Traditional Mass

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

29a--What is the source of our obligation to offer ourselves in the Mass with Christ?
We have seen that the Mass is Christ's Sacrifice, that is, the Sacrifice of Calvary made present on the altar.
Now Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross was not an individual, but a social sacrifice. It was as Head of the Mystical Body that Christ consented to die. In offering and immolating Himself on the Cross, He included us in His Sacrifice. Christ was obedient to His Father in His own name, and in ours. Our Lord had a right to include, to integrate us into His Sacrifice; because we belong to Him, we are His members. He could require, therefore, that we should be obedient to His Father, as He Himself was obedient.
On our Lord's side, the Sacrifice is complete, of infinite merit.
our side, it is incomplete, finite, limited in its application.

We carry out this offering, this submission, or this immolation, with the passage of time; and also to the degree in which we do not draw back from immolating ourselves with Christ.

We understand better now St. Paul's words: "I rejoice now in the sufferings I bear for your sake; and what is lacking of the sufferings of Christ I fill up in my flesh for His Body, which is the Church." (Col.1:24.) Christ's sufferings are complete in the order of satisfaction and merit, but not in the order of application.
On our side, the Sacrifice of the whole Christ is incomplete. It will terminate with the death of the last member of the Mystical Body, who adds the last thing lacking to the Passion of Christ.
Consequently, our obligation to offer ourselves with Christ in the Mass comes from our membership in Christ's Mystical Body, into which we were introduced by Baptism.
"It is not surprising," writes the Holy Father in Mediator Dei, paragraph 110, "that Christians should be raised to this dignity. For by the bath of Baptism, Christians are made members of the Body of Christ-Priest; and by the 'character' which is, as it were, graven on their souls, are ordered to divine worship. They thus participate according to their condition in the priesthood of Christ Himself."
A non-baptized person may be bodily present at Mass, and may even follow the ceremonies intelligently. Yet, in the full meaning of the term, he does not "assist" at Mass, for he who truly assists has to be offered with Christ. Now to be offered with Christ, one must first have been incorporated into Christ--be the prolongation of His life. Hence, the baptismal character comprises a union with Christ, a likeness by reason of which we share in His priesthood. And by virtue of our integration into Christ, we are enabled to be offered with Him; and to share in the offering of His immolation, in His Sacrifice.
[From 'Your Mass and Your Life', to be continued . . .]