October 8th, 2012 14:32 EST
The Mass, The Way of the Cross
THE doctrine of Christ is that we die to the world and join with Him on the cross. This teaching is beautifully expressed by St. Paul where he says, "I am nailed to the cross with Christ." (Galatians 2:19) To endure the suffering of the cross is necessary for salvation as taught by the Savior Himself: "Whosoever does not carry his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." (Matthew 14:27)
Christ came to deliver us from the world and to call us home to His everlasting Kingdom, but this will be done strictly through the cross. He went before us to open the way but unless we follow Him, His sacrifice avails us nothing. The way to Heaven is to strip oneself of worldly interest and press after Christ with our cross as taught by the holy evangelist: "I suffer the loss of all things, and count them as dung, that I may gain Christ." (Phil. 3:8)
The apostle furthermore teaches, "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (2 Tim. 3:12) The faithful are called upon to join with Christ and to endure the rejection of the world, remembering the words of the Savior, "If the world hate you, know that it has hated Me before you." (John 15:18) To endure the cross of persecution is what glorifies God most and procures the greatest blessings. "Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in Heaven." (Matthew 5: 11,12)
The world will reject this truth as it has for 2000 years, though this rejection has reached unparalleled heights at this last hour. Satan today is waging his final battle against the Church, and what is his plan but to undermine the cross of Christ! And what is the cross, but the Sacrifice of Calvary planted in our midst - the Mass.
Christ underwent His Sacrifice on Good Friday, but at the Last Supper He instituted this Sacrifice as an ongoing sacrifice that would continue to the end of time. The Mass is the actual event of Calvary re-enacted on the altar, though it be mystical and unbloody, but nonetheless real. Each Mass is one and the same sacrifice, not many. The priest is the instrument used (alter Christus) through whom Christ daily perpetuates His Sacrifice among us.
Christ then through His institution has planted His death in our midst, which is why the crucifix is above the main altar in the churches, because it reminds us of what we are attending. St. Paul says that each time the priest offers the bread and chalice he shows forth "The death of the Lord." (1 Cor. 11:26)
Some will say: Why does Christ want to come and die among us? The answer is because He loves us and He wants us to die with Him. St. Paul says that in our baptism we are baptized into Christ`s death. Through our baptism we take on the robes of the Passion and walk the path of mortification because we are members of His Body and are called to be one with Him. That is, we die with Him: we die to self and sin, we die to the elements of the world.
Jesus foretold His Passion and death when He said, "The hour is come, that the Son of Man should be glorified." He went on to say that those who follow Him into death will keep their life eternally. "Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, it remains alone. But if it die, it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world, keeps it unto eternal life." (John 12: 24,25)
The Mass summons us to participate in Christ`s Sacrifice and to meditate on His death. Through the Mass Christ draws us into union with His own sufferings, that through these sufferings we might be purified of our defects and be united more closely with Him. The Mass then is Christ`s way of sanctifying His people that they may die to the world and walk with Him in the holy way of the cross.
This will better help us to understand why the devil unleashes so much fury against the cross, because the cross is our salvation. Satan`s work is to turn the world against the cross as evidenced by the secular reforms ensuing since Vatican II. What we have witnessed in the past fifty years is a well planned conspiracy to undermine the Mass and discredit the Catholic religion so that people will leave the Church and not be associated with Christ on the cross any longer. This provides one of the best meditations for the spiritual man.
For though it was never deemed that Christ be re-crucified in His Church, the sacrilegious scenario of today can nonetheless be turned on the devil`s head and used to deepen our meditation on the Passion, thus advancing our union with Christ.
For the lewdness and body exposure of today`s women in Church are the insulting scourges that violently beat and lacerate Our Lord`s most pure body. The denials and false protestations coming forth from the pulpit are the sharp thorns which today`s modernists are driving into Our Lord`s sacred head with the mallet of their intellectual pride. The excessive talking and celebration in the Church is a replay of the jeering crowd that danced around the cross as they too celebrated that the suffering Jesus was finally done away with.
And as in Our Lord`s time, so it is today that the scribes and high priests are the ones stirring up the people and leading this revolt against the cross. The Mystical Body is truly passing through its Passion! But the followers of Christ needn`t despair because Christ has given them the remedy to conquer this temptation, namely, the cross. The standard of the cross has been the victory of the saints and martyrs down through the ages of time.
If there is a lesson we learn from The Passion, it is that Jesus Christ can take a punch. When they stripped Him of His garments and cloaked Him with a purple rag, He didn`t drop dead with the first blow, but endured many hours of abuse. Likewise, when modernists stripped Our Lord of His royal, liturgical garments (Latin Tridentine), He didn`t just expire, but has continued with us, fulfilling His promise that He would remain with His Church "even to the consummation of the world." (Matthew 28:20)
The faithful of the last times are called upon to join with Christ at His tabernacle in imitation of the Holy Virgin and St. John who remained at the foot of the cross amidst the turmoil and sacrilege. Their example sets the stage for all the true apostles of the last days. Our calling as Christians is to walk "with Him and in Him" and to share in His cross, so that we can one day share in His resurrection. "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him." (2 Tim. 2:12)
Let us resolve then to do just that, knowing that this is the royal way of the cross that will lead us directly to the Kingdom of Heaven.