A brief explanation of some aspects of the Mass in its Extraordinary Form (5)
To acquire a ”notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier form of the liturgical celebration” (Motu Proprio, Benedict XVI, July 2007) or an exploration into the theological, historical, devotional, liturgical, ritualistic, architectural, artistic, linguistic, practical, legalistic, mystical… aspects of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The altar is the table of sacrifice. The place where the victim is to be slain. In the case of the Eucharist, the Altar stands at the same time for three different realities. The table of the Last Supper, around which the disciples gathered; the place where Christ died; and Christ Himself. Indeed, Christ is at the same time, the Altar, the Victim and the Priest offering the Sacrifice.
Each altar can be considered as an extension of the very same table used at the Last Supper. It is the very same Cross on which Jesus is crucified. It is Jesus Christ offering Himself to His Father.
– It is a table: a Divine Meal is offered to which we are all, vested with the nuptial garment, invited to share.
– It is a place where The Sacrifice is made—the very same Place. Traditionally sited on three steps representing the Calvary, adorned with Candles representing His Mother, Saint John the Baptist, the Angels… dressed with altar cloths representing the Shroud…
–It is Christ Himself. The same Victim is actually offered. The five Crosses engraved in the Altar Stone are Jesus’ wounds. That is the reason why any time before turning around, the priest kisses the altar. Indeed doing so, he kisses Christ Himself from whom alone comes any blessing: Dominus vobiscum.
The Passion starts at the Last Super with St. John’s embrace, laying on Christ’s side… and with the betraying kiss of Judas in the Garden.
How do we attend the Sacrifice of Mass? What kind of kiss do we offer Our Lord?
Next Week: 40 Hours Devotions: Mass celebrated in the front of the Blessed Sacrament