Introit

Introit
Traditional Mass

Monday, February 19, 2007


THE PLACE OF THE MASS IN THE DIVINE PLAN
Continued

THE BREAK IN THE HARMONY OF THE DIVINE PLAN--SIN

Alas, man is free to destroy God's harmonious plan! "Everything is in equilibrium, because everything tends toward God. All things cohere, because all things are submissive to the Author of life and being. But this adhesion to God is effected in a free act of love. The freedom with which man is adorned, gives to the entire creation an incomparable majesty. God thus receives a praise that is spontaneous. This very freedom, however, exposes the one enjoying it to immense peril. Let man but once refuse to spread forth his hands in a gesture of oblation, and the whole order of things falls apart."

But one day man, in a gesture of pride and egoism, rejected his priesthood. His role of mediator no longer satisfied him. Man "would be like God." Through his lips, Satan once more uttered his cry of rage, "I will not serve!"

By his refusal, man shattered the universe. For the universe rested on man as the arch on the keystone, or as the spider's web on the supporting filament, or as a house of cards on the bottom card.

The entire universe turned against man, its betrayer. In chorus, it hurled back into the teeth of man the cry that man had dared to address to God, "I will not serve!"

First of all, man's own body revolted. man, terror-stricken, suddenly beheld within himself the unleashing of sinful passions. Henceforth, seven fetters, which theology is later to designate by the title of "Capital Sins," will shackle his formerly free impulses--Adam and Eve "perceive themselves to be naked."

Man is deeply stricken in the very harmony of his being: "I will multiply your sorrows and your conceptions; in sorrow shall you bring forth children."

Social discord now corresponds to inner imbalance. "You shall be under your husband's power, and he shall have dominion over you."

Looming up on the horizon, in addition to these "domestic squabbles," are quarrels between families, wars between city and city, between nation and nation, world war, revolution.

The animal kingdom, over which man formerly reigned, rises up in its turn. The earth itself refuses to co-operate with man. Only at the cost of a struggle, will man be able to wrest from it miserably a few meagre fruits: "Cursed is the earth in your work. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you."

Man is broken, disoriented. Suffering is to be, henceforth, his earthly portion. "In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread . . . In sorrow shall you bring forth children."

Man, created to be the friend of Christ, has gone astray in the disobedience of Adam. Humanity, separated from Christ, is without form or beauty. "The races of men, no longer unified by the life of Jesus, who made of them one body and rendered them--in Him--pleasing to God; array themselves in opposite camps and tear one another to shreds. Separation from Christ unleashed inevitably hatred, blood, tears, death, and damnation. The world, through its own fault, now lives in fear."

Will God remain deaf, insensible, to the cry of His distressed creature? Will He punish or pardon?

[From 'YOUR MASS AND YOUR LIFE', to be continued]