THE UNION OF THE HOLY SACRIFICE

"INSTITUTION OF THE EUCHARIST" BY FRA ANGELICO, 1441-1442. Soft pastels and ochres, the disciples with haloes, a few visitors kneeling, and Jesus in bare feet, feeding bread to one of his followers, make the scene both homey and consecrated.

Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:

Back in the mid-90s, a newly-minted Catholic convert, I often attended daily noon Mass at St. Basil’s in Koreatown. I found it thrilling—I still do—that the Mass on any given day was the same everywhere, subject neither to the whim of the priest, the sensibilities of the worshipers, or the free-spirit caprice of, say, a parish council.

Beforehand, an older lady led us in the Angelus, followed by the Morning Offering that begins: “Oh Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day, in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world.”

I’ve thought of that prayer a lot lately. On one end of the spectrum is the “Mass” I recently attended that featured a large likeness of the Buddha, “hymns” by Leonard Cohen, and the Gospel read by a woman. 

The Trinitarian God, maker of all things visible and invisible, already includes everybody and everything. To purport to be more inclusive than Christ by individualizing the Mass only de-sacramentalizes the Eucharist.

On the other end of the spectrum is the crowd who wants to return the Mass to pre-Vatican II times and finds a non-Latin Mass sub-par.  

READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.

6 Replies to “THE UNION OF THE HOLY SACRIFICE”

  1. Phillip Aller says: Reply

    Heather,
    This post couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time to shake me out my self-pity after having had my heart broken in my latest and last romantic obsession. When one has proper perspective, things make sense.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Ouch, Phillip–I feel ya!! Glad the column helped…

  2. So well said, Heather. When I attend Mass I always feel like Peter at the Transfiguration: “Lord, it’s good for us to be here.” Frankly, it’s amazing that it’s been going on everyday for two thousand years in every part of the world, and all we have to do is show up.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Isn’t it wondrous Ron?! Wishing you a most blessed Advent and Christmas, with many thanks for your ongoing support.

  3. I love it when you quote Flannery and Caryll Houselander. Another great column.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      They’re my gals–or two of them! Thanks, Melanie.

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