The Sacrifice of the Mass,
Highest Form of Prayer...
"For from the rising of the sun even to the going down,
my name is glorified among the Gentiles,
and in every place there is
and there is offered to my name a clean oblation,
for my name
is great among the Gentiles,
said the Lord of Hosts."
This is a clear prophecy of the Mass that we celebrate
In every place there is sacrifice, as the Catholic Church is
worldwide. Every minute of every day, somewhere in the world,
'Clean Oblation' is offered to the Lord of Hosts.
This 'Clean Oblation' is
the Holy Eucharist,
the true Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord
This prophecy is fulfilled by the Catholic Church.
The Mass is the highest form of prayer that can be offered
up to GOD.
It is the source, the center, and the summit of the Catholic
Sacrifice, the supreme act of worship: Heb 9:11-14,10:1-10
The Sacrificial Lamb in Scripture...
"And Abraham took the wood of the
burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son." "...Isaac asked his
father,...where is the Lamb for a burnt offering?" "And Abraham said, My Son,
GOD will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering..." Genesis 22:6-13
This is a prefigurement of the "Lamb of GOD", Jesus Christ. The wood
which was laid upon Isaac prefigures the Cross laid upon Jesus. GOD
provide a ram in verse 13 for a burnt offering. "And Abraham lifted
eyes, and looked, and behold a ram caught in a thicket by his horns;
Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt
the stead of his son." The horns of the ram caught in the
the Crown of Thorns. GOD saved the son of Abraham,
but He would not save His
Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go and procure
for your families, and slaughter them as Passover victims. Then
take a bunch
of hyssop, and dipping it in the blood that is in the basin,
sprinkle it on
the lintel and the two doorposts with this blood...For the
Lord will go by,
striking down the Egyptians. Seeing the blood on the
lintel and the two
doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not
let the destroyer come
into your houses to strike you down."
The blood of the
sacrificed Lamb saved GOD's chosen people. Later, the
blood of the Lamb,
Jesus Christ, will save the people who have chosen GOD.
The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and he said, "Behold the
GOD, who takes away the sins of the world." John 1:29
And looking upon Jesus as He walked by, he said, "Behold the Lamb
John the Baptist said this to the first two disciples of Christ,
John. John 1:35-39
"He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a
before His shearer, and He shall not open His mouth."
Isaiah 53:7, Acts 8:32
"And bearing the cross for himself (Isaac, remember?) He went forth to the place
called the Skull, in Hebrew Golgotha." John 19:17
"Then they crucified Him." Mark 15:24. GOD did not save His own Son.
"...but one of the soldiers opened His side with a lance, and immediately
there came out blood and water." John 19:34
The blood of the Lamb (of
GOD) that redeemed the world.
"You were not redeemed with corruptible things...but with the precious
of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot."
1 Peter 1:18-19
The blood of the Lamb of GOD redeemed us all.
"And I saw, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living
creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing as if slain..."
"After this I saw a great multitude which no man could number, out of all
nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and
before the Lamb clothed in white robes, and with palms in their hands."
The Sacrifice of the Mass:
Why do some believe that Christ is sacrificed
again and again in each and every Mass, when Scripture plainly states that He
was sacrificed on Calvary once and for all? Heb 10:10
Many do not realize
it, but Christ Himself offered the first Mass at the Last Supper when He offered
(sacrificed) Himself to His Father in an unbloody manner, that is, under the
form of bread and wine, in anticipation of His bloody sacrifice on the cross to
be offered on the following day.
In the Mass, Christ continues to make that
offering of Himself to His Father, by the hands of the priest.
they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his
disciples, and said: "Take and eat. This is my body." And taking the chalice, he
gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying: "All of you drink of this. For this is
my blood of the new covenant, which shall be shed for many unto remission of
sins", Mt 26:26-28.
Christ ordered His Church to perpetuate that sacrificial
rite for the continued sanctification of His followers, saying, "Do this in
remembrance of me," Luke 22:19.
The Catholic Church complies with His order
in the Mass. The Mass is a re-enactment of Our Lord's one sacrifice of Calvary.
It is that same sacrifice, not another, Heb 10:12.
We, are in time, and to
us it would seem that this one sacrifice was consummated 2000 years ago. GOD,
however is outside of time and space.
Everything is now in GOD's eyes, and so
we are taken back to that one sacrifice as if it were happening now at each and
The Catholic Church teaches that the sacrifice on the Cross was a
complete and perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of GOD, offered once.
bears witness that the sacrificial rite which Christ instituted at the Last
Supper is to be perpetuated, and that it is not only important for man's
sanctification, but is the principal factor in man's final redemption.
1Cor 11:23-26, St. Paul told how, at the Last Supper, Our Lord said: "For as
often as you shall eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the
death of the Lord until He comes."
During the Breaking of the Bread, we say
twice, "Lamb of GOD, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us," and
a third time, "Lamb of GOD, you take away the sins of the world, grant us
Thus at every Mass the faithful have a new opportunity to worship God
with this one perfect sacrifice and to absorb more of Christ's saving and
sanctifying grace of Calvary. This grace is infinite, and the faithful should
continuously grow in it. The Mass is offered again and again, because of our
imperfect capacity to receive.
Finally, the holy sacrifice of the Mass
fulfills the Old Testament prophecy:
'For from the rising of the sun even to
the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is
sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is
great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts'. (Mal 1:11). The Sacrifice of
the Mass is offered every day throughout the world, and in every Mass the only
truly clean oblation is offered, that is, Christ Himself; thus the Mass is the
perfect fulfillment of this prophecy.
Prefigurements of the sacrifice of
Gen 14:18,22:9-14, Ex 16:4,13-36, Num 11:6-9, Deut 8:3-16, Josh
Neh 9:15-20, Wis 16:20, Psa 78:24,105:40, Isa 55:10, Dan 12:11, Mal
1:11, John Chapt 6, Heb 9:4, Rev 2:17
Mt 26:26-28, Lk 22:19,
Acts 2:42,20:7, 1Cor 10:16,11:17-34,
Heb Chapt 7-10, 1Pet 2:5, Rev
His Sacrifice was once for all:
What do the Church Fathers have to say about the Mass?
The Didache, or teaching of the Apostles, 70 A.D.
14:1, "But on the Lord's
Day, after that you have assembled together,
break bread and give thanks,
having in addition confessed your sins,
that your sacrifice may be pure."
St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 180 A.D.
4:17:5, He taught the new sacrifice
of the New Covenant, of which Malachi,
one of the twelve prophets, had
signified beforehand, "...For from the rising
of the sun to its setting, My
name is glorified among the Gentiles, and in
every place incense is offered
to My name, and a pure sacrifice;
St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 180 A.D.
4:18:2, Sacrifice as such has not
been reprobated. There were sacrifices
then, sacrifices among the
people; and there are sacrifices now, sacrifices
in the Church. Only the kind
has been changed; for now the sacrifice is
offered not by slaves but by free
St. Cyprian of Carthage, Letter to Cecil, 253 A.D.
63:4, Also in the priest
Melchisedech we see the Sacrament of the
Sacrifice of the Lord prefigured,
in accord with that to which the Divine Scriptures testify, where it says; "And
Melchisedech, the King of Salem, brought out bread and wine, for he was a priest
of the most high
GOD (Gen 14:18)."
St. Ambrose of Milan, Commentaries on David's Psalms, 381 A.D.
38:25, We saw
the Prince of Priests coming to us, we saw and heard Him
offering His blood
for us. We follow, inasmuch as we are able, being
priests; and we offer the
sacrifice on behalf of the people. And even if we
are of but little merit,
still, in the sacrifice, we are honorable. For even if
Christ is not now
seen as the one who offers the sacrifice, nevertheless it
is He Himself that
is offered in sacrifice here on earth when the Body of
Christ is offered.
Indeed, to offer Himself He is made visible in us, He
whose word makes holy
the sacrifice that is offered.
St. Gregory of Nazianz, Letter to Amphilochius, 383 A.D.
171, Cease not to
pray and plead for me when you draw down the Word
by your word, when in an
unbloody cutting you cut the Body and Blood
of the Lord, using your voice for
St. John Chrysostom, The Priesthood, 386 A.D.
3:4:177, When you see the Lord
immolated and lying upon the altar, and
the priest bent over that sacrifice
praying, and all the people empurpled by
that precious blood, can you think
that you are still among men on earth?
Or are you not lifted up to
St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Epistle to the Romans, 391 A.D.
Reverence, therefore, reverence this table, of which we are all
Christ, slain for us, the Sacrificial Victim who is placed thereon.
St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the first Epistle to Corinthians, 392
24:1:3, He says, "Do not redden the platform of idols with the
of dumb beasts, but My altar of sacrifice with My Blood." What is
awesome than this? What, pray tell, more tenderly loving?
St. Augustine of Hippo, Letter to Boniface, 408 A.D.
98:9, Just as the
Sacrament of the Body of Christ, therefore, is in a certain
way the Body of
Christ, and the Sacrament of the Blood of Christ is the
Blood of Christ, so
too the Sacrament of faith is faith. To believe, however,
is nothing other
than to have faith.
St. Augustine of Hippo, The City of GOD, 420 A.D.
10:20, Christ is both the
priest offering Himself, and Himself the victim.
He willed that the
sacramental sign of this should be the daily sacrifice
of the Church..
St. Gregory I, Dialogues, 593 A.D.
4:60, He is now risen from the dead and
dies no more, and death will no
more have dominion over Him, for He lives
immortally and incorruptibly
in Himself, is immolated for us again in this
mystery of the sacred oblation.
For His body is eaten there, His flesh is
distributed among the people unto salvation, His blood is poured out, no longer
in the hands of the faithless but in the mouth of the faithful. Let us take
thought, therefore, of what this sacrifice means for us, which is in constant
representation of the suffering of the only begotten Son, for the sake of our
The Council of Trent (1545-1563) defined the Mass...
Twenty-second Session, Being the sixth under the Sovereign Pontiff,
IV., celebrated on the seventeenth day of September, MDLXII.
DOCTRINE ON THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS.
The sacred and holy, ecumenical
and general Synod of Trent--lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same
Legates of the Apostolic See presiding therein--to the end that the ancient,
complete, and in every part perfect faith and doctrine touching the great
mystery of the Eucharist may be retained in the holy Catholic Church; and may,
all errors and heresies
being repelled, be preserved in its own purity; (the
Synod) instructed by the illumination of the Holy Ghost, teaches, declares; and
decrees what follows, to be preached to the faithful, on the subject of the
Eucharist, considered as being a true and singular sacrifice.
On the institution of the most holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Forasmuch as, under the former Testament, according to the testimony of the
Apostle Paul, there was no perfection, because of the weakness of the Levitical
priesthood; there was need, God, the Father of mercies, so ordaining, that
another priest should rise, according to the order of Melchisedech, our Lord
Jesus Christ, who might consummate, and lead to what is perfect, as many as were
to be sanctified.
He, therefore, our God and Lord, though He was about to
offer Himself once on the altar of the cross unto God the Father, by means of
his death, there to operate an eternal redemption; nevertheless, because that
His priesthood was not to be extinguished by His death, in the last supper, on
the night in which He was betrayed,--that He might leave, to His own
Spouse the Church, a visible sacrifice, such as the nature of man requires,
whereby that bloody sacrifice, once to be accomplished on the cross, might be
represented, and the memory thereof remain even unto the end of the world, and
its salutary virtue be applied to the remission of those sins which we daily
commit,--declaring Himself constituted a priest for ever, according to the order
of Melchisedech, He offered up to God the Father His own body and blood under
the species of bread and wine; and, under the symbols of those same things, He
delivered (His own body and blood) to be received by His apostles, whom He then
constituted priests of the New Testament; and by those words, Do this in
commemoration of me, He commanded them and their successors in the priesthood,
to offer (them); even as the Catholic Church has always understood and taught.
For, having celebrated the ancient Passover, which the multitude of the children
of Israel immolated in memory of their going out of Egypt, He instituted the new
Passover, (to wit) Himself to be immolated, under visible signs, by the Church
through (the ministry of) priests, in memory of His own passage from this world
unto the Father, when by the effusion of His own blood He redeemed us, and
delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into his kingdom. And
this is indeed that clean oblation, which cannot be defiled by any unworthiness,
or malice of those that offer (it); which the Lord foretold by Malachias was to
be offered in every place, clean to his name, which was to be great amongst the
Gentiles; and which the apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, has
obscurely indicated, when he says, that they who are defiled by the
participation of the table of devils, cannot be partakers of the table of the
Lord; by the table, meaning in both places the altar. This, in fine, is that
oblation which was prefigured by various types of sacrifices, during the period
of nature, and of the law; in as much as it comprises
all the good things
signified by those sacrifices, as being the consummation and perfection of them
That the Sacrifice of the Mass is propitiatory both for the
living and the dead. And forasmuch as, in this divine sacrifice which is
celebrated in the mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated in an
unbloody manner, who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the
cross; the holy Synod teaches, that this sacrifice is truly propitiatory and
that by means thereof this is effected, that we obtain mercy, and find grace in
seasonable aid, if we draw nigh unto God, contrite and penitent, with a sincere
heart and upright faith, with fear and reverence. For the Lord, appeased by the
oblation thereof, and granting the grace and gift of penitence, forgives even
heinous crimes and sins. For the victim is one and the same, the same now
offering by the ministry of priests, who then offered Himself on the cross, the
manner alone of
offering being different.
The fruits indeed of which
oblation, of that bloody one to wit, are received most plentifully through this
unbloody one; so far is this (latter) from derogating in any way from that
(former oblation). Wherefore, not only for the sins, punishments, satisfactions,
and other necessities of the faithful who are living, but also for those who are
departed in Christ, and who are not as yet fully purified, is it rightly
offered, agreeably to a tradition of the apostles.
On Masses in honour of the Saints. And although the Church
has been accustomed at times to celebrate, certain masses in honour and memory
of the saints; not therefore, however, doth she teach that sacrifice is offered
unto them, but unto God alone, who crowned them; whence neither is the priest
wont to say, "I offer sacrifice to thee, Peter, or Paul;" but, giving thanks to
God for their victories, he implores their patronage, that they may vouchsafe to
intercede for us in heaven, whose memory we celebrate upon earth.
On the Canon of the Mass. And whereas it beseemeth, that holy
things be administered in a holy manner, and of all holy things this sacrifice
is the most holy; to the end that it might be worthily and reverently offered
and received, the Catholic Church instituted, many years ago, the sacred Canon,
so pure from every error, that nothing is contained therein which does not in
the highest degree savour of a certain holiness and piety, and raise up unto God
the minds of those that offer. For it is composed, out of the very words of the
Lord, the traditions of the apostles, and the pious institutions also of holy
On the solemn ceremonies of the Sacrifice of the Mass. And
whereas such is the nature of man, that, without external helps, he cannot
easily be raised to the meditation of divine things; therefore has holy Mother
Church instituted certain rites, to wit that certain things be pronounced in the
mass in a low, and others in a louder, tone. She has likewise
ceremonies, such as mystic benedictions, lights, incense, vestments, and many
other things of this kind, derived from an apostolical discipline and tradition,
whereby both the majesty of so great a sacrifice might be recommended, and the
minds of the faithful be excited, by those visible signs of religion and piety,
to the contemplation of those most sublime things which are hidden in this
On Mass wherein the priest alone communicates. The sacred and
holy Synod would fain indeed that, at each mass, the faithful who are present
should communicate, not only in spiritual desire, but also by the sacramental
participation of the Eucharist, that thereby a more abundant fruit might be
derived to them from this most holy sacrifice: but not therefore, if this be not
always done, does It condemn, as private and unlawful, but approves of and
therefore commends, those masses in which the priest alone communicates
sacramentally; since those masses also ought to be considered as truly common;
partly because the people communicate spiritually thereat; partly also because
they are celebrated by a public minister of
the Church, not for himself
only, but for all the faithful, who belong to the body of Christ.
On the water that is to be mixed with the wine to be offered
in the chalice.
The holy Synod notices, in the next place, that it has been
enjoined by the Church on priests, to mix water with the wine that is to be
offered in the chalice; as well because it is believed that Christ the Lord did
this, as also because from His side there came out blood and water; the memory
of which mystery is renewed by this commixture; and, whereas in the
apocalypse of blessed John, the peoples are called waters, the union of that
faithful people with Christ their head is hereby represented.
On not celebrating the Mass every where in the vulgar
tongue; the mysteries of the Mass to be explained to the people. Although the
mass contains great instruction for the faithful people, nevertheless, it has
not seemed expedient to the Fathers, that it should be every where celebrated in
the vulgar tongue. Wherefore, the ancient usage of each church, and the rite
approved of by the holy Roman Church, the mother and mistress of all churches,
being in each place retained; and, that the sheep of Christ may not suffer
hunger, nor the little ones ask for bread, and there be none to break it unto
them, the holy Synod charges pastors, and all who have the cure of souls, that
they frequently, during the celebration of mass, expound either by themselves,
or others, some portion of those things which are read at mass, and that,
rest, they explain some mystery of this most holy sacrifice,
especially on the Lord's days and festivals.
Preliminary Remark on the following Canons. And because that
many errors are at this time disseminated and many things are taught and
maintained by divers persons, in opposition to this ancient faith, which is
based on the sacred Gospel, the traditions of the Apostles, and the doctrine of
the holy Fathers; the sacred and holy Synod, after many and grave deliberations
maturely had touching these matters, has resolved, with the unanimous consent of
all the Fathers, to
condemn, and to eliminate from holy Church, by means of
the canons subjoined, whatsoever is opposed to this most pure faith and sacred
Mass Liturgy Colors...
the symbol of innocence and triumph, is used on all feasts of the joyful and
glorious mysteries of Our Lords life, such as Christmas, Easter, and feasts of
the Blessed Mother.
Red: the color of blood,
is used on all feasts of our Lords Cross and Passion, on feasts of the Apostles
and martyrs, on Pentecost and Masses of the Holy Spirit.
Purple: a symbol of penance and expiation, is used during
the penitential season of Advent, Septuagesima, and Lent.
Green: the color of budding and living vegetation, is the
symbol of hope. It is used on the Sundays after Epiphany and Pentecost.
Old Rose: permitted in place of purple on the third Sunday of Advent, and the fourth Sunday
Gold: permitted in place of white, red, and green vestments.
Black: the color of death and
mourning, is used for services of Good Friday, and Masses for the Faithful
The Chalice: a cup of precious metal, the inside of
which must be gold or gold plated, used to hold the Precious Blood.
Paten: a small plate of precious metal that holds the Sacred Host.
Ciborium: a cup of precious metal with a cover of the same material, that holds
the Sacred Hosts.
The Purificator: a small linen cloth used by the
priest to dry his fingers and the Chalice.
The Corporal: the linen cloth
spread by the priest on the Altar at the beginning of the Mass. The Chalice and
the Ciborium rest upon it.
The Pall: a small square of stiffened linen,
or of cardboard covered with linen, used to cover the Chalice.
Chalice Veil: a cloth covering of the same color as the Chasuble, that conceals
the Chalice and Paten up to the Offertory and after the communion.
Burse: a flat square container of cloth, the same color as the vestments.
is placed over the veil on top of the Chalice.
The Amice: a square of white linen
wrapped around the neck and covering the shoulders.
The Alb: a long
white linen garment reaching to the feet.
The Cincture: a cord used as a
belt to gird the Alb.
The Maniple: an ornamental vestment of colored silk or
damask, worn over the left arm.
The Stole: a long scarf like
vestment worn about the neck.
The Chausuble: the outer vestment put on over
The Dalmatic: outer sleeved tunic worn by deacons in place of a
Please see the companions to this document for more,
"The Mystery of the
Holy Eucharist", and
"The True Presence of Jesus
Christ in the Eucharist".
Written and Compiled by Bob Stanley,
December 3, 1998
Updated October 17, 2004
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