Traditional Mass

Saturday, June 16, 2007

"The faithful do offer the Holy Sacrifice through the hands of the priest."

Continued . . .

28--What do we mean when we say that the faithful offer Mass?

In Mediator Dei, paragraphs 114 and 115, His Holiness, Pius XII, defines the meaning of the word "offer" as follows:

"In order not to give rise to pernicious errors in this most important matter, it is necessary to determine the exact meaning of the word 'offer.' The unbloody immolation by means of which Christ is made present on the altar in the state of Victim, following the words of Consecration, is accomplished by the priest alone; as acting in the person of Christ, not as acting in the person of the people. Yet by virtue of the fact that the priest places the Divine Victim on the altar, he presents Him to God the Father as an offering; to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity, and for the good of the whole Church. As for the oblation in this restricted sense, the people do take part in their fashion, and this in two ways; not only because they offer the Holy Sacrifice through the hands of the priest, but also because, in a manner, they offer it with him; and this participation causes the peoples' offerings to be attached to the liturgical action itself.

"That the faithful do offer the Holy Sacrifice through the hands of the priest, stands out clearly from the fact that the minister of the altar represents Christ in His capacity as Head, offering in the name of all His members. That is why it may be affirmed with justice, that the universal Church presents through Christ the offering of the Victim. That the people offer at the same time as the priest, does not mean that the members of the Church accomplish the visible, liturgical rite in the same manner as the priest ( a thing that devolves solely on God's delegated minister); but that the people unite their intentions of praise, petition, propitiation, and thanksgiving with the intentions of the priest, and even of the Great High Priest; in order to present them to God the Father in the same external rite of the priest offering the Victim. Indeed, the external rite of the Holy Sacrifice, should, of necessity--by its very nature--manifest this inner adoration. Now the Sacrifice of the New law signifies that act of supreme homage, whereby the Chief Offerer, Christ--and with Him and through Him all members of His Mystical Body--offer to God due reverence and honor."
[From 'Your Mass and Your Life']