Skip to comments.The Mass: Its Sacrificial Meaning
Posted on 05/23/2005 9:09:48 AM PDT by NYer
At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages... Vatican Council II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, #47
At about the half-way point through the year of the Eucharist, proclaimed by our Holy Father John Paul II last October, perhaps it is a good time to pause and reflect on the meaning of the event, the ritual, the sacrament which plays such an enormous role in our lives and the life of the world. We believe, no doubt, that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life, just as the Church teaches, and most of us have probably been more keenly aware of the Eucharist and focused more upon it during this year. Perhaps we are aware of blessings, even great ones, having come into our lives through this blessed sacrament during this period of its study, appreciation, and adoration.
Perhaps too, though, we have been aware of a general weakness among Catholics in their estimation of the Eucharist as well as deficiencies and abusessometimes even serious onesin the celebration of the Holy Mass. These are no secrets, sadly enough; the problems are so widespread that the Holy Father addresses them in both of his recent letters on the Eucharist. Pope John Paul is not one to be overly negative and does mention many encouraging signs of Eucharistic faith and love present in the universal Church. Yet in Ecclesia de Eucharistia, the encyclical teaching on the Eucharist and the Church, he notes, with profound grief, shadows alongside the lights. The Holy Father speaks of abuses of the liturgy leading to confusion, the abandonment of Eucharistic adoration, of a distorted notion of priesthood and what we might spend a few moments examining ourselves, an extremely reductive understanding of the Eucharistic mystery. The Mass, the Pope says, is sometimes stripped of its sacrificial meaning, it is celebrated as if it were simply a fraternal banquet. Simply put, some Catholics have forgotten that the Mass is a sacrifice.
We, however, must not forget. We must not forget that the Eucharistas the Pope John Paul says in Mane Nobiscum Domine (the encyclical on the Year of the Eucharist)has a profoundly and primarily sacrificial meaning. In the Eucharist, Christ makes present to us anew the sacrifice offered once for all on Golgotha.
Well, what will be the antidote to this widespread forgetfulness? How about some intense catechesis? That is what the Congregation for Divine Worship recommends in their recent Suggestions and Proposals for the Year of the Eucharist. This catechesis could have a number of points of focus; one that the CDW recommends is mystagogy.
Now what may be at first glance simply a long, foreign word, is really something very much familiar, if somewhat underappreciated: the words of the Mass itself! Mystagogy here is simply letting the form of the mysteries (the sacraments) speak to us. It makes very good sense, really, that the words that the Church chooses for the celebration of the Eucharist should give us a pretty clear idea of what she believes it to be. So, is the Mass a sacrifice, as the Holy Father so strongly asserts? Here are a few selections from the Maronite Mass:
May the Lord accept your offering , I will go to the altar of God I will enter your house, O Lord, and worship in your holy temple., The priest bears me [Christ, the Bread of Life] aloft to the altar , This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed and handed over for you and for many , Each time you fulfill these mysteries you realize my death and remember my resurrection until I come again., O Lord, we remember your death, we witness to your resurrection , Through this sacrifice, offered to you by our sinful hands, grant, O Lord, a good memorial to our parents, brothers , We have believed, and we have offered, and now we seal and break this oblation, the heavenly bread and living body of the Word of the living God., You, O Lord, are the pleasing victim, who was offered for us; you are the forgiving sacrifice, who offered yourself for us to the Father. You are the Lamb of sacrifice, and yet also the priest who offered himself for us , This is the cup which our Lord prepared on the cross.
Now, even without all the italics and color highlighting, it is pretty obvious from these passages that the Mass is being spoken of as a sacrifice. No mere poetic imagery, this language reflects the earliest Christian understandings of the Eucharist. It is true, as Cardinal Ratzinger points out in his Spirit of the Liturgy that the new reality of Christian worshipthe Eucharistwas born, so to speak, in the context of a Passover meal and still retains something of the structure of a meal. Nevertheless, meal does not suffice as a description of the Mass because it was the new reality which Our Lord commanded us to repeat, not the meal as such. And the new reality involved real sacrifice. So the Mass developed in the early Christian community and very soon, as the Cardinal points out, found its proper and suitable form, a form already predetermined by the fact that the Eucharist refers back to the Cross and thus to the transformation of Temple sacrifice into worship of God...
But is this an outdated theory or an opinion of a few? No. Pope Paul VI in 1968 taught in the Credo of the People of God: We believe that the Mass, celebrated by the priest representing the person of Christ by virtue of the power received through the sacrament of Order, and offered by him in the name of Christ and of the members of His Mystical Body, is indeed the sacrifice of Calvary rendered sacramentally present on our altars. And the Holy Father was here echoing the solemn definitions of the Council of Trent, four hundred years earlier: If anyone says that in the Mass a true and real sacrifice is not offered to God, or that the offering is nothing else than Christ being given to us to eat: let him be anathema. Very strong and very clear; the Mass is a sacrifice, and not just a meal.
Well, what of it? How does knowing that the Eucharist is truly and primarily a sacrifice help us in this Year of the Eucharist? The answer will, perhaps, be clear if we turn to the words of the Second Vatican Council. The council fathers, speaking of Christians wrote: Taking part in the eucharistic sacrifice, the source and summit of the Christian life, they offer the divine victim to God and themselves along with it. So when we assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we are not mere spectators but rather are true participants in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, not simply by receiving the sacrament, but by joining ourselves to Christ our High Priest, and offering up with Him all that we have, all that we do and all that we are. How awesome! It is precisely this that we must not forget.
Throughout the 20th century, the Popes constantly and forcefully preached on the sacred liturgy and the need for all of Christs Faithful to participate in it fully, consciously, actively (phrases the 2nd Vatican Council borrowed from the allocutions of Pope Pius X, given sixty years earlier). What we need to keep in mind in this present century is what, exactly, we are participating in. In order to do that we probably all need, as the CDW suggested, some intense catechesis. Well, maybe this be some sort of small start.
As a conclusion, why not meditate briefly on the words of Pope Pius XII, from his encyclical Mediator Dei? The Holy Father here presents us with a forthright call not to miss the enormous opportunity we have in each celebration of the Holy Sacrifice. Let us never miss that opportunity!
...[A]ll the faithful should be aware that to participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice is their chief duty and supreme dignity, and that not in an inert and negligent fashion, giving way to distractions and daydreaming, but with such earnestness and concentration that they may be united as closely as possible with the High Priest, according to the Apostle: Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. And together with him and through Him let them make their oblation, and in union with Him let them offer up themselves.
"The monastery is the prophetic place where creation becomes praise of God and the precept of concretely lived charity becomes the ideal of human coexistence; it is where the human being seeks God without limitation or impediment. . . ." (Pope John Paul II: "The Light of the East", no.9)
The Maronite Monks of Most Holy Trinity Monastery are a Catholic community of contemplative monks dedicated to a life of prayer and Eucharistic Adorationa life of religious reparation and penance for soulsthat is, for our brothers and sisters in the world, especially those in most need of our prayers.
26For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most precious blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home, and within my family. Amen
Most Holy Trinity - Father, Son, Holy Spirit - I adore You profoundly and offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the earth, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifference by which He Himself is offended. And by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and those of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners. Amen
Where does it say He is offering His blood all the time?
"who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself"
Many people forget that a sacrifice consists of two things:
1. The destruction of the offering. Jesus was "destroyed" once.
2. The offering by the priest to God. Jesus is the High Priest. Considering that He is eternal, He is able to continue the sacrificial nature of His offering for all time. This is why Catholics say the Mass is a sacrifice. The victim has been killed, but the High Priest continues to offer it to God for all time.
This continual offering allows us, 2000 years removed, to partake of the benefits of Jesus' sacrifice.
I offer all my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered throughout the world this day, in reparation for my sins and the sins of the whole world.
I offer them for the perseverance of the just; for the gift of final repentance and salvation of the dying, particularly those who have no one to pray for them; for the relief and release of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, especially those most forlorn; for an end to contraception and abortion, and all other abuses against the gift of life; for our Holy Father's General and Mission intentions, and his well-being; and for those who have asked for or are in need of prayer; for the conversion of sinners, the world, and Russia.
I humbly ask for the grace to live in Your love and according to Your Most Holy will, and for the grace to take the next step toward sainthood that you so desire for me. Amen.
Verbum supernum prodiens,
Nec Patris linquens dexteram,
Ad opus suum exiens,
Venit advitae vesperam.
In mortem a discipulo
Suis tradendus aemulis,
Prius in vitae ferculo
Se tradidit discipulis.
Quibus sub bina specie
Carnem dedit et sanguinem:
Ut duplicis substantiae
Totum cibaret hominem.
Se nascens dedit socium,
Convescens in edulium,
Se moriens in pretium,
Se regnans dat in praemium.
O Salutaris Hostia,
Quae caeli pandis ostium:
Bella premunt hostilia,
Da robur, fer auxilium.
Uni trinoque Domino
Sit sempiterna gloria,
Qui vitam sine termino
Nobis donet in patria.
THE heavenly Word proceeding forth,
yet not leaving the Father's side,
went forth upon His work on earth
and reached at length life's eventide.
By false disciple to be given
to foemen for His Blood athirst,
Himself, the living Bread from heaven,
He gave to His disciples first.
To them He gave, in twofold kind,
His very Flesh, His very Blood:
of twofold substance man is made,
and He of man would be the Food.
By birth our fellowman was He,
our Food while seated at the board;
He died, our ransomer to be;
He ever reigns, our great reward.
O saving Victim, opening wide
the gate of heaven to all below:
our foes press on from every side;
Thine aid supply, Thy strength bestow.
To Thy great Name be endless praise,
immortal Godhead, One in Three!
O grant us endless length of days
in our true native land with Thee. Amen.
Hebrews 9:23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us
It's a reference to the Yom Kippur temple liturgy (see Leviticus 16) in which the bull is slaughtered, and the High Priest then takes its blood into the Holy of Holies and offers it to God. That is an intrinsic part of the sacrifice.
Hebrews 9 applies this image to Christ, and makes it clear that his offering in the Holy of Holies is eternal (obviously, because it's in heaven, which is outside of time).
You err greatly if you think that the death of the victim ends the sacrifice. There is no sacrifice under the Law (or even before it) that was concluded by killing the victim; in every case, the victim has to be offered to God by the priest. Christ is both High Priest and Victim, thus his offering takes place in heaven, which makes it eternal.
"Since that Sacrifice, Mass has been offered, by the apostles, and later the successors"
As long as we recognize that the priest is offering the Mass in the person of Christ, not the priest himself. The Church Fathers quickly see the Mass as a sacrifice.
I don't think that it is theologically correct to say that Jesus offers the sacrifice of Calvary to Himself. He offers it to God the Father, technically. We call this appropriation of the distinct persons of the Trinity.
"You err greatly if you think that the death of the victim ends the sacrifice. There is no sacrifice under the Law (or even before it) that was concluded by killing the victim; in every case, the victim has to be offered to God by the priest"
Yep. See post 10!
Thanks and regards
Anticipating all the sacrifices we offer through his namethe sacrifices Jesus Christ enjoined us to offer in the Eucharist of the bread and cup the sacrifices now offered by Christians everywhere throughout the world God bears witness that they are well-pleasing to him. --St. Justin Martyr, ca. 155
Awesome ... thanks for all those posts.
The offering Jesus did was "once for all". The previous offerings were only temporary until the real one was to be done. The bible says He remains a priest continually, but does it ever say that He remains an offering continually?
So Jesus has to be this eternal offering in Heaven rather than High priest seated at the Majesty on High and Mary gets to be the distributrix of all graces. It seems like Mary's job is more fun.
He's both, not "rather than".
Already discussed. Hebrews is drawing a contrast between the sacrifices of the Old Law, which were repeated sacrifices most of which applied only to one individual, and Christ's sacrifice, which is one single offering for all mankind.
By the way, ever noticed Hebrews 13:10?
"We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat."
Wait ... "we," the Christians, have an altar, which is, by definition, a table for sacrifice, from which those who serve the [Jewish] tabernacle have no right to eat, obviously implying that Christians do have a right to eat from that altar.
Protestant commentaries fumblingly explain away that verse, saying that "altar" really means "cross" and "eat" is, uh, metaphor for ... um, er, "believe" ... yeah, that's it.
Catholic commentaries, OTOH, don't have to.
He's not on the cross anymore. "It is finished."
I love that pic...I gave copies of it to my 5th grade catechism class...they too were impressed.
Actually there is an aspect of that. Though only offered Himself once on the cross, there is another aspect of His offering that remains forever. He started out in the "form of God" Phil 2:6-11, but then ended up as a glorified human and no longer exists in the purely spiritual form of God. That change is permenant and forever. His very presence in Heaven as a glorified Human and lamb of God is a permanent condition. When I first read what you were saying I pictured Him doing some wierd ritual to offer himself or something. If you are still thinking that than I still disagree but there is a continual offering aspect to Him in Heaven that definitely does exist.
From the perspective of heaven, all times are present, all things are seen, there is no past and no future. God is the Lord of all things and the servant of none, time included.
iuncta sint gaudia,
et ex praecordiis
nova sint omnia,
corda, voces, et opera.
qua Christus creditur
agnum et azyma
priscis indulta patribus.
Post agnum typicum,
sic totum omnibus,
quod totum singulis,
eius fatemur manibus.
dedit et tristibus
quod trado vasculum;
omnes ex eo bibite.
quibus sic congruit,
ut sumant, et dent ceteris.
fit panis hominum;
dat panis caelicus
O res mirabilis:
pauper, servus et humilis.
Te, trina Deitas
sic nos tu visita,
sicut te colimus;
per tuas semitas
duc nos quo tendimus,
ad lucem quam inhabitas.
At this our solemn feast
let holy joys abound,
and from the inmost breast
let songs of praise resound;
let ancient rites depart,
and all be new around,
in every act, and voice, and heart.
Remember we that eve,
when, the Last Supper spread,
Christ, as we all believe,
the Lamb, with leavenless bread,
among His brethren shared,
and thus the Law obeyed,
of all unto their sire declared.
The typic Lamb consumed,
the legal Feast complete,
the Lord unto the Twelve
His Body gave to eat;
the whole to all, no less
the whole to each did mete
with His own hands, as we confess.
He gave them, weak and frail,
His Flesh, their Food to be;
on them, downcast and sad,
His Blood bestowed He:
and thus to them He spake,
"Receive this Cup from Me,
and all of you of this partake."
So He this Sacrifice
to institute did will,
and charged His priests alone
that office to fulfill:
tn them He did confide:
to whom it pertains still
to take, and the rest divide.
Thus Angels' Bread is made
the Bread of man today:
the Living Bread from heaven
with figures dost away:
O wondrous gift indeed!
the poor and lowly may
upon their Lord and Master feed.
Thee, therefore, we implore,
o Godhead, One in Three,
so may Thou visit us
as we now worship Thee;
and lead us on Thy way,
That we at last may see
the light wherein Thou dwellest aye.
We know what the High Priest did on Yom Kippur. That may have been a "weird ritual," but it was a weird ritual directly prescribed and demanded by God, so who are we to judge?
Scripture doesn't describe in detail what it means for Jesus to offer himself continually to the Father in heaven. We probably couldn't comprehend it if it did. Our faith teaches us that the Mass makes that offering present on earth.
He started out in the "form of God" Phil 2:6-11, but then ended up as a glorified human and no longer exists in the purely spiritual form of God. That change is permenant and forever. His very presence in Heaven as a glorified Human and lamb of God is a permanent condition.
Exactly. You'll notice that when St. John sees Jesus in Revelation, he sees him "looking like a Lamb that had been slain".
But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."
No metaphor, just future glory. And definitely no need to turn back into Jews. No pepper shakers on sticks, no tall hats.
Pange lingua gloriosi
Quem in mundi pretium
Fructus ventris generosi
Rex effudit Gentium.
Nobis datus, nobis natus
Ex inacta Virgine,
Et in mundo conversatus,
Sparso verbi semine,
Sui moras incolatus
Miro clausit ordine.
In suprema nocte coenae
Recumbus cum fratribus
Observata lege plene
Cibis in legalibus,
Cibum turbae duodenae
Se dat suis manibus.
Verbum caro, panem verum
Verbo carnem efficit:
Fitque sanguis Christi merum,
Et si sensus deficit,
Ad firmandum cor sincerum
Sola fides sufficit.
Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.
Sing, My Tongue
Sing, my tongue,
The mystery of the glorious body,
And of the precious Blood,
Shed to save the world,
By the King of the nations,
The fruit of a noble womb.
Given to us, born for us,
From a stainless Virgin,
And having dwelt in the world,
Sowing the seed of the word,
He closed in a wonderful way,
The days of his habitation.
On the night of His last supper,
Reclining with His brothers,
The law having been fully observed
With legal foods,
He gives Himself as food with His
Own hands to the twelve.
The Word in Flesh makes true Bread
His Flesh with a word;
Wine becomes the Blood of Christ,
And if sense is deficient,
To confirm sincere hearts,
Faith alone suffices.
Then let us prostrate and
Venerate so great a Sacrament,
And let the old law yield
To the new rite;
Let faith stand forward to
Supply the defect of the senses.
To the Begetter and the Begotten,
Be praise and jubilation,
Health, honor, and strength,
And blessing too,
And let equal praise be to Him,
Who proceeds from Both.
The Son is not omnipresent. The Bible says He is at the right hand of the Father. He is not on the cross.
I know it does, it's just misguided.
I love that hymn!
??? I have no idea what you're connecting in that verse with Hebrews 13:10.
No metaphor, just future glory. And definitely no need to turn back into Jews. No pepper shakers on sticks, no tall hats.
I love all poems and hymns written by Thomas Aquinas...this one is a great one!
His humanity isn't; his divinity is.
The Bible says He is at the right hand of the Father. He is not on the cross.
God is not bound or constrained by his creations. Time is one of his creations. That's "basic monotheism 101". God sees and knows all things as present.
Adoro te devote, latens Deitas,
Quæ sub his figuris vere latitas;
Tibi se cor meum totum subjicit,
Quia te contemplans totum deficit.
Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur,
Sed auditu solo tuto creditur.
Credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius;
Nil hoc verbo veritátis verius.
In cruce latebat sola Deitas,
At hic latet simul et Humanitas,
Ambo tamen credens atque confitens,
Peto quod petivit latro pnitens.
Plagas, sicut Thomas, non intueor:
Deum tamen meum te confiteor.
Fac me tibi semper magis credere,
In te spem habere, te diligere.
O memoriale mortis Domini!
Panis vivus, vitam præstans homini!
Præsta meæ menti de te vívere,
Et te illi semper dulce sapere.
Pie Pelicane, Jesu Domine,
Me immundum munda tuo sanguine:
Cujus una stilla salvum facere
Totum mundum quit ab omni scelere.
Jesu, quem velatum nunc aspicio,
Oro, fiat illud quod tam sitio:
Ut te revelata cernens facie,
Visu sim beátus tuæ gloriæ. Amen
Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore,
Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more,
See, Lord, at Thy service low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.
Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived:
How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed;
What God's Son has told me, take for truth I do;
Truth Himself speaks truly or there's nothing true.
On the cross Thy godhead made no sign to men,
Here Thy very manhood steals from human ken:
Both are my confession, both are my belief,
And I pray the prayer of the dying thief.
I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see,
But can plainly call thee Lord and God as he;
Let me to a deeper faith daily nearer move,
Daily make me harder hope and dearer love.
O thou our reminder of Christ crucified,
Living Bread, the life of us for whom he died,
Lend this life to me then: feed and feast my mind,
There be thou the sweetness man was meant to find.
Bring the tender tale true of the Pelican;
Bathe me, Jesu Lord, in what Thy bosom ran
Blood whereof a single drop has power to win
All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.
Jesu, whom I look at shrouded here below,
I beseech thee send me what I thirst for so,
Some day to gaze on thee face to face in light
And be blest for ever with Thy glory's sight. Amen.
The Didache (ca AD 80) and St. Justin Martyr (died AD 150) both refer to the Eucharist as "sacrifice", so I'll happily settle for a faith that's been "misguided" provably since the time the Apostles reached room temperature, over and against the 16th century innovations you embrace.
What we don't have is an earthly alter with an RC priest presiding over it.
They were wrong. They are detracting from the cross in what they say and from His work in our redemption. They are exactly what the bible warned us against, Judiasers(sp).
The Institution of the Mass
Many non-Catholics do not understand the Mass. Television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart wrote, "The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Holy Mass is an expiatory sacrifice, in which the Son of God is actually sacrificed anew on the cross" (Swaggart, Catholicism and Christianity). The late Loraine Boettner, the dean of anti-Catholic Fundamentalists, said the Mass is a "jumble of medieval superstition."
Vatican II puts the Catholic position succinctly:
"At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the centuries until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us" (Sacrosanctum Concilium 47).
Even a modestly informed Catholic can set an inquirer right and direct him to biblical accounts of Jesus final night with his disciples. Turning to the text, we read, "And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19).
The Greek here and in the parallel Gospel passages (Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22) reads: Touto estin to soma mou. Pauls version differs slightly: Touto mou estin to soma (1 Cor. 11:24). They all translate as "This is my body." The verb estin is the equivalent of the English "is" and can mean "is really" or "is figuratively." The usual meaning of estin is the former (check any Greek grammar book), just as, in English, the verb "is" usually is taken literally.
Fundamentalists insist that when Christ says, "This is my body," he is speaking figuratively. But this interpretation is precluded by Pauls discussion of the Eucharist in 1 Corinthians 11:2329 and by the whole tenor of John 6, the chapter where the Eucharist is promised. The Greek word for "body" in John 6:54 is sarx, which means physical flesh, and the word for "eats" (trogon) translates as "gnawing" or "chewing." This is certainly not the language of metaphor.
No "figurative presence"
The literal meaning cant be avoided except through violence to the textand through the rejection of the universal understanding of the early Christian centuries. The writings of Paul and John reflect belief in the Real Presence. There is no basis for forcing anything else out of the lines, and no writer tried to do so until the early Middle Ages. Christ did not institute a Figurative Presence. Some Fundamentalists say the word "is" is used because Aramaic, the language Christ spoke, had no word for "represents." Those who make this feeble claim are behind the times, since, as Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman showed a century ago, Aramaic has about three dozen words that can mean "represents."
The Catholic position
The Church teaches that the Mass is the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary, which also is invariably misunderstood by anti-Catholics. The Catholic Church does not teach that the Mass is a re-crucifixion of Christ, who does not suffer and die again in the Mass.
Yet, it is more than just a memorial service. John A. OBrien, writing in The Faith of Millions, said, "The manner in which the sacrifices are offered is alone different: On the cross Christ really shed his blood and was really slain; in the Mass, however, there is no real shedding of blood, no real death; but the separate consecration of the bread and of the wine symbolizes the separation of the body and blood of Christ and thus symbolizes his death upon the cross. The Mass is the renewal and perpetuation of the sacrifice of the cross in the sense that it offers [Jesus] anew to God . . . and thus commemorates the sacrifice of the cross, reenacts it symbolically and mystically, and applies the fruits of Christs death upon the cross to individual human souls. All the efficacy of the Mass is derived, therefore, from the sacrifice of Calvary" (306).
"Once for all"
The Catholic Church specifically says Christ does not die againhis death is once for all. It would be something else if the Church were to claim he does die again, but it doesnt make that claim. Through his intercessory ministry in heaven and through the Mass, Jesus continues to offer himself to his Father as a living sacrifice, and he does so in what the Church specifically states is "an unbloody manner"one that does not involve a new crucifixion.
The Language of Appearances
Loraine Boettner mounts another charge. In chapter eight of Roman Catholicism, when arguing that the meal instituted by Christ was strictly symbolic, he gives a cleverly incomplete quotation. He writes, "Paul too says that the bread remains bread: Wherefore whosoever shall eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner. . . . But let each man prove himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup (1 Cor. 11:2728)."
The part of verse 27 represented by the ellipsis is crucial. It reads, "shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." Why does Boettner omit this? Because to be guilty of someones body and blood is to commit a crime against his body and blood, not just against symbols of them. The omitted words clearly imply the bread and wine become Christ himself.
Profaning the Eucharist was so serious that the stakes could be life and death. In the next two verses (2930), Paul states, "For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died."
Boettners omitted statements reveal that when Paul uses the term "bread," hes using the language of appearances, what scholars call "phenomenological language." In this form of speech, something is described according to how it appears, rather than according to its fundamental nature. "The sun rose," is an example of phenomenological language. From our perspective, it appears that the sun rises, though we know that what we see is actually caused by the earths rotation.
Scripture uses phenomenological language regularlyas, for example, when it describes angels appearing in human guise as "men" (Gen. 19:1-11; Luke 24:47, 23; Acts 1:1011). Since the Eucharist still appears as bread and wine, Catholics from Pauls time on have referred to the consecrated elements using phenomenological language, while recognizing that this is only description according to appearances and that it is actually Jesus who is present.
We are not merely symbolically commemorating Jesus in the Eucharist, but actually participating in his body and blood, as Paul states, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" (1 Cor. 10:16).
The Manner of Melchizedek
The Old Testament predicted that Christ would offer a true sacrifice to God using the elements of bread and wine. In Genesis 14:18, Melchizedek, the king of Salem (that is, Jerusalem) and a priest, offered sacrifice under the form of bread and wine. Psalm 110 predicted Christ would be a priest "after the order of Melchizedek," that is, offering a sacrifice in bread and wine. We must look for some sacrifice other than Calvary, since it was not under the form of bread and wine. The Mass meets that need.
Furthermore, "according to the order of Mel-chizedek" means "in the manner of Melchizedek." ("Order" does not refer to a religious order, as there was no such thing in Old Testament days.) The only "manner" shown by Melchizedek was the use of bread and wine. A priest sacrifices the items offeredthat is the main task of all priests, in all cultures, at all timesso the bread and wine must have been what Melchizedek sacrificed.
Fundamentalists sometimes say Christ followed the example of Melchizedek at the Last Supper, but that it was a rite that was not to be continued. They undermine their case against the Mass in saying this, since such an admission shows, at least, that the Last Supper was truly sacrificial. The key, though, is that they overlook that Christ said, "Do this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19). Clearly, he wasnt talking about a one-time thing.
"Do this in remembrance of me" can also be translated as "Offer this as my memorial sacrifice." The Greek term for "remembrance" is anamnesis, and every time it occurs in the Protestant Bible (whether in the New Testament or the Greek Old Testament), it occurs in a sacrificial context. For example, it appears in the Greek translation of Numbers 10:10: "On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts, and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; they shall serve you for remembrance [anamnesis] before your God: I am the Lord your God." Thus the Eucharist is a remembrance, a memorial offering we present to God to plead the merits of Christ on the cross.
Fundamentalists disbelieve claims about the antiquity of the Masss sacrificial aspects, even if they think the Mass, in the form of a mere commemorative meal, goes all the way back to the Last Supper. Many say the Mass as a sacrifice was not taught until the Middle Ages, alleging Innocent III was the first pope to teach the doctrine.
But he merely insisted on a doctrine that had been held from the first but was being publicly doubted in his time. He formalized, but did not invent, the notion that the Mass is a sacrifice. Jimmy Swaggart, for one, goes further back than do many Fundamentalists, claiming, "By the third century the idea of sacrifice had begun to intrude." Still other Fundamentalists say Cyprian of Carthage, who died in 258, was the first to make noises about a sacrifice.
But Irenaeus, writing Against Heresies in the second century, beat out Cyprian when he wrote of the sacrificial nature of the Mass, and Irenaeus was beaten out by Clement of Rome, who wrote, in the first century, about those "from the episcopate who blamelessly and holily have offered its sacrifices" (Letter to the Corinthians 44:1).
Furthermore, Clement was beaten out by the Didache (a Syrian liturgical manual written around A.D. 70), which stated, "On the Lords Day . . . gather together, break bread and offer the Eucharist, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure. Let no one who has a quarrel with his neighbor join you until he is reconciled, lest our sacrifice be defiled. For this is that which was proclaimed by the Lord: In every place and time let there be offered to me a clean sacrifice. For I am a great king, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the gentiles [cf. Mal. 1:11]" (14:13).
It isnt possible to get closer to New Testament times than this, because Clement and the author of the Didache were writing during New Testament times. After all, at least one apostle, John, was still alive.
Fundamentalists are particularly upset about the Catholic notion that the sacrifice on Calvary is somehow continued through the centuries by the Mass. They think Catholics are trying to have it both ways. The Church on the one hand says that Calvary is "perpetuated," which seems to mean the same act of killing, the same letting of blood, is repeated again and again. This violates the "once for all" idea. On the other hand, what Catholics call a sacrifice seems to have no relation to biblical sacrifices, since it doesnt look the same; after all, no splotches of blood are to be found on Catholic altars.
"We must, of course, take strong exception to such pretended sacrifice," Boettner instructs. "We cannot regard it as anything other than a deception, a mockery, and an abomination before God. The so-called sacrifice of the Mass certainly is not identical with that on Calvary, regardless of what the priests may say. There is in the Mass no real Christ, no suffering, and no bleeding. And a bloodless sacrifice is ineffectual. The writer of the book of Hebrews says that apart from shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (9:22); and John says, The blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7). Since admittedly there is no blood in the Mass, it simply cannot be a sacrifice for sin" (174).
Boettner misreads chapter nine of Hebrews, which begins with an examination of the Old Covenant. Moses is described as taking the blood of calves and goats and using it in the purification of the tabernacle (Heb. 9:1921; see Ex. 24:68 for the origins of this). Under the Old Law, a repeated blood sacrifice was necessary for the remission of sins. Under the Christian dispensation, blood (Christs) is shed only once, but it is continually offered to the Father.
"But how can that be?" ask Fundamentalists. They have to keep in mind that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever" (Heb. 13:8). What Jesus did in the past is present to God now, and God can make the sacrifice of Calvary present to us at Mass. "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lords death until he comes" (1 Cor. 11:26).
Jesus does not offer himself to God as a bloody, dying sacrifice in the Mass, but as we offer ourselves, a "living sacrifice" (Rom. 12:1). As this passage indicates, the offering of sacrifice does not require death or the shedding of blood. If it did, we could not offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God. Jesus, having shed his blood once for all on the cross, now offers himself to God in a continual, unbloody manner as a holy, living sacrifice on our behalf.
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The Sacrifice of the Mass
The Eucharist is a true sacrifice, not just a commemorative meal, as "Bible Christians" insist. The first Christians knew that it was a sacrifice and proclaimed this in their writings. They recognized the sacrificial character of Jesus instruction, "Do this in remembrance of me" (Touto poieite tan eman anamnasin; Luke 22:19, 1 Cor. 11:2425) which is better translated "Offer this as my memorial offering."
Thus, Protestant early Church historian J. N. D. Kelly writes that in the early Church "the Eucharist was regarded as the distinctively Christian sacrifice. . . . Malachis prediction (1:1011) that the Lord would reject Jewish sacrifices and instead would have "a pure offering" made to him by the Gentiles in every place was seized upon by Christians as a prophecy of the Eucharist. The Didache indeed actually applies the term thusia, or sacrifice, to the Eucharist. . . .
"It was natural for early Christians to think of the Eucharist as a sacrifice. The fulfillment of prophecy demanded a solemn Christian offering, and the rite itself was wrapped in the sacrificial atmosphere with which our Lord invested the Last Supper. The words of institution, Do this (touto poieite), must have been charged with sacrificial overtones for second-century ears; Justin at any rate understood them to mean, Offer this. . . . The bread and wine, moreover, are offered for a memorial (eis anamnasin) of the passion, a phrase which in view of his identification of them with the Lords body and blood implies much more than an act of purely spiritual recollection" (J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines [Full Reference], 1967).
"Assemble on the Lords day, and break bread and offer the Eucharist; but first make confession of your faults, so that your sacrifice may be a pure one. Anyone who has a difference with his fellow is not to take part with you until he has been reconciled, so as to avoid any profanation of your sacrifice [Matt. 5:2324]. For this is the offering of which the Lord has said, Everywhere and always bring me a sacrifice that is undefiled, for I am a great king, says the Lord, and my name is the wonder of nations [Mal. 1:11, 14]" (Didache 14 [A.D. 70]).
Pope Clement I
"Our sin will not be small if we eject from the episcopate those who blamelessly and holily have offered its sacrifices. Blessed are those presbyters who have already finished their course, and who have obtained a fruitful and perfect release" (Letter to the Corinthians 44:45 [A.D. 80]).
Ignatius of Antioch
"Make certain, therefore, that you all observe one common Eucharist; for there is but one Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and but one cup of union with his Blood, and one single altar of sacrificeeven as there is also but one bishop, with his clergy and my own fellow servitors, the deacons. This will ensure that all your doings are in full accord with the will of God" (Letter to the Philadelphians 4 [A.D. 110]).
"God speaks by the mouth of Malachi, one of the twelve [minor prophets], as I said before, about the sacrifices at that time presented by you: I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord, and I will not accept your sacrifices at your hands; for from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, my name has been glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering, for my name is great among the Gentiles . . . [Mal. 1:1011]. He then speaks of those Gentiles, namely us [Christians] who in every place offer sacrifices to him, that is, the bread of the Eucharist and also the cup of the Eucharist" (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 41 [A.D. 155]).
"He took from among creation that which is bread, and gave thanks, saying, This is my body. The cup likewise, which is from among the creation to which we belong, he confessed to be his blood. He taught the new sacrifice of the new covenant, of which Malachi, one of the twelve [minor] prophets, had signified beforehand: You do not do my will, says the Lord Almighty, and I will not accept a sacrifice at your hands. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure sacrifice; for great is my name among the Gentiles, says the Lord Almighty [Mal. 1:1011]. By these words he makes it plain that the former people will cease to make offerings to God; but that in every place sacrifice will be offered to him, and indeed, a pure one, for his name is glorified among the Gentiles" (Against Heresies 4:17:5 [A.D. 189]).
Cyprian of Carthage
"If Christ Jesus, our Lord and God, is himself the high priest of God the Father; and if he offered himself as a sacrifice to the Father; and if he commanded that this be done in commemoration of himself, then certainly the priest, who imitates that which Christ did, truly functions in place of Christ" (Letters 63:14 [A.D. 253]).
"Accept therewith our hallowing too, as we say, Holy, holy, holy Lord Sabaoth, heaven and earth is full of your glory. Heaven is full, and full is the earth, with your magnificent glory, Lord of virtues. Full also is this sacrifice, with your strength and your communion; for to you we offer this living sacrifice, this unbloody oblation" (Prayer of the Eucharistic Sacrifice 13:1216 [A.D. 350]).
Cyril of Jerusalem
"Then, having sanctified ourselves by these spiritual hymns, we beseech the merciful God to send forth his Holy Spirit upon the gifts lying before him, that he may make the bread the Body of Christ and the wine the Blood of Christ, for whatsoever the Holy Spirit has touched is surely sanctified and changed. Then, upon the completion of the spiritual sacrifice, the bloodless worship, over that propitiatory victim we call upon God for the common peace of the churches, for the welfare of the world, for kings, for soldiers and allies, for the sick, for the afflicted; and in summary, we all pray and offer this sacrifice for all who are in need" (Catechetical Lectures 23:78 [A.D. 350]).
"Cease not to pray and plead for me when you draw down the Word by your word, when in an unbloody cutting you cut the Body and Blood of the Lord, using your voice for a sword" (Letter to Amphilochius 171 [A.D. 383]).
Ambrose of Milan
"We saw the prince of priests coming to us, we saw and heard him offering his blood for us. We follow, inasmuch as we are able, being priests, and we offer the sacrifice on behalf of the people. Even if we are of but little merit, still, in the sacrifice, we are honorable. Even if Christ is not now seen as the one who offers the sacrifice, nevertheless it is he himself that is offered in sacrifice here on Earth when the body of Christ is offered. Indeed, to offer himself he is made visible in us, he whose word makes holy the sacrifice that is offered" (Commentaries on Twelve Psalms of David 38:25 [A.D. 389]).
"When you see the Lord immolated and lying upon the altar, and the priest bent over that sacrifice praying, and all the people empurpled by that precious blood, can you think that you are still among men and on earth? Or are you not lifted up to heaven?" (The Priesthood 3:4:177 [A.D. 387]).
"Reverence, therefore, reverence this table, of which we are all communicants! Christ, slain for us, the sacrificial victim who is placed thereon!" (Homilies on Romans 8:8 [A.D. 391]).
"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not communion of the blood of Christ? Very trustworthy and awesomely does he [Paul] say it. For what he is saying is this: What is in the cup is that which flowed from his side, and we partake of it. He called it a cup of blessing because when we hold it in our hands that is how we praise him in song, wondering and astonished at his indescribable gift, blessing him because of his having poured out this very gift so that we might not remain in error; and not only for his having poured it out, but also for his sharing it with all of us. If therefore you desire blood, he [the Lord] says, do not redden the platform of idols with the slaughter of dumb beasts, but my altar of sacrifice with my blood. What is more awesome than this? What, pray tell, more tenderly loving?" (Homilies on First Corinthians 24:1(3) [A.D. 392]).
"In ancient times, because men were very imperfect, God did not scorn to receive the blood which they were offering . . . to draw them away from those idols; and this very thing again was because of his indescribable, tender affection. But now he has transferred the priestly action to what is most awesome and magnificent. He has changed the sacrifice itself, and instead of the butchering of dumb beasts, he commands the offering up of himself" (ibid., 24:2).
"What then? Do we not offer daily? Yes, we offer, but making remembrance of his death; and this remembrance is one and not many. How is it one and not many? Because this sacrifice is offered once, like that in the Holy of Holies. This sacrifice is a type of that, and this remembrance a type of that. We offer always the same, not one sheep now and another tomorrow, but the same thing always. Thus there is one sacrifice. By this reasoning, since the sacrifice is offered everywhere, are there, then, a multiplicity of Christs? By no means! Christ is one everywhere. He is complete here, complete there, one body. And just as he is one body and not many though offered everywhere, so too is there one sacrifice" (Homilies on Hebrews 17:3(6) [A.D. 403]).
"In the sacrament he is immolated for the people not only on every Easter Solemnity but on every day; and a man would not be lying if, when asked, he were to reply that Christ is being immolated. For if sacraments had not a likeness to those things of which they are sacraments, they would not be sacraments at all; and they generally take the names of those same things by reason of this likeness" (Letters 98:9 [A.D. 412]).
"For when he says in another book, which is called Ecclesiastes, There is no good for a man except that he should eat and drink [Eccles. 2:24], what can he be more credibly understood to say [prophetically] than what belongs to the participation of this table which the Mediator of the New Testament himself, the priest after the order of Melchizedek, furnishes with his own body and blood? For that sacrifice has succeeded all the sacrifices of the Old Testament, which were slain as a shadow of what was to come. . . . Because, instead of all these sacrifices and oblations, his body is offered and is served up to the partakers of it" (The City of God 17:20 [A.D. 419]).
Sechnall of Ireland
"[St. Patrick] proclaims boldly to the [Irish] tribes the name of the Lord, to whom he gives the eternal grace of the laver of salvation; for their offenses he prays daily unto God; for them also he offers up to God worthy sacrifices" (Hymn in Praise of St. Patrick 13 [A.D. 444]).
Fulgentius of Ruspe
"Hold most firmly and never doubt in the least that the only-begotten God the Word himself became flesh [and] offered himself in an odor of sweetness as a sacrifice and victim to God on our behalf; to whom . . . in the time of the Old Testament animals were sacrificed by the patriarchs and prophets and priests; and to whom now, I mean in the time of the New Testament . . . the holy Catholic Church does not cease in faith and love to offer throughout all the lands of the world a sacrifice of bread and wine. In those former sacrifices what would be given us in the future was signified figuratively, but in this sacrifice which has now been given us is shown plainly. In those former sacrifices it was fore-announced that the Son of God would be killed for the impious, but in the present sacrifice it is announced that he has been killed for the impious" (The Rule of Faith 62 [A.D. 524]).
NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004
IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
+Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004
(a) Our Justification Is A Proof Of the Eternity Of The Sacrifice of Christ.
In a striking passage in the Epistle to the Romans, St. Paul says that Christ was delivered up for our sins, and that He rose again for our justification. The Apostle says plainly here that the cause of our justification is the Resurrection of Christ. He further says in the Epist. 1. to the Corinthians (XV. 17) : If Christ be not risen from the dead, your faith is vain (for) you are still in your sins. The meaning of this particular verse of the Epistle is not (like verses 14 and 15) : you are still in your sins, because your faith is vain in the sense of false (as having no foundation) : but, your faith is vain, in the sense of useless and ineffective, because having no one to justify you, you are still in your sins. You are sinners because you have not obtained justification, the sole cause of which would be the resurrection of Christ, who suffered and rose from the dead: remove the cause and you remove the effect; it is of course quite true that we have been saved by the sacrifice of Christ, but this is on the condition that the victim of the sacrifice is the principle of justification for us, in as much as the victim has secured the resurrection to glory.
The Victim of the sacrifice risen to glory from the dead is the source of our justification in two ways. First, He is the principle of our justification by the removal of a hindrance to that justification, because as propitiatory victim, He is the price paid for our debts. Secondly, He is the principle of our justification as efficient cause, for by reason of His sanctifying influence, He communicates to us His own sanctity and grace.
In the first place, considering this victim under the aspect of propitiation. Christ offered to God a gift or a victim in propitiation for our sins: His Body stained with the blood of the Passion unto death.
Hence He gave His own Body to God, so that it should become God's thing. Hence at that time Christ entered into a contract. God on His part sanctioned this contract by accepting the victim and taking it to Himself in the abode of His glory.
True, in so far as acceptance is an act formally immanent to God, it is eternal; and hence it was not deferred until the Resurrection. But we are considering here the acceptance in so far as it virtually passes into the thing actually taken up and laid hold of by God. We are dealing with a sacrificial contract and must consider the matter in this way, because it is in the nature of a symbol or sign. Without this divine subscription and ratification of the contract, the sacrifice would secure no propitiation whatever; because no matter how great the compensation offered, were it even condign, until the consent of each party is expressed no contract would result. Christ Victim therefore will not free us from our sins unless God accepts His Victim in payment for our debts. Christ was of sufficient worth to compensate, even before the divine acceptance, but it was only when acceptance had place that He actively and effectively did compensate. Therefore although the work of Christ Himself as Redeemer was completed by His death, still we were indebted to God; and the Resurrection was a necessary addition as a recognition of God's acceptance of Christ Victim as the price of our salvation. There at lag the contract stood completed. But by the contract we were saved. Therefore before Christ's Resurrection our salvation was not constituted.
Furthermore the price of our salvation must necessarily remain eternally with God. For Christ gave Himself to God forever, in order to be forever a propitiation for us. Now what is given into God's keeping He never alienates or destroys, He keeps it forever just as it is in itself. Hence were Christ at any time (I speak as one less wise) to cease to be in the glory of God, this could only be, were He to withdraw Himself from God; thus He would break the contract and defraud God of what was pledged to Him, and so our sins would remain unatoned for, in the failure of the compensation which the gift presented, for that compensates only so long as it remains as a gift, if withdrawn it has no grace. But our High Priest is faithful, our Victim is faithful, our price is faithful, God will never be defrauded of it, and thus we are secure in the eternal redemption found by Christ.
This is what the Fathers meant when speaking of the price paid by Christ. Once paid, it forever redeemed us in the sight of God; so much so that were it (on an impossible supposition) to disappear from the sight of God, we would not be saved from our sins; failing the victim, the price would be lacking. George Witzel, an acute interpreter of sacred antiquity, used this argument very effectively against Luther: "If therefore the Body and Blood of Christ IS not a Victim, our faith is vain and we are still in our sins" (De Eucharistia, Cologne, 1549, p. 322-323). This is said of the propitiation for us, in which the Victim stands as moral cause.
In the second place, consider the Victim as the efficient cause of our justification, and it is clear that the process of our justification requires the eternity of the sacrifice. For we are sanctified by partaking of the Victim of the Passion which makes us sharers in its sanctity, in so far as, itself all full of truth, it operates in us what it signifies. But if a victim now exists no longer, there is no longer any influxus of the victim and hence no influxus of the sanctity. For our Victim is not only the cause of the imparting of grace to us, but of the maintaining of it. If this cause ceases its active influence, the effect will also cease to be maintained and to exist. But the life of Christ in glory is the source and the fountain of our own spiritual life of grace and glory. Thus St. Paul says we are quickened according to grace by God with Christ raised from the dead unto glory (Coloss., II. 13; Ephes., II. 5-6). For we are quickened or vivified by the Flesh of the eternal sacrifice giving us spiritual life.
St. Thomas (3 S. 62, 5 and 6) is in close agreement: in the order of efficiency the sacraments are compared as instruments to the Passion of Christ, whence they derive their virtue, just as the Passion itself is by way of instrument in respect of the divinity, which is the principal cause (art. 5); and thus previous to the Passion sacramental efficacy was impossible: because "what is not yet in existence does not cause any movement or change" (Art. 6). According to St. Thomas therefore, the Passion "by which Christ initiated the Christian religion, offering himself as an oblation and a victim to God, as St. Paul. Ephes., V says", (art. 5), intervenes by way of cause as movens motum, between the divine efficacy and the sacraments of the New Law. But what is not actually existing cannot put forth any action, or efficiently produce any change or motion. Therefore Christ's sacrifice must continue, as it does by the continuance of Christ Victim of His Passion. Hence St. Thomas already had said opportunely: "the resurrection of Christ has by way of instrument (under God the principal cause), effective power, not only in respect of the resurrection of bodies, but also in respect of the resurrection of souls" (3 S. 56, 2). And again: "Divine justice in itself was not bound to cause our resurrection through the Resurrection of Christ; for God could free us otherwise than by the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. Nevertheless because He decreed to free us in this manner, clearly the Resurrection of Christ is the cause of our own resurrection" (In 3 S. 56, I, 2m).
If Christ therefore did not rise from the dead we are in our sins, lacking both ransom before God and the begetter of divine grace in us. But if Christ did rise again, in the first place, the price paid to God and eternally accepted in the past, that is, the sacrifice enacted by Christ on earth, and received by the Father into the glory of heaven, eternally remains and is our eternal propitiation; and secondly, the Victim is always at hand, by feeding on which we are always sanctified. St. Paul suggests the benefit of the Resurrection under each of these aspects in Coloss. II. 12-14 In whom (Christ) you are risen again by the faith of the operation of God, and you when you were dead in your sins, and the incircumcision of your flesh, He (God) hath quickened together with Him. Here we have the benefit of the Resurrection as establishing a oneness of life between Christ in glory and ourselves made acceptable and destined for glory. The Apostle continues: forgiving you all your offences; blotting out the handwriting of the decree  that was against us, which is contrary to us. And here then is the second benefit of the Resurrection: Christ welcomed into the bosom of the Father, or the acceptance of the compensation offered on the Cross, and the blotting-out of the handwriting whereby we were indebted to God. For in the Resurrection God destroyed the bond of our indebtedness, and thereby pardoned our sins: namely when the Victim of the Cross was accepted by God for our Redemption.
Maurice De La Taille, S.J., The Mystery Of Faith, Chapter V.
Preaching that Christ is the eternal sacrifice that obsoletes the whole Temple ritual of the Old Covenant is "Judaizing"?
It detracts from Christ's work in our redemption to say that it's so important that we make it present on altars all over the world every day?
I think you have it backwards.
[Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer himself to God the Father by his death on the altar of the cross, to accomplish there an everlasting redemption. But because his priesthood was not to end with his death, at the Last Supper "on the night when he was betrayed," [he wanted] to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands) by which the bloody sacrifice which he was to accomplish once for all on the cross would be re-presented, its memory perpetuated until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit.189
189 Council of Trent (1562): DS 1740; cf. 1 Cor 11:23; Heb 7:24, 27.
Heb7:24 but he, because he remains forever, has a priesthood that does not pass away.
Hmmmm. A priesthood that does not pass away.
Then what is that "priest" doing during the mass and what does it buy us in our salvation?
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