The Christ and His Mass
Thomas A. Droleskey
The commemoration of the Nativity of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as a helpless Babe in Bethlehem today, December 25, should fill each and every Catholic with inexpressible joy. Though he did not merit such a great gift, man was the recipient of the gift of the Word, Who was made Flesh in Our Lady’s virginal and immaculate womb at the moment of the Incarnation, to dwell amongst us as He was born in utter poverty and placed to rest in the cradle in the stable in the cave in the City of David. Angels announced the news to the shepherds that the Good Shepherd Himself had been born. They knelt down to adore Him as they found Him in the wood of the manger next to His Most Blessed Mother and His foster-father, Saint Joseph.
The events of Bethlehem, although they occurred once in time 2013 years ago, are in a real way renewed every time the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered. Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is born for us under the appearances of bread and wine. He is truly present in every particle of the Eucharistic species, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity just His Sacred Divinity was united hypostatically to the perfect human nature He assumed from Our Lady when she uttered her perfect fiat to the will of the Father at the Annunciation. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity showed forth the radiance and splendor of the glory He had with the Father from all eternity in His Holy Face, so full of earthly innocence and divine majesty. He is hidden entirely under the appearance of bread and wine in Holy Communion. His Sacred Divinity was hidden from the view of men as He was placed gently into the manger, a feeding trough for animals, on Christmas Day.
It is, therefore, fitting that the Immemorial Mass of Tradition, the Mass that has been handed down to us in all of its essential elements from Saint Peter himself, specifies the Preface of the Nativity of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be used for the Feast of Corpus Christi and for Votive Masses in honor of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Truly it is the case that each and every offering of the unbloody re-presentation of the Son to the Father in Spirit and in Truth in Holy Mass is a birth in time of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man at the hands of a sacerdos, acting in persona Christi. A mere man, uttering mere words over the mere elements of this passing earth brings God down on an altar under the appearance of bread wine. What a remarkable way to meditate upon Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’s First Coming in time in Bethlehem.
This is what it is important, you see, to stress the word Christmas and to wish all a “Blessed Christmas” from first vespers on Christmas Eve right through the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary on February 2, which is the end of the Christmas season. Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ became Man in Our Lady’s Virginal and Immaculate womb and was born in the wood of the manger in Bethlehem so as to offer Himself up on the wood of the Holy Cross, which has become the feeding trough from which we are fed by His own Flesh and Blood in Holy communion. The Father’s gift to us of His only-begotten Son on Christmas Day was meant to lead to the Sacrifice of the Cross for our redemption. And that Sacrifice of the Cross was meant to be perpetuated until the end of time in the greatest gift that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ gave to the Apostles before He ascended to the Father’s right hand in glory, the Mass of all ages.
Every offering of Holy Mass encapsulates the entirety of the history of salvation. The prayers offered at the foot of the altar are symbolic of many things, one of them being the period of preparation in salvation history for the First Coming of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in His Incarnation and Nativity.
The Confiteor and Kyrie express mankind’s watchfulness for the Coming of the Messias, the One who would make it possible to overcome our sinfulness. Both of these ancient prayers speak of our need to rely on the Mercy that comes from the Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world, the One Who came into the world as a spotless lamb to be shed to His slaughter with the silence of a sheep.
The Gloria uses the very greeting of the angels to the shepherds on the first Christmas Day. Every time it is prayed at Holy Mass we should be reminded that the angels were speaking to us in our own day as well as the shepherds, that our hearts are meant to give God honor and glory in all of our thoughts, words and actions.
The Epistle and Gospel remind us that God has spoken to us directly, completing the work of His Revelation in His own Person. Every single bit of the first part of the Mass, the Mass of the Catechumens, speaks to us of the simple fact that the shadow of the Holy Cross is meant to hover over all human activities at all times, just as it hovered over the cave in Bethlehem with the Chief Priest and Victim of every Mass was laid in a bed of straw in the cold of the night in the early hours of Christmas morning.
The Mass of the Faithful takes us deeper into the mystery of the Incarnation and Nativity, bringing Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’s salvific work to its climax at the moment He is brought down on an altar and offered in an unbloody manner at the hands of an alter Christus. Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ did not enter into human history with His Sacred Humanity united to His Divinity to provide us with a merely sentimental remembrance of His birth of Christmas Day. Oh, no. He entered into human history, true God and true Man, to make it possible for all men to have belief in and access to His life-giving Sacrifice of Himself on the Wood of the Holy Cross for all ages until His Second Coming in glory at the end of time. The Mass, which is the unbloody perpetuation of Calvary and a foretaste of eternal glories, is the supreme work for which Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ chose to dwell amongst us, to go about the humble work of the manual labor of a carpenter so that He could re-fashion us on the wood upon which He was nailed to pay back the blood debt of our own sins.
Each Christmas Day, therefore, should make us appreciate, if you will, the Christ and His Mass, yes, the Mass that He taught the Apostles to say and that has been handed down to us from Saint Peter. It is the Immemorial Mass of Tradition that communicates clearly and unequivocally the Christocentric nature of the entirety of human history, that all men and their nations must pay the public homage to Christ the King was given by only a handful of men on the first Christmas Day.
We must love the Mass and make whatever sacrifices we need to make to assist exclusively at the Mass He gave us for our sanctification and salvation as it offered by true bishops and true priests who make no concessions to conciliarism or to its false shepehrds. As my dear wife is wont to say to those who protest about how long it takes them to seek out a true offering of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition, “Our Lady rode on a donkey while she was nine months pregnant to go from Nazareth to Bethlehem. You can’t get into an air-conditioned or heated car to drive forty of fifty miles?” And if need be, of course, we must move to a venue where the true Mass is offered by true bishops and true priests.
Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was born on the first Christmas Day at a time when the most of the Jewish people imagined that the Messias would manifest Himself clearly, not as a humble Babe born to a poor carpenter and his wife. Most of the Jewish people expected that the Messias would save them from the horrors of the oppressive occupation of their land by the Romans, not that He would save them from their sins and make it possible for them to have eternal life. Most of the Jewish people thought that the Messias wold vanquish all of His earthly enemies, not go to supper with them, not seek to convert them, not seek to feed them with His own Flesh and Blood, of all things.
Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is born for us in His Real Presence in every Mass in pretty much the same circumstances today, if you think about. Even Catholics, who belong to the New Zion, to the true heavenly city set on a hill, that is, the Catholic Church, look for political messiahs. They look for instant solutions to domestic and world problems, not believing that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has given us Faith in Him as He has revealed Himself to us through His Mystical Bride to be the basis of ameliorating all problems, personal and social. They do not believe that He is meant to reign as the King of all men and nations, choosing to trust in the princes of this world, placing more faith in them and their sordid “words” than they do in the immutable doctrine of His Social Kingship. Oh, yes, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is born for us in each Mass in pretty much the same circumstances as He was born once in time on Christmas Day.
Our Lady gave birth to her Son painlessly, not having to undergo the pain of childbirth as a result of her Immaculate Conception. She gave birth to us in great pain as the adopted sons and daughters of the Living God as she stood by the foot of the Cross, wounded by the sword of sorrow that pierced her Immaculate Heart through and through as had been prophesied by the aged Simeon at the end of the Christmas season. Our Lady wrapped her infant Son in swaddling clothes on Christmas Day after He had passed through her miraculously at His Nativity. She wrapped the dead Body of her thirty-three year-old Son in the burial shroud after we had been redeemed on Good Friday. Our Lady made possible Christmas Day. Our Lady shared completely in the work of our Redemption as the Co-Redemptrix and the Medriatix of all graces. She was present at every moment of her Divine Son’s life on earth. She is present at every offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Also present at each Mass is the silent and the just man of the House of David, Saint Joseph, who cared for his foster-Child with the self-sacrifice love that is the model of all earthly fathers, both those who are the heads-of-families but those who are addressed as Fathers, the men who offer themselves sacrificially in order to administer the sacraments to us for the salvation of our souls. Saint Joseph, who did only what God wanted when God wanted it to be done, teaches us that our love for His foster-Child must be complete and abiding. He provided for his foster-Son’s human needs, thus bringing Him to the day on which He could provided for our eternal needs. Saint Joseph was rewarded for his complete devotion to his foster-Son and his Most Chaste Spouse, Our Lady, by being placed over us as the Patron of the Universal Church. Saint Joseph watches over his foster-Son in every Mass just as diligently as he did before he was called from this life prior to the beginning of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’s Public Ministry.
Every day is thus Christmas Day if we understand the meaning of the Nativity and its linkage to every true offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Although the “day,” liturgically, is an octave of eight days followed by a “season” of another thirty-two days, we must remember that God lives outside of time and space. True, He entered time once in the Flesh.
True, each Mass is offered once in time by a particular priest in a particular church. Nevertheless, it is also true that each Mass is timeless, which is why its offering must reflect the eternal glories of God and not the fads of any particular culture or temporal novelty. Each Mass must reflect the splendor of the Nativity and the solemnity of the Redemption. In this sense, you see, yes, every day is Christmas Day.
May this Christmas Day and the great octave of feasts which around enveloped around it be an occasion for each one of us to love the Mass, to live the Mass, to pray the Mass, to keep Our Lady and Saint Joseph and all of the angels and saints company with the Mass. If the Mass if a foretaste of eternal glories, isn’t it a splendid thing to give God the gift of our love of it as He gives Himself to us in the inestimable gift of Holy Communion?
A Blessed Christmas to you all.
Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, Patron of Departing Souls, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?