The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: A Primer
for Clueless Catholics
THE MOST HOLY SACRIFICE
A PRIMER for CLUELESS CATHOLICS
Die with Thee, O, Christ ...!
you assist at Mass (for that is what you
are really doing, you are actively
not passively attending,
as we so often say), you have a very real
part and a very real place in the drama
that is about to unfold before you, a drama
into which you will be called, not as a
spectator, but as a participant.
A participant in what?
In the Passion, Crucifixion, and Death of
Jesus Christ on Calvary.
The only difference
between your being actually present at the
foot of the Cross outside the walls of Jerusalem
2000 years ago, next to Mary, St. John and
the Magdalene and your being present at
the Altar before which you kneel at Church
during the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
is this: the mere closing of your eyes!
It is the difference the very same difference
that Mary, that St. John, and that the
Magdalene experienced when they, too, closed
their eyes at the foot of the Cross upon
which Jesus hung before them.
Did He cease to be on the Cross when they
closed their eyes and could physically
see Him no more? Did Jesus disappear? Go
away? Cease to be? The skin covering their
eyes, your eyes, my eyes, is the thinnest
epidermal membrane (0.05 mm thin) in the
human body. But it was it still is sufficient
to conceal Him from us.
In the case of Mary, John, and the Magdalene,
it concealed Him when their eyelids
closed. In our case, it conceals Him
when they are open! His presence
was revealed to them when their eyes were
opened. It is only revealed to us when our
eyes are closed. In both instances it is
not the case that He was
there and in the blink of an eye is no
more but that He is
At the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,
we are present
at the death of Christ. We are present at
His crucifixion! It is happening before
How many times have we said,
would that I were there! ... there to stand
before Him ... to share in His Passion,
to stand at His feet ...!
But even more than present at this
Sacrifice, we participate in
it, and we do so in a two-fold
through our sins for which and by which
He was crucified
and we die
with Him on
this Cross of our own making!
Through our Baptism, we must remember, we
were baptized not only into His life, but
also into His death!
For this reason, Archbishop Fulton Sheen
once so poignantly said that each of us
should, at the Elevation (the moment
when the Priest lifts up of the Host that
is Christ's Body,
the Chalice that is
Christ's Blood when He holds up Jesus
Christ Himself, in the most perfect
offering to the Father saying,
Him, With Him, in Him, in the unity of the
Holy Spirit all glory and honor is Yours,
Almighty Father, forever and ever
that at that moment we should, from our
hearts, from the depths of our being, utter
in all truth: I
die with Thee, O Christ, on Calvary!
What we have learned today:
We are active participants
in the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,
actually standing at the foot of the
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