This is a short look at the largely unknown treasure of the Roman Catholic Mass. The Mass is described as the most powerful prayer on earth. That is because it is the Prayer and Sacrifice of Jesus Christ the “Lamb of God” on Mount Calvary nearly two thousand years ago. His sacrifice is made present on the altar under the appearance of “Bread and Wine”. At the end of Mass we can receive Jesus raised from the dead into our souls.
Statues representing the 2 hour Apparition in Knock Ireland of the Lamb of God on the 21 st of August 1879 with St. Joseph, Our Lady, St. John the Evangelist and a multitude of Angels.
Eve stole God’s fruit from the tree and gave it to Adam to eat and so helped cause the “Fall” of mankind,. But in the “Redemption” the New Adam Jesus sacrifices (offers back to the Father) the Divine Fruit ( Himself ) on the Tree of the Cross at Calvary and in the Mass Jesus the New Adam and the Divine Fruit gives Himself to the Church which is the New Eve for her to Eat. At His Last Supper Jesus first gave Himself to the Church and on the following morning He was put on the Tree of the Cross. At the foot of the Tree of the Cross Mary the human New Eve offered the Sacrifice of Jesus the New Adam to God for the sins of mankind. Jesus in the Mass gave His one Sacrifice to the Church the Mystical New Eve for her to offer back to the Father through time until the End of time. Beneath the Tree of the Cross Mary offered the sacrifice of Jesus to God and the Church also offers His sacrifice on Calvary to God in the Sacrifice of the Mass.
Mass is the most powerful prayer we can make. We can pray to God at any time and anywhere but at Mass we can pray to God, with God and in God dying on the cross at Calvary nearly 2,000 years ago. At the “consecration” of Mass God makes Good Friday present on the altar. At Mass we can offer the sufferings and Sacrifice of Jesus who is the “Lamb Of God” to God the Father in atonement for the Sins of the World. Later on then in the Mass we can also receive Jesus risen from the dead really present in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. (“Sacrifices go up, Sacraments come down” Fr. Joseph Moran O.P.) At Mass we enter Heaven with Jesus in the presence of all the Angels and Saints as He offered Himself to the Father on Good Friday 2,000 years ago.
The main stages of the Mass.
We first repent of our sins. At the start of Mass we repent of all our sins by praying the Confiteor, “I confess” or similar prayers. (Mortal or Grave sins (These are very serious deadly sins.) need the “Sacrament of Confession” and the lesser “venial” sins are forgiven by sincere prayer.)
Then we hear the “Word of God” in the Scripture Readings which nourishes us and the priest explains them in his Homily. Jesus is really present speaking to us in His word.
Soon after this follows the Offertory where we can offer ourselves and all mankind (the living, the dying and the souls in Purgatory) in union with the bread and wine being offered by the priest to God. The drop of water the priest adds to the chalice is a symbol of our offering of ourselves and all humanity. The Holy Spirit will soon at the “Consecration” change the bread and wine into the real Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ the victim of Calvary.
After the “Offertory” follows the Consecration which means: to make holy. So at the “Offertory” we offered ourselves to God and now we can unite our self-offering to the self-offering of Jesus at Calvary on Good Friday. We pray that the Holy Spirit will change our hearts and the hearts of all those we are offering into better members of the Mystical Body of Christ. Jesus through the words of the priest sends the Holy Spirit down to make the bread and wine into His Sacrifice of Himself on Calvary. At the Last Supper Jesus totally offered Himself and His passion to the Father and now the Consecration makes His self-offering present. (St Faustina in her diary (No 684) recounts how she saw Jesus at the Last Supper at the moment He cosecrated the bread and wine and she could see His total offering of Himself). Usually the Altar Server rings the bell to help us to focus on this Great Miracle and usually all present kneel down. The Body and Blood of Jesus are now in the two separate vessels (Ciborioum and Chalice) on the Altar signifying for us the way that the Blood of Jesus separated from his Flesh as He bled and died on the cross. The Holy Spirit can help change our hearts and everyone that we offer at this time. This can be a time of great mercy for the world. We can unite our daily good deeds and sufferings now with Jesus on the cross to give them more value and power before the throne of God. Elijah’s great miracle on Mount Carmel (See 1 Kings 18;17-38) where the Fire from Heaven consumed the offering was a symbol of this part of the Mass.
After we say what is called the great “Amen” in reply to the Priest’s “Through Him, With Him and in Him” prayer we then say the “Our Father” to sum up all our petitions. We should try to remember that we are saying it in the presence of Heaven. At the Last Supper Jesus probably said the “Our Father” with His Apostles. Jesus by His Passion, Death and Resurrection lived and fulfilled each of the seven petitions of the “Our Father”. He obtained for us this privilege of calling God “Our Father”. The Passion of Jesus was the Greatest Prayer He taught His followers. In His Passion Jesus “Hallowed” the Name of His Father. In His Passion He started the coming of the Father’s “Kingdom” (which is also His Church). He showed us how to do the “will” of God as it is done in Heaven. Through His Passion, death and Ressurection Jesus who is Himself the “Bread of Life” made Himself present in “Holy Communion” as the “daily Bread” of His followers. By His Passion He obtained “Forgiveness for our Tresspasses” and the graces we need to resist “Temptation” and “Delivered from evil”. At the Mass we are present as Jesus perfectly fulfilled the “Our Father” for us.
The Priest may now ask us to offer the “Sign of Peace” to those near us but more especially we should offer it in our heart to anyone in our lives we have not forgiven or do not like.
The first Adam was told not to take and eat God’s fruit from the tree but now Jesus the God-Man as the New Adam gives mankind Himself because He is Divine Fruit from the Cross. The first Adam must have told Eve not to eat the fruit from the tree ( She was not created when God told Adam not to eat from the tree ) but now the New Adam tells the Church which is the New Eve to “Take and Eat” the New Fruit which we call Holy Commuinion.
Then after we say the “Lamb of God” prayers the Priest adds a fragment of the “Host” (Christ’s Body) to the chalice of His Precious Blood. This action signifies the Resurrection of Jesus and shows us that Jesus is present “risen” from the dead in the Host and the Chalice. We can now receive Jesus “risen from the dead” into our hearts in Holy Communion. St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 11: 27-29 seems to have believed in this real presence of Jesus in Holy Communion because he said “the person who eats and drinks without recognising the Body is eating and drinking his own condemnation.”
At the end of Mass we are sent on a mission “to love and serve the Lord”. One of the best ways to do this is to love and serve the Lord in our neighbours. We can imitate Mary who after she had received Jesus at the “Annunciation” brought Him to visit her cousin Elizabeth. The word “Mass” comes from the Latin word “Missa” which means sent as we are now “sent” on mission at the end of Mass. It is good to spend some time thanking the Holy Trinity for their goodness to us.
Jesus taught these prayers to St Faustina for the Divine Mercy Chaplet which is said on Rosary Beads.
“Eternal Father we offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly Beloved Son our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”
“For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
Three o’clock Prayer
(Jesus asked St Faustina to say this prayer at 3 o’clock but it is also very appropriate during the Consecration of the Mass.)
“You expired Jesus,
but the source of life gushed forth for souls
and an Ocean of Mercy
opened up for the whole world.
O Fount of Life,
unfathomable Divine Mercy,
envelop the whole world
and empty Yourself out upon us.”
“O Blood and Water which gushed forth
from the Heart of Jesus
as a fount of Mercy for us,
I trust in You”
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