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A brief explanation of the Mass

Statues representing the Apparition of Jesus the Lamb of God and the Mass at Knock Co Mayo Ireland

Statues representing the apparition in Knock on 21st of August 1879 of Jesus the Lamb of God on the altar of sacrifice with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, adoring Angels and Saint John the Evangelist who is holding the Word of God. It is said that the apparition represents the Mass.

This is just a brief and hopefully simple description of the Mass especially for young people. We will divide the Mass into eight main parts.

Repentance

At the start of the Mass we repent of our sins by usually saying the "I confess" prayer (Confiteor) or the "Lord have mercy..." prayers. If we have serious sins we should go to confession at the next available oppurtunity where we will be forgiven our sins and we can ask God for the graces we need to make us stronger against sin.

God's Word

Next we can listen to the readings and the Gospel. The readings are suited to the time or season of the Church year we are in (Advent, Christmastide, Lent, Eastertide and Ordinary time) or to the Feast of the Saint that is celebrated on the day. On Sundays the Priest gives a homily to help us understand the readings and Gospel passages we have heard. Words can help and change us.

The Offertory

The priest takes the Bread and then the Wine and offers them up to God. He adds a drop of water to the wine and this should symblolise our own offering of ourselves to God. The Holy Spirit will come down and change the Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus on Calvary over 2000 years ago. And just as the drop of water becomes part of the wine we hope the Holy Spirit will make us more like or into Jesus. We can offer our whole week, all that we will do, any joys, sufferings, play, and everything we may experience during this day or week. We can offer our whole lives to God to be offered up with Jesus to God the Father. Jesus will sanctify or make Holy our offering. We can offer up all the people who will die this night or week and ask that their hearts will be converted so that they may be saved. We can offer our deceased relations and friends or all the Souls in Purgatory.

The Consecration

Consecration means to "make holy" and now at the words of the Priest the Holy Spirit comes down on the Bread and Wine and changes them into the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus at Calvary on Good Friday over 2000 years ago. Usuallly everyone present kneels if they can but more important is that we adore Jesus really present on the Altar. We are truly present at Calvary. What do we do? we can adore and thank Jesus, we can beg Him to have mercy on us and on the whole world. We can offer up ourselves with all our problems, sufferings, good deeds to Him and ask Him to offer them up to God the Father in atonement for our sins and those of the world and for the souls in Purgatory. This is a great time of Mercy if we know what we are doing. This is the sacrifice of Jesus the Lamb of God made present for us. With God there is no Time, He can make the past or the future present to us and in the Mass He makes Good Friday present on the Altar. We can all pray to God at any time but now at Mass we can pray with God and to God dying on the Cross for us all.

"The Our Father"

We sum up all our petitions now as we say the "Our Father". This prayer is very appropriate to say now because we are asking God to forgive us our sins because Jesus has died to save us and His resurrection is made present for us so that we can receive Him into our soul as the " daily Bread" of Eternal Life. Jesus perfectly fulfilled the "Our Father" prayer for us by His passion, death and resurrection.

Lamb of God

As the Priest is saying the Lamb of God prayers he adds a fragment of the Host to the chalice of Precious Blood and this symbolises and makes Jesus' resurrection from the dead present on the altar for us. Jesus is now present for us risen from the dead.

Holy Communion

We can now receive Jesus into our souls. This is a time to build our relationship up more with Jesus and we can thank Him for His great mercy and generosity to us and mankind. It is good to spend time thinking about the great mercy and generosity Jesus has already given us in life and about how much more He wants to give us. He wants to give us Eternal Life! We can never do anything to deserve even one second of life or existence from God and yet He wants to have us in Heaven for Eternity.

Mission

The word "Mass" comes from the word "Mission" because when Mass was in Latin the final words of the Priest were that we go on Mission to love and serve the Lord. Our Mission is to bring Jesus to others just like Mary went on the mission to her cousin Elisabeth after she received Jesus after the Angel Gabriel appeared to her.

Some suggested prayers during the Consecration

During the Consecration we are present at Calvary so we need to ask ourselves what would we do if we were present at Calvary when Jesus was dying on the Cross? We might thank Jesus, we might apologise to Him, we might worship Him saying "My Lord and My God!" we might feel repentance for our sins, we might ask Him for mercy for the world and for the souls in Purgatory. With Mary we might offer Jesus up to the Father in reparation for the sins of the world. Here are just a few prayers from the Divine Mercy Chaplet that seem very appropriate during the Consecration because the Consecration is a great time to pray for mercy for ourselves and the whole world;

  1. ( "Eternal father we offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world"
  2. ( "For the sake of His sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on the whole world"
  3. ( "You expired Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls and an ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us." "O Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You"

This first part of this page is available here for anyone who might find it helpful for when they attend Mass.

4. The Eucharist our Treasure

Chapter 8 Section 4 of the Legion Handbook

The Eucharist is the centre and source of grace: therefore, it must be the very keystone of the legionary scheme. The most ardent activity will accomplish nothing of value if it forgets for a moment that its main object is to establish the reign of the Eucharist in all hearts. For thereby is fulfilled the purpose for which Jesus came into the world. That purpose was to communicate himself to souls so that he might make them one with him. The means of that communication is chiefly the holy Eucharist. “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (Jn 6:51-52) The Eucharist is the infinite good. For in that sacrament is Jesus himself, as much present as he was in his home at Nazareth or in the Upper Room at Jerusalem. The holy Eucharist is no mere symbol of him, or instrument of his power, but is Jesus Christ himself substantially. So that she, who had conceived him and nurtured him, “found again in the adorable host the blessed fruit of her womb, and renewed in her life of union with his Sacramental presence the happy days of Bethlehem and Nazareth.” (St. Peter Julian Eymard) Many who think Jesus little better than an inspired man are found to yield him reverence and imitation. If they thought him to be more, they would render him more. What, therefore, should proceed from the household of the faith? How inexcusable are those Catholics who believe, but do not practise that belief. That Jesus whom others admire, Catholics possess - ever living in the Eucharist. They have free access to him and can, and should, receive him even daily as the food of their souls. Considering these things, one sees how sad it is that such a splendid heritage should be neglected; that persons having the faith of the Eucharist should nevertheless permit sin and thoughtlessness to deprive them of this vital need of their souls, which Our Lord had in mind for them from the first moment of his earthly existence. Even as a new-born babe in Bethlehem (which means the House of Bread), he lay on that straw of which he was the Divine Wheat: destined to be made into the heavenly bread which would make men one with him and with each other in his Mystical Body. Mary is the mother of that Mystical Body. As she once anxiously attended to the wants of her Christ-child, so now she yearns to feed that Mystical Body, of which she is, no less, the Mother. How her heart is anguished at seeing that her babe, in his Mystical Body, is hungry - even starving - by reason of the fact that few are nourished as they should be with the Bread Divine, while many do not receive it at all. Let those, who aim to be associated to Mary in her maternal care of souls, share her maternal anguish, and strive, in union with her, to allay that hunger of the Body of Christ. Every avenue of legionary action must be availed of to awaken knowledge and love of the Blessed Sacrament and to dissipate the sin and indifference which keep men from it. Each Holy Communion brought about is truly an immeasurable gain. Through the individual soul, it nourishes the entire Mystical Body of Christ, and causes it to advance in wisdom and growth and grace with God and men. (Lk 2:52) “This union of the Mother and the Son in the work of redemption reaches its climax on Calvary, where Christ “offered himself as the perfect sacrifice to God” (Heb 9:14) and where Mary stood by the cross. (cf. Jn 19:25) “suffering grievously with her only-begotten Son. There she united herself with a maternal heart to his sacrifice, and lovingly consented to the immolation of this victim which she herself had brought forth” and also was offering to the Eternal Father. To perpetuate down the centuries the Sacrifice of the Cross, the divine Saviour instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the memorial of his death and resurrection, and entrusted it to his spouse the Church, which, especially on Sundays, calls the faithful together to celebrate the Passover of the Lord until he comes again. This the Church does in union with the saints in heaven and in particular with the Blessed Virgin, whose burning charity and unshakeable faith she imitates.” (MCul 20)


By means of the Mass, the Sacrifice of the Cross is continued among men. The Mass is not a mere symbolic representation of the past, but places really and actually present in our midst that supreme action which our Lord consummated on Calvary, and which redeemed the world.
Handbook Chapter 8 The Legionary and the Eucharist Section 1; Holy Mass

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