Traditional Mass

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Continued . . .

35a--Father Dutil has said that "the Mass is a drama in four acts": and that in this drama, Catholics are not merely "spectators," but "actors." Are you able to prove this?

Here we embark on the concrete and easiest part of the explanation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.


Our Lord sometimes used parables to make Himself better understood. Supposing we try a parable to explain the Mass!
To begin with, we recall that the Council of Trent declared that the best way to hear Mass is to offer it up to God, to meditate on the sufferings and death of Christ, and to receive Holy Communion.
We have said a word about the Offering, and we shall come back to it. Later on, we shall also discuss Holy Communion.

Let us pause here for a meditation on Christ's Passion, remembering, of course, that Christ in Glory is incapable of suffering. The parable:
The Mass may be compared to a drama whose scene is laid in a penitentiary. A criminal, guilty of numerous crimes, is about to mount the scaffold. . . . In the rear of the execution chamber, we see the criminal's family and a few friends; who--grief-stricken--address one another in low tones. They seem to be deliberating something. . . . Now the judge reads the death edict and gives orders to proceed with the execution. . . . The culprit shuffles toward the scaffold; when suddenly from the rear of the hall a young man steps forward, and cries out: "If it is a victim you want to satisfy for these crimes, then let me die! And let my young brother live!"
The judge accepts. The elder brother (the "big brother") is executed. The criminal is set free!
And that is not all! This poignant drama has been filmed in its entirety, and now every morning the redeemed one sees unfold before his eyes the scene of his liberation by his elder brother--whom he had so often outraged. . . . He sees his father and mother plunged into the depths of grief. . . the friends of the family sharing. . . in their hearts. . . the sufferings of the noble victim, sacrificed for him. He sees all this and says to himself, "It is I who am the cause of so much suffering and so great generosity!" . . . He then gives way to mixed feelings of repentance and love for the one who saved his life, and for those who took part in his ransom, or suffered because of him.

This daily enactment of his liberation, far from becoming tedious, affords him an occasion to make reparation and to grow in love--for the thing concerns him personally.
As you will have seen for yourselves, the application of the parable is not difficult. The culprit condemned to death is all humanity. He is you and I. The case is ours. The deliberations of the family at the beginning represent God the Father asking His Beloved Son to atone for the outrage and immolate Himself on the Cross that I may live! Again, it is the Son who turns toward His Mother, Mary, to ask if she consents to become the Mother of the Crucified! (Adam had a woman as accomplice to his crime. By virtue of Mary's fiat, Christ will have a woman as Co-Redemtrix.)
The compassionate friends are the saints, who participated in Christ's sufferings by their generous acceptance of the trials with which their lives were strewn. The elder brother of the parable saved only his brother's physical life. Christ, by the torments of His Cross, ransomed all mankind--including me! He reconciled me with God; assures me of His favor; permits me to praise Him; and has prepared for me a blessed eternity.
And it is every day, in the Mass, that our "film of liberation" is shown. Film, did I say? And much more than a film! For it is the very drama of the passion that takes place on the altar! At each renewal by a priest of the words and actions of the Last Supper under the symbols of bread and wine, Christ becomes really present in His redemptive action with the same dispositions that He had on Calvary, of love toward His Father and of mercy toward us.
Alas, how often we, His friends, are conspicuous by our absence! Or if we do attend Mass, how often do we do so listlessly, with scattered thoughts! No wonder that on the night of the Agony in the Garden, Jesus was sad, "even unto death"!
[From 'Your Mass and Your Life,' to be continued . . .]