Traditional Mass

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Mass! -- Every day is Good Friday. Thus is realized the word of the prophet: "From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the nations and in every place shall be offered a clean oblation." (Pascal).

Continued . . .

14--Demonstrate, using Scripture references, that our Lord always did His Father's Will; and that His Sacrifice began at birth and was consummated by His death.

Our Lord's whole life consisted in the fulfillment of His Father's Will.

Christ, "in coming into the world," expressed the guiding motive of His whole earthly existence:
"Sacrifice and oblation you would not have,
but a body you have fitted me:
In holocausts and sin-offerings you have
had no pleasure.
The said I 'Behold, I come--
(in the head of the book it is written of me)--
to do your will, O God.' " {Heb. 10:5.}
This idea of always doing His father's Will presided over all His existence and directed all His activity. It was this thought that caused Him to descend from Heaven, to be born in a stable at Bethlehem, to live in poverty at Nazareth, to exercise His ministry in Palestine, to die on Calvary, and ascend to Heaven again to the bosom of the Holy Trinity.
Already, at the age of twelve, Jesus tells His parents, who had been looking for Him, the motives of His conduct. "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" {Luke 2:49.}
The Father's Will guided Him in the choice of subjects for His instructions and sermons: "I do not do anything on My own authority, but speak as My Father has instructed Me to speak." (John 8:28.) {Knox.} "I speak what I have seen with My Father." (John 8:38.) "It is not on My own authority that I have spoken; it was My Father who sent Me, that commanded Me what words I was to say, what message I was to utter." (John 12:49.) {Knox.}
Entirely in the service of His Father's Will, Christ went to the last limits of renunciation to fulfill His mission. "Christ did not please Himself," St. Paul tells us. (Rom. 15:3.)
He might have elected the continuous enjoyment of Mount Tabor's rapture; He might have reserved a considerable amount of time for silence and solitude, in order to have lived alone in the intimacy of the Trinity--but the Father's Will had ordained otherwise. So Jesus walked up and down the length and breadth of Palestine; mixed with Publicans and sinners; with quite ordinary, often rather stupid people; since even the apostles were "without wits." (Matt. 15:16.) {Knox.} He lived in continual self-denial and poverty: "The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head!" (Luke 9:58.) Jesus and His apostles often did not have enough to eat. "My food, said He, is to do the will of Him who sent Me, to accomplish His work." (John 4:34.)
Jesus never worked for Himself: "I do not seek My own glory." (John 8:50.) "Knowing, then, that they meant to come and carry Him off, so as to make a king of Him, Jesus once again withdrew on the hillside, all alone." (John 6:15.) {Knox.} Jesus never worked a miracle on His own behalf: "Do not doubt that if I call My Father even now, He will send more than twelve legions of angels to My side?" (Matt. 26:53.) {Knox.}
Jesus was always forgetful of self. To the daughters of Jerusalem, He said: "It is not for Me that you should weep, daughters of Jerusalem; you should weep for yourselves and your children." (Luke 23:38.) {Knox.} As if to say, "It is useless for you to shed tears because of My death. I am doing My Father's will. Weep rather for yourselves, for you are living in sin and not doing God's will."
It is during Christ's Passion that His constant desire to do His Father's Will stands out most sharply. He it is who turns Himself over to His torturers: "The world must be convinced that I love the Father, and act only as the Father has commanded Me to act. Rise up, we must be going on our way." (John 14:31.) {Knox.} On Jesus' way to the Garden of Gethsemane, in a moment of supreme anguish, he directs His prayer toward Heaven: "My Father, if it is possible, let this chalice pass My by; only as Your Will is, not as mine is." (Matt. 26:39.) {Knox.} Had He not said before. "Shall I not drink the cup that My Father has given Me?" (John 18:11.) And without a murmur, Christ indeed drinks the chalice to the dregs; reserving His pity for the sufferings of others, rather than for His own. Dying on the Cross, He gives us the Blessed Virgin for our Mother (John 19:26.); promises Heaven to the repentant thief; and pardons His executioners. (Luke 23:34.)
"Jesus was obedient to death, even to death on a cross" . . . (Phil. 2:8), until that moment in which He could give back His will to Him who had sent Him, saying, "Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit." (Luke 23:46); because "I have accomplished the work that You have given Me to do" (John 17:4), and "all is consummated." (John 19:30.)
Here, in resume, is our Lord's Sacrifice: a Sacrifice identical with the Mass; namely, the continual abandonment of His own will, preferring--even at the most crucial moments--His Father's Will to His own.
"This is the way we should act, if we are to make of our lives a mass."
"The kingdom of Heaven will not give entrance to every man who calls me, 'Master, Master'; only to the man who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven." (Matt. 7:21.) {Knox.} We shall have more to say about this later on.

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