Sunday 12 February 2023

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - Barbara Reed Mason - CTS Books

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
Barbara Reed Mason
Catholic Truth Society
eISBN 9781784697051
CTS Booklet DO963

Over the last few years I have read over 340 volumes from the Catholic Truth Society. I stumbled upon them while doing research on an author, and have been hooked ever since. I have read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series, Prayers and Devotions, and I loved the books in the CTS Great Saints Series. And with almost every volume I read from the CTS I have a greater respect for their mission and mandate. This is another excellent offering from the CTS. It is the second I have read by Barbara Reed Mason and I belive she has published 4 books in English three of them for the CTS.

The description of this booklet is:
“Every time the Mass is celebrated something astonishing occurs: the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross is made truly present. Drawing on Sacred Scripture, the Catechism, and the words of saints and popes, this book explains how the Sacrifice of the Mass unites the faithful with God.

Every time the Mass is celebrated something astonishing occurs: the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross is made truly present. The Mass is the sacrifice of Christ. In this way, it offers all Catholics a powerful and personal encounter with the loving Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave his life for the salvation of sinners. Drawing on the sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the wise words of saints and popes, this book explains how the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass unites the faithful with God.”

The chapters and sections in this book are:

Why the Mass Is Called a “Holy Sacrifice”
The Mystery of the Mass
Why Did Jesus Die for You?
Be Reconciled to God
The Mass: The Sacred Liturgy
Eucharistic Adoration
Epilogue: Reflections on the Encounter with Jesus

The beginning of the introduction to this volume states:

“It has been my experience over a period of thirty-five years as a religion teacher and catechist, in the UK and abroad, that the average baptised Catholic is not aware of the amazing fact that when we attend Mass we are actually present at Calvary. Perhaps this is why one of the titles for the Mass, ‘the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass’, is not familiar to many Catholics today. 

The aim of this booklet is to shine a light on this reality, engendering in the reader awe and wonder at the extraordinary event that takes place at every Mass – which, it is hoped, will in turn lead to adoration, praise and thanksgiving to our Father God, who sent his Son Jesus Christ to be “the sacrifice that takes our sins away, and not only ours, but the whole world’s” (1 Jn 2:2)..”

I highlighted a number of massages my first time through this book. Some of them are:

“This truth of our faith is referred to by the Church as a “mystery”, which does not mean something obscure or unreasonable. On the contrary, the theological definition of “mystery” is: “religious truth divinely revealed, especially one beyond human reason” (The Concise Oxford Dictionary).”

“God created us so that we can know him, not merely know about him! It is a great shame that there is only one word for “know” in the English language. Other languages, such as French and Spanish, have two. The French use the verbs savoir and connaître, the former meaning to know facts or information, the latter referring to a personal familiarity, to “know by experience”. In Spanish, the distinctive words for “know” are saber and conocer.”

Catholic teaching has always recognised two aspects to faith, which it distinguishes by the terms fides quae (objective revealed truth given by God through Sacred Scripture and the Church’s teaching Tradition) and fides qua (the personal surrender and commitment to God inspired in us by the Holy Spirit). Clearly, both aspects of faith are essential to our lives as Catholics, but without fides qua our faith remains lifeless and impersonal.”

“Pope Benedict XVI addressed these fears in his first homily as Pope:
Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that he might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life. Amen.”

“We know from Scripture and the teaching of the Church that the devil is the archangel Lucifer, who was created good by God but who rebelled against him, was thrown down to earth and “deceived the whole world” (Rv 12:9). Jesus called the devil “the father of lies” and “a murderer from the beginning” (Jn 8:44-45).”

“Without the life-giving Spirit of God dwelling within them, fallen human beings are spiritually dead. Since they are no longer in union with Wisdom himself, “Intellectually they are in the dark, and they are estranged from the life of God” (Ep 14:18). Therefore, “Sin brought man to a lower state, forcing him away from the completeness that is his to attain” (Gaudium et Spes 13). Every human being is born in this state.”

“Pope St Leo the Great The Son of God who was in the beginning with God, through whom all things were made, without whom nothing was made [(Jn 1)], became man to free him from eternal death. He stooped down to take up our lowliness without loss to his own glory. He remained what he was; he took up what he was not. He wanted to join the very nature of a servant to that nature in which he is equal to God the Father. He wanted to unite both natures in an alliance so wonderful that the glory of the greater would not annihilate the lesser, nor the taking up of the lower diminish the greatness of the higher.”

“Jesus is called the “new Adam” because he initiated a new creation who will no longer die. Anyone who is born spiritually as a new creation in Christ through faith and baptism, and who remains in union with him, will live forever, just as God intended in the beginning.”

“The precept of the Church specifies: “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass”…unless excused for a serious reason (for example: illness, the care of infants). Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin. (CCC 2180, 2181)”

“Why is it that even people who have been baptised have such trouble believing supernatural realities?”

“Pope St John Paul II: 

Only those who deeply know the Lord and are converted to his love can become courageous heralds and witnesses in every circumstance. Is it not precisely from knowing Christ, his person, his love and his truth that those who experience him personally feel an irresistible desire to proclaim him to everyone, to evangelise and to lead others in the discovery of the faith?”

I hope those few quotes give you a feel for the power of this volume. This was a deeply moving read. It is a book that is clearly and concisely written. It is written from a place of deep personal faith, but also very sound teaching and catechesis. There are examples of faith revealed. And the final section is very moving. This is a book I could recommend for every church, school, or home library. It is one I plan on rereading with my teen children. 

This is another excellent resource from the pen of Barbara Reed Mason and from the Catholic Truth Society. I can easily recommend it. It is a great resource! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Barbara Reed Mason:
The Gift of Faith: Insights for the Year of Faith 2012-2013
Is Religion Necessary?

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