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THE REAL PRESENCE The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST

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The Mass

by Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey, SS.CC.

The Great Cardinal Mercier, a saintly and learned theologian, used to say: "Give me a priest fully appreciating the gift of his daily Mass, preparing it well, offering it devoutly, living the grace of his Mass; I tell you, this priest will be ready for canonization when he dies." I apply this statement to the faithful: Give me a Catholic fully realizing the doctrine of the Mass, really and truly living the grace of daily Mass, and I, too, will show you someone who will be a saint at the hour of death….

Love, to Understand

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the greatest and most sublime act of adoration, of worship and of reparation in the Church. Mass is the summary of all supereminent action, the only supereminent, supreme action. Everything is poor and insignificant if it is at a distance from the altar. Whereas, on the contrary, everything becomes bright and brilliant and heavenly when mixed with the Precious Blood in the chalice.

Only those who love penetrate the mystery of the chalice. That is why I insist so much on the virtue of charity. "Come Holy Spirit!" If you read ten books about the Mass, you would understand nothing without light from above, without love. What a pity to find good souls with a real child-like devotion, but with a mania for relics and devotions, and who do not appreciate the Mass. Do you know why? Because it is DAILY. If Our Lord had said, "I will allow a priest to say Mass and to give Holy Communion once a year, after a ten-day retreat in preparation," then we would appreciate it better.

Notice, please, that I start speaking of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and not of Holy Communion. Why? Because Holy Mass is the fountain; Communion, wonderful as it is, is the torrent. In the first place, the chalice; in the second place, Communion. Never change this order. It is indeed sad to know that too often we separate the Sacrifice of the Mass from the Sacrament of Communion. We even give the first place to Communion. This evidences a lack of doctrine, and ignorance of the catechism. For many, Holy Mass is the liturgical ceremony, the "golden key," as it were, that unlocks the tabernacle door so that Jesus may be received in Holy Communion. This is not doctrinal. We should maintain the doctrinal scale of values; first, the chalice on the altar; then Communion and the tabernacle. Note well, there is no Mass without Communion-at least that of the priest. But neither is there Holy Communion for the priest nor for you without the fountain, the chalice, Holy Mass.

Just What is Holy Mass?

But, exactly, what is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? It is Christ, the God-Man, the Son of God and the Son of Mary, adoring and praising God the Father and the Blessed Trinity at the altar, with you and in your name. A God praising God; a God adoring God.

What is Holy Mass? It is Christ, the God-Man, the Son of God and the Son of Mary, offering on the Calvary of the altar the thanksgiving due to God His Father; making atonement for sin; the only perfect divine atonement and thanksgiving, with you and for you.

What is Holy Mass? It is Christ, the Judge of the living and the dead, the God-Man, son of God and Son of Mary, imploring, with you and for you, a deluge of graces and blessings, through the power of His wounds, through the power of His cross, through the power of His Blood, and through the power of His sacrifice.

If all this is true, then doctrinally we can say that Holy Mass is a daily Christmas. The crib is the altar; the hands of our Lady, the hands of the priest. Yes, in every Mass we can say,"Puer natus est nobis," a Child is born, a little Boy is born, the Son of God and of our Lady, far more little than in the crib but still the same Christ. At the altar as in Bethlehem is sung the same Gloria in excelsis, for the Savior is born, He is there on the altar; there is but one Jesus…Christmas, Incarnation, every day.

There is Something Else

There is something else-the Last Supper. Who was the Pontiff at the Last Supper? Jesus. Who is the Pontiff at the altar? He took the bread; He took the wine; He takes the bread, He takes the wine: "Do this in My name and for My glory, to commemorate My death; say with me (I will be your power): 'This is My Body, this is My Blood. Take, eat and drink.'" Divine banquet, heavenly banquet, the greatest of wonders! Oh, that marvelous Gospel brought from Heaven by Christ Our Lord, the Last Supper.

And Calvary? Calvary, too, is there, though He can no longer suffer. There is but one Victim, Jesus, which means Savior. He is wounded unto death. Blood flows from all His wounds. In fact, He is but one great wound from His head to His feet. Is the victim of the Mass the same Jesus? He is. There is but one Jesus, crucified, but at the altar there is a difference. It is true that at the altar we have the adorable Victim of Calvary, but with one great difference: now His wounds are glorious. He keeps His wounds, the pierced hands, the pierced feet, the open Heart, but they are the sunshine of paradise. Yes, on the altar during Mass is the same Victim of Calvary, but now a risen, glorious Victim.

Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey, SS.CC.
(Used with permission. Immaculata Magazine, 1976.)

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