The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
Sacrifice is an act of religion
- by sacrifice divine Majesty is honored
- sacrifice develops and grows out of virtue of religion
Religion most likely from religere = consider, ponder, esp. what has to do with the Divine
- so the name seems to stem from the response we have in the presence of His Divine Majesty
- Religion a moral virtue inclining will to give God supernatural honor and adoration due
- Holy Spirit places this virtue in our soul
- Our duty to nourish it for God's glory and our goal of heaven
What does this virtue cause in us?
- honor the Lord, proclaim his greatness and majesty and dominion over us
= He is our beginning and end, our Redeemer and Sanctifier
= His perfections are inexhaustible, beyond anything we can describe
= We owed Him the most profound veneration and worship
- confess our littleness and dependence on Him
= We are finite, yet aeveternal, immortal
= We can do nothing worthwhile without His guidance and grace
- Virtue of Religion leads us to perform acts for his due honor and glory
= actus eliciti religionis, religious acts in the strict sense, prayer, sacrifice, vows, decorate churches and altars, etc.
= imperati religionis, acts mandated by God, such as visiting widows and orphans in need, other acts of mercy
= Since we are body-soul composite, these acts will have an internal part and an external manifestation
- Worship in 4 parts.... the Mass contains all of these
= adoration: homage due to Him alone * latria = worship we offer to God alone, above and beyond veneration (dulia) offered to Mary (hyper-dulia), Joseph (proto-dulia) and other saints
= thanksgiving: acknowledging His gifts
= petition: asking for things we need
= propitiation: making up for having offended Him
St. Thomas: Religio habet duplices actus: quosdam quidem, quos elicit per quos homo ordinatur ad solum Deum, sicut sacrificare, adorare et alia hujusmodi; alios autem actus habet, quos producit mediantibus virtutibus, qui bus imperat, ordinans eos ad divinam reverentiam, quia sc. virtus ad quam pertinet finis, imperat virtutibus, ad quas pertinent ea quae sunt ad finem. Et secundum hoc actus religionis per modum imperii ponitur esse, "visitare pupillos et viduas in tribulatione eorum," quod est actus elicitus a misericordia; "immaculatum autem se custodire ab hoc caeculo" imperative quidem est religionis, elicitive autem temperantiae vel alicujus hujusmodi virtutis (Summa Theol. IIa IIae, q.81, a.I ad I).
St. Thomas: Deo reverentiam et honorem exhibemus non propter seipsum, quia ex seipso est gloria plenus, cui nihil a creatura adici potest; sed propter nos, quia videlicet per hoc quod deum reveremur et honoramus, mens nostra ei subicitur, et in hoc perfectio consistit: quaelibet enim res perficitur per hoc quod subditur suo superiori, sicut corpus per hoc quod vivificatur ab anima, et aer per hoc quod illuminatur a sole. ... Mens autem humana indiget ad hoc quod conjungatur Deo, sensibilium manuductione ... et ideo in divino cultu necesse est aliquibus corporalibus uti, ut eis quasi signis quibusdam mens hominis excitetur ad spirtuales actus, quibus Deo conjungitur. Et ideo religio habet quidem interiores actus quasi principales et per se ad religionem pertinentes; exteriores ver actus quasi secundarios et ad interiores actus ordinatos (Summa Theol. IIa IIae, q.8, a.7).
Psalm 35:10 "All my bones shall say, "O LORD, who is like thee?""
1 Timothy 6:15 "... the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords"
Sirach 43:31 "Who has seen him and can describe him? Or who can extol him as he is?"
Psalm 24:1-2 "The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein; for he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers."
1 Peter 5:6 "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you."
Psalm 103:15-16 "As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more."
James 1:27 "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."
1807 Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the "virtue of religion." ....
1969 The New Law practices the acts of religion: almsgiving, prayer and fasting, directing them to the "Father who sees in secret," in contrast with the desire to "be seen by men."24 Its prayer is the Our Father.25
24 Cf. Mt 6:1-6; 16-18
25 Cf. Mt 6:9-13; Lk 11:2-4
2095 The theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity inform and give life to the moral virtues. Thus charity leads us to render to God what we as creatures owe him in all justice. The virtue of religion disposes us to have this attitude.
2096 Adoration is the first act of the virtue of religion. To adore God is to acknowledge him as God, as the Creator and Savior, the Lord and Master of everything that exists, as infinite and merciful Love. "You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve," says Jesus, citing Deuteronomy.13
13 Lk 4:8; cf. Deut 6:13.
2135 "You shall worship the Lord your God" (Mt 4:10). Adoring God, praying to him, offering him the worship that belongs to him, fulfilling the promises and vows made to him are acts of the virtue of religion which fall under obedience to the first commandment.
2144 Respect for his name is an expression of the respect owed to the mystery of God himself and to the whole sacred reality it evokes. The sense of the sacred is part of the virtue of religion: "Are these feelings of fear and awe Christian feelings or not? . . . I say this, then, which I think no one can reasonably dispute. They are the class of feelings we should have - yes, have to an intense degree - if we literally had the sight of Almighty God; therefore they are the class of feelings which we shall have, if we realize His presence. In proportion as we believe that He is present, we shall have them; and not to have them, is not to realize, not to believe that He is present" (John Henry Cardinal Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons V,2).
2566 Man is in search of God. In the act of creation, God calls every being from nothingness into existence. "Crowned with glory and honor," man is, after the angels, capable of acknowledging "how majestic is the name of the Lord in all the earth."1 Even after losing through his sin his likeness to God, man remains an image of his Creator, and retains the desire for the one who calls him into existence. All religions bear witness to men's essential search for God.2
1 Ps 8:5; 8:1
2 Cf. Acts 17:27
Points to Ponder
- Why do you come to Mass? Is it primarily for you? Or is it for Him?
- Your improvement will flow out of your attempt to give Him due honor. Mass does not exist primarily to make you perfect, or to make you a good person; although we pray that this happen.
- Do you know you are supposed to worship Him? Do you know you are built for this; and you will be freer and more alive, the more humbly you bow before Him?