and Blood under the appearances of bread and wine: He commanded them in those words to say Mass, as the perfect sacrifice. The Transubstantiation, meaning a change of anything into something essentially different, is what the doctrine of Christ's intention is: The substance of the eucharistic elements are converted from bread and wine into that of the Body and Blood of Christ.
Many mistake the Mass for a meal by just thinking of the events of the Last Supper, when in reality Christ consummated the sacrifice of His Body and Blood the next day by freely willing to die on the Cross. For the two acts (the Last Supper and the Cross) were only two parts of the one supreme sacrifice that the Son offered to the Father. The Mass is a real sacrifice, for in this ritual a Victim is offered up for the purpose of reconciling man with God. Jesus allowed His Passion and Death in order to enter into the institution of the Mass and therefore join them as one.
In the next installment tomorrow we will outline the difference between the Sacrifice of the Cross and the Sacrifice of the Mass and what Christ truly meant when He instituted the Blessed Sacrament.
In this world where faith has been dimmed and diminished by chaos, confusion and all manner of evil, I wish to instruct My children once again in My Law, My Way.
Beloved little children, to My people I first gave My Ten Commandments. These laws obliged all who pro- fessed belief in Me to live according to My Commands. Why did I give them? The evil one would cause you to rationalize that these Ten Command- ments were given to stifle and imprison you, to keep you enslaved by My yoke, instead of realizing full human freedom.
Oh! Woe to all who preach this to My children when according to My grace, they know the Truth and twist it. These Ten Commandments do not enslave, as you humanly define slavery. They are, in Truth, the means to total freedom-from all sin and evil. By obeying My Commands the life of your soul becomes as a bonfire which glows so brightly that all sin, wickedness is blotted out by My Light, which is Life. These Ten Commandments contain all that I ask of you, My children. In My earthly life I taught you that these Ten Commandments were fully contained in the Two Great Commandments: "Love God and love your neighbor as you love yourself. Further, I gave you examples of My Commands when I taught you the Beatitudes, which in turn contain all virtue, all corporal and spiritual works of Mercy.
Thus, what man has done because of his human weakness, his pride and the whispered lies is to make knowing Me, loving Me and serving Me, a complicated tome of theology which stifles the soul and causes division.
While I Am, and thus you cannot fully grasp Me with finite intelligence, I have expressed and revealed Myself to you in such a way that to know, love and serve Me is truly very simple and possible, through your willingness to be totally surrendered to Me. Though I Am All, I Am simple to those whose souls are clear and uncluttered, because the Holy Spirit sweeps aside all debris.
Now, I wish to examine My first command: "I Am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before Me."
I Am. From everlasting to everlasting. Without beginning. Without end. Eternal. Faith pulls you beyond the limits of time and allows you to believe Me.
Now, you have misunderstood because you interpret and do not discern My Words, what are the strange gods you put before Me.
Clearly in Sacred Scripture I pointed out the false gods chosen by my children. Therefore, in your "enlightened" age you look about and see no graven idols which you worship, and commend yourselves for being better than your forefathers who carved images of beasts and bestowed on these objects powers which are Mine alone.
Yet you fail to see how you fail this first Commandment because you place many things above Me, relegating me, your God, to a lowly position in your life. To worship and adore Me, to give all honor and glory to Me is bothersome, boring and brings you no sensible pleasure.
You worship your goods because you seek always more and more possessions. You place a person whom you choose to love with human love above Me, Who created human love and Who is to be given all love in a sublime, mystical way.
You place your job above Me. You work for an ever-better position which brings worldly recognition to you, while you fail to give to Me all the honor and glory. Furthermore, you fail in obedience to My first Commandment by the total devotion you give to entertainment, which helps you to spend hours of useless pleasure when you do not first commend to Me all honor for allowing you good and holy re-creation, and cause such recreation to turn into an abomination before Me.
Today you bestow all honors upon men who are endowed with gifts of athletic ability, eloquence of speech, beauty of body, and many other qualities which attract your senses. Never do you pause to recognize that these gifts are Mine. I give them to those whom I choose, that by using them they return all honor and glory to Me. Instead, these people misuse their gifts and see themselves as gods, while you prefer to follow them rather than Me, Who Am!
Little children, listen well to My Words which I give in Love and Mercy, so that you may set Me at the center of your life. The First Commandment obliges you to make every effort to find out what I have revealed. These revelations are contained in Sacred Scripture, in the Dogmas, Doctrines and Traditions of My One True Church. Then, having made this effort to find Me, the First Commandment obliges you to firmly believe what I have revealed, for you know by grace and infused knowledge that I Who Am cannot be deceived, nor do I deceive, for I Am Truth. Then by the First Commandment you are obligated to profess your faith openly to all the world, particularly in the manner in which you live. What makes this possible? It is love. Love of Me, for me, through me, In Me and for Me. Love lifts up faith and makes the invisible known to the soul. Love makes faith hungry to always know Me, to seek Me more surely and to trust Me absolutely.
If you live My First Commandment, what need have you of men's approval? What need have you to be anxious or fearful over anything? The First Commandment, the cornerstone, set firmly in the fertile soil of your soul, acknowledges My Infinite Providence and turns to Me in all things. Thus, you are freed from the heavy burden of fear, anxiety, of always possessing more and more things, so that you shall not know want in your human life.
But I solemnly tell you that I give to all Who are truly Mine all that they need. To those whose hearts are on fire with Love, I make known the triviality of all earthly pleasures and feed your immortal soul to overflowing.
I solemnly tell you it is far better to know want in this life, than to be found wanting in the next. Therefore, examine your conscience well upon this First Commandment, and see to rid yourself by repeated acts of faith, hope and love, as well as ceaseless prayers, of all that comes before Me. Subject yourself and all thins unto me, and you shall be made pure by the Fire of Divine Love, coming quickly into the secure refuge of My Most Sacred Heart.
I solemnly tell you that My Commands liberate the soul by subduing the human ego and passions. If you reverse this Command then you are enslaved to your weakness and subject to satan's every trick. You are not free to love Me, but enslaved to lowly human desires, all of which shall pass away in the twinkling of an eye.
Heed My Words and prepare well to be of strong faith, for I solemnly tell you: I Come.
On the same day as St. Alban, Saint Febronia, a nun who refused to take a pagan husband, was killed in Nisbis, Mesopotamia. Just before her death she was quoted as saying to her persecuting judge, "I have a marriage chamber in Heaven, not made with hands, and a wedding feast that will never come to an end has been prepared for me. I have as my dowry the entire kingdom of Heaven, and my Bridegroom is immortal, incorruptible, and unchangeable."
Death of Saint Audrey, also known as Etheldreda, daoughter of the King of the East Anglo Saxons, who, after being forced to marry a young boy for political reasons, was submitted to humiliation and gave her life to God, refusing to consummate the marriage once the young boy came of age twelve years later. She fled and eventually became an abbess of a convent where she died on this day.
Pope Clement VII sends one of his top men Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio to the diet of Nuremberg to reassure the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V of his backing for the edict of Worms which outlawed the teachings of Martin Luther. However, the powerful princes of Germany had stolen Luther away in hiding, allowing the former monk to formulate the Lutheran creed. It would come down to Charles' inability to control the protestant princes that would allow the Diet of Augsburg and force the emperor and the Catholic League into a bitter war with the Protestant forces for many years.