As we begin the central, most important part of the Mass, the Church focuses our attention on why we are present. The Preface is a hymn expressing our thanks and praise to Almighty God, and our belief in the Unity of the Holy Trinity. We ask all the Angels and Archangels to join with us, constantly signing Holy, Holy, Holy (Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus).
The Canon of the Mass: that section of the Mass which the Church prescribes that the prayers of the Celebrant are offered in silence. The Priest, and we in the pews, ask God, the Father “to accept our gifts as a Sacrifice for the peace and protection of the Church throughout the world; for the Pope and our Bishop, and all the faithful guardians of the Catholic and Apostolic Church.” The living are remembered by name, uniting the entire Mystical Body in this Holy Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Our Lord.
The Celebrant consecrates the bread with the words spoken by Our Lord the night before He died: “Take, all of you, and eat of this: This is My Body.” The priest genuflects in adoration before raising the Body of Christ high above his head for all to see and adore.
The Priest then consecrates the wine in the chalice, again using Our Lord’s words spoken at His Last Supper; “…for this is My blood, of the new and everlasting Covenant;
the Mystery of Faith; which shall be shed for you and for many others unto the forgiveness of sins…”
The chalice, containing the Precious Blood of Our Lord is likewise raised above the Priest’s head that all may see and adore. Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, is now truly, physically present on our altar under the appearance of bread and wine. He awaits our coming to receive Him worthily during the Communion of the Mass. Christians share Christ’s Priesthood through Baptism and Confirmation.
His Passion becomes for us “an eternal inheritance.” In our examination of the structure of the Mass, we implore Almighty God to accept our offering that, on behalf of all “sharing in the Sacrifice of the Altar shall received the Sacred Body and Blood of Our Lord” and “be
filled with every grace and heavenly blessing.” We pray for all the dead that they may rest in peace. We pray for all sinners and ask that we may be given a place in company with
all the martyrs and saints. The most sacred part of the Mass ends by our asking God, our Father, that we pray as His Son, Our Lord prayed: that God’s will be done on earth
as it is in Heaven.” But, remember that we also ask that he “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (If we don’t forgive others, we will not be
The Priest asks us to accept worthily the Bread of the Angels, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world. With fear and trembling, yet in a spirit of love and thanksgiving, may we approach this “Wondrous Gift, far surpassing all the treasures of the Earth.”
A short prayer, that the Sacrifice may be pleasing to the Most Holy Trinity, and that it may be acceptable as atonement for us individually and for all for whom it has been offered. The Priest dismisses us with God’s blessing and, after reading
the beginning of St. John’s Gospel, instructs us to go forth and tell others “the Good News.” God grant that we may, from this day forward, assist at the Holy Sacrifice
of the Mass always aware that we are present at the re-presentation of
Our Lord’s sacrifice for us on Calvary.
Sycamore Tree is a weekly column written by longtime Guam Catholic
Daniel Bradley, Sr. under the pen name “Zacchaeus”.