Traditional Mass

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Virgin and Martyr

The saint of philosophers and wheelwrights and one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, Catharine of Alexandria was very popular in the Middle Ages. Her legend relates that in the early years of the fourth century, Catharine converted to Christianity a group of philosophers whom Emperor Maximinus had appointed to shake the maiden's own faith. The infuriated ruler had Catharine scourged and bound to wheels on which knives were fixed; but the wheels broke and the knives flew off, killing some of the onlookers. Then she was beheaded. Angels are said to have carried her body up to Mount Sinai in Arabia, as today's Prayer recalls.

Mass of a

O God, You gave the law to Moses on Mount Sinai, and later had the body of the blessed virgin martyr Catharine miraculously carried to the same spot by Your holy angels. Grant that we may reach the mountain which is Christ, through the merits and intercession of this saint; who lives and rules with You . . .


Participation of the Faithful:

The chief duty and supreme dignity of the faithful is to participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice earnestly and thoughtfully so that they may be united as closely as possible to the High Priest. Together with Him and through Him let them make their oblation, and in union with Him let them offer up themselves.
Christ is a priest not for Himself but for us, when in the name of the whole human race He offers our prayerful homage to the eternal Father. He is also a victim since He substitutes Himself for sinful man. All Christians as far as possible must possess the same dispositions which Christ had when He offered Himself in sacrifice. That means that they should humbly pay adoration, honor, praise, and thanksgiving to the supreme majesty of God. It also means that they should assume to some extent the character of victims, deny themselves, and do penance for their sins. In a word we must all undergo with Christ a mystical death on the cross, and be able to say with St. Paul: "With Christ I am nailed to the cross."
(Gal. 2:19)
The fact that the people participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice does not mean that they possess priestly power. The priest acts for the people only because he represents Christ, who is Head of all His members and offers Himself in their stead. So the priest goes to the altar as the minister of Christ, inferior to Christ but superior to the people. The people, since they in no sense represent the divine Redeemer and are not mediators between themselves and God, do not possess the priestly power.
Not only do the priests offer the sacrifice but also all the faithful; for what the priest does personally by virtue of his ministry, the faithful do collectively by virtue of their intention (Pope Innocent III). It is right that the people should understand in what sense they offer up the sacrifice.
[Excerpted from 'Mediator Dei', Pius XII]