Sunday, May 6, 2018

Christ Our Passover has been Sacrificed

The celebration of the Sacred Liturgy takes us "inside" the miracle of that central event that defines all of history and is the beginning of the New Creation.

In the Roman Rite, the Preface that leads into the Eucharistic Prayer during the Easter Season is particularly rich in content and beautiful imagery. There are five options during Easter, which differ primarily in the middle, where several lines highlight different aspects of the Paschal Mystery.

We hear these words so often that we could easily get used to them and think that we have comprehended their meaning. However, the truth is that the text of the Mass provides a wealth of material for prayer and meditation, and there is value even in "spending time alone" with the Missal, letting ourselves be formed by the words used in the Church's public worship.

Below I have take the distinct sections from each of the five Prefaces and put them together. The priest publicly addresses these words to the Father, which I have indicated in brackets where the word "You" appears in the liturgical text.

Putting these brief passages together provides an opportunity to pray and ponder and contemplate the various facets of the "Immortal Diamond" that is the mystery of Salvation:

Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.

[1] He is the true Lamb who has taken away the sins of the world;
by dying he has destroyed our death,
and by rising, restored our life.

[2] Through him the children of light rise to eternal life
and the halls of the heavenly Kingdom are thrown open to the faithful;
for his Death is our ransom from death,
and in his rising the life of all has risen.

[3] He never ceases to offer himself for us
but defends us and ever pleads our cause before [the Father]:
he is the sacrificial Victim who dies no more,
the Lamb, once slain, who lives for ever.

[4] With the old order destroyed,
a universe cast down is renewed,
and integrity of life is restored to us in Christ.

[5] By the oblation of his Body,
he brought the sacrifices of old to fulfillment in the reality of the Cross and,
by commending himself to [the Father] for our salvation,
showed himself the Priest, the Altar,
and the Lamb of sacrifice.