Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies

(Missale Romanum 1970) 

O God, whose Only Begotten Son, our High Priest, is seated ever-living at your right hand to intercede for us, grant that we may approach with confidence the throne of grace and there obtain Your mercy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Prayer over the Offerings is the climax of the Offertory, and the hinge into the very heart of the Mass: the Preface and Canon, which together constitute the Sacrifice proper. Of all the Collects used for this final part of the Offertory, this text pinpoints the mystery of the Eucharist even more distinctly than most. This is so, because it highlights the mystery of the Ascension, which we celebrate in a few days’ time.

The Prayer over the Offerings does this by summarizing the entirety of St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews. In particular, we note its exact reference to the following passage: “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession...Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (cf. Heb. 4:14, 16, RSV-CE).

St. Paul argues throughout Hebrews that Christ’s one sacrifice on the Cross completely fulfills the Old Testament sacrificial system, because it superabundantly atones for sin and sanctifies the faithful in the midst of their trials. Essentially, his argument depends upon the great mystery of Christ’s Ascension. Several other passages in Hebrews help to explain this:  

The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (cf. Heb. 7:23-5, RSV-CE).

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) He entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption…..For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf” (cf. Heb. 9:11-12, 24, RSV-CE).

For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (cf. Heb. 10:14, RSV-CE).

The Resurrection and the Ascension together form the grounds for our being able to participate here below in the perpetual efficacy of Christ’s Sacrifice in heaven (Bl. Columba Marmion, Christ in His Mysteries, 350). As Bl. Marmion also explains, “His merits remain for us after His glorious coming forth from the tomb. See how Christ Jesus wished to keep the scars of His wounds: He shows them to His Father in all their beauty, as titles to communication of His grace: He ‘lives always to make intercession’ for us” (cf. Marmion, Christ in His Mysteries, p. 334; see also pp. 20, 101-102; cf. Heb. 7:25). The Exalted Christ is what gives account for the efficacy of His grace in his Church here below.  


(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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