To unite myself to the saving sacrifice if Christ on the Cross, done most perfectly through the Mass.
Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross is central to the saving work of Christ, that there is a POWER in Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross… Paul boldly proclaims, that “we preach Christ and Him Crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23), and that the Gospel is “power unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16).
As Catholics, we believe that Jesus very clearly gave us a way to directly unite ourselves to His Saving Sacrifice on the Cross: Through the Mass and the Eucharist. Sometimes you will hear Catholics refer to Mass as the “Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.” It is because we believe that it is in the Mass that we are mystically and most perfectly united to Christ’s saving Sacrifice on the Cross. That the singular saving moment of Jesus giving His life for us on the Cross is then extended out through space and time through the Mass.
Certainly, we can (and should) pray on our own; and through personal prayer offer to God in some way our lives. But the stuff of our lives we offer: the good, the bad, the ugly, our pain, our suffering, our grief, our sacrifices, our joys, we offer IMPERFECTLY to God the Father. So, we unite our imperfect offering to the one singular PERFECT offering and sacrifice to God: Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross. And the way Jesus gave us to do this most totally, perfectly, and completely is through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: “Do this in memory of me.” The way of sharing in “the new and eternal covenant,” and Jesus bringing to deeper fulfillment the commandment to “Keep holy the Sabbath day.”
God deems this as necessary thing for our humanity to do this week after week, every seven days, so the power of Christ’s Sacrifice is perpetuated and concretized in our lives and overflows an infects the world with His Divine Life and Grace.
It’s not just extending the saving power of Christ on the Cross in our own personal lives, but into ALL those prayers situations, intentions, and people that we pray for AT Mass, that we BRING to Mass to unite to Christ on the Cross (This is part of what it means when the priest says, “Prayer brothers and sisters that MY SACRIFICE AND YOURS, may be acceptable to God the almighty Father… and we RESPOND: “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of His name, for our good and the good of all His holy Church.”)
Thus, we don’t just go to Mass for OURSELVES, but also for OTHERS, which is the reason I will talk about in my column NEXT week: Reason #6: Go to Mass for the sake of others, not just me. To pray for the living and the dead, which is a work of mercy.