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He says that one articulate sound, expressing an idea by means of the human voice, is one and simple when it leaves the mouth of the speaker, but becomes multiplied indefinitely in the air by the sounds which, with perfect likeness of form and substance, strike the surrounding multitude. This is the result of a natural cause, by which unity is multiplied without division. Let us apply this thought to the Word incarnate, and the sacrifice of the cross He once offered for us; that sacrifice which, without ceasing to be one, is multiplied by the numberless sacrifices offered upon the altar, which all of them, everywhere and for ever, communicate to each one of the faithful the effects and merits of the first and only sacrifice of Christ. When, therefore, we assist at mass, we do not assist at a representation of the sacrifice of Calvary, but at that sacrifice itself, which is enduring.";
Christ is held by the Church to be the head and representative of the whole human race; and as such His sacrifice has its human aspect, looks up towards God, as well as looks down upon men. Thus it was not only the oblation of God to man, but of man to God. It was the meeting of the father and the prodigal son effected in Christ. It was the leaping up of crippled human nature in a rapture of thanksgiving, as well as a leaning over its sickbed by God to touch and heal it.
As the head of the human family Christ offered on the cross to God the sacrifice which alone could reconcile man and God, that sacrifice being the rejection of all that was opposed to the will of God and the welfare of mankind. And the will of God is our sanctification, that is the pacification of all that destroys the tranquillity and perfectability of our nature. Sacrifice is the self-devotion of the
Adelaide Capece Minutolo, by Mrs. A. Craven, 1869, p. 49.
whole being, the rightful homage due from the creature to the Creator; the true worship of God must always consist in sacrifice, not necessarily painful; painful when there is any contrariance to the will of God, but when there is complete union between man and God, there will be no immixture of suffering.
Take an illustration. Social life consists in sacrifice, that is in giving and taking. When there is political and social inequality, through injustice of law, there is pain in the relations between the members of the community, but when the interest of one is the interest of all, and vice verskî, there will be no suffering in the acts of giving and taking
The idea of sacrifice, originally one of sweet interchange between God and man, was modified by the introduction of sin into the world, and it acquired a new character of reparation, accompanied by suffering, the grating of love against the rough edges of a disorganized moral nature.
To restore the union between God and man, the link of sacrifice must be repaired, and this man was unable to effect himself. One alone could offer a full and perfect satisfaction and oblation. In the life and death of Christ, the idea received not merely its highest, but its sole adequate fulfilment. As the representative man, Christ was able to restore worship and sacrifice to their original purity. He did so by blunting the adventitious elements; and now the sacrifice, the only perfect sacrifice, is painless.
Worship by sacrifice was not destroyed by Christ, it was restored to its primitive integrity, to be once more the mode of communication to God of the love felt for Him by man. When a cause of estrangement has separated two friends so that their mutual offices of good will have ceased, or rather those performed by one have ceased to be reciprocated by the other, the removal of the cause of estrangement naturally restores the circle of loving offices; the reciprocation begins again.
As sacrifice was the exchange of love between God and unfallen man, and as, when man had fallen, man ceased to return to God that worship which was God's due, the restoration of man naturally restores the duty of sacrifice. The distinctive and supreme worship of Christians must still, as of old, be a worship by sacrifice, or it would not, strictly speaking, be worship at all.
But since the one great oblation has been offered, to which nothing can be added, and which cannot be repeated, the Christian sacrifice must be, not commemorative only, but identical with that on the Cross. For no other sacrifice is henceforth possible or conceivable. Every Christian prayer, indeed, commemorates the sacrifice of Christ, and is accepted through it; but the central act of worship must be that very sacrifice itself, though the manner of the oblation may differ. If the oblation is the same, the thing offered must be the same also. And therefore the real presence of the divine victim is essential to the reality of the sacrifice.
The full significance of the doctrine of the Eucharistic sacrifice will no doubt remain an enigma to all who do not love, but the theory need not be unintelligible. The observer may smile at the interchange of trifling presents made by two persons who love one another, but the moment he himself loves, the most trivial offerings are consecrated by affection.
“Let men only learn to love rather than to protest, and the whole conduct of the Catholic Church in the matter of worship will be no longer to them the riddle that it now is. It is altogether founded on the love of Jesus Christ
But love must interpret the conduct of love; cold hearts cannot discover its secrets."]
To give and to receive is the law of the world, their balance is life, the destruction of equipoise is death. Give to the hyacinth bulb as much water as it can reproduce in sap to swell its leaves and flowers, and it is vigorous. Steep it in an excess, and it rots. The water you give is your sacrifice to it, and its bloom and fragrance is the return offering to you. Overload a child with benefits, and it becomes selfish and hard; teach it to make return by acts of courtesy, love, and attention, and it grows up full of moral beauty.
When a man has been to some expense, or undergone great hardships, or has sacrificed his health for the good of his native country, or his class, a return is made, he is created a baronet or a peer, a monument is erected to him, or he is honoured with a banquet and an ovation, a street is named after him, or he is presented with the freedom of his city. This is so natural, that not to make return and offer compensation is considered mean and ungenerous.
It would be strange indeed if this instinct found no expression in Christianity.
Christian worship is this expression. It is compensation offered to Him Who, for our sakes, became of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man.
Dr. Newman has eloquently developed this theory in one of his sermons. “ The Son of God,” he says, “came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But He came in order to make them receive Him, know Him, and worship Him. When He came, He had not a place wherein to lay
| In Spirit and in Truth, p. 278.
His head; but He came to make Himself a place, to make Himself a home, to make Himself houses, to fashion for Himself a glorious dwelling out of this whole world, which the powers of evil had taken captive. He came in the dark, in a cave under ground; in a cave where cattle were stabled, there was He housed; in a rude manger was He laid. There first He laid His head; but He meant not there to remain for ever. He came into that cave to leave it :-pass a few generations, and the whole face of things is changed; the earth is covered with His temples. Go where you will, you find the eternal mountains hewn and fashioned into shrines where He may dwell, who was an outcast in the days of His flesh. Rivers and mines pay tribute of their richest jewels; the skill of man is put to task to use what nature furnishes. Go through the countries where His name is known, and you will find all that is rarest and most wonderful in nature and art has been consecrated to Him. Kings' palaces are poor, whether in architecture or in decoration, compared with the shrines which they have reared to Him."
But the Protestant objection to this theory of worship is, that as Christ was on earth in simplicity and poverty, He is best pleased that simplicity and meanness should characterize His service now.
Let the houses of squire and parson be snug and luxurious, and even the cottage of the peasant be clean, but let the Church of God be bald, bare, and dusty.
If a mother had denied herself food, worn her patched threadbare gown in the frost, and thin shoes in the wet, that her son might be provided with a good education and be well apprenticed, would it be feeling and right in him, when rich, to repay her with a crust of bread, and condemn her to tatters. Even if she did not want what he