Our Lady's Presence during the Holy Mass: Sunday, November 8, 2015

J.M.J. If you attend Mass on Sunday and abstain from unnecessary servile work, you fulfill your "Sunday obligation." In that case, you do as required by the Church's precept that states that a Catholic must attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation and avoid unnecessary servile work.

However, when it comes to Holy Mass we are encouraged to do more than merely to attend. We are invited to "participate" fully, actively and consciously as the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council stated in its December 4, 1963 Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, also known as Sacrosanctum Concilium (see 14).

The Church wants us to have access to all the graces that Christ gives to His People. Attendance at and participation in the Holy Mass opens our hearts to those graces.

The presence of the Risen Jesus during Mass is clear. But what about His Mother? Is Mary, too, present at Mass?
In Vatican II—Marian Council (Athione, Ireland: Saint Paul Publications, 1972), Father William G. Most made a case for Our Lady’s presence during Mass.

To paraphrase the same Constitution: each Mass is the renewal of what Christ did on Holy Thursday in the Upper Room and the next day on Good Friday atop Calvary (see 47).

The Council of Trent (1545-1563) emphasized that the difference between what Jesus’ did on the cross and the Mass is “the mode of offering.” Calvary is the bloody offering; the Mass, the unbloody.

Father Most concluded: “Now if that be the only difference between the original and the renewal, then Mary should be united with the renewal (the Mass) too, just as she was in the original sacrifice.”
Given the internal (interior disposition) and external (the outward expression of that interior disposition) dimensions of any sacrifice, our author continued:

"Mary has a very obvious union with both aspects of the Mass. First, the outward sign is the renewal of the Death of her Son. But she is the one from whom He received the very Flesh and Blood that becomes present on our altar . . . . [Second] [s]he is also united with the interior dispositions of her Son. Just as He, in the glory of Heaven, still renews the offering of His obedience, His willingness to die again, were the Father to ask that, so too she has not changed the disposition of her Heart. She once consented to His offering at tremendous cost to herself. She has not withdrawn that consent. Her will is now not less aligned with the will of the Father and the will of her Son than when she was still upon this earth.

The Ever-Virgin’s “offering in the original Sacrifice was no less than having to consent to the terrible Death of the Son Whom she loved with a love that was and is literally beyond human comprehension.” Seeing the implication, Father Most observed: “We are not asked to go nearly as far as she was. But we should be ashamed to balk at things so much less.”
Therefore, at each Mass Mary is near the Altar, participating again in the one Sacrifice of Christ as she did on Calvary by her humble acceptance of Jesus’ death. She beckons us to submit to all that God requires. Her offering is the model for our offering.
Father Most advised us to remember that our union at Mass with our Blessed Lady is not automatic. Instead, we must recognize our filial relationship with the Mother of the Church, beg her help and receive the Sacraments often and worthily.
At Mass, Mary: a) prays for us, invoking God to give us what we need; and b) provides us with the pattern of holiness and assures us that it is possible for a human person to be conformed completely in thought, desire, word and deed to the Almighty.
Father Most summarized simply but persuasively his argument for Mary’s presence during the Holy Mass: “In being united to Him, we are by that very fact united to her, for the two are inseparable.”
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No further posts are foreseen until Friday, November 13th.

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