Mass a sacrifice or not?


#1

I’m so confused. Everything I’ve read by Catholic apologists seems to say that it is not an actual re-sacrifice because Christ was sacrificed once and for all. However, at breaking open the word they were saying that the Mass WAS an actual sacrifice. I thought this was one of the things that Protestants said that Catholics believed which made Catholicism wrong. Can someone please explain the official teaching to me?

Thanks


#2

[quote=Ryniev]I’m so confused. Everything I’ve read by Catholic apologists seems to say that it is not an actual re-sacrifice because Christ was sacrificed once and for all. However, at breaking open the word they were saying that the Mass WAS an actual sacrifice. I thought this was one of the things that Protestants said that Catholics believed which made Catholicism wrong. Can someone please explain the official teaching to me?

Thanks
[/quote]

The Mass is a sacrifice, but it is the same sacrifice of Calvary re-presented.

Check out the Catechism. And this page for some explanation and a bunch of links.


#3

**1357 **We carry out this command of the Lord by celebrating the memorial of his sacrifice. In so doing, we offer to the Father what he has himself given us: the gifts of his creation, bread and wine which, by the power of the Holy Spirit and by the words of Christ, have become the body and blood of Christ. Christ is thus really and mysteriously made present.

**1358 **We must therefore consider the Eucharist as:

  • thanksgiving and praise to the Father;
  • the sacrificial memorial of *Christ *and his Body;
  • the presence of Christ by the power of his word and of his Spirit.

**1359 **The Eucharist, the sacrament of our salvation accomplished by Christ on the cross, is also a sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for the work of creation. In the Eucharistic sacrifice the whole of creation loved by God is presented to the Father through the death and the Resurrection of Christ. Through Christ the Church can offer the sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for all that God has made good, beautiful, and just in creation and in humanity.

**1360 **The Eucharist is a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father, a blessing by which the Church expresses her gratitude to God for all his benefits, for all that he has accomplished through creation, redemption, and sanctification. Eucharist means first of all “thanksgiving.”

**1361 **The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of praise by which the Church sings the glory of God in the name of all creation. This sacrifice of praise is possible only through Christ: he unites the faithful to his person, to his praise, and to his intercession, so that the sacrifice of praise to the Father is offered *through *Christ and *with *him, to be accepted *in *him.

**1362 **The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ’s Passover, the making present and the sacramental offering of his unique sacrifice, in the liturgy of the Church which is his Body. In all the Eucharistic Prayers we find after the words of institution a prayer called the *anamnesis *or memorial.

**1363 **In the sense of Sacred Scripture the *memorial *is not merely the recollection of past events but the proclamation of the mighty works wrought by God for men.182 In the liturgical celebration of these events, they become in a certain way present and real. This is how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them.

**1364 **In the New Testament, the memorial takes on new meaning. When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ’s Passover, and it is made present the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present.183 "As often as the sacrifice of the Cross by which ‘Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed’ is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out."184

**1365 **Because it is the memorial of Christ’s Passover, the Eucharist is also a sacrifice. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist is manifested in the very words of institution: “This is my body which is given for you” and "This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood."185 In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he "poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."186

**1366 **The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it *re-presents *(makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its *memorial *and because it *applies *its fruit:

[Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer himself to God the Father by his death on the altar of the cross, to accomplish there an everlasting redemption. But because his priesthood was not to end with his death, at the Last Supper “on the night when he was betrayed,” [he wanted] to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands) by which the bloody sacrifice which he was to accomplish once for all on the cross would be re-presented, its memory perpetuated until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit.187

**1367 **The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: “The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.” "And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory."188


#4

The Mass is a sacrifice and Christ’s sacrifice was once for all.

The two statements are not inconsistent when understood properly. Christ’s sacrifice took place on earth at a specific point in time as testified by the Bible. Also testified by the Bible is the fact that it is also going on in Heaven. In Revelation you will see the Mass in Heaven described where Jesus is called the Lamb some 20 odd times. John sees the Lamb standing as though slain. Standing is what a living being does so He is resurrected. Though slain shows us that he is sacrificed. Christ is the priest and the offering at the same time.

Heaven is eternal and beyond time and these events ate to be understood as eternally happening.

Therefore when the Mass, which is a sacrifice, is offered, we understand it to be the representation of that eternal sacrifice of Christ and a participation in that sacrifice. The priest on earth by virtue of his ordination is acting in the person of Christ (in personae Christi) and offering the sacrifice our our benefit on earth. By the power of the Holy Spirit the Mass in Heaven is made present on earth. It’s the same sacrifice now as it was 2000 years ago as it is in Heaven.

The once for all aspect is to be understood as once for all time or once for all people who accept and believe and follow Him. It is not meant as once and done and never to happen again in any way anywhere on earth or Heaven.


#5

This “One Sacrifice” made present was prophesied in Malachi, 1:11:
For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, my name is great among the nations; And everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering; For great is my name among the nations, says the LORD of hosts

Only the Catholic Church has this one sacrifice going every minute of every hour of every day, somewhere “throughout all the nations”.

Notworthy


#6

Thank you for the explanations. It’s a sacrifice but not a re-crucifixion right? Sorry to sound like a dingbat, but it’s a bit murky. I think I understand it a bit better though.


#7

[quote=Ryniev]Thank you for the explanations. It’s a sacrifice but not a re-crucifixion right? Sorry to sound like a dingbat, but it’s a bit murky. I think I understand it a bit better though.
[/quote]

That’s alright.

Yes, it is a sacrifice. No, it isn’t a new sacrifice. Yes, it is the same sacrifice of Christ’s at Cavalry. No, it isn’t a recrucifixion of Christ.

It makes present the one sacrifice of Christ for us.

-Rob


#8

[quote=Ryniev]I’m so confused. Everything I’ve read by Catholic apologists seems to say that it is not an actual re-sacrifice because Christ was sacrificed once and for all.
[/quote]

And so He was - so any re-sacrifice is impossible. Christ cannot die again, or rise again, or ascend again, any more than He can be born a second time. These things are unique - they cannot take place again, any more than the creation of the universe can take place again.

However, at breaking open the word they were saying that the Mass WAS an actual sacrifice. I thought this was one of the things that Protestants said that Catholics believed which made Catholicism wrong. Can someone please explain the official teaching to me?

Thanks

It’s a true sacrifice - and is so-called, because it makes present, in the manner of a sacrament, the one, unique, and unrepeatable Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

Which means, that the Death of Christ is made present, except for the appearances of it. So: He does not bleed again, is not mocked again, or tried, or betrayed, or thirsty again; He does not bleed again. Which is why this Sacrifice is unbloody. It is His Death, not its attendant circumstances, that is of infinite value: that, is made present, with all its benefits.

It’s important to bear in mind that the Mass is a sacrifice but not an independent sacrifice. It is not “free-standing” - each Mass is of infinite value because it is dependent on something else which is of infinite value: the Death of Christ. Christ offered one Sacrifice - every Mass draws on that Sacrifice: no Mass can be independent of it. We bring no sacrifice of our own, and cannot - because that Sacrifice is the only one which we can celebrate: we have been given no other. The Sacrifice of the Cross is not one Sacrifice, and the millions of Masses millions of others - they are one offering only, of what cannot be offered again, since Christ died once only: that which happened once only, can only be re-presented, not repeated.

So it is a sacrifice - but it is also much more: a foretaste of the Messianic banquet, a fraternal meal, a means of nourishment for service in the world God made, an offering to God of all creation, an exercise of the priesthood of all Christians in & through Christ. It’s a sacrifice - but not just a sacrifice - it is as important to insist on its being a sacrament, for it is both together. It just happens to be a rather unusual sacrifice :slight_smile: ##


#9

[quote=Ryniev]I’m so confused. Everything I’ve read by Catholic apologists seems to say that it is not an actual re-sacrifice because Christ was sacrificed once and for all. However, at breaking open the word they were saying that the Mass WAS an actual sacrifice. I thought this was one of the things that Protestants said that Catholics believed which made Catholicism wrong. Can someone please explain the official teaching to me?

Thanks
[/quote]

I like 1Cor11:
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
For me that makes enough sense, I dont know about for others. There was one death, yet “as often as” we partake we proclaim that one death.


#10

At Mass the separate consecration of the bread and wine are a sign of the only time in history that the body and blood of Jesus were separated when he died on the cross. At that moment we proclaim his sacrifice as if we were standing at the foot of the cross. He does not die again.
The Eucharist of course is also a meal and when we receive Communion we are receiving the risen, glorified Jesus.


#11

The Jews celebrated the Passover feast as a memorial of the first Passover. For the ancient Jews, a liturgical memorial did much more than simply recall a past event. It made that past event present. As a memorial, this annual meal celebration was believed to make the first Passover in Egypt mystically present to those celebrating the ritual. This is why the Jews in Jesus’ day sometimes commented that when they celebrated the Passover meal each year, it was as if they themselves were walking out of Egypt with their ancestors in the Exodus.

Notworthy


#12

[quote=NotWorthy]The Jews celebrated the Passover feast as a memorial of the first Passover. For the ancient Jews, a liturgical memorial did much more than simply recall a past event. It made that past event present. As a memorial, this annual meal celebration was believed to make the first Passover in Egypt mystically present to those celebrating the ritual. This is why the Jews in Jesus’ day sometimes commented that when they celebrated the Passover meal each year, it was as if they themselves were walking out of Egypt with their ancestors in the Exodus.

Notworthy

[/quote]

Good stuff.


#13

Here is a great website with lots of information on this topic and others related to the Eucharist.

Go to:phorum.phatmass.com/index.php?showtopic=6565


#14

[quote=Catholic Dude]Good stuff.
[/quote]

smacks upside the head Read yer Catechism. :smiley: (Note that I have to smack myself on that account too.)

**1363 **In the sense of Sacred Scripture the *memorial *is not merely the recollection of past events but the proclamation of the mighty works wrought by God for men.182 In the liturgical celebration of these events, they become in a certain way present and real. This is how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them.

For me that makes enough sense, I dont know about for others. There was one death, yet “as often as” we partake we proclaim that one death.

I think it does. There are plenty of subtle hints that we can work out of Scripture after we know how to interpert it.

Pax: Now, that’s good stuff. :wink: I’m going to rip apart those links. bookmarks

So it is a sacrifice - but it is also much more: a foretaste of the Messianic banquet, a fraternal meal, a means of nourishment for service in the world God made, an offering to God of all creation, an exercise of the priesthood of all Christians in & through Christ. It’s a sacrifice - but not just a sacrifice - it is as important to insist on its being a sacrament, for it is both together. It just happens to be a rather unusual sacrifice

There are so many dimensions of the Eucharist, and sometimes we neglect to explain one at the expense of the others. I have to say, I was very hazy on the Sacrifical nature of the Eucharist, and was rather floored when I looked into it. On the other hand, all of the “more” you said are all essental parts of it too. I imagine someone could spend a lifetime investigating this alone. :thumbsup:


#15

[quote=RobNY]smacks upside the head Read yer Catechism. :smiley: (Note that I have to smack myself on that account too.)

**1363 **In the sense of Sacred Scripture the *memorial *is not merely the recollection of past events but the proclamation of the mighty works wrought by God for men.182 In the liturgical celebration of these events, they become in a certain way present and real. This is how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them.
[/quote]

:banghead:


#16

[quote=NotWorthy]The Jews celebrated the Passover feast as a memorial of the first Passover. For the ancient Jews, a liturgical memorial did much more than simply recall a past event. It made that past event present. As a memorial, this annual meal celebration was believed to make the first Passover in Egypt mystically present to those celebrating the ritual. This is why the Jews in Jesus’ day sometimes commented that when they celebrated the Passover meal each year, it was as if they themselves were walking out of Egypt with their ancestors in the Exodus.

Notworthy

[/quote]

Well done, you beat me to it. The word to express what you are talking about is zikkaron (memorial). Type the words zikkaron eucharist into a search engine and you should get some good stuff. Here’s one site that’s short but still good: taize.fr/en_article1730.html


#17

Read “The Lamb’s Supper” by Scott Hahn. Very good book, he sheds light on how the Book of Revelation has to do with the Mass, because John refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God, and how the mass is a sacrifice etc. Its good and well written.


#18

Change one word:

I’m so confused. Everything I’ve read by Catholic apologists seems to say that it is not an actual re-sacrifice because Christ was sacrificed once and for all. However, at breaking open the word they were saying that the Mass IS the actual sacrifice. I thought this was one of the things that Protestants said that Catholics believed which made Catholicism wrong. Can someone please explain the official teaching to me?

Ok two.


#19

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