The Divine Sacrifice – Holy Mass (Pt. 2)

Part I can be found here:

From “The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” by Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey:

Light of the mind and fire of the soul

In this consideration, an effort will be made to enlighten the mind and enkindle the heart.  By this, I mean that a bright light will be brought to bear on the subject so that a deep and supernatural conviction will be generated concerning the Mystery of the Altar, for simple faith, without understanding, is not enough in our days.

In addition to this light, it is of greater importance that there be a burning love for Jesus Christ in your souls.  There are books enough which give light without warmth, and so may the Heart of Jesus enliven my thoughts and my pen, that I may write with the fire of love.

Yes, I want to set my readers on fire.  It would make me quite happy, were my readers to say, as did a student to a certain priest: “Father, your books set my soul on fire; your style moves me to tears, and my hands burn as they turn your pages.  How can you possibly write with such a fiery pen?”

Why should it be impossible to combine in perfect harmony, doctrine and unction, sound reasoning and great love?  Why do we separate the head from the heart when we discuss the things of God?  Why this strange anomaly?  Certainly, we must be clear.  Clarity is excellent and indispensable.  But, at the same time, we should aim at edification and kindling the fire of love.  We have an excellent example of this in the Gospel, which is at once a sun that gives light and a sun which gives life with the warmth of charity.  “I am the Light of the world,”  says the Master, “and what will I, but that it be kindled?”  (Jn 8:12).  And He adds, “I am come to cast fire on the earth, (Luke 12:49), “Come to me all of you, (Matt. 11:28).

Not for all the world would I write a mere skeleton of a book, devoid of a soul of love.  And why?  Is it not true that the Love of God is the apex and substance of genuine theology?  Never forget that the genius who wrote the incomparable Summa, was the same who composed the masterpiece, the Mass of Corpus Christi.  It is not the marvelous intellect of St. Thomas Aquinas that I envy, but his burning priestly heart, for I am a priest as he was a priest.

This is the practice of the Church in Her simple yet beautiful prayer to the Holy Spirit: “enlighten my mind,” “enkindle my heart.”  The Church asks for light that cuts the way to grace and love, to complete its action and make it efficacious. 

One 25th of March, the Holy Spirit, in fitting a body for the Word of God in the virginal womb of Mary, consecrated this humanity High Priest for the Glory of the Trinity and constituted Him a Victim for the Redemption of Adam and his posterity.  The Church expresses this Mystery thus, in the collect of the beautiful Mass of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, “O God, who for the glory of Thy majesty and the redemption of the human race, has constituted Thine only-begotten Son, Eternal High Priest…”

In the Incarnation, the Son of God became Son of Man, and as such was possible, that is, capable of suffering, of being in agony, of dying.  He who was immortality and life became subject to death.  He came into the world as Messiah and Savior: “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). His coming was primarily directed to the end that He might be a holocaust of infinite worth in the supreme Sacrifice of the New Covenant.

How impressive and overwhelming it is to consider that, while He could have saved us on Mt. Tabor, shining with glory and bliss, out of love He chose the folly and ignominy of the Cross.  Now, let us begin with joyful hearts.  Grant that by this meditation, souls may find themselves captivated by the august Mystery we are treating.  Now, more than ever, may the Holy Spirit be with me!

Divine Adoration, Expiation and Supplication

What is the Church’s definition of Mass?  The Holy Sacrifice is the adoration of Christ Jesus.  The God-Man gives the same praise to the Father and the Trinity on the Altar that He gave them by His death on Calvary.  The Son of God, Priest and Victim, adores God the Father.  His adoration is divine!

Fundamentally, the Holy Sacrifice is the perfect expiation which Christ Jesus, the God-Man, offers to His Father, gravely offended by the criminal rebellion of sin. Thus, He, Who is the Lamb without spot, is offered from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof, and He offers His own Precious Blood as a Holocaust of propitiation for our countless sins and to save sinners. His expiation is divine.

What would be a theological consideration of the Mass? The Holy Sacrifice is the Eucharist, that is, the act of thanksgiving which Christ Jesus, the God-Man, makes to His Father in the name of ungrateful mankind.  Without this supreme act of thanksgiving, our black ingratitude would call down upon us the wrath of Heaven.  We have to many spiritual and temporal blessings to be thankful for:

-The waters of Baptism

-The Baptism of Blood on Calvary

-The Baptism of fire in the cenacle on Pentecost

-Our adoption as children of the Father

-For the oceans of Grace that flow from the Sacraments

-For the Church, the Ark of Salvation, and in Her the rock of Peter, the Roman Pontiff

-For the divine motherhood and universal mediation of Mary; for all Her other privileges, which are so many graces given to us

-For the Gift of Gifts, the Eucharistic Sacrifice and the Sacrament of the Eucharist, which will endure until the end of time.  “He loved them unto the end” (Jn. 13:1).  His thanksgiving is divine.

What other unusual prodigy is there on the Altar?  The Holy Sacrifice is the supplication prayer of Christ Jesus, the God-Man.  Completely aware of our moral poverty, He asks the Father, with wisdom and mercy, for a shower of graces for us.  He alone knows our needs; He alone can obtain them for us.  He has said, “Father… thou hearest me always” (Jn. 11:42).

This is a continuance of His role as advocate.  He sends up a never-ending cry for us to the throne of the Most High. In a greater way than Moses, Jesus Christ at the altar raises His pleading, pierced hands to protect us from the rigors of divine justice.  The blessings He calls down upon us far surpass our sins.  His supplication is divine.

There is no better way to sum up these reflections than to quote the definition of the Holy Sacrifice given by His Holiness, Pope Pius XII: “The Eucharistic Sacrifice of its very nature is the unbloody immolation of the divine Victim, which is made manifest in a mystical manner by the separation of the Sacred Species and by their oblation to the eternal Father.  Holy Communion pertains to the integrity of the Mass, and to the partaking of the august Sacrament; but while it is obligatory for the priest who says the Mass, it is only something earnestly recommended to the faithful.”

Let us stop for a brief and spirited comment on these thoughts.  We will share the tasty crumbs of this doctrinal bread.  May of none of them be lost.  Take them and digest them with love.

The voice of Christ, the Priest and Mediator, adoring, expiating, giving thanks and petitioning at the Altar, is the voice of the Catholic Church.  The Mass is the official, social and public homage made by the redeemed humanity, adoring, praising and blessing One God in three adorable Persons through the wounds of Christ its Mediator, on the Altar.  That is why one Mass gives more glory to God than all the miracles, than all the praises of Angels and Saints in the heavenly court.  At the Altar, it is a God Who adores and praises God with an infinite glory.

Thus, the Mass is public homage, at once a Sacrifice and a public prayer.  It is not a private devotion, like the visits we make to the Blessed Sacrament, the Way of the Cross or the Rosary.  It is the cry of the Church, of the Christian family which suffers exile and longs for Heaven.

To be continued…

~Damsel of the Faith


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