The true power of the Mass when considered as an act of obedience
The whole sacrifice of the Mass has so many dimensions and parts, but they’re all like one Act. One Act of obedience to God. What we have been doing from the beginning is to join in the sacrifice of Jesus. That Sacrifice of Jesus which was a perfect counteraction to the initial disobedience of our First Parents, Adam and Eve. So, in a way, Jesus “overcorrected”, in an excellent way. He did not just “restore” us the way we were, but it elevated us higher than our initial condition. That’s why when we sing during Easter, we exclaim “Oh Felix Culpa” – “Oh Happy Fault, that brought us so great a redeemer”.
So when we participate actively, we are uniting our acts of obedience with that of Jesus’ perfect Act of Obedience. This is why when I see people who say the Mass is boring, you are not going there to do your will. So if you understand the place of obedience in these, you will appreciate how beautiful it is to participate in this sacrifice. And I believe it should be a bit difficult and not so easy. Sometimes it can be enjoyable if you understand the Mass. But sometimes, when you are going through some spiritual difficulties, doubts, for instance, you still unite that suffering to the suffering of Christ. So it is a beautiful thing.
The last time I watched my Archbishop celebrate the Mass, it hit me: all these things we do at Mass: people uniting in the recitation of prayers, gestures; sitting, standing, kneeling. Reading the Bible, listening, clapping, singing, it’s like one giant Act of obedience with which we are uniting our wills with the will of the Son who does the will of the Father.
It is a beautiful sacrifice, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church makes it powerful in the presence of God. We all bear the identity of Jesus, who has given us the Holy Spirit; that is why the Sacrifice of the Mass is so powerful. The celebrant is Jesus, and he is also the Sacrificial victim. How beautiful!
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