3 O'Clock Prayer

 

 

A Deeper Understanding of the Mass

by Fr. John Harris

 

St. Faustina’s Vision of the Sacred Host during Mass
Low Sunday – 28th April, 1935
In the Diary of St. Faustina, she records various visions she had of Our Lord in the Sacred Host. Of one vision, she writes, “Toward the end of the service, when the priest took the Blessed Sacrament to bless the people, I saw the Lord Jesus as He is represented in the Image. The Lord gave His blessing, and the rays extended over the whole world” (Diary 420). What St. Faustina saw in vision happens each time we attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. What she saw in a vision, we believe in by faith.

 

The Priest raises the Sacred Host three times during every Mass
During the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the priest raises the Sacred Host three times. When we are aware of these three elevations, we come to appreciate the Holy Mass ever more deeply. The first elevation of the Sacred Host is immediately after the Consecration, secondly at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer when the priest sings “Through Him, and with Him and in Him” and finally the priest holds the Sacred Host before the congregation saying, “Behold the Lamb of God”, which is then presented to each of those receiving Holy Communion personally. Each of these actions teaches us the various aspects of the Holy Mass.

 

When I am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself
Jesus told His disciples, “When I am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32). During the Mass, this “lifting up” of Christ is made truly present to us. Each “lifting up” calls us to relive the meaning of the Mass. Each Mass is the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary, the real presence of the living Christ, now in glory in Heaven, and the preparation for the great feast in the banquet of God’s glory in Heaven. In one of his prayers in honour of the Blessed Sacrament, St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of these aspects of the Holy Mass and the Blessed Eucharist, “O sacred banquet in which Christ is received, the memory of His passion is renewed, our minds are filled with His grace and we receive a pledge of the glory that is to be ours”.

 

The First Elevation of the Host
The first elevation after the consecration reminds us that the Mass is the re-presentation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross on Calvary now in unbloodied form. Christ on the Cross is lifted up and offers Himself in expiation for all the sins of the world. He is lifted up before the whole of creation as the sacrifice which takes all sins away. His perfect giving of himself to the Father, on our behalf, cancels all the sins of our failure to be open to God and turning away from Him in our human pride. When the priest lifts up the Sacred Host, we are there present, in the moment of the perfect sacrifice of Christ, as love overcomes evil and mercy flows freely over the whole world. At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the moment of mercy is present for us in our own time and in the midst of our daily struggles.

 

Christ, in His sacred humanity, offers Himself to the Heavenly Father for us and as the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, Christ offers us in Himself the eternal love of the Father. He is truly ‘lifted up’ so that we can see Christ, the one true mediator between God and man. Before this great mystery of love, we kneel and bow in adoration.

 

The Second Elevation of the Host
Secondly, at the end of the Eucharistic prayer, again the priest lifts up the Sacred Host, higher now than after the consecration. For now we are remembering at the Holy Mass is made present not simply the sacrifice of Calvary but also the joy of the Resurrection and Ascension. It is the living Lord Jesus that is present in the Sacred Species. Christ is now in glory and He has, because of his obedience on Calvary, become the Lord of all time and the universe. He is truly Our Lord and God. It is through Him and with Him and in Him that all fitting glory is offered to God the Father. By our response of the “Great Amen” (this is what the Church calls it), we claim Jesus as Lord of our lives and we hand ourselves over completely to Him. So we should shout out that “Great Amen” at the end of the Eucharistic prayer with great love and trust. In “Great Amen”, we say from the depths of our lives, “Jesus I trust in you as my Lord and God and I give you my life, for you are the Risen Lord now in glory in Heaven”.

 

The Third Elevation of the Host
Finally, the priest again elevates the Sacred Host at the time of Holy Communion, first of all before the whole congregation when he says “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” and then to each of us as we receive the Blessed Sacrament into our own lives. This third elevation reminds us of yet another aspect of the Holy Mass which is the hope of the heavenly banquet when we will sit with the Lord in a truly holy communion. This is a foretaste of Heaven and heavenly communion. At the sacred banquet in Heaven will come the fruitfulness of the sacrifice of Calvary when all the redeemed in the power of Our Lord’s Resurrection and Ascension will be gathered into the presence of the living and true God and in Jesus be united into the very heart of the Blessed Trinity Himself. Jesus suffered all so that you and I could enter into the heavenly banquet of the love shared by the Most Blessed Trinity.

 

As we become more aware of the moments of the elevations at Mass, we come to enter more deeply into the celebration and receive ever more graces. For the Lord Jesus is truly “lifted up” for us and for our salvation and is the source of love and mercy for the whole world.

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Our Lady Untier of Knots

Our Lady Untier of Knots
Unfailing Novena to Our Lady Untier (Undoer) of Knots, a wonderful nine-day prayer to Our Lady. This is Pope Francis' favourite Novena. One of the fastest growing Marian Devotions in the world.

 

Click this link to view: Our Lady Untier of Knots Prayer Book