Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 62.

REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada

Q. Have you any texts of Scripture for proof of the sacrifice of the mass ?

A. Yes; besides many figures of this sacrifice in the Old Testament (of which the most evident is that of the bread and wine offered to Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God; according to whose order, Christ is said to be a priest for ever. Gen. xiv. 18. Psalm ex. And that as the holy fathers (See St Cypr. epist. 63. St. Chryst Horn. 35 St. Jerom. epist. 126, ad Evan. St Aug. Cone 1, in Ps. 33. L. 15. de Civ. Dei., etc.) take notice by reason of this new sacrifice of the eucharist) we have the prophecy of Malachi i. 10, n, where God, rejecting the Jewish sacrifices, declares his acceptance of the sacrifice or pure offering, which should be made to him in every place among the Gentiles; which text the ancient fathers, both Greek and Latin, urge to show that the eucharist is a sacrifice. See St. Justin, St. Irenaeus, St. Chrysostome, St. Augustine, etc. In the New Testament St. Paul tells us, that under the new law we have an altar (and consequently a sacrifice) whereof they have no right to eat who serve the tabernacle, Heb. xiii. 10, that is, they who continue in the service of the old law. And in the 10th chapter of his 1st epistle to the Corinthians, from the 14th verse to the 21st, he makes a parallel between the partakers of the Christian sacrifice, and those who partake of the Jewish or heathenish victims, so as evidently to suppose, that the Christian table, which he mentions, verse 21, is an an altar where Christ is mystically immolated, and afterwards eaten.

Consider the sighs and tears of the Virgin Mother, with what pangs she embraced the bloody remains of her beloved Jesus. Here unite your tears with those of His disconsolate Mother. Reflect that your Jesus would not descend from the cross until He consummated the work of redemption, and that at His departure from as well as His entrance into the world He would be placed in the bosom of His beloved Mother. Hence learn constancy in your pious resolutions ; cleave to the standard of the cross. Consider with what purity that soul should be adorned, which receives in the blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist Christ's most sacred Body and Blood eaten by the faithful, as in the Jewish and heathenish, sacrifices, the victim was first offered on the altar, and then eaten by the people. From whence the Apostle St. Paul infers, verse 16, that they who were partakers of this great sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ, ought not to be partakers with devils, by ^eating the meats sacrificed to idols. The sacrifice of the mass is also mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, xiii. 2, where we read in the Protestant Testament, As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, etc. In the Greek original it stands thus, As they were sacrificing (Aeitour-gountan) to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. Where the Greek word, which we have rendered in English, sacrificing, is the self same which to this day is used by the Greeks to express the sacrifice of the mass. Besides these arguments from Scripture, for the sacrifice offered to God in the blessed eucharist, we have the authority and perpetual tradition of the Catholic Church, from the days of the Apostles. Witness the most ancient liturgies of all churches and nations. Witness the manifold testimonies of councils, and fathers of all ages. Witness the frequent use in all Christian antiquity, of the names of altar, sacrifice, oblation, priest, etc. Witness, in fine, the universal consent of Christians of all denominations before Luther's time, in offering up the eucharist as a sacrifice ; which is a matter of fact that cannot be contested.

Q. But does not St. Paul say, that Christ, by one offering, viz., that of the cross, hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified? Heb. x. 14. What room then can there be for the sacrifice of the mass ?

A. What the Apostle says is certainly true, that the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross, is that one offering by which we are perfected for ever; because the whole world was redeemed by that one sacrifice, and all other means of our sanctification or salvation have their force and efficacy from that one offering: yet as that one offering, by which Christ bath perfected for ever them that are sanctified, is no way injured, by his supplications, which as man he makes for us to his Father in heaven; where, as the same Apostle tells us, he ever liveth to make intercession for us, Heb. vii. 25, so neither is it any ways injured, but highly honored by the representing of the same offering to God in the sacrifice of the altar.

Q. But St. Paul tells us that Christ does not offer himself often, Heb. ix. 25. What say you to this ?

A. St. Paul speaks there of his offering himself in a bloody manner by dying for the redemption of the world, which was to be but once. But though the price of our redemption was to be paid but once, yet the fruit of it was to be daily applied to our souls, by those means of grace which Christ has left in his Church; that is, by the sacraments, and sacrifice.