With Thanksgiving around the corner, Catholics take the opportunity to meditate on how much we have to be grateful for, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!
Father Kenneth Walker’s First Mass:
The Year and Our Children, Mary Reed Newland
Men have not only prayed in thanksgiving, but have offered in thanksgiving: something that was a sign of themselves, to show they were thankful for life, were sorry for their sins against the Giver of life, would give their lives in return, if they might, to the One they owe so much.
They made offerings in thanks for the things that sustain life, for the preservation of life. “Abel also offered of the firstlings of his flock, and of their fat.”
“So Noah went out, he and his sons, his wife and the wives of his sons – all living things went out of the ark. And Noah built an altar unto the Lord: and taking of all cattle and fowl that were clean, offered holocausts upon the altar….”
They made bloody offerings, because the offering is a symbol of the offerer, and blood is the essence of life. Blood is life.
There were other offerings: “Melchizedek, the king of Salem, bringing forth bread and wine, for he was the priest of the most high God, blessed him and said, `Blessed be Abram by the most high God, who created heaven and earth.'”
“‘ .. Because bread maintains life, and wine enhances life. God told them what to sacrifice and how to sacrifice; but especially He told them to make the sacrifice of the Pasch, because it was a memorial to their freedom and their protection, a memorial of thanksgiving to the God who loved them: ”
. . . and it shall be a lamb without blemish, a male, one year … and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening.” . . . ”
And this day shall be a memorial unto you: and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord … for with a strong hand the Lord hath brought you out of this place.”
He brought them through water, led them by fire, fed them with manna, and when they sinned against Him, He chastised them and accepted their sacrifices of expiation. He made it part of their Law, their Covenant, that they were to offer sacrifice: of reparation, of petition, of praise, of thanksgiving.
Then Christ came. When it was time for the thing to happen for which He came, He said to the Apostles, “This is my body, which is being given for you; do this, in remembrance of me.” And He said: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which shall be shed for you.”
This was the new covenant, the new Pasch … “in my blood,” He said. From that moment on, they were to make sacrifice “in my blood.”
The offering is a symbol of the offerer. Blood is the essence of life. This is our gift to offer: His Body and Blood, every day.
Think of all the things the Redemption accomplished, and do not forget this last: to put into our hands the perfect Gift, the pure Victim – “holy and spotless, the holy bread of everlasting life and the chalice of everlasting salvation.”
THE VALUE OF THE MASS
- At the hour of death the Holy Masses you have heard devoutly will be your greatest consolation.
- Every Mass will go with you to Judgment and will plead pardon for you.
- By every Mass you can diminish the temporal punishment due to your sins, more or less, according to your fervor.
- By devoutly assisting at Holy Mass you render the greatest homage possible to the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord.
- Through the Holy Sacrifice, Our Lord Jesus Christ supplies for many of your negligences and omissions.
- He forgives you all the venial sins which you are determined to avoid. He forgives you all your unknown sins which you never confessed. The Power of Satan over you is diminished.
- By piously hearing Holy Mass you afford the Souls in Purgatory the greatest possible relief.
- One Holy Mass heard during your life will be of more benefit to you than many heard for you after your death.
- Through the Holy Mass you are preserved from many dangers and misfortunes which would otherwise have befallen you. You shorten your Purgatory by every Mass.
- During Holy Mass you kneel amid a multitude of holy Angels, who are present at the Adorable Sacrifice with reverential awe.
- Through Holy Mass you are blessed in your temporal goods and affairs.
- When you hear Holy Mass devoutly, offering it to Almighty God in honor of any particular Saint or Angel thanking God for the favors bestowed on him, you afford that Saint or Angel a new degree of honor, joy and happiness, and draw his special love and protection for yourself.
- Every time you assist at Holy Mass, besides other intentions, you should offer it in honor of the Saint of the day.
Mothers, as Thanksgiving closes in, know how very special you are. You are the essence, the heart of your home. Your smile lightens the burdens, your words brighten the hearts of those who will be part of your festivities. The tone of this special family time is set by you! We, as mothers, are privileged to have such an important part in the making of our homes! May your day be filled with grace and love!