On-Going Instruction in the Principles of Christianity
2020 Jubilee 2021
YEAR OF THE EUCHARIST - 9/13
("MYSTERY OF FAITH",
ENCYCLICAL LETTER OF
POPE PAUL VI)
We should also mention “the public and social nature of every Mass,” a conclusion which clearly follows from the doctrine we have been discussing. For even though a priest should offer Mass in private, that Mass is not something private; it is an act of Christ and of the Church. In offering this Sacrifice, the Church learns to offer herself as a sacrifice for all. Moreover, for the salvation of the entire world she applies the single, boundless, redemptive power of the Sacrifice of the Cross. For every Mass is offered not for the salvation of ourselves alone, but also for that of the whole world.
Hence, although the very nature of the action renders most appropriate the active participation of many of the faithful in the celebration of the Mass, nevertheless, that Mass is to be fully approved which, in conformity with the prescriptions and lawful traditions of the Church, a priest for a sufficient reason offers in private, that is, in the presence of no one except his server. From such a Mass an abundant treasure of special salutary graces enriches the celebrant, the faithful, the whole Church, and the entire world—graces which are not imparted in the same abundance by the mere reception of Holy Communion.
Therefore, from a paternal and solicitous heart, We recommend to priests, who bestow on us a special crown of happiness in the Lord, that they may be mindful of their power, received through the hands of the ordaining Bishop, of offering sacrifice to God and of celebrating Masses both for the living and for the dead in the name of the Lord, and that they worthily and devoutly offer Mass each day in order that both they and the rest of the faithful may enjoy the benefits that flow so richly from the Sacrifice of the Cross. Thus also they will contribute most to the salvation of the human race.
By the few ideas which We have mentioned regarding the Sacrifice of the Mass, We are encouraged to explain a few notions concerning the Sacrament of the Eucharist seeing that both sacrifice and Sacrament pertain inseparably to the same mystery. In an unbloody representation of the Sacrifice of the Cross and in application of its saving power, in the Sacrifice of the Mass the Lord is immolated when, through the words of consecration, He begins to be present in a sacramental form under the appearances of bread and wine to become the spiritual food of the faithful.