The Eucharistic Movement of the Mass
had a video of the Mass during the early ages of the Church, it would have
proven to be a rich historical document, according to Father John M. Scott,
S.J. in his booklet Our “New” Mass.
He says we
might have been especially interested to have seen the Offertory procession.
If you had seen it, you would have noticed that the women had baked the
bread in their homes and the men had made the wine from the grapes in their
vineyards… These gifts expressed the dedication of their lives to God. They
presented these gifts made by their hands to the priest at Mass to be
consecrated into the Body and Blood of Christ.
the bread and wine offered at Mass are not personally made by our hands,
nevertheless, as in the early Church, they signify the giving of ourselves
to God. These gifts of bread and wine and what we do with them, identify
strongly what we are called to become as we celebrate Mass… As we present
and offer the bread and wine to be transformed, we are also called to
present and offer ourselves to God to be completely transformed too!
and offer to the Lord everything we are and do, as well as everything about
our lives: our joys and sorrows, our blessings and trials, our surprises and
disappointments… All that makes us feel happy and ecstatic and all that
makes us feel depressed and utterly helpless. We
and present to the Lord all those we love: our family and friends, and
anyone who is hurting. At Mass, we offer all this and any of our suffering
and unite it to the saving death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
We know that
Jesus has given and is still giving Himself completely for us. Jesus is
interceding for us even now. At Mass in a very special way, we have access
to and tap into this incredible spiritual reality. As we celebrate Mass, we
are entering into the one, eternal sacrifice of Jesus Christ – as if what
happened at Calvary and on Easter were happening right now and it was
immediately and directly washing over us! And into us!
makes this reality present. The same Love and Power poured out at Calvary,
is being poured out to us now! If we could only absorb this truth my dear
brothers and sisters in Christ! …The same Love and Power poured out at
Calvary is being poured out to us now as we celebrate Mass!
gifts of bread and wine have been prepared, presented and offered to God,
the Eucharistic Prayer begins. It starts with the greeting: “The Lord be
with you!” You’ve already been greeted twice before in this way – at the
beginning of Mass and before the proclamation of the Gospel. So why do we
repeat this greeting again in the middle of the Mass? …Because we need to
pray with much more intensity now, and we are going to need God’s help.
strongly encouraged: “Lift up your hearts!” … This is the only way we are to
be able to take in what is about to happen. By giving our hearts – the
absolute core of who we are – to the Lord!
We are also
told and reminded what our response and the way that we live our entire
lives is to be: “Let us give thanks to the lord!”
beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer leads us by invitation to literally join
the Angels and the Saints as they are giving to the Almighty God their
worship, adoration and praise at this very moment in Heaven. And so, with
them we sing and cry out: “Holy, Holy, Holy…! At this moment in the
Mass, it is as if both time and space were being unzipped and there were no
separation between heaven and earth, between time and eternity. We are one
with and present to all the heavenly host –we are all caught up with
adoring, worshipping, and loving Our Awesome God at the same time….And in
unity we are exclaiming and praising: “Holy, Holy, Holy…!...”
At the heart of the
Eucharistic Prayer, are the words of consecration. Please notice the shift
in the verb tenses. The first part is in the past tense, in a familiar
storytelling style: “On the night He was betrayed, He took bread and gave
You thanks and praise…”
But when we
come to the words Jesus spoke on that night we move into the present tense:
“This is My Body…”, “This is My Blood…” Why? …Because as Catholic Christians
we believe that Christ, truly becomes present in this moment. He is
literally here…in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. The bread and the wine
are no longer bread and wine. Under what only appears as bread and wine, it
is really, truly and literally Him!
offer the bread and the wine to God on behalf of us and say the words of
consecration over them, I am only a representative of Christ. I act in the
Name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, however, He is the real Priest. It is always
Christ who offers Himself for us at each Mass and makes present to us now as
we celebrate, what already took place at Calvary two thousand years ago.
What makes the Mass so
sacred? As Father John M. Scott, S.J. says,
‘At this Sacrifice
Banquet, Christ is at once the Victim offered and the Priest Who offers the
It is Christ who is at
the same time the Priest Who offers the Sacrifice and is the Sacrifice
Christ the Priest,
offers the Sacrifice which is Himself!’
during the Communion Rite at Mass, Our Lord Who literally has come to be
with us and is on our altar, longs to be consumed by us.
Jesus’ life on earth, those who just touched the hem of His garment were
healed immediately. But in reality, the Lord does not want us to just touch
Him or His clothing, nor does He only want to touch us nor just instruct or
is, God wants and desires even more! God wants to be one with us!
God’s love for us not only rivals, - it far surpasses any desire, longing or
ache for human affection and love we may have!
Love for us is Fierce! God’s Love is not satisfied to remain external to or
outside of us. God Himself craves total union with us – God desires to be
part of every fabric of our being – to be fully absorbed, becoming part of
all that we are.
I love the
way that Father John Scott explains this longing of God… here is part of
what he says:
“Think of it as a man
who is in love… Of such a man, a name rings in his heart, making him tremble
with joy… A name shouts through his mind, and echoes a thousand memories of
sheer joy. A face is framed in his thoughts. Every fiber of his being
vibrates with happiness at being one in spirit with her who is (to him) life
itself. His whole existence circles around her who is his sun, and moon, and
the center of his universe.
He devours her face
and image fixing it in his mind, that he may possess it forever… In his own
mind she walks, silent and serene. There is the sound of her voice, the
movement of her hand, the peace in her eyes, and more than these, a strange
ecstatic wonder he can never forget. Mystery and tenderness, strength and
rapture, all these, and a strange rare essence that reminds him of heaven.”
MY FRIENDS, THAT’S THE
WAY GOD THINKS ABOUT US!
quotes Father Walter Farrell, O.P. who is his book “A Companion to the
“… Love will not be
satisfied with mere possession, even with mere enjoyment of that possession;
it goes further and seeks perfectly to assimilate the object to itself, to
penetrate its inmost depths…”
Father Scott continues
and then quotes saint Peter Canisius…
“Why do we speak of
someone being “on fire with love?” The answer is simple. Fire not only
strives for union with what it embraces, but seeks to transform whatever it
embraces into itself. Love does likewise. Saint Peter Canisius wrote, “As it
happens to a coal, to be changed and totally converted into fire, so by a
worthy reception of the Eucharist, we become changed in a wonderful manner
into Christ, are made partakers of His divine nature, and grow somehow to be
the very blood-brother (blood-sister) of Him (Jesus Who is), Our Head.”
Wow! Don’t you see my
dear friends; the celebration of the mysteries of the Mass is the
celebration of the mystery of Love Itself! First, God gives Himself to us.
Then we give ourselves to Him and then He gives Himself to us ever more
intimately, deeper and passionately.
It is a “Fire” my
friends! When we are receiving Holy Communion, we are receiving “Fire!”
“Fire!” …It was “Fire” that transformed Charles de Foucauld who had lived an
utterly undisciplined and wild life – when he was converted instantly at
Mass as the priest elevated the Body of Christ, the consecrated Host… It was
the “Fire” of daily Holy Communion that gave Father Damien the strength to
endure the loathing conditions of the lepers he ministered to… It was that
same “Fire” that gave Assunta Goretti the ability to forgive the man who
murdered her twelve year old daughter, Maria, while attempting to rape her…
How many other stories could we recant? Many – almost countless!
The “Fire” of Jesus
Christ in Holy Communion has transformed millions upon millions of souls!
When you are receiving Holy Communion, you are receiving that “Fire”! You
are receiving that “Fire” of the ‘Bright Morning Star’… You are receiving
that “Fire” that is ‘The Burning Furnace of Charity’ that is the Sacred
Heart of Jesus! …You are receiving that “Fire” that solely belongs to the
King of Kings and the Lord of Lords… There is no other Fire like It! None
with its Intensity, Power and Effect!
It is for that reason
that we are prepared to receive Holy Communion in a holy manner. We don’t
take it for granted. If we need to go to Confession, we go… When we come
forward in the Communion line we are alert, attentive and aware of what we
are doing and Who we are about to receive! We have been fasting from all
food and drink for at least an hour before. There is absolutely nothing else
in our mouths and nothing else in or on our hands including gloves! We
receive Jesus reverently and prayerfully and go back to our pew –
concentrating only on Him Who we have just received and letting His “Fire”
burn in us!
If we have received
Holy Communion worthily, a tremendous exchange is taking place between us
and the Lord… Before the consecration had taken place, I poured a drop of
water into the chalice of wine and I prayed, “By the mystery of this water
and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ Who humbled Himself
to share in our humanity.”
In the time after
Communion, the power of this mystery is being released in you – Divinity is
seeping and being released in you.
Saint Therese of
Lisieux, in her autobiography, The Story of A Soul, describes it as
being kissed. Here is what she says of her First Communion:
“Ah! How sweet was
that first kiss of Jesus! It was a kiss of love; I felt that I was loved,
and I said: ‘I love You, and I give myself to You forever!’ There were no
demands made, no struggles, and no sacrifices; for a long time now Jesus and
poor little Therese looked at and understood each other. That day it was no
longer simply a look, it was a fusion; they were no longer two, Therese had
vanished as a drop of water is lost in the immensity of the ocean. Jesus
alone remained; He was the Master, the King. She felt so feeble and fragile
that she wanted to be united forever to the divine Strength. Her joy was too
great, too deep for her to contain… all the joy of heaven had entered my
No doubt Therese
shared in the joy of today’s Psalm (103).
“Bless the Lord, O my
soul and all my being bless His Holy Name.
Bless, the Lord, O my
soul and forget not all His benefits!”
We ought to
be able to experience the same as we experience these spiritual movements of
the Mass. Indeed, this is my prayer for you, for me, and for all of us. …may
the awareness of what is happening as we celebrate these Sacred Mysteries
here together at Holy Apostles, fill us with the powerful and joyful spirit
to cry out:
“Bless the Lord,
O my soul and all my
Bless His Holy Name!
Bless the Lord
O my soul and forget
All His benefits!”