Sacrifice Of The Mass
( Originally Published 1922 )
The Mass is the same sacrifice as the Sacrifice of the Cross. On the cross Christ offered Himself in the form of a man; in the Mass He offers Himself in the form of bread and wine. The act of consecration is the essence of the Mass. At the Consecration of the Mass the priest changes bread and wine into Christ's body and blood. The priest offers the Sacrifice of the Mass by the power of Christ. We are bound under pain of mortal sin to hear Mass on Sundays and Holy Days. The Mass is the highest act of worship that can be shown to God.
Children, perhaps you would like to talk again about the Holy Eucharist. Tell me how Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist. When did Christ institute this holy Sacrament? Who were present when our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist? What life does the Holy Eucharist nourish in our soul? What are the food and drink of our soul in the Holy Eucharist? When were you born in the life of grace? What Sacra-ment gave the life of grace to your soul? What Sacrament feeds your soul in the life of grace?
What did Christ do at the Last Supper? By whose power did He change bread and wine into His own body and blood? What power did Christ give to the Apostles at the Last Supper? What did Christ say to the Apostles when He gave them power to change bread and wine into His body and blood? Who were the first priests of the Catholic Church? When do priests receive power to change bread and wine into our Lord's body and blood? When does the priest change bread and wine into our Lord's body and blood? Who were the first priests ever to say Mass? When did the Apostles change bread and wine into our Lord's body and blood? Who said Mass after the Apostles died? How long have priests been saying Mass? What does the priest do every time he says Mass? In how many parts of the world do priests say Mass?
When did Christ offer Himself to God the Father in the form of a man? Under what form does Christ offer Himself in the Sacrifice of the Mass? How is the Sacrifice of the Cross brought to us? What sacrifice does the Sacrifice of the Mass continue? To whom does Christ offer Himself in the Sacrifice of the Mass? By whose power did Christ offer Himself in the Sacrifice of the Cross? By whose power does the priest offer the Sacrifice of the Mass?
What takes place at the Consecration of the Mass? What do we call the act of changing bread and wine into our Lord's body and blood? What sign is given for the Consecration of the Mass? What do you do when the bell rings at the Consecration of the Mass? Why does the priest genuflect at the Consecration? Whom is he adoring? When do the bread and wine be-come our Lord's body and blood? Why does the priest lift above his head our Lord's body and blood at the Consecration? Who adore our Lord's body and blood at the Elevation?
Why is the Mass the center of Catholic worship? What is the highest act of worship that we can show to God? Who is offered to God the Father in the Sacrifice of the Mass? Under what form is Christ offered to God the Father in the Sacrifice of the Mass?
When are we bound to hear Mass? What kind of sin is it to neglect Mass on Sundays and Holy Days? How often do good people like to go to Mass? Why do they like to go to Mass as often as they can? Why do many people go to Mass every day ? In what sacrifice are you taking part when you hear Mass? Who is offered on the altar at Mass? Why is it like being beside our Lord's cross to be present at Mass? What sacrifice is the same as the Sacrifice of the Cross? What did Christ do for us when He died for us on the cross? When did He redeem us from sin? What sacrifice brings the blessings from the Sacrifice of the Cross to us? Why does the Sacrifice of the Mass bring the blessings of the Sacrifice of the Cross to us?
For how many people does the priest say Mass? Who gain the greatest blessings from the Mass? Who take part in the Mass with the priest? To whom do you pray at Mass? How can you unite with the priest at Mass? How can you offer the Sacrifice of the Mass with him?
Why do you think about our Lord's suffering and death when you are at Mass? When did our Lord offer Himself in suffering and death for us? How does our Lord offer Himself in the Mass ? Why is the crucifix always placed over the altar when the priest says Mass? Of what does the crucifix make us think? What is the same sacrifice as our Lord's death on the cross?
The vestments which the priest wears at Mass are like those which our Lord and the Apostles wore. They show that the Mass comes down to us from our Lord and the Apostles. They also show that the priest is not acting as an ordinary man but as a priest of God. Before the priest begins Mass he bows down before the altar and says the Confiteor. Say the Confiteor. Why do you think he does that? What shows that he considers himself unworthy to offer the holy Sacrifice? Why do you say the Confiteor while the priest says it? When the priest goes up to the altar, he kisses it. At the same time he begs God to pardon his sins. In the altar stone there are always relics of the martyrs.
Why, then, does the priest bow down before beginning Mass? What prayer does he say at the foot of the altar? What does he do when he goes up to the altar? What does he say when he kisses the altar ? What is always put into the altar stone ? The altar stone is really the altar. It is consecrated by the bishop. Candles are lighted on the altar to remind us of the time when Mass used to be said in the catacombs. These lights are also a sign of faith for us.
After the priest kisses the altar, he goes to the left side of the altar and reads the opening prayer, called the Introit. Then he says the Kyrie , Eleison, Christe Eleison, which means: "Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us." After that he says the Gloria. This is a beautiful prayer of praise to God. It is sung by the choir at high Mass. What prayer does the priest say after he kisses the altar? What does Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison mean? What is the Gloria?
After that the priest goes to the left again and reads some prayers and the Epistle. The Epistle is taken from the Epistles of the New Testament. Several times during the Mass, the priest turns to the people and says : "Dominus vobiscum" — "The Lord be with you." The server answers : "Et cum spiritu tuo" — "And with thy spirit." Now tell me about the Epistle. At what part of the altar does the priest read it? Where is it taken from? What does "Dominus vobiscum" mean? What does the server answer?
After the Epistle the book is placed on the right side of the altar where the priest reads the Gospel. The Gospel is taken from one of the four Gospels. Then standing at the center of the altar the priest says the Credo. At high Mass the choir sings the Credo. The Credo is like the Apostles' Creed. It is called the Nicene Creed because it comes down from the Council of Nice held in the year 325.
Then the Offertory takes place. Here the priest offers to God the bread and wine that are to be changed into our Lord's body and blood. At the Offertory you can offer up your heart to God. In olden times the people used to bring offerings and place them on the altar. Now a collection is generally taken up at the Offertory. This collection is intended for the support of religion. What does the priest read after the book has been put on the right side of the altar? Where is the Gospel taken from? What prayer does he say after he reads the Gospel? What is this Credo called? Why is it called the Nicene Creed? What takes place after the Credo? What does the priest offer at the Offer-tory? What do the people generally offer then?
After the Offertory the priest reads (or sings) a beautiful prayer called the Preface. In the Preface the priest renders honor to God for the sacrifice he is about to offer. At the end he praises God, saying : "Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus," which means, "Holy, holy, holy." Then the priest prays for all the living, especially for those who are present. Then takes place the Consecration. At the Consecration the priest uses the words which our Lord used at the Last Sup-per. Now, what beautiful prayer does the priest say after the Offertory? What does "sanctus, sanctus, sanctus" mean? Why does the priest say this? At the Sanctus the bell rings to warn the people that the Consecration will soon take place.
What does the priest do at the Consecration? What did our Lord say at the Last Supper when He took the bread- into His hands? What does the priest say at the Consecration when he takes the bread into his hands ? What happened when our Lord said ? — "This is my body." What happens when the priest says? —"This is my body." Why does the priest genuflect as soon as he has said ? — "This is my body." Whom is he adoring ? Under what form is our Lord present in his hands ? Why does the priest then lift the Sacred Host above his head? Whom does he want to adore our Lord?
What did our Lord say at the Last Supper when He took the chalice of wine into His hands? What happened when He said? — "This is my blood." What does the priest say at the Consecration when he takes the chalice of wine into his hands? What happens when he says? — "This is my blood." By whose power did our Lord change bread and wine into His own body and blood? By whose power does the priest change bread and wine into our Lord's body and blood?
After the Consecration the priest says other prayers. He calls upon the saints ; he prays for the souls in purgatory. Then he says the Pater Noster, the Our Father. Then comes the Communion of the Mass. The priest receives Holy Communion under the form of both bread and wine. The people receive Holy Communion under the form of bread alone. In the Oriental rites of the Church the people also communicate under both forms. After the Communion the priest reads some prayers. Then he turns and says : "Ite, Missa est" — "Go, the Mass is over." Then he blesses the people. At the end he reads from the first chapter of St. John's Gospel.
When does the priest pray for the souls in Purgatory? What does Pater Noster mean? What takes place after the Pater Noster? How does the priest receive Holy Communion? How do the people receive Holy Communion? Why do the people receive the same under the form of bread as the priest does under both the form of bread and the form of wine? In how many parts of the Holy Eucharist is our Lord present?
Whom does the priest worship by all that he does at Mass? To whom is the Mass offered? To whom is the priest speaking when he says Mass? In what language does the priest speak to God when he says Mass? The Mass is said in Latin in the greater part of the world. This keeps the words of the Mass from changing with the words of many languages. Now, what would you tell any one who asked you why the priest uses Latin in the Mass ?
There are five colors used in the vestments of the Mass : white, red, green, purple, and black. What does white signify? Red? Purple? Black? Green is the sign of life just as grass and plants are green when they are growing. Green is the color ordinarily used on Sundays and on some other days when there is no special feast. Now, what could you tell any one about the colors used in the vestments? What does green signify? When are green vestments ordinarily used? Of what do the lighted candles remind us at Mass? When did they need lights at Mass?
What is the greatest act of worship to God? What sacrifice does the Mass continue? Who was offered in the Sacrifice of the Cross and who is offered in the Sacrifice of the Mass? Why is the Mass the same sacrifice as the Sacrifice of the Cross? What blessings does the Mass bring to us? Who are the only persons that can offer the Sacrifice of the Mass? When do priests receive power to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass?