Participating in Holy Mass
Presence of God – O Jesus, immolated at every moment of the day on our altars, let me share in Your Sacrifice.
The Encyclical Mediator Dei exhorts all the faithful to “participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, not passively, carelessly, and with distractions, but with such ardor and fervor that we shall be closely associated with the High Priest.” It is not enough to be present at Mass; we must take part, “participate” in it. In Holy Mass, Jesus continues to sacrifice Himself for us, and to offer Himself to His Father, in order to obtain divine blessings for us. It is true that Jesus offers Himself through the ministry of the priest, but the priest makes the offering in the name of all the faithful, and they, in union with him—as the words of the Canon indicate: “for whom we offer, or who offer up to You this sacrifice of praise.” This means that the faithful also are invited to offer the divine Victim with the priest. Mediator Dei states it thus: “to unite their intentions of praise, petition, expiation, and thanksgiving with those of the priest, or better, the Sovereign Priest Himself.” On Calvary, Mary did not take a passive part in the Passion of her Son; she united herself with His intentions, and offered Him to the Father. In the same way, when we are present at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we, too, can offer the Father the divine Victim who is ours, because He offered and immolated Himself for all of us. Our praise, petitions, and expiations are only poor things; but if we give them to God united with those of Jesus and made valuable through His Sacrifice, we have the right to think that they will be acceptable to Him and will be heard because of the infinite dignity of the divine Victim Himself. Jesus, the Head of the Mystical Body, sacrificed Himself for us, His members; and being our Head, He belongs to us: He is ours. He is the Victim who, although He immolated Himself wholly on Calvary for our salvation, wills to perpetuate His immolation on our altars. Every day, every hour, we have His offering at our disposal; daily we can offer it to the Father for our intentions.
“O Jesus, grant that Your Sacrifice, the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar, may be the source and model of my sacrifice, for my life must also be a holy sacrifice. It certainly is a sacrifice, for life is all interwoven with mortification, detachment, and suffering…. But that my sacrifice be ‘holy,’ like Yours on Calvary and in the Holy Mass, it must be vivified, offered, and consumed by love. O Jesus, give me a great love which will give value to my sacrifice and make it fruitful for the glory of the Father, the triumph of the Church, and the good of souls.
“O Jesus, divine Priest, what shall I offer You as matter for the sacrifice, as a victim of love who shares in Your Sacrifice? I offer You my heart, my will, my very love, to be entirely transformed into Yours. In fact, in Your Holy Sacrifice You give me an example of this perfect docility, this conformity to the divine will, and this abandonment. This is the offering which I too, make: a generous, total acceptance of every decree of divine Providence, of every divine wish” (cf. Sister Carmela of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.).
“O my Savior, in union with the offering and the sacrifice of Yourself which You made to the Father and in His honor, I offer myself to You to be a bloody victim of Your will, a victim immolated for Your glory and that of Your Father. Unite me to Yourself, O good Jesus, draw me into Your sacrifice, so that I may be sacrificed with You and by You. Since the victim must be sacrificed, slaughtered, and consumed by fire, make me die to myself, that is, to my vices and passions, to all that is displeasing to You. Consume me entirely in the sacred fire of Your divine love, and grant that hereafter my whole life may be a continual sacrifice of praise, glory, and love for Your Father and for You” (St. John Eudes).
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Art for this post on participating in the Holy Mass: Missale Romanum, photographed by Lima, 24 September 2006, CCA-SA 2.5 Generic, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.