Traditional Mass

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Continued . . .

22 -- For what four ends is the Sacrifice of the Mass offered?

We may distinguish between primary and secondary ends.
1. Primary ends: Praise and thanksgiving.
2. Secondary ends: Propitiation and petition.
Praise. The primary purpose of the Mass is to glorify God. When we give God first place in our lives, we acknowledge that God is:
1. A Being of infinite grandeur. (God beholds at His feet a God who is co-equal--abased, humiliated.)
2. A Being pre-eminently holy. (Jesus, the sole stainless Victim, is offered up to Him.)
3. A Being who is First Cause and Final End of all things.
"When we attend Holy Mass, we offer God more honor than the angels and saints do in Heaven, for their homage is that of creatures; whereas in the Mass we offer Jesus Christ Himself: a Victim who obtains for Him infinite honor." (St. Alphonse.)

Thanksgiving. We have every reason for according God first place in our lives! Daily God showers down upon us a multitude of graces. Yet the great duty of gratitude is so often forgotten! We are deluged with divine gifts--gifts of nature, gifts of grace. We should understand these blessings better and be more grateful for them if the Lord had done less for us! . . . Now, "what shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits?" All that we have comes from Him. And all earthly goods are as nothing, in comparison with those "greater goods" that He has heaped upon us. . . . Here the Mass comes to our aid. By means of it, we are able to offer God a gift worthy of Him--a Gd who is consubstantial with Him. For in the Mass it is Christ who thanks God on our behalf.

Propitiation or expiation. The Mass obtains for us the pardon of our sins. Jesus alone can obtain this pardon for us. Only a God can atone for the insult made to God. In fact, Jesus not only can render, but wills to render, God propitious to us. He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. From the altar He cries to His Father as He did on the Cross, "Father, forgive them!" He affirms as He did at the Last Supper: "This is My Blood, shed for many, to the remission of sins."

Doubtless, in the Mass we are not redeemed anew, but the fruits of the Redemption are applied to us afresh by means of this non-bloody Sacrifice.

What a marvel of grace! We have so often offended God! Count, if you can, the number of your own transgressions; those of a parish, of a city, of a nation, of the whole world. The thought alone is dreadful. If the fire of Heaven's vengeance does not descend or destroy mankind today, as it did once for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, it is because the potent voice of the Lamb immolated on the altar demands not vengeance but pardon! For in the Mass, Christ atones for us.
Again, how explain the fact that so few Catholics participate in the Holy Sacrifice?

Impetration or petition. During Mass we should implore the outpourings of divine grace. We are all beggars. From a supernatural point of view, we are incapable of producing the smallest act of virtue. grace, then, is indispensable. How are we to obtain this supernatural help? Through the Mass.

The Holy Sacrifice renders glory to God. When we offer it, we show God reverence; and, in return, God showers down abundant graces and is propitious to us. God never lets Himself be outdone in generosity. Remember the seven petitions of the Pater. The first three have to do with the glory of God, the last four with our personal concerns! Among men, the offering of one's respects to a person before begging a favor of him, is elementary. The God who has created us for His glory and our happiness, is likewise entitled to our respect.If we are reverent toward God, we may be assured that God will grant us every blessing. So much the more, since in the Mass it is the voice of Jesus that pleads for us--the only voice to which God listens! It is of faith that we can obtain nothing, except through the mediation of Christ. "Without Me you can do nothing," in all that concerns your salvation. "No one can come to Me unless he is enabled to do so by My Father." This mediation is mighty with God: "So that every request you make of the Father in My name may be granted you." "Ask, and you shall receive."

In the Mass we offer the Mediator ordained by God to solicit graces on our behalf. Here it is that Christ especially fulfills His mediatorial office. It is from the summit of the altar that God's voice speaks most plainly, "Ask, and you shall receive."
[From 'Your Mass and Your Life', to be continued . . .]