He is risen !
N° 226 – November 2021
Director : Frère Bruno Bonnet-Eymard
the sacrament of the perpetual sacrifice
“LET us restore to the Mass its true and most beautiful name, to wit, the Sacrifice of Christ perpetuated, the Holy Sacrifice. The Mass is the Memorial of the Cross, that is to say, it really is the re-presentation and renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary through which Our Redeemer definitively acquired our salvation.”●
This sacrifice had been prepared by observing the Mosaic liturgy for millennia: the holocaust, in which the victim was entirely offered to God as a token of adoration and perfect submission, of thanksgiving. Jesus would offer this holocaust to His Father on the Cross, in order to bring to perfection His thirty years of obedience, to express His oblation to His Father’s sovereign will. He gave himself totally, without reserving anything of his carnal being. It is a holocaust. It is also a sacrifice of expiation fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah in Chapter 53: “If He shall lay down His life in expiation He shall see a posterity and prolong his days, and the work of Yahweh shall prosper in His hands.”● The Servant of God was to deliver Himself up to death to expiate and heal the world’s leprosy: the earth had to be bathed with His blood, as in a liturgical aspersion, so that it might all be cleansed by the Blood of the Redeemer flowing from His pierced side. Thus Jesus is truly the Paschal Lamb of the New and Eternal Covenant. His is the most solemn sacrifice which was to reconcile the whole world with its God, no longer in figure or effigy, but in reality.
The sacrifice of communion finally finds in Jesus its fulfilment, in a way so astonishing, unusual, announced by Jesus to the Jews in His discourse on the bread of life, the day after the multiplication of the loaves, in Capernaum.●
The Holy Sacrifice of the crucified Christ will give rise to a banquet, in which the flesh and blood of the victim, our Sweet Saviour, dead and now risen, will become food and drink of eternal, divine and fraternal life; it will become the sacrament of the Mystical Body’s holiness and unity.
“Our Paschal Lamb surpasses in every respect the figures of the Old Testament. He truly completes them, for it is His ‘Body given for us’ and His ‘Blood poured out for many,’ hence His life and grace will be shared by and communicated to the family, the clan, and to the whole people, His elect brought together.
“Until the institution of the Eucharist on the eve of His Passion, no Jew would have been able to imagine that Christ would be the Victim of a sacrifice of communion involving the giving of Himself as food and drink for His friends.”●
Thus, “when the fullness of time came, Christ as both priest and victim accomplished in His own flesh and blood the perfect Sacrifice of the Eternal and Universal Alliance. The Perfect Sacrifice had already been foretold, prefigured, and portrayed in the past through all the sacrifices of the Old Testament and even through all the pagan sacrifices offered to the Most High God, all of which had no meaning or value except through the Perfect Sacrifice. In themselves these sacrifices were inefficacious, nevertheless, they were real occasions and means for the sanctification of men. And so Christ came to reconquer the whole of mankind’s religious past in order to present it to His Father through His Own liturgical Mystery of death and resurrection.”●
THE PERPETUAL SACRIFICE OF HOLY MASS.
“The Mass is the re-actualisation, the re-presentation, the renewal of the Unique Sacrifice of the Cross, a true Sacrifice in itself and yet not an addition to the Sacrifice of which the Mass is the memorial. Say it how you will, but be careful to note that it is not just the human memory of an act or of an event over and past, it is rather the event itself become present for us in this divine liturgy. The Mass is the re-iteration of the Sacrifice of the Cross in such a way that there on the altar is Christ Himself, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, as a victim and by His priestly action. Only the appearances, the tangible forms, are different. Whereas on Calvary the Sacrifice was ‘bloody,’ here the sacrifice is ‘unbloody,’ sacramental.
“In dying on the Cross, Jesus wanted both to accomplish the Sacrifice prescribed by His Father and to institute the Sacrament of the Eucharist for us. Jesus wanted it to be His Unique definitive Sacrifice and He also wanted it to be perpetual, universal and offered to all. That is why He anticipated His Sacrifice at the time of the Last Supper and taught the Apostles the Sacramental Rite of this Sacrifice ‘Do this in memory of Me.’ So it is stupidity, thoughtlessness or formal heresy to make the Eucharist the memorial of the Last Supper. One might just as well say that the Mass I said this morning was the memorial of the Mass I said yesterday, or of my first Mass! If the Mass is the memorial of the First Mass, then what is the First Mass a memorial of? But if the First Mass, the Last Supper, under the special form of an anticipation, was the memorial of the Cross yet to come, then all the Masses that take up the words and gestures of the First Mass are also the memorial of the Cross. The Mass is the Sacrament of Christ’s Passion in which its fruits of redemption and grace are distributed in the ritual meal, which terminates the Sacrifice, objectively realised under the appearances of bread and wine. It is the Protestants who make the Mass – the Lord’s Supper – simply a memorial of the first Lord’s Supper, where there is nothing to indicate that a real sacrifice is necessary – and that is the sad company into which our present-day reformers have fallen.”●
“It is the Catholics who hold to the necessity of a real presence of Christ under the form of sacrificial victim, so that at the Mass, as at the Last Supper, the meal really is the memorial of the Cross and hence the Sacrament of Salvation. The Mass is first of all a sacrifice but this sacrifice ends in a communion meal. The sacrifice becomes present in the form of a sacrament because, as Saint Thomas says, ‘Christum passum’ that is Christ in the state of His Passion becomes our food and drink by taking on the fitting appearances as at a meal. Hence the necessity of both an altar, on which the sacrifice will be offered, and a Communion table (Communion or altar rail, in English) at which we receive the sacrament together.”●
“The Mass begins with the prayers at the foot of the altar “a prayer of suppliants,” that can be summed up in the prayer taught to Lucy, Francisco and Jacinta by the Angel of Fatima: “‘My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. I beg pardon for those who do not believe, who do not adore, who do not hope, who do not love You.’ Furthermore, I beg pardon for my sins and for all those who do not believe, who do not adore, who do not hope, who do not love you.” The priest’s forehead is bowed down to the ground like the Angel, imitated by the three children.
I say straight away that this “supplication” is present both in the new rite of the Mass and in the old one. It is so much the very essence of the religious man, that it was also present in the prayer of the Muslim I knew in Igostene [Algeria], who recited his prayer, a ‘rosary’ of all the names given to Allah in the Qurʾān. In the new rite, however, it is too brief, all the same: “Let us recognise that we are sinners,” and hey presto! We are far from the “parallel suppliant” who our Father, like Peguy, found in Greek literature.●
“‘And I beg pardon for my sins and for all those who do not believe, who do not adore, who do not hope, who do not love you.” At Fatima, it is the introduction to the mystery of the Eucharist that they witness during the third apparition of the Angel.
The children had hidden in the hollow of the Cabeço to repeat the prayer he had taught them: “I don’t know,” Lucy related, “how many times we had repeated this prayer, when an unknown light shone upon us. We sprang up to see what was happening, and beheld the Angel once again. He was holding a chalice in his left hand, with the Host suspended above it, from which some drops of Blood fell into the chalice.
“Leaving the Chalice and the Host suspended in the air, the Angel knelt down beside us and made us repeat this prayer three times: ‘Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He Himself is offended.’”
Thus, as early as 1917, we were forewarned that, in a Church “half in ruins,” Jesus would always be present “in all the tabernacles of the earth” in his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, whatever the rite in use, old or new.
The decisive reason is provided by our Father’s theology according to which the Sacrifice, in which the Church has been reiterating the mysterious memorial – mysterium fidei – everywhere on earth and at every moment for two thousand years, is an Action. Our Father is the only theologian who refutes all the heresies that tend to efface this Action of Our Lord and who completes insufficient theological explanations, including those of Saint Thomas.
According to Protestants, there is only one Sacrifice, that of Good Friday, two thousand years ago. It is an impiety to add others to it.
Our Father, however, has clearly explained that each Mass is an Action of ineffable grandeur, of unspeakable beauty: the Sacrifice of the Cross is evoked in a few signs and words that Jesus Christ instituted by performing them Himself on the evening of Maundy Thursday and by ordering His Apostles to replicate them without modification. The Church scrupulously obeyed her Lord. This being her only desire, the Church merely narrated the event of the Last Supper to the letter, and then had the priest pronounce on the new bread and the new wine of each Mass the very words of the Lord, so that they might have, as on the first day, their full sacramental effectiveness.
Jesus therefore took bread and wine in His holy and venerable hands: basic and common food, food for peasants, hard workers and soldiers, a beverage for celebrating or comforting, consoling, invigorating, exhilarating... He spoke some words so simple that they are imprinted in everyone’s memory and so profound yet they contain and carry out the whole mystery of this Sacrament. On their own, they are sufficient and explicitly contain all the doctrine that the Church irrevocably defined thereafter.
Hoc est enim Corpus meum. The priest, taking the bread as Christ had done, refers to it as “This” and affirms: “This is My Body.”
The new ordinary of the Mass of Paul VI adds, according to 1 Co 11:24: “quod pro vobis tradetur, which will be given up for you,” future preferred to the present “datur” of Luke 22:19, which can therefore only designate the self-immolation of this Body tortured at Calvary. Our Father emphasised this “astonishing and consoling fact to see in the New Ordinary of Paul VI, probably out of fidelity to the Gospel text and perhaps with an ‘ecumenical’ intention, this word that already imposes the idea of sacrifice and the fact of its renewal,” whereas according to Saint Thomas, the consecration of bread is intended only to signify the real presence of Christ.
Our Father added: “If the authors of this new missal were as Protestant as we sometimes claim, they certainly would not have added that.”
Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei, novi et æterni testamenti, mysterium fidei, qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum...
Jesus, by making this cup the chalice of His Blood, undoubtedly pours out His Blood, symbolically, the Blood of His Heart and His arteries into this cup and He gives it to His own as a sign of remission of sins that has become the wine of their jubilation. It is His blood shed, poured out.
“Taken in its obvious sense, the gift of one’s blood is a horrible thing and as a spontaneous act is meaningless. It takes on a tragic meaning, however, when a man making it affirms his resolution and already mimes its action, thereby announcing and fulfilling symbolically his imminent sacrifice in which his executioners will transfix him by violence and so provoke his suffering and death. Jesus gives a higher significance to the tragedy, that of a Sacrifice, since this violent death was offered in advance for the reconciliation of the brethren among themselves and with God their Father. The horror then becomes a source of joy and the sacrifice heralds the feast, for if the shedding of blood evokes sorrow and tears, the wine offered evokes the joy of the wedding banquet.”●
THE TRUTH OF THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS.
“Let us look at the simplicity of the Original Supper. Jesus is in the midst of His Apostles to whom He has just given the gift of His Body to eat, thereby establishing them in a very special union with Himself. At the end of the Meal and before going to His death, Jesus anticipated His Bloody Sacrifice on Calvary; He announced it and sacramentally already fulfilled it, that is to say, in intention, in words and in real efficacious forms.
“Over the cup of wine He pronounces the words: This is My Blood, poured out for you and for many. What is happening? In this will expressed by the God-man transubstantiation is realised. That is to say, the Soul of Christ seizes hold of this concrete substance of wine and, through His own limitless power, makes of it His own Blood, as though shed or rather sprung from Himself, from His Body into this cup which symbolises the crucial trial and decisive gift of His life. The chalice is the physical prefiguration of His death. Who would deny that this prefiguration is for Him an act distinct from that of the following day when He puts into effect the project announced then?
“Similarly, when the priests at each of our Masses pronounce the same words in His Name, these, His ministers, who are not magicians, allow Christ to act in accordance with the words that they pronounce at His command and in conformity with their mission. They lead Jesus, living, risen and present to His Church, to act in accordance with their word, which is what He wants: He makes Himself physically present on the altar. Then in a new and distinct act at this same Mass, Christ, by His spiritual power, seizes hold of the being of the wine in order to change it into His Blood. Again He pours His Life into this cup that signifies His suffering.
“This Blood is certainly living and remains animated by the individual soul of Jesus; and its shedding, which Jesus Himself effects, and not a magician priest, is entirely in the order of a sign. It is unbloody; it is not exhausting, it is not mortal nor is it like a fresh crucifixion. Jesus there fulfils anew what He has accomplished fully once and for all – the sacrifice of His life for the remission of sins.
“As we see, the full truth of this Sacrament can only be recognised to the extent that, more than the other Sacraments that are also done in memory of the Redeeming Sacrifice, its essence is in the very Act of Christ being bodily present, present in His priest as sacrificer and present as victim or host beneath the twofold matter of His Body delivered and of His Blood shed. Saint Thomas had indeed pointed out that ‘the separation of the species’ was the sign of His death, throughout question 78; he had seen how Christ on the altar was victim. For the sacrifice of the Mass to be veritable, however, it is even more necessary that Christ be Himself the priest and Himself act in the Sacrament once again.
“Such is the sacramental Action of Jesus living amongst us, but for what end? What are the particular fruits, the’ extraordinary and sublime benefits of this sacramental sacrifice?”●
THE FRUITS OF THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS.
According to our Father, the perceptible, visible sign of the Sacrament is the Body of Christ, and not bread and wine as according to the theology of Saint Thomas. It is the presence of Christ in His Body, there in the midst of his own, in His Church.
He is there with the intention of shedding His Blood in remission of sins as on the Cross. This He does, He acts, His Action consists in the shedding of His Blood; and the reason and the effect of Christ the Sovereign Priest’s Sacramental Action in His Church and for His Church are, in His own words, the renewal, commemoration and celebration of the New and Eternal Covenant sealed on the Cross between God His Father and His Church. Because of human malice, this Covenant is in continual need of being restored and perfected, and ratified and honoured by the generations to come until the consummation of time.
The Covenant was concluded for the first time in a Sacred Banquet, a sacrificial meal, and it is reproduced at each Mass in the same manner by the Sacramental Communion of the holy members of the Christian assembly with God. They partake in the mystic food and drink offered to them: this Bread and this Wine, Mystery of Faith, the Saviour’s Body and Blood immolated for the many.
This Communion also unites Christians among themselves and so builds up the Church in charity.
“This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in My Blood.”● “for the forgiveness of sins.”● Saint Paul explains the meaning and bearing of repeating this New Rite: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”●
“In the setting of the Old Testament, as well as in pagan antiquity, the symbolism of this sacrificial meal was perfectly understandable and clear to all. The Jews ate the sacrificial Lamb at the Pasch in memory of the countless blessings received from their God; they also celebrated the gift of the manna in the desert. Nothing, therefore, was more familiar to them than such a meal commemorating the Covenant of the one true God with Israel, a meal celebrating a past event, mysteriously made present, and so renewing this solemn engagement, thereby to receive God’s blessings in return.
“No doubt, the New Covenant was instituted with rites that were relatively new, corresponding to the newness of the Legislator and of His Sacrifice. Jesus was like the Moses of this New Covenant, but greater than him. And so, to commemorate, renew and celebrate the Sacrifice of the Cross, the flesh of the Victim was offered by the Priest as bread, the true and supersubstantial Bread● guaranteeing His people in the desert the conservation of life. As for His Blood, shed as a sacrificial expiation for sin, it no longer gives rise to a solemn sprinkling of the people, as did the blood of bulls and goats; much more intimately it gives place to a cup of blessing, given as a festal wine, the new wine of the definitive Covenant.
“In the reality of the Sacrificial Action, in the truth of the commemoration by Christ and the Church together – una cum Christo Ecclesia, the Church is but one with Christ – of the Sacrifice of Calvary, the remission of the sins of the People of the Covenant is accomplished anew. That is the principal reason for continually celebrating Holy Mass. More than this, however, in keeping with the sacramental symbolism of the meal, the Eucharist is that whereby Christ feeds the Church, as He would His Body, and that justifies the Mass being re-iterated by every priest in every church daily, wherever two or three are gathered together in the name of Jesus.
“That the Blood shed in pain to obtain God’s forgiveness and blessings should become the wine of this sacred banquet signifies the joy that Christ wishes to call forth through this sacred exhilaration, and the gratitude of the redeemed in celebrating the blessings of the Covenant in joy and song. It is Christ’s Wedding Banquet with His Church in His Blood, anticipated.
“Jesus Christ’s Presence, Action and Gift of Himself in the Eucharist make of this Sacrament, in the words of Saint Thomas (quest. 79), the principal constituent of the Church, like a reservoir of all graces flowing through the other Sacraments, as through so many channels for the life of the Church.”
“THE COMMUNION OF THE FAITHFUL.”
“Yet rather than look back and compare this Sacrament with all those ceremonies that obscurely prefigured and announced it, it is better to consider the Sacrament in itself and in the glory that it prepares: the final consummation of the Church’s union with Christ, when the Church will be presented by Christ to His Father, as a new creature full of justice and holiness.
“The ultimate perfection and finest fruits of this Sacrament are revealed not only in this being a rite of collective Covenant between God and His people, but also in its being an intimate gift of Christ to each one of His faithful, as the Apocalypse proclaims: “If any man shall hear My voice and open to Me the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him; and he with Me.”●
“Christ’s Body and Blood are physical food and drink for each one of us. They are neither bread nor wine, nor their species separated from all reality, but they are truly, really and substantially the Body and Blood of Jesus risen and glorious, endowed with the properties of bread and wine in order to nourish our being. Whilst our bodies assimilate all the organic and mineral elements thereof, coming from the Being of Christ, He gives us a share in His energy and perfection united with these substances in the oneness of His spiritual being.
“Hence Communion gives us some share in the Divine Life, in those attributes essential and proper to the glorious Body we receive, in the first place, eternity. That is the explanation of those very wonderful and forceful words of Christ’s at Capharnaum: “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day… He who eats this bread shall live forever.”●
“Such are the effects of this Sacrament wherein one sees the source as well as the final consummation of every gift and perfection.
“This explains the importance of receiving Communion in viaticum, on the point of death, to assure the faithful who is going to meet His Lord, of the ultimate remission of all his sins and an earnest of his blessed resurrection.
“There is no better way to end this treatise than in the words of Saint Thomas for the. feast of Corpus Christi:
“O sacrum convivium, in quo Christus sumitur, recolitur memoria passionis ejus. Mens impletur gratia et futuræ gloriæ nobis pignus datur. Alleluia”●
Brother Bruno de Jésus-Marie
Catholic Counter-Reformation, no. 52, July 1974, p. 2
The Book of Isaiah 53:1, cf. The Book of Leviticus 14:1-32
The Gospel According to Saint John 6
Catholic Counter-Reformation, no. 52, July 1974, p. 3-4
Catholic Counter-Reformation, no. 52, July 1974, p. 4
“At the Heart of the Church, the Holy Sacrifice of Mass”, Catholic Counter-Reformation, no. 52, July 1974, p. 6
“At the Heart of the Church, the Holy Sacrifice of Mass”, Catholic Counter-Reformation, no. 52, July 1974, p. 6
Catholic Counter-Reformation, no. 112, July 1979, p. 17-19
Catholic Counter-Reformation, no. 96, The Holy Mysteries of the Body and Blood of the Lord, New Theology of the Eucharist, March 1978, p. 13
Catholic Counter-Reformation, no. 96, The Holy Mysteries of the Body and Blood of the Lord, New Theology of the Eucharist, March 1978, p. 16
The Gospel According to Saint Luke 22:20
The Gospel According to Saint Matthew 26:28
The First Epistle to the Corinthians 11:26
The Gospel According to Saint Matthew 6:11
The Book of the Apocalypse 3:20
The Gospel According to Saint John 6:54-58
O sacred banquet, in which Christ is received, the memory of His Passion is renewed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.
Catholic Counter-Reformation, no. 96, The Holy Mysteries of the Body and Blood of the Lord, New Theology of the Eucharist, March 1978, p. 18