In the past I have written about the need to restore reverence and a sense of the sacred to the Mass. The very fact that anthropocentric liturgies have dominated the ecclesial landscape for decades is the best indicator that few truly understand what is happening in the Mass. We cannot recover what we do not know.
To this end I would like to highlight seven amazing facts about the Holy Sacrifice. Understanding these truths, and recollecting them while at Mass, will help enable the faithful to more fully participate within the Liturgy. Everything below comes from Lesson 27 of the 1949 revised edition of the Baltimore Catechism #3. May this current generation humbly learn from the wisdom of the past so that we may effectively catechize and evangelize the next generation.
The Sacrifice of the Mass
1. The Mass is 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.
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.
2. The principal priest in every Mass is Jesus Christ, who offers to His heavenly Father, through the ministry of His ordained priest, His Body and Blood which were sacrificed on the cross.
3. The Mass is the same sacrifice as the Sacrifice of the Cross because in the Mass the victim is the same, and the principal priest is the same, Jesus Christ.
4. The purposes for which the Mass is offered are:
First, to adore God as our Creator and Lord;
Second, to thank God for His many favors;
Third, to ask God to bestow His blessings on all men;
Fourth, to satisfy the justice of God for the sins committed against Him.
5. The manner in which the Sacrifice of the Mass is offered is different than Calvary. On the cross Christ physically shed His blood and was physically slain, while in the Mass there is no physical shedding of blood nor physical death, because Christ can die no more; on the cross Christ gained merit and satisfied for us, while in the Mass He applies to us the merits and satisfaction of His death on the cross.
6. At Mass we should assist with reverence, attention, and devotion. The best method of assisting at Mass is to unite with the priest in offering the Holy Sacrifice, and to receive Holy Communion.
7. The first Mass was said by our divine Saviour at the Last Supper the night before He died.
Photo Credit: The Momentum Studio