Chapter 8-IN THE HOLY MASS CHRIST RENEWS HIS PASSION
That the Passion of Christ is renewed in Holy Mass must be clearly apparent to everyone. Everything recalls it and points to it, and pre-eminently the Sign of the Cross, which meets our eye continually. In the altar-stone five crosses are engraved, and in consecrating it the bishop made the Sign of the Cross more than a hundred times. The sacred vessels and the sacerdotal vestments are all marked with the cross. During the celebration of Mass, the priest crosses himself sixteen times and blesses the oblation with the same sign twenty-nine times. What is this constant reiteration of the Sign of the Cross intended to signify, if not that the Sacrifice of Blood offered by Christ upon the Cross--that is, His bitter Passion and Death--is re-presented, repeated, renewed upon the altar? Although Our Lord at the Last Supper expressly said: "Do this for a commemoration of Me," yet the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not simply a commemoration, but a renewal, of the Passion of Christ. In the Council of Trent, Holy Church teaches: "Whosoever shall say that the Sacrifice of the Mass is only a remembrance of the Sacrifice of the Cross, let him be anathema." And in the same session of that Council (xxii, Ch. 2), she states: "In this Divine Sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of Cross." Had we no other authority than this, it ought to content us and remove all doubt from our minds. For what the Catholic Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit teaches and sets before us for our acceptance, that we are bound to believe firmly and never in any wise to dispute. Now the church definitely declares that the same Christ, who in times past made the sacrifice of Himself upon the Cross in a painful manner with shedding of blood, is now truly present in Holy Mass and is immolated afresh, but after a bloodless and painless manner. In proof and corroboration of this, the Church further asserts: "For the victim is one and the same; the same now offering by the ministry of priests who then offered Himself on the Cross, the manner alone of offering being different." That is to say, in both these sacrifices--that of the Cross and that of the Mass--the same victim is offered, and He who offers the sacrifices, both the one and the other, is the same, even Christ; but the manner in which He offers Himself in the one place and in the other is different. On the Cross He offered Himself, a sacrifice of blood, although He was put to death by the hands of the executioners; on the altar He likewise offers Himself, this time by the hands and the ministry of priests, by whom He is immolated, but in a bloodless manner.