Over the past several years there seems to have developed a general confusion among Catholics regarding the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In this “Era of Communication,” with all the I-pads, Smart Phones, Google, etc., etc., we have forgotten how to read books; especially books without pictures. And, we “teachers” perhaps have been remiss by not keeping others informed as changes and modifications have occurred.
The information has been available all along; it just wasn’t deemed to be that important. Like “Topsy,” we Catholics just “growed-up” and tried to figure it out all by ourselves. Well, like everything else, we were doing a poor job.
So, beginning on the last Sunday of this month I will try to explain the structure of the Mass in order that we might better appreciate what is happening at the altar and how we can “participate actively and intelligently.”
We will begin with the definition of The Mass according to The Baltimore Catechism [Lesson 20, #262, pg. 45]: “The Mass is the unbloody Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ. The Mass is the same as that of the Cross. The bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ at the Consecration in the Mass.” That same lesson ends with this question and answer: “Q: How should we assist at Mass?” A: We should assist at Mass with great interior recollection and piety, and with every outward mark of respect and devotion.” (emphasis added)
“Interior recollection and every mark of respect and devotion:” These are self-explanatory. By examining The Mass in detail, we will see why. Bear with me; it will not be boring, and I assure you that you will come away from each Mass with a deeper appreciation of Our Lord’s Great Sacrifice and His Great Gift to us.
“Through this active and individual participation, the members of the Mystical Body not only become daily more like to their Divine Lord, but the life flowing from the Head is imparted to the members; so that each may say with St. Paul: ‘with Christ I am nailed to the Cross. It is now no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me.’” – Encyclical Mediator Dei by Pope Pius XII; Nov. 20, 1947.
Editor’s note – We are pleased to welcome back the weekly column known as “The View from the Sycamore Tree” written by longtime Guam Catholic Daniel Bradley under the pen name “Zacchaeus”.