Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies

(Missale Romanum 1962)

For today’s meditation on the Collects of the Roman Missal, we consider today’s Collect for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost. The following is the English translation of this Collect in the Angelus Press edition of the Roman Catholic Daily Missal:

O Almighty and merciful God, of Whose gift it cometh that Thy faithful do unto Thee worthy and laudable service: grant us, we beseech Thee, that we may run without stumbling towards the attainment of Thy promises. Through our Lord, etc. Amen.

The ascription clause of this Collect offers us a timely reminder that every individual Mass is an infinitely precious gift from God, for which we are also granted the privileged gift of participating. We must, therefore, always be careful never to allow the prayers, ceremonies, readings, and interior spiritual promptings of God’s grace within the Sacred Liturgy to become automatic or taken for granted. Indeed, we do well to thank God for the privilege of having our parish Church, and also to do our concomitant duty of supporting it financially.  

Another thought that should stimulate our gratitude for participation each week at Mass is the discipline of the ancient Church, wherein only the baptized faithful were allowed to remain in the Church to participate in the full length of the Mass. Catechumens and penitents were dismissed after the Liturgy of the Word. While this is not the current discipline of the Church (and hasn’t been for many centuries), it underlines the dignity of the priesthood of baptism, which empowers the baptized to worship God “in spirit and truth,” as the Fathers of the Church understand it (cf. Jn. 4:23-24). Only the baptized faithful in the state of grace possess the divinely-given capacity to participate in the One Sacrifice of the Altar (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 784, 901, 1141, 1268, 1273).  

To further explore this idea, we turn to the clear and succinct teaching of the late Servant of God, Fr. John Hardon, S.J.. The following excerpts are drawn from his Q&A catechism entitled The Faith.

What is a sacrifice?...a sacrifice is the voluntary surrender of something precious to God.” “How can we make our whole life a sacrifice to God? By uniting our daily sacrifices with Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary.” (cf. The Faith, p. 187). “What, then, is our prayer? Our prayer is to unite our will with the will of Christ so that, like Him, we might do the will of God.” (cf. The Faith, p.247).

Consider this excerpt also from p. 338 of Fr. Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary: “The re-presentation [of Calvary in the Mass] means that because Christ is really present in His humanity, in heaven and on the altar, He is capable now as he was on Good Friday of freely offering Himself to the Father. He can no longer die because He now has a glorified body, but the essence of His oblation remains the same.

Thus, our sacrifice at Mass, while it includes the offering of every aspect of our life in union with Christ, is to be located especially in the offering of our will in concert with Christ’s human will in His Sacrifice of Calvary, which is the same Sacrifice as that of the Mass (cf. The Faith, pp. 78, 120). This is a most critical point which Fr. Hardon also emphasizes in his CD/MP3 audio catechesis talks on the Sacraments in the “Marian Catechism Apostolate.

As Fr. Hardon explains elsewhere in another catechetical work, “A better way of viewing the oblation is to see it as an ongoing self-surrender to the will of God…..like His, [i.e., Christ’s sacrifice] the surrender of self to the will of the Father is meant to go on in a kind of lifelong liturgy” (cf. The Catholic Catechism, p. 470).  

(David Allen)

Mr. David Allen, M.T.S., is the lay Pastoral Associate for our parish of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.


About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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