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Thoughts on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

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Ave Maria Meditations
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Some thoughts on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:
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The Holy Mass as renewal of the Covenant.

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‘Behold, the days are coming?, says the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.? During the Last Supper, Jesus anticipated what shortly thereafter he was to accomplish in his death. He showed his disciples what he was anxious to do, what he was soon to carry out ?the sacrifice of his Body and Blood for everyone. The Last Supper is an anti?cipation of the sacrifice of the Cross. When, twenty-seven years later, Saint Paul would quote these words of Jesus in the First Letter to the Corinthians: ?This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me?.

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The word commemoration harkens back to the Hebrew word which signifies the Jewish feast recalling the flight from Egypt and the Covenant made on Mount Sinai. During this feast the Jews not only remember the past event but they continued it generation after generation. When the Lord commands the Apostles, ?Do this in remembrance of me?, he is not just asking them to remember a single moment. He is asking. them to renew

the sacrifice of Calvary. ???????????

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This Covenant is renewed each and every day throughout the entire world wherever the Holy Mass is celebrated. The priest performing each Mass re-presents, that is to say, he makes present once again, in a mysterious manner, the same sacrifice which Christ offered on Cal?vary. The work of our Redemption takes place here and now. It is as if the twenty centuries separating us from Cal?vary had disappeared. The New Covenant of the Eucharis?tic Sacrifice becomes especially manifest in the moment of Consecration. It is at this moment that we should make heartfelt acts of faith and love.

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Let us take advantage of some guidelines given to pri?ests on how to celebrate the Mass, in order to help us live the sacrifice with ever greater devotion: After uttering the words which bring Christ down upon the altar, look at the sacramental species with the eyes of faith. As you kneel, see the legions of angels which surround Christ and adore him with profound reverence. This sight should make you exceedingly humble. In the elevation, contemplate Christ elevated on the Cross. Ask Him to bring all things to Him?self. Make fervent acts of faith, hope, love, adoration, humility, saying with the mind, ‘Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me! My Lord and my God! ?I love you, my God. I adore you with my whole heart and soul?.

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You may also renew the intention of the Mass which you are celebrating, offering up the Eucharist according to its four ends. But when you lift up the chalice, make sure to remember in a very contrite way that the blood of Christ

has been shed for you, even though you have oftentimes despised it. Adore him so as to make up for your?past neglect. We have to fortify our faith and love in these moments of the Consecration.

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Love for the Holy Sacrifice.

How lovely is thy dwelling place, 0 Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yea, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.

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With what love and reverence we should approach Holy Mass! There, in this Holy Sacrifice, is to be found the sublime spring of grace to which every generation will repair for strength as man makes his way towards eternity. There we will find not only grace, but the Author of all grace.

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Whenever we prepare to celebrate or participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the altar, we have to do so with an intensity that binds us closer and closer to Jesus Christ, the High Priest. As Saint Paul tells us: ?Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus . We offer the Supreme Sacrifice through him and with him and in him?. We offer up ourselves. ?One detail which will help us foster this union with Jesus Christ in the Mass has to do with our manner of participating in the Liturgy. We need to be serious, pious and active, recollected in spirit, our soul united with our body in prayerful harmony. We have to give our full attention to the readings and the acclama?tions. During the times reserved for silent prayer, we ought to make acts of faith and love. We should ask the Blessed Virgin to teach us how to be lovingly attentive at the moment of the consecration and when we receive Jesus in Communion.? Other details to keep in mind relate to our punctuality and the way we dress.

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A man who fails to love the Mass, fails to love Christ!. We must make an effort to ‘live’ the Mass with calm and serenity, with devotion and affection. Those who love acquire a finesse, a sensitivity of soul that makes them notice details that are sometimes very small, but that are important because they express the love of a passionate heart. This is how we should attend the Holy Mass. And this is why I have always suspected that those who want the Mass to be over quickly show, with this insensitive attitude, that they have not yet realized what the sacrifice of the altar means.

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Our time of thanksgiving after Mass sums up these very special moments of the day which can have such a decisive influence on our work, on our family life, on our cheerful dealings with others, on our peace and joy. Lived in this fashion, the Mass will never be an isolated event, but instead will serve us as real spiritual nourishment. The Mass will give to our actions an eternal meaning. The Mass will help us to live as children of God and co?redeemers with Christ.

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We should try to be at the side of Our Lady during the holy Mass, just as she stood by her Son on Calvary. As we offer up Jesus to the Father, we offer ourselves with him through the intercession of Mary. Most Holy Father, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary I offer you Jesus, your beloved Son. I offer myself through him, with him and in him for all his intentions, in the name of all creatures.

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Fr. Francis Fernandez (In Conversation with God)

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Author Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

Our Lady found this unworthy lukewarm person and obtained for her the grace to enter the Third Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. May this person spend all eternity in showing her gratitude.

More posts by Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

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