Traditional Mass

Friday, March 09, 2007

Continued . . .

"One day, in the long procession of men groping in the shadow of death, Christ appeared. To this poor, purblind race of ours, He revealed the Father's wondrous plan. 'The Father Himself loves you. . . . He has not abandoned you. . . . I am your Savior. . . . I am Life!' "

It was bearing His Cross that He came--weighted down under the burden of our sins. He climbed Calvary's hill and reddened it with His blood. He was barbarously crucified on a Cross, and died between two thieves.

Let us look for a moment at our suffering Savior. Taking place before our horrified gaze, is the drama that dominates the world. Christ was "made sin" for us, writes St. Paul!

The prophet Isaias paints for us a poignant portrait of Christ--His flesh torn and mangled because of us, and for love of us:
"So many there be that stand gazing in horror. was ever a human form so mishandled, human beauty ever so defaced? . . . No stateliness here, no majesty, no beauty, as we gaze upon him, to win our hearts. Nay here is one despised, left out of all human reckoning; bowed with misery, and no stranger to weakness; how should we recognize that face? How should we take any account of him, a man so despised? . . . and all the while it was for our sins he was wounded, it was guilt of ours crushed him down; on him the punishment fell that brought us peace, by his bruises we were healed." {Knox.}

"On the high hill of Calvary, overlooking the world, a terrible struggle is taking place between
Love and Hate--a struggle of unheard of force. As a result of this fearsome combat, Hate dies in the blood of his immolated Victim. The last words of Christ are a shout of triumph: 'Father, it is consummated!' "
Love has conquered Hate!
"Life is now mistress of the world. from the height of the Cross, she dominates it. From this eminence, she will descend upon it as a refreshing shower. This is to be brought about through the instrumentality of the centurion, the blow from whose lance opened Jesus' heart: just as Magdalene's repentance broke an alabaster vase of precious nard over the Master's feet. And just as the whole house was filled with the fragrance of that perfume, so is the whole world enlivened by the life that escapes from this poor, torn body. From the opened side of this 'sleeping Man' the whole Church springs; just as several centuries before, Eve, the 'Mother of all living,' came forth from the opened side of the 'sleeping Adam.' "

Sin in now in full flight. A moment ago, an enormous tidal wave, made up of all the crimes of earth, had sought to engulf within its corrupt depths, Him who offered Himself as the Life of the World. Now, Life descends victorious from Calvary--an impetuous torrent of life--sweeping along with it everything in its path, driving back Sin to its ultimate retrenchments.

God's plan now unfolds in all its majesty--the return to the Father, to the Father's House.

How may we bring about this return?

By following Christ the Way, in what is to be henceforth His sorrowful way. "If anyone wishes to follow Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me." Integrated into Christ by baptism, I (and not somebody else) ought to die to self, and live the life of Christ. "Christ died for all, in order that they who are alive may live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again." (2 Cor. 5:15.)

With St, Paul we should say, "What is lacking of the sufferings of Christ, I fill up in my flesh for His body,which is the Church." (Col. 1:24.)

If our good works, sacrifices, and sufferings are to count for eternity and be pleasing to God, it is necessary for us (as we have seen above) to be united to Christ. It is
through Him, and with Him, and in Him that we become recipients of God's loving-kindness and mercy.
Our union with Christ, our integration into His Mystical Body, is effected by the Sacraments. It is by Baptism that we are introduced into Christ's mystical family. It is through Baptism that we receive divine life; become adopted sons of God the Father; brothers of Jesus Christ; temples of the Holy Spirit, and heirs of Heaven!
But how should we offer up--following our Lord's example--our adorations, thanksgivings, satisfactions, and petitions to God? How nourish the divine life within us?
By means of the Mass--the Sacrifice of the Mystical Body.

[From 'Your Mass and Your Life', to be continued.]