Traditional Mass

Monday, April 16, 2007

Continued . . .

15--The word "sacrifice" implies both inner adoration and exterior worship. How did Christ's Sacrifice express these two modes of worship?


It will be recalled, that the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well asked our Lord one day if it were at Jerusalem or on Mount Gerazim that men should offer true worship to God. Jesus replied, "The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeks such to worship Him." (John 4:23.)

To "worship in spirit" means to prefer God, by an act of the intelligence, to all earthly things. The Jewish sacrifices had become mere rites, external observances, which had lost all significance. Therefore, God was offended by them. "This people honors Me with its lips, but its heart is far from Me."

In Christ's Sacrifice, this inner adoration really exists. It is Christ's homage paid to His Father in the act of supreme love of His death on the Cross, in fulfillment of the Father's Will. Our Lord, in the most crucial moment of His life, preferred His Father to Himself and to all else beside. He therefore gave Him the greatest possible proof of love. "This is the greatest love a man can show, that he should lay down his life for his friends." {Knox.} Here again, one sees the grandeur of Christ's Sacrifice, and the glory that His offering gave to God.


In Christ's Sacrifice, exterior worship is the gift of all His being, of all His life, as expressed by His death.
Christ's death on the Cross is thus the expression or outward manifestation of His preference, or love, for His Father.


There are not two Sacrifices, one of the Cross, and one of the Mass. there is only one Sacrifice of Christ. "By a single offering He has completed His work, for all time in those He sanctifies," declares St. Paul. But how is this possible? How can the Mass be a "true Sacrifice," without conflicting with the uniqueness of Christ's Sacrifice?

The Mass is a Mystery; which brings down upon the altar the drama of Redemption, and communicates its effects without any duplication whatever.

The Mass re-presents the liturgy of the Last Supper and of the Sacrifice of the Cross. It is turned thereby toward the past, but toward a past that remains ever present; since Christ's death on the Cross is no mere historical event. He who thus dies on Calvary, is the Word of God. His death, apparently localized in time, transcends history. The risen Christ is no longer subject to death.

Just as the sun that illumines the earth, appears to revolve around it, but is, in reality, immovable; for it is the different regions of the earth that present themselves in succession to the light; so Christ, the Sun of Justice, appears to repeat His Sacrifice on the altar every morning; but is, in reality, immovable in His eternity. All the apparent repetition comes from the earth, from the Church; which daily, hourly, renews the liturgical gesture of the Last Supper; offers herself to the Saviour and renders Him present on the altar; in order to receive the light and warmth emanating from His glorious wounds.
Archbishop of Chambery.
[From 'Your Mass and Your Life', to be continued . . .]