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quarta-feira, 27 de junho de 2012

The Mass is a true Sacrifice

The Eucharist

Real Audio Lessons on this Topic
The MassThe EucharistReal AudioThe Mass as SacrificeReal AudioThe Eucharist and the Mass
The EucharistThe Eucharist II The Eucharist III
The Mass & Revelation

This topic is so huge, so wondrous, it's hard to know where to begin, so I'll guess I'll start with explaining what the Church teaches about the Sacrifice of the Mass and about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist:
  • The Mass is a true Sacrifice: Christ, as the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, offers the graces of His once and for all Sacrifice on the Cross to us sacramentally under the appearances of bread and wine through the ministry of His ordained priests
  • Christ's ordained priests offer Christ to the Father under the appearances of bread and wine. Christ is really and truly present, under the appearance of bread and wine, in every way: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
  • The Church, as the Body of Christ, offers Herself to God. Each member, as a part of the royal priesthood ("the priesthood of believers") offers his or her own sufferings and prayers, uniting them with Christ's offering of Himself. This includes the entire Church: Militant, Suffering, and Triumphant.
  • Christ is not recrucified; the Sacrifice of the Mass is unbloody -- after the order of Melchizedek. Christ died once at a finite point in History; but God is outside of time and His offering of Himself is eternal. The Grace Christ offers in the Divine Liturgy and what He offered on the Cross are of the same sacrifice; therefore, in no way can the liturgical Sacrifice be a "repetition" of the Crucifixion. His sacrifice is re-presented ("made present again in some way"). As the Council of Trent put it, "The fruits of that bloody sacrifice, it is well understood, are received most abundantly through this unbloody one, so far is the latter from derogating in any way from the former."
  • The Sacrifice of the Mass is a propitiatory sacrifice, that is, it is made for the remission of sins and for the appeasement of the Father. The Old Testament sacrifices were ineffectual, but the Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, which the Mass re-presents, is effectual because Christ Himself is both the High Priest and the perfect Victim. Partaking of His Body (with right intention, as with all Sacraments) remits venial sin and sanctifies.
All Christians agree that Jesus Christ is a High Priest, a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 6:17-20) and that we are members of His royal priesthood, "the priesthood of believers," as Protestants say (1 Peter 2:9-10, Revelation 1:6, Revelation 5:10 , Revelation 20:6). And Catholics, Orthodox, and a few Protestants know that there is an ordained priesthood (the Greek word for "elder" is "presbuteros," which became "presbyter" in Latin and "priest" in English. So whenever you see "elder" in the New Testament, see the word "priest"!). In all these cases, the word "priesthood" entails "sacrifice" as sacrifice is what priests do. The question becomes, then, what is being offered by each kind of priest? The answer is found by looking at how the Old Testament sacrifices prefigure and culminate in the New Testament once and for all time perfect sacrifice made by Jesus Christ on that one day (by Jewish reckoning) from sunset Holy Thursday to sunset Good Friday.