Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

Eternity Stepped into Time so We Could Understand

Over at Where the Rubber Hits the Road, my internet friend who I hope I have the pleasure of meeting face to face some time, Father Tim Moyle, is "Taking the Summer to Reflect upon the Beauty of the Mass."

He has posted two videos to date, one of the Kyrie, and another of the Kyrie and Gloria from the Mass of Rejoicing.   For a Catholic Christian, there is nothing more profound than the Mass and I am looking forward to more from Father Tim.

The Mass is important because it is the place where time steps into eternity.  I subtitled this piece "Eternity Stepped into Time so We Could Understand" which is a line from the beautiful song "The Final Word", which is from Michael Card's "The Life" trilogy set of cd's.  When Jesus came to be here on the earth, eternity did step into time.  He is eternal, and He, the Creator of the universe, chose to come down to earth with His created ones.

But, He is not bound by time and space.  He is God, after all, the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end.  He is timeless.  That is a hard concept to grasp for us earthbound clock watchers, who rush to an appointment at X o'clock, or to get to the store before it closes at Y o'clock.  We go to a movie at Z o'clock.  You get my point.  We are bound by time . . . and space.

So, when that realisation dawned on me many years ago, it was a real Aha moment for me.  He, the God of all creation is everywhere, all the time . . . oops, always.

OK, so I get eternity stepping into time, but the concept of time stepping into eternity.  What's with that?

A number of years ago, I had to travel to Montreal often to go to the corporate office of the company I was a manager with at the time, in my office here in London Ontario.  I stayed at the beautiful old Queen Elizabeth Hotel.  The office of my company was in the Edifice Sun Life kitty corner from the hotel, but across the street was the Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde.  Every morning I was in Montreal, I attended mass at the Cathédrale before going to work.  Sadly, I do not speak French, though I do understand some of it.  But, it was there that I realised that the Mass was eternal.  The mass being said there was the same mass, different language, but same mass, as at every other Catholic Church.  By attending Mass there, I was part of the universal Church.

It did not dawn on me until this morning, as I was preparing to go to Church for morning prayer, that I had it only partly right.  In fact, when I was at mass at the Cathédrale, I was not only united to the masses being said throughout the world at that moment, but I was also being united with every mass ever said or to be said anywhere in the world.  That is time stepping into eternity.

So, we do not celebrate the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to make Jesus sacrifice on the Cross insufficient, by doing it over and over again.  No, we are witnesses to Jesus death on the cross at Calvary.  If you cannot see it, then close your eyes, and look with the eyes of faith.  Time has been suspended as the Mass commences, and we are there with Him.  It is not a do over, not a continuation, not a remembering only.  It is the actual sacrifice of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ on the Cross once and for all, for all of mankind.

I came across a Primer for Clueless Catholics on the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass here.  It is well worth the read, as it gently explains what the Mass is and what it is not in 8 parts.

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