The MASS: How could I possibly have been so dumb?

the-passion-of-the-christ-0

I had a life changing conversation last night with a seminarian friend of mine. It was about the Mass. It went like this… (I’m in red, he’s in blue.)

Hey! I have just started my first parents newsletter on the Mass. I’m talking about the Last Supper and how that was the first Mass. What would be the one line you would want to get across?

If the Mass was meant to recreate Maundy Thursday, the Christian Holy Day would have been Thursday. But it’s not – it’s the day of the Resurrection – because Thursday gives the model for what happened on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Ok say more to me…! explain it as you would to a 10 year old. So Mass is not a re enactment of the last supper? *Stumped at the first hurdle, Clare realises she is way out of her depth and knows nothing*

OK here goes (this is exactly as I’d say it to a 10 year old): Some people think that what we do at Mass is a bit like having a meal – a special meal – but still a meal. In some ways this is right, BUT it is the most special meal you can imagine. It is special because the person you love most in the world (Jesus, of course) is actually giving you himself as food. That sounds a bit gruesome doesn’t it? Well, that’s what’s special about Mass – Jesus gave us the way to eat his body and drink his blood in a non-gruesome way the night before he was raised up on a cross. This was called the Last Supper – or you could call it the First Mass! You see, the important thing is that Jesus died and was raised up again 3 days later. That’s what we have at Mass, not just a memory of something that happened in the past, but we’re actually there – we are there with Mary beside the cross, but also there 3 days later when Jesus rose from the dead. So to go back in time to the night BEFORE he died doesn’t make sense – why would we want to go back in time then? The most important bit hadn’t happened yet! Instead, on that night Jesus gave us the way, not to time travel, but to make present in our today what He did for us once and for all.

So Mass is not Maundy Thursday?

…no Mass is not Maundy Thursday! Maundy Thursday gives the model for the making present of Good Friday and Easter Sunday – the Paschal Mystery itself!

My head understands it technically, but my heart wont let it in. I’d die I think, if I let it in.

No you won’t! Let it in! Your heart is where it makes sense – your head – well, not so much!

I have enough problems coming to terms with the fact that He did that for me AT ALL – let alone to be present while it is happening! Man, this year is going to be an emotional roller-coaster

Yep.

So in a line…. At Mass, we are present at the crucifixion, and resurrection. I regard myself as being an extremely enthusiastic Catholic. If I don’t understand this then I can tell you right now – other people don’t understand this either. 

Strictly speaking, at Mass, we witness the sacrifice made once on the cross, it is made present for us in the Eucharistic species and we can see Him lifted up, whose sacrifice alone could atone for the sins of humanity. So yes, it is the way for us to witness Calvary – but Calvary is only efficacious because of the Resurrection, so we witness the sacrifice in view of the Resurrection – the Lord’s “Hour” is not just the Cross, but also the Empty Tomb and the Ascension.

You know the greatest fear I would have if I was a priest? That saying Mass would become anything other than mind-blowing.

To be honest – it has to be less than mind-blowing otherwise a priest wouldn’t be able to celebrate it. But that’s how wonderful He is to us – He makes himself small for us, touchable…edible.

It’s too much! seriously! I’m going to bed…

I’m shell shocked. I never knew this. I NEVER KNEW. At Mass, I am present at the actual crucifixion and the actual resurrection! How come I don’t know this? Am I stupid? No. Did anyone ever teach me? No. NO ONE EVER TAUGHT ME. I was however wrongly taught that the Mass was just a re enactment of the last supper. I can’t remember who is was – it must have been at school. Who ever taught me was wrong. Who taught them?

I cried myself to sleep last night and then woke up at 4am filled with the same emotions. How many times in my life have I been present at the actual crucifixion and the actual resurrection without even realising it? As a Catholic with contemplative tendencies this kills me. How has this spiritual information been withheld from me for 35 years? I’m so angry.

But I’m also terrified. How am I supposed to go to Mass now? It’s the crucifixion: I will be standing at the foot of the Cross alongside His grieving Mother Mary. It’s the resurrection: I will be running to discover the empty tomb with Mary Magdalene – but instead of Jesus saying “Do not touch Me…”  -(John 20: 17) He is telling me “Take and eat; this is my body.” – (Matthew 26:26).

Ressurection

The secret jealousy I have felt towards Mary Magdalene all my life is now the cause of my utter humiliation. I have been at the actual crucifixion and resurrection with her pretty much EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for years and years without realising it. *Deep breath*

How is it possible to take this all in? I feel an overwhelming desire to go to confession.

26 thoughts on “The MASS: How could I possibly have been so dumb?

  1. “How has this spiritual information been withheld from me for 35 years? I’m so angry.”

    A very pertinent question to be asking many of our Bishops I would suggest…

    You have touched on the very heart of the very serious, crisis in the Church which has been ongoing since around the time of Vatican II. I firmly believe that the deception was entirely intentional by those who wish(ed) to see the Church – the Bride of Christ no less – destroyed. Scarily, as Pope Benedict also reminded us – the most ravenous of the wolves were and are within the Church. It is diabolical disorientation – the devil’s prime targets are the Mass and the sacred priesthood. I recommend reading Michael Davies’s trilogy for a reliable take on much of this. Also, the messages of Our Lady of Fatima also take on a whole new meaning when you consider that this deception may have been what she was warning us about.

  2. Hi Clare,

    Mike here. I don’t know if you know the following (forgive me if you do), but this is really ‘going to do your noodle in’ (as they say in The Matrix), if you are not aware of it.

    You know all that stuff in the Book of the Apocalypse/Revelation about 666 etc etc – i.e. the stuff the ‘post-tribulation’ & ‘post rapture Christians talk about in the non-conformist and free churches. Well, yes some of this stuff is important, but…

    …what John actually sees in his vision in the apocalypse is the Mass actually taking place. The Mass is taking place on Earth, but is made real in heaven. John is watching the men in white vestments who are our priests making real the divine sacrifice of the Mass.

    Also check out…..

    Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. Revelation 2:17

    This brief video explains all https:// http://www.youtube.co/watch?v=NNypSpAMDnI

    God is Great!

  3. How often do we get ANY teaching about the Mass? State the teaching of the Church, that bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ when the priest says the words of Consecration, and if you don’t knock yourself out by what you just said, you’ll certainly stun most Catholics within earshot.

  4. Penny Catechism: ‘The Holy Mass is one and the same Sacrifice with that of the Cross, inasmuch as Christ, who offered himself, a bleeding victim, on the Cross to his heavenly Father, continues to offer himself in an unbloody manner on the altar, through the ministry of his priests.’

    This is the bit that trendy catechists don’t like. Because they don’t like the idea of the Mass as itself a sacrifice, they don’t want to talk about the connection with Calvary. See Cardinal Ratzinger on why this makes liberals hate the Traditional Mass:

    http://www.piercedhearts.org/benedict_xvi/Cardinal%20Ratzinger/theology_liturgy.htm

  5. Next time you’re at Mass, just try to empty your mind of everything else and associate yourself with the actions of the priest, especially during the Offertory and the Eucharistic Prayer. Read the readings beforehand so that even as you are getting up, sitting down etc, you can focus on what God’s Word is saying about what is about to happen on the altar. Don’t worry about the words themselves, but what the priest is using the words to do.

  6. Pingback: The MASS: How could I possibly have been so dumb? | Christians Anonymous

  7. This is why it saddens me when our diocesan youth services participate in liturgical abuses by participating at Novus Ordo Masses where the representation of the Sacrifice of Calvary is treated as a pop concert:

    This is another reason why the Traditional Latin Mass will never die, it truly draws out and unambiguously presents the Mass as a representation of the Sacrifice of Calvary.

    • I’m deeply shocked by that first video. And I consider that It takes a lot to shock me these days. Really disturbing. Some will of course rush to say this may sound Scrooge-like and somehow a judgement on the people who benefit from the trust. No. That would be confusing two very different things. I took the liberty of searching for their 2014 ‘Mass’. What on earth has happened to some of our priests and bishops that they could even think to tolerate and lead this kind of behavior at Mass?! They cannot know what the Mass is, they have completely lost the plot. Let’s just pray that they might have the same realization as the author of this blog.

      • Upon further reflection, considering that this took place in the Basilica of Pius X, the following video struck me as especially poignant in highlighting the deep crisis exemplified by the first video. http://youtu.be/Emrl9lLC4qc

      • “Some will of course rush to say this may sound Scrooge-like and somehow a judgement on the people who benefit from the trust.”

        Thats so true, unfortunately today very few people understand liturgy, they somehow think a person who cares about liturgy is somehow pedantic. But if young people are presented with sloppy liturgy it somehow communicates to them that the Catholic faith shouldn’t be taken seriously.

        Bishop Schneider recently rejected the idea that concern for the liturgy is pedantic and there are more important aspects such as concern for the poor in the Church:

        “This is erroneous. The first commandment which Christ gave us was to adore God alone. Liturgy is not a meeting of friends. It is our first task to adore and glorify God in the liturgy and also in our manner of life. From a true adoration and love of God grows love for the poor and our neighbour. It is a consequence.”

        Make no mistake sloppy liturgy costs souls heaven and sets them on the road to hell.

  8. It might be far more beneficial if one would read the document on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, from Vatican II. Here we learn that Jesus is giving thanks and praise to his Father so that God is glorified and enabling us to participate in this worship by the power of the Holy Spirit. Getting bogged down in a discussion about Maundy Thursday, the Crucifixion and all the other details is fine, but it obscures the deep reality of worship and praise. Even Jesus would say it’s not about him but about the Father, so it is certainly not so much about us.

    • don… what you are expressing is not what the Mass represents or IS… your words are a dumbing down of what the Mass is, and it was the Bugnini and his associates who forced this dumbing down on the church at large. The Mass is primarily a sacrifice. Read the Ottaviani intervention.

      • Francis, Sacrosanctum Concilium was approved by the assembled bishops by a vote of 2,147 to 4 and promulgated by Pope Paul VI on December 4, 1963. I assume that Cardinal Ottaviani was one of the four in dissent. I accept the magisterium of the pope in union with the bishops. If we can’t agree on this, then I sadly wish you well.

  9. After Vatican II, catechesis was intentionally stripped of all content. That’s not a conspiracy theory; it’s fact. We can’t fully participate in the Mass the way we’re meant to–“active” participation of the laity means fully uniting ourselves with the action of the Mass, offering ourselves to Jesus, not running all over the church doing things–until we truly understand what is taught in this excellent article! It should be mandatory reading for all Catholics! Thank you for sharing it!

  10. Well when I understood that by reading and then reviewing the Catholic Catechism, that’s the day I started to be very awake at Mass, then decided to veil in respect, and then didn’t care to kneel to receive Communion.

    I’ve explained this in the confirmation catechizes last year (in La Paz, Bolivia) and even if just 3 of them grasped I’ll be happy, though I have to pray so the message reaches more people. When I talk about this with other persons who think are grown up in faith they stare at me in awe. You are right! How can this GREAT NEWS be omitted???

    Go and share the joy of such a privilege we have!

  11. The Hcpt pilgrimage cares for the needs of children and young people with complex needs. It is a wonderful sign of witness to the very paschal mystery that the NO allegedly neglects. I do not understand where all the ignorance of the NO comes from. The prayers are clear and there has never been any doubt that the Mass is the sacrifice of Calvary,from the night Jesus is betrayed to his glorious Ascension into heaven. I can understand that for some Catholics, the old Mass might seem more appealing to the senses but please do not put the NO and the TLM in antagonism: they are the expression of the same mysteries.

    • As a post VII baby I’ve found education and homilies lacking. But choosing the music for mass week in, week out I needed some support. I went looking. There is so much inspiring stuff on Web now but sometimes guidance is needed. Scott Hahn,Robert Barron,Taylor Marshall are but a few of trusty names but I found the CCRS course a very useful in-road. It gave me and others of my age a chance to rediscover our faith as well as budding new teachers wanting to work in cathoilc schools. We had many priests of the diocese teaching us the modules although on line it is probably more lay-led. The one thing i have taken from it apart from the qualification is to continue my study through recommended books and audible material ie courses eg history of cathoilc church, lives of the saints, seasonal retreats. It all fits in well my partime job and my family.
      One book that was very powerful on the Eucharist was John Hardon SJ think it is called breaking the bread ( it’s on loan some where! ). Scott Hahn audio talks on his website salvation hIstory.com are amazing. How the Jewish festivals have influenced Christianity is well worth a listen. The fourth cup is inspiring and all free to listen. Enjoy

  12. Pingback: Faith In Our Families blog round-up 2015. Best year yet! | Faith in our Families

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