- Is there any difference between the sacrifice of the cross and the Sacrifice of the Mass?
The manner in which the sacrifice is offered is different. On the cross Christ physically shed His blood and was physically slain, while in the Mass there is no physical shedding of blood nor physical death, because Christ can die no more; on the cross Christ gained merit and satisfied for us, while in the Mass He applies to us the merits and satisfaction of His death on the cross.
(a) On the cross Christ was offered in a bloody manner; in the Mass He is offered in an unbloody manner. On the cross Christ alone offered Himself directly; in the Mass He offers Himself through the priest, who is the secondary but true minister, dependent upon Christ.
(b) On the cross Christ suffered and died; in the Mass He can no longer suffer or die. On the cross He paid the price of our redemption; in the Mass He applies to us the merits of His Sacrifice on the cross.
© There are various kinds of Masses:
first, a Solemn Mass, which is celebrated by a priest who is immediately assisted by a deacon and a sub-deacon; second, a High Mass, in which the celebrating priest sings certain parts of the Mass; third, a Low Mass, in which the priest reads all the parts of the Mass: fourth, a Pontifical Mass, which is celebrated by a bishop and by certain other prelates.
Any of these kinds of Masses can be a Requiem Mass, which is one offered for the dead. In a Requiem Mass the celebrating priest wears black vestments and reads or chants special prayers for the dead.
(d) Some prayers make up the “Ordinary” of the Mass and are practically always the same; others make up the “Proper” of the Mass and differ according to the seasons and the feasts of the ecclesiastical calendar.
(e) Ordinarily Mass must be offered on an altar stone consecrated by a bishop or by his delegate.
(f) The priest wears the following vestments during Mass:
an alb, a long white linen garment covering the body;
an amice, a white linen cloth placed over the shoulders and about the neck (as needed);
a cincture, a cord tied about the waist (as needed);
the stole, a long narrow band of cloth worn over the shoulders; and
the chasuble, an outer garment covering the greater part of the body.
These vestments have an ancient origin, and most of them resemble the garments worn by the apostles.
(g) The colors of the outer vestments worn during Mass are: white, which signifies purity of soul and holiness, red, which signifies the shedding of blood and burning love; green, which signifies hope; violet, which signifies penance; black, which signifies mourning; rose, which signifies joy in the midst of penance; and gold, which is used on solemn occasions in place of white, red, or green vestments.
White vestments are worn on feasts of Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin, saints who were not martyrs, and during the Easter season; red is used on the feasts of the Holy Ghost, the passion of Our Lord, and martyrs; green is used on the Sundays outside of Advent, Lent, and the Christmas and Easter season; violet is worn in Lent, Advent, and on penitential days, black is worn in Masses for the dead; rose may be used instead of violet on the third Sunday of Advent and on the fourth Sunday of Lent.
(h) Some of the important articles used during Mass are: the chalice, a gold-lined or other precious cup, in which the wine is consecrated; the paten, a gold-covered or other precious plate, on which the host is placed; the purificator, or cloth, for wiping the chalice, the pall, or linen-covered card, used to cover the chalice; the corporal, or square linen cloth, on which the host is placed; the missal, or book, from which the priest reads the prayers of the Mass; the candles, usually of beeswax; the crucifix over the altar; and the three linen cloths that cover the altar.