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 Post subject: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:50 am 
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I just heard this tonight, and my mind is still reeling from being so blown.

The Mass, is not the work of the congregation, but rather the work of Christ. I've been trying to delve deeper into this mystery of Christ's oneness with His Bride, the Church, and I had never thought of this before.

A couple of weeks ago I heard this priest give a wonderful homily where he repeatedly insisted, with great enthusiasm, that he did nothing to merit his priesthood. He talked about all the work he did...the study, the prayer, etc. It was a bit confusing to understand, but his homily came back to mind after hearing this Truth about the Divine Liturgy, or the Mass. It's all the work of Christ.

We don't conduct the Mass as Catholics as the means to participate in the Body of Christ. Rather, Christ conducts the Mass to grant Christians the eternal privilege of participating in His Body. This is making many things click into place that I'm still sorting through. This is even greater than the works He has prepared for us before hand, because He created those for us. The Mass, is the relationship of the Son to the Father, that we may participate in so as to access those other Good Works...or what is the "Active" Participation in the Mass...that which takes place before and after the Mass. Is that why our participation in the Mass is always "Passive?" It isn't ours, it never was "our" liturgy. It was always the intimacy between the Father and the Son that has been revealed to us so we may join the Divine family. So us and our works are things created for God's pleasure, but the Mass wasn't created, but rather revealed as always having been, always is, and always will be. The Cross and Resurrection were not just the means of our Salvation, they were also the revelation of the Love between the Son and the Father- the Nature of God that is Love- which through the Holy Spirit, is made known to us for the sake of our Eternal Life in the Mass.

My friend also pointed out the Liturgical role in the canonizing of the Bible. I had always thought that the Church would have defined the Canon on some basis of methodology that was of sound reason and also guided by the Holy Spirit. I had never thought of the liturgical role in defining Scripture. I thought it was just a bunch of guys sitting around, praying, discussing, and figuring it out. This Work of Christ in the liturgy did not cross my mind as being essential to this process. Does anyone know more about this?


So, what am I getting wrong here, or missing, or mischaracterizing?

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Last edited by Nathan on Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:15 am 
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Nathan wrote:
but the Mass wasn't created, but rather revealed as always having been, always is, and always will be.


Maybe?? The pinnacle of the Mass, and the very heart of it's existence, lies in the Holy Sacrifice which is the Real and Substantial sacrifice of the cross brought to the present. This was a real event that took place in time itself. But is it something always existing because God is outside of time? Christ's flesh was not outside of time, meaning before the Incarnation, and this flesh was necessary for the Holy Sacrifice. In this way, it has never "always been" - and maybe the effects of the Mass were also not "always" as souls had to wait for Christ to be sacrificed in order to enter heaven. Or....?? Hmmm...

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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:36 am 
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Alexandros wrote:
Nathan wrote:
but the Mass wasn't created, but rather revealed as always having been, always is, and always will be.


Maybe?? The pinnacle of the Mass, and the very heart of it's existence, lies in the Holy Sacrifice which is the Real and Substantial sacrifice of the cross brought to the present. This was a real event that took place in time itself. But is it something always existing because God is outside of time? Christ's flesh was not outside of time, meaning before the Incarnation, and this flesh was necessary for the Holy Sacrifice. In this way, it has never "always been" - and maybe the effects of the Mass were also not "always" as souls had to wait for Christ to be sacrificed in order to enter heaven. Or....?? Hmmm...


I think you're right, in the sense, that the Mass was created but only because the Flesh of the Son was created... the Incarnation. But this was the means of the revelation, and gift of the Life of God to us. The outpouring of all being of the Son to the Father, is not created, but nonetheless is made present, for our benefit and union, at the Mass.

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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:35 am 
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You're overstating it somewhat. The Mass is the work of Christ, but not to the exclusion of activity on our part. The priest acts in persona Christi capitis (in the person of Christ the Head) and the congregation acts in persona Christi as the Body of Christ, but both priest and congregation are really acting. We really do offer sacrifice.

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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:11 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
You're overstating it somewhat. The Mass is the work of Christ, but not to the exclusion of activity on our part. The priest acts in persona Christi capitis (in the person of Christ the Head) and the congregation acts in persona Christi as the Body of Christ, but both priest and congregation are really acting. We really do offer sacrifice.


:thumbsup:

Thank you, Father. That explains it very nicely. When I was in catechism classes preparing to enter the Church, I was told that the word "litourgia" means "work of the people." Yet we cannot have this work to do unless our God has first established it and invited us into participation. Kind of like salvation, I guess, in that we do not seek God on our own (Pelegianism, condemned by the Council of Orange) but He is the First Mover who invites us to be participant in His salvation and love. We do not establish or make the Liturgy, but we certainly have a part in making it happen.

But I do like the thoughts of the OP!


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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:20 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
You're overstating it somewhat. The Mass is the work of Christ, but not to the exclusion of activity on our part. The priest acts in persona Christi capitis (in the person of Christ the Head) and the congregation acts in persona Christi as the Body of Christ, but both priest and congregation are really acting. We really do offer sacrifice.


Yes, but I think we're speaking of the mystery of the union between Christ and his Bride, which is...mysterious. They are perfectly one (BTW I'm not telling you this, just writing out my thought process so you all can dissect it:)

I'm trying to say our (as in the Body) part is a passive participation in the redeeming work, even and especially when it feels very "active" on our Part- during the Mass. I was echoing what a Priest said in a Homily once, that the "Active" participation in the Mass is the Body-in-Action before and after the actual Mass. The union, or consummation, that takes place during the Mass is Perfect between Christ and his Church-Two Perfect Bodies- though the effects (Grace, in all forms?) are received to a greater or lesser degree by the individual members. I think when you say "We" offer the sacrifice, there is the imperfect union of the individual sacrifices and prayers of the congregation of believers, but then there is the perfect Sacrifice of Christ himself, which he is the sole worker of- though mystically in perfect union with His Bride. "This is my Body" is not our prayer offered to the Father, that's Christ himself just explaining the reality of what he's doing, right? Same as when a Priest says "You're Sins are Forgiven." That isn't a prayer, that's Word speaking into being.


SideNote:

The Church Herself, not the individual members, was made perfect in the sense that Mary was made perfect. I still don't fully understand Mary's sinlessness and incorruptibility, but I do know she was perfectly Free, and willed to serve as a most perfect vessel of Mercy, in fact, a vessel for Mercy Himself. Is this why Mary is an archetype of the Church?

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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:53 pm 
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Nathan
The Church Herself, not the individual members, was made perfect in the sense that Mary was made perfect.

Correct, as explained in First Things (November 1997), Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon wrote that “the Pope himself has acknowledged the mistakes and sins of Christians in connection with, among other things, the Crusades, the Inquisition, persecution of the Jews, religious wars, Galileo, and the treatment of women. Thus, though the Pope himself is careful to speak of sin or error on the part of the Church’s members or representatives, rather than the Church in its fullness, that important theological distinction is almost always lost in the transmission.”
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https://www.firstthings.com/article/199 ... in-control

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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:57 pm 
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Nathan wrote:
the "Active" participation in the Mass is the Body-in-Action before and after the actual Mass. The union, or consummation, that takes place during the Mass is Perfect between Christ and his Church-Two Perfect Bodies- though the effects (Grace, in all forms?) are received to a greater or lesser degree by the individual members. I think when you say "We" offer the sacrifice, there is the imperfect union of the individual sacrifices and prayers of the congregation of believers, but then there is the perfect Sacrifice of Christ himself, which he is the sole worker of- though mystically in perfect union with His Bride.


This may be helpful:

Mediator Dei, Pius XII wrote:
84… But we deem it necessary to recall that the priest acts for the people only because he represents Jesus Christ, who is Head of all His members and offers Himself in their stead. Hence, he goes to the altar as the minister of Christ, inferior to Christ but superior to the people.[83] The people, on the other hand, since they in no sense represent the divine Redeemer and are not mediator between themselves and God, can in no way possess the sacerdotal power.

85. All this has the certitude of faith. However, it must also be said that the faithful do offer the divine Victim, though in a different sense.

86. This has already been stated in the clearest terms by some of Our predecessors and some Doctors of the Church. "Not only," says Innocent III of immortal memory, "do the priests offer the sacrifice, but also all the faithful: for what the priest does personally by virtue of his ministry, the faithful do collectively by virtue of their intention."[84] We are happy to recall one of St. Robert Bellarmine's many statements on this subject. "The sacrifice," he says "is principally offered in the person of Christ. Thus the oblation that follows the consecration is a sort of attestation that the whole Church consents in the oblation made by Christ, and offers it along with Him."[85]

87. Moreover, the rites and prayers of the eucharistic sacrifice signify and show no less clearly that the oblation of the Victim is made by the priests in company with the people. For not only does the sacred minister, after the oblation of the bread and wine when he turns to the people, say the significant prayer: "Pray brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the Father Almighty;"[86] but also the prayers by which the divine Victim is offered to God are generally expressed in the plural number: and in these it is indicated more than once that the people also participate in this august sacrifice inasmuch as they offer the same. The following words, for example, are used: "For whom we offer, or who offer up to Thee . . . We therefore beseech thee, O Lord, to be appeased and to receive this offering of our bounded duty, as also of thy whole household. . . We thy servants, as also thy whole people . . . do offer unto thy most excellent majesty, of thine own gifts bestowed upon us, a pure victim, a holy victim, a spotless victim."[87]

88. Nor is it to be wondered at, that the faithful should be raised to this dignity. By the waters of baptism, as by common right, Christians are made members of the Mystical Body of Christ the Priest, and by the "character" which is imprinted on their souls, they are appointed to give worship to God. Thus they participate, according to their condition, in the priesthood of Christ.


http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/e ... r-dei.html

He also says the chief element of worship is interior. Interior participation is first, external participation serves the interior participation.

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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:24 am 
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^It is helpful in some regards.

Though I'm trying to develop this sense of the liturgy as the revelation of Christ's love for the Father, for our benefit. Not that Christ loves the Father for our benefit, but rather that this love has been revealed to us for our benefit. The benefit (Eternal Life, All Grace and Graces) is ours through knowledge of Christ, through knowing him, as the bride knows the groom. Hence the wedding banquet of the Lamb.

I've been fascinated with the Passover typology in the Mass, but I don't think it is as important as the nuptial truths of the Sacrifice. The only way Christ could have a suitable bride is if She were perfectly formed by Him in the first place, which it was (is?) in the same manner that he formed Mary. The Mass is All Grace.

Could it be said that the Church is only perfectly Holy in as much as it is formed by Christ?

I'm still trying to articulate this in a more understandable way.

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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:04 am 
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Nathan
Could it be said that the Church is only perfectly Holy in as much as it is formed by Christ?

Here is your answer:
DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH - LUMEN GENTIUM
39. The Church, whose mystery is set forth by this sacred Council, is held, as a matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy. This is because Christ, the Son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is hailed as "alone holy,"[1] loved the Church as his Bride, giving himself up for her so as to sanctify her (cf. Eph 5:25-26); he joined her to himself as his body and endowed her with the gift of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God. Therefore all in the Church, whether they belong to the hierarchy or are cared for by it, are called to holiness, according to the apostle's saying: 'for this is the will of God, your sanctification' (1 Th. 4:3; cf. Eph. 1:4). This holiness of the Church is constantly shown forth in the fruits of grace which the Spirit produces in the faithful and so it must be; it is expressed in many ways by the individuals who, each in his own state of life, tend to the perfection of love, thus sanctifying others; it appears in a certain way of its own in the practice of the counsels which have been usually called "evangelical." This practice of the counsels prompted by the Holy Spirit, undertaken by many Christians whether privately or in a form or state sanctioned by the Church, gives and should give a striking witness and example of that holiness.
SEE: http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/v3.html


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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 6:29 am 
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Quote:
I don't think it is as important as the nuptial truths of the Sacrifice.
You've been reading too much Christopher West.

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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:03 am 
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Nathan wrote:
^It is helpful in some regards.

Though I'm trying to develop this sense of the liturgy as the revelation of Christ's love for the Father, for our benefit. Not that Christ loves the Father for our benefit, but rather that this love has been revealed to us for our benefit. The benefit (Eternal Life, All Grace and Graces) is ours through knowledge of Christ, through knowing him, as the bride knows the groom. Hence the wedding banquet of the Lamb.

I've been fascinated with the Passover typology in the Mass, but I don't think it is as important as the nuptial truths of the Sacrifice. The only way Christ could have a suitable bride is if She were perfectly formed by Him in the first place, which it was (is?) in the same manner that he formed Mary. The Mass is All Grace.

Could it be said that the Church is only perfectly Holy in as much as it is formed by Christ?

I'm still trying to articulate this in a more understandable way.

I (hopefully obviously) have no comment on the substance of your thoughts here. But I would like to offer the way reading this feels to me, as perhaps a very different perspective might help you consider your question in a helpful way. This reminds me very much, at least in tone, of the way evangelicals tend to discuss the crucifixion of Christ as it relates to His propitiation of sin. What I mean is that there is a lot of talk about necessity, as if God Himself were bound by some sort of law over and above Himself that, if He is to satisfy that law, there is simply something that He must do. It's as if God had a bunch of bad choices and, because He loves us so very much and so deeply desires our fellowship (with the implication that He would be deeply hurt by our spending eternity in Hell, such that He would suffer infinite and eternal loss in Himself), that He chose the option to satisfy that loss most directly costly to Himself--that sacrifice of His own Son--that we might be saved.

It's all a very "pretty" picture that intends to highlight how much God loves us and the depth of the value of Jesus' sacrificial, substitutionary death. And yet, for reasons I'm sure you can articulate, that picture is deeply flawed. And the sad part is that, if taken too seriously, that picture ends up stunting our Christian growth in grace (both in our ability to receive and to give it).

Now perhaps there is no connection in the tone of your question and tone of the conversations I'm reporting. But from this outsider's perspective, that's the feel I pick up. Perhaps just a bit of transference, and if so, that might be worth knowing so you can be that much sharper in what you're not saying. Or perhaps it's more than just transference and perhaps the tone really is comparable, in which case, you might need to rethink just a bit the way you are approaching this in the first place.

Just my thoughts, though. Feel free to keep the penny, as I'm sure they're not worth quite that much. :)

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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:47 am 
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theJack wrote:
Nathan wrote:
^It is helpful in some regards.

Though I'm trying to develop this sense of the liturgy as the revelation of Christ's love for the Father, for our benefit. Not that Christ loves the Father for our benefit, but rather that this love has been revealed to us for our benefit. The benefit (Eternal Life, All Grace and Graces) is ours through knowledge of Christ, through knowing him, as the bride knows the groom. Hence the wedding banquet of the Lamb.

I've been fascinated with the Passover typology in the Mass, but I don't think it is as important as the nuptial truths of the Sacrifice. The only way Christ could have a suitable bride is if She were perfectly formed by Him in the first place, which it was (is?) in the same manner that he formed Mary. The Mass is All Grace.

Could it be said that the Church is only perfectly Holy in as much as it is formed by Christ?

I'm still trying to articulate this in a more understandable way.

I (hopefully obviously) have no comment on the substance of your thoughts here. But I would like to offer the way reading this feels to me, as perhaps a very different perspective might help you consider your question in a helpful way. This reminds me very much, at least in tone, of the way evangelicals tend to discuss the crucifixion of Christ as it relates to His propitiation of sin. What I mean is that there is a lot of talk about necessity, as if God Himself were bound by some sort of law over and above Himself that, if He is to satisfy that law, there is simply something that He must do. It's as if God had a bunch of bad choices and, because He loves us so very much and so deeply desires our fellowship (with the implication that He would be deeply hurt by our spending eternity in Hell, such that He would suffer infinite and eternal loss in Himself), that He chose the option to satisfy that loss most directly costly to Himself--that sacrifice of His own Son--that we might be saved.

It's all a very "pretty" picture that intends to highlight how much God loves us and the depth of the value of Jesus' sacrificial, substitutionary death. And yet, for reasons I'm sure you can articulate, that picture is deeply flawed. And the sad part is that, if taken too seriously, that picture ends up stunting our Christian growth in grace (both in our ability to receive and to give it).

Now perhaps there is no connection in the tone of your question and tone of the conversations I'm reporting. But from this outsider's perspective, that's the feel I pick up. Perhaps just a bit of transference, and if so, that might be worth knowing so you can be that much sharper in what you're not saying. Or perhaps it's more than just transference and perhaps the tone really is comparable, in which case, you might need to rethink just a bit the way you are approaching this in the first place.

Just my thoughts, though. Feel free to keep the penny, as I'm sure they're not worth quite that much. :)


That is a subject over which a lot of ink has been spilled - the "necessity of God" or whether or not there is any necessity which can move God. Obviously, if God is God, then it would seem (at least to me) that there is no necessity which can hold power over Him.

Therefore, the whole salvation picture becomes not something of necessity, but rather of the acting out of God's character - love. Can God act in any other way than love, seeing that He is love itself, that He is defined as love, that it is the very essence of His Being (God IS love). I would say the answer is no and would say that love was the only response He could actually make in response to the Fall.

This is where I would diverge from those who see His response as one of anger/revenge/retribution. A purely legal response, which finds its telios at the Cross where punishment is meted out. Orthodoxy does not see the Cross in those terms, which is why we do not have crucifixes in our parishes. Our focus is on the result of the Crucifixion, which is healing that come from God's outpouring of love on the Cross.

This is also where Eastern and Western soteriology diverge and one of the many topics which will have to be addressed if and when there is to be unity.


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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:55 am 
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God is necessarily existing, good, etc. But with the single proviso that God cannot the direct cause of any sin, He is free to deal with all things outside of Himself as He chooses. Since He has chosen to bind Himself to the sacraments, He can be said in a qualified sense to work in them by necessity.

I again protest against your mischaracterization of Western theology; it is much broader and more nuanced than you seem to have been exposed to as a Protestant and much broader and more nuanced than many Eastern polemicists care to admit. Please, next time you start typing a sentence about what "Western theology" thinks, think twice.

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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:59 am 
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I don't think Christ had to come to us. Even within the theology of sacrifice, One drop of blood would have been sufficient to pay the debt all of mans sins. All of this was revealed in such a way for a reason- still trying to figure that out- but I think saying that is the same as saying "So I'm trying to figure out this whole Love thing."

Nonetheless, there is something Im trying to grasp at that is revealed in the difference between the Liturgy done by the Jews and the Liturgy done by Christ.

It is good to keep in mind the liturgical significance of the OT and NT. Unless of course the Scriptures obviously don't say that, but maybe we'll hash that out over in Apologetics:) Probably not before I can't better articulate what's been given though.

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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 11:51 am 
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God did not have to save us in the first place, so there is no necessity involved there. Having resolved to save us, He did not have to do so by means of the Incarnation. Only in the sense that God chose to save us through the Incarnation can we say that it is necessary, because all things that God positively wills necessarily come about.

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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:03 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
God did not have to save us in the first place, so there is no necessity involved there. Having resolved to save us, He did not have to do so by means of the Incarnation. Only in the sense that God chose to save us through the Incarnation can we say that it is necessary, because all things that God positively wills necessarily come about.



Can you make an analogy of this?

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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:21 pm 
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Light of the East wrote:
Orthodoxy does not see the Cross in those terms, which is why we do not have crucifixes in our parishes. Our focus is on the result of the Crucifixion, which is healing that come from God's outpouring of love on the Cross.



That's odd, because the crucifix is there to remind us of how much God loves us: that He chose to die and suffer to show his love, rather than some other method to save us. I would defer back to what Fr. said on this. It is not too difficult to read "Western" Saints and theologians say about this, there is plenty that go beyond mere "payment for sin."

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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:48 pm 
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Nathan wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
God did not have to save us in the first place, so there is no necessity involved there. Having resolved to save us, He did not have to do so by means of the Incarnation. Only in the sense that God chose to save us through the Incarnation can we say that it is necessary, because all things that God positively wills necessarily come about.



Can you make an analogy of this?



I don’t quite understand what you are trying to do. You seem to be exploring the secondary effects of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

God could save in any way He chooses. So, if he chose to save us by Christ merely fasting, then this would constitute His positive Will. When God’s will is positive (if we were to speak of His actions inside of time) then it would become necessary because He wills it, not because the mechanism (fasting) He chose to save us by is in itself necessary.

Salvation is purely gratuitous. God chose to save us through the Incarnation and Holy Sacrifice as the ultimate act of love.

The main focus of the Mass is Calvary and then a foreshadowing of the heavenly banquet.

It’s main purpose is the glorification of God, as worship and sacrifice are founded in the natural law and then elevated to a supernatural state in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (the only sacrifice pleasing to God). This is why people must worship God through the priest and the Holy Sacrifice. The secondary purpose is your sanctification, a pure gift. So, yes, it makes the Church pure and it will ultimately unite her with Holy Trinity in the heavenly banquet (for the Church militant and suffering still waiting).

Side note: There is a lot of talk about what the Mass can do for people, about us participating in the heavenly banquet, and things like that. There is little talk about the sacrifice of Calvary itself being brought to the present in an real and substantial manner, and how the Mass is first for the glorification and worship of God (just a pet peeve of mine, not necessarily accusing anyone here of this).

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 Post subject: Re: The Liturgy is the Work of Christ
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:32 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
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I don't think it is as important as the nuptial truths of the Sacrifice.
You've been reading too much Christopher West.



Something wrong w/that? :scratch:

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