Abbé Astruc, “Irish Messenger“ series:
The Priest, in offering up the Sacred Host, says: “Receive, O Holy Father, Almighty and Eternal God this spotless host which I, Thy unworthy servant, offer unto Thee, my Living and True God, for mine own countless sins, offences and negligences, and for all here present; as also for all faithful Christians, living and dead, that it may avail both me and them unto salvation for life everlasting. Amen.”
In like manner should you also offer yourself to God, and say: “Lord, I offer myself to Thee to be the living victim of my family: I desire to be sacrificed so that my relatives and all those I love may be blessed, sanctified and saved.
“Lord, I offer myself to Thee to be the living victim of such and such a good work that I am interested in, and to which I devote myself; I desire to be sacrificed that this work may live and prosper.
“Lord, I offer myself to Thee, to be a living victim for Thy Priests; I desire to be sacrificed in order to succor Thy Sacred Ministers, that their Priesthood may be made holy and fruitful.
“Lord, I offer myself to Thee to be the living victim of Thy Holy Will, that I may follow my vocation to its utmost limits, that I may fulfil my whole mission, that I may realize all Thy designs upon me.
“Lord, I offer myself to Thee to be the living victim of Thy Love; I desire to be sacrificed that Thy Holy Name may be hallowed, that Thy Kingdom may come, that Thy Will may be done, that Thou mayest be better known, more loved, more glorified.
“Lord, I offer myself to Thee to be a little living victim for sinners; I desire to be sacrificed so as to be associated with the Redemption wrought by Thy Son, and to make up that ‘which is wanting to His Passion,’ His sufferings, and His Death; I wish to be sacrificed that I may, in union with Him, expiate, make amends, and win merit.”
In doing this you will be carrying out a great, a fruitful, and much needed apostolate….No one can tell, for God alone knows, the supernatural, sanctifying and fruitful influence you will exercise around you through this work of your secret immolation. [This, then is how we the laity are called to be ‘priests’.]
Such then is the offering that you are to make. But notice this – your offering ever remains unfinished; at each moment of your days and nights you can, and should renew it. Let your life then be one continued offering; and so you will accomplish the first act of your Mystical Mass.
When the Priest says Mass, he takes into his hands the host that he has offered up, and pronounces over it the words of Consecration.
In like manner should you also consecrate the host that you have already offered unto God. That which the real Consecration effects upon the wheaten host, your mystic consecration should also, in some sort of way, effect upon yourself, the living host. This is what I will now try to show you: still making use of analogy and comparison.
The Priest consecrates his host by pronouncing over it these four words; “Hoc est Corpus Meum – This is My Body.” At the same instant the substance of the host of wheaten bread has ceased to be bread; of it there remains nothing, save that something which we call species, or appearances. The first result, then, of the Consecration is the disappearance of the substance of that little host of bread.
Now you as well have to disappear; not indeed suddenly, but little by little and by degrees. This will be done by humbling yourself, forgetting yourself, renouncing yourself, ever and always putting self to death within you, [“Amen, amen I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, … “ John 12:23-25]. It is by “dying daily,” as St. Paul says, that you will attain to that mystic death of self which will be the first result of your Consecration.
The words of Consecration pronounced by the Priest have a second effect, even more marvelous than the first; they trans-substantiate the host into Jesus Christ. The Consecration, then, is the changing of the substance of the bread into Jesus Christ, the real, living Jesus Christ, with His Divinity and His Humanity.
to be continued…..