WHY IS THE HOLY MASS
“THE CENTER AND SOURCE OF A CHRISTIAN LIFE”?
The Mass is the most important and the most fruitful of our personal encounters with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The whole of the Trinity is present in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, which is the best way of corresponding with the divine love, the most pleasing to God. The Mass is the centre and source of a Christian’s spiritual life (idem, Christ is passing by, 87; cf Second Vatican Council, Presbyteronan ordinis, 14). Just as the radii of a circle all converge on its centre, so all our actions, our words and our thoughts have to be centred on the Sacrifice of the Altar. Everything we do obtains its redeeming value there. It helps the Christian life greatly if we renew our morning offering during the Mass. We offer all that we are engaged in throughout the day, uniting it in desire to the Mass of the following day, or to that which is being said near by, or in any part of the world. Thus, in a mysterious but real way, our day forms part of the Mass. In a certain way our day becomes a prolongation of the Sacrifice of the Altar. Our existence and our activity is, as it were, the matter of the Eucharistic Sacrifice to which it is directed and in which it is offered. The Holy Mass orders and centres the entire day with its joys and sorrows. Our very weaknesses are purified insofar as they form part of a life offered up to God.
We will do our work better if we remember that we have placed it on the priest’s paten, or if we unite our selves internally with another Mass at which we are unable to be physically present. The same will happen with the other events of the day – the small sacrifices of family life, weariness, sorrow … At the same time the happenings of the day are all an excellent preparation for Mass on the following day. This preparation will be intensified as we draw closer to the time of Mass, avoiding any hint of routine. Never get used to celebrating or attending the Holy Sacrifice: in fact, do so with such devotion as you would if it were the only Mass of your life, knowing that Christ, God and Man, Head and Body, is always present, and together, therefore, with Our Lord, the whole of his Church (St. Josemaria, Letter, 28 March 1955).
To obtain the fruits God wants to give us in each Mass, we must also take care of the preparation of our soul, and get ourselves ready for our participation in the liturgical rites, conscious of what we are doing, with devotion and full collaboration (cf Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 48). So we should be punctual as a first sign of courtesy to God, as well as to the others who will be attending the same Mass. We will take care of our appearance, and of the way we sit or kneel down… like someone in the presence of a friend who is at the same time our God and Lord. We show him reverence and respect as a sign of our faith and love. We follow the rites of the liturgy and make our own the acclamations, the hymns, the periods of silence (silent prayer)… calmly, filling the whole Mass with acts of faith and love, particularly the moment of the consecration. We live each of the parts of the Mass, sincerely asking forgiveness when we pray the penitential rite, following the readings attentively.
If we live the Holy Sacrifice with piety, with love, we will go out into the streets afterwards filled with immense joy, firmly disposed to show the vitality of our faith with deeds: You are the Christ. Very close to Jesus we will find Mary, who was present at the foot of the Cross. She shared in our Redemption in a full and particular way. She will show us the feelings and dispositions with which we should live the Eucharistic Sacrifice in which her Son offers himself.
EXCERPT FROM F. FERNANDEZ-CARVAJAL, IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD, VOL. 3, AVAILABLE AT SCEPTER PUBLISHERS.ORG
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