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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

God Demands a Holy Sacrifice: Supra Quae Propitio Featured

By:   Father Ladis J. Cizik
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Melchizedek blessing Abraham Melchizedek blessing Abraham
In Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

God demands Sacrifice on an Altar; not a "happy meal" on a table.  In addition, God does NOT love you "just the way you are," as is repeated so often at all levels of the Novus Ordo Church.  God loves you BUT God demands that you strive to be holy.  This is consistent with the traditional way in which we refer to the Mass as the "Holy Sacrifice."  This is all explained in the Supra quae propitio prayer in the Canon of the Traditional  Missale Romanum.

God demands Sacrifice on an Altar.  The Only-Begotten Son of God came to earth to offer Himself on the Altar of the Cross as the Perfect Sacrifice in atonement for our sins.  In contrast, nearly fifteen-hundred years after the Sacrificial Death of Christ, Protestants invented a "memorial meal" to be celebrated on a table at a time when faithful Catholics continued offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on an Altar.  For Protestants who are limited in their faith to "Sola Scriptura" (the Bible alone), it is remarkable that they seem to forget that even from Old Testament times in the Bible, and continuing in the New Testament with the Death of Christ on Calvary, God demanded sacrifice.

The Supra quae propitio prayer, following soon after the Consecration, affirms that the Mass is a Holy Sacrifice: "Deign to look upon them with a favorable and serene countenance, and to accept them as Thou didst accept the offerings of Thy just child Abel, and the sacrifice of our Patriarch Abraham, and that which Thy high priest Melchisedech offered up to Thee, a Holy Sacrifice, an Immaculate Victim."

The Catholic Church has traditionally taught the unchanging truth that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is first and foremost an unbloody re-presentation of Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ’s, Sacrifice on the Altar of the Cross.  The sacrifices of Abel, Abraham and Melchisedech are "types" which prefigure or anticipate the Holy Sacrifice of the Immaculate Victim, Our Lord Jesus Christ, on Calvary.  

The Supra quae propitio asks Almighty God (the Father) to look upon our offerings at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with a "favorable and serene countenance" (propitio ac sereno vultu) as once He accepted the sacrifices of Abel, Abraham and Melchisedech.  Of course, their offerings can never be considered on a par with Christ’s singular Sacrifice on Calvary, re-presented in an unbloody manner at the Mass – so why make such a request of the Almighty?

Of this concern, Father Nicholas Gihr writes in his classic book, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:  "In so far as Christ on the Altar offers Himself, the Eucharistic sacrifice is ever absolutely pleasing to God; to beg for a favorable acceptance of the Sacrifice of Christ from this standpoint, or to even place it on the same plane with the ancient sacrifices, is out of question, and consequently cannot be the meaning of our prayer."  Gihr concludes:  "The comparison is made between us and those devout patriarchs.  We pray that our oblation may be agreeable and pleasing in the eyes of God as were the sacrifices of those saints of ancient times … For the value of an offering depends not alone on the quality of the gift, but also and principally on the dignity and holiness of the person who offers it." 

Hence, even though the Divine Victim offered at Mass is infinitely pleasing to God, He prefers to receive this spotless Sacrifice from hands and minds that are pure and holy – in imitation of Abel, Abraham and Melchisedech.  Hence, God does not love us "just the way we are;" rather, the Almighty wants us to live and to strive to approach the Altar of Sacrifice in a manner that who we are and what we bring will be will looked upon by God with a favorable and serene countenance.

That is why the Priest and the people should make frequent use of the Sacrament of Confession to ensure that we approach the Altar in a state of grace.  Just as one cannot receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin, one should not have the audacity to presume that an unrepentant disposition would be pleasing to God.  On any given day, we should all be shamefully aware of our own sinfulness, unworthiness and imperfections.  The Priest, therefore, "begs" God in the Supra quae propitio to accept our offerings.  Among these offerings, Father Gihr notes that the faithful "place ourselves with all our works and prayers, desires and concerns, as a sacrificial gift upon the altar" – beseeching God to be pleased to accept them.

The sacrifices of Abel, Abraham and Melchisedech were pleasing to God because of the purity of their intentions and their souls.  In addition, God knew that their offerings of old prefigured the future perfect Sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son:

1)  Abel was a just (justi) child (pueri) of God who suffered death innocently, as did the Son of God, Jesus Christ.  The sacrifice of Abel (Gen 4:4) was the "firstlings of his flock," calling to mind that Jesus would be called the sinless "Lamb of God."

2)  Abraham is referred to as our Patriarch (Patriarchae).  As such he is also known as "Our Father in Faith."  His willingness to sacrifice his innocent son, Isaac, in obedience to the command of the Almighty (Gen 22:2), foreshadows God the Father’s Holy Will that His dearly beloved Only-Begotten Son should suffer and die on the Altar of the Cross as a sinless Sacrifice for our salvation.

3) Melchisedech, the High Priest (summus saccerdos) and King of Salem was a type of the Eternal High Priest, Christ the King.  The primary duty of a Priest is to offer sacrifice to God.  Melchisedech’s offering of bread and wine (Gen 14:18) calls to mind Jesus offering the Sacrifice of His Body and Blood at the First Mass during the Last Supper, using the Divinely chosen elements of  bread and wine.

These three sacrifices from the beginning of the Bible, indeed from the beginning of creation, demonstrate that God has always demanded sacrifice from his faithful servants.  That is why it is incomprehensible that the 16th century Sola Scriptura Protestant "De"-formation of the Church would  replace the venerable Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with a mere memorial meal.  Never in the Bible, or according to Sacred Tradition, did God ever direct that a meal replace sacrifice in offering worship to His Divine Majesty.  Indeed, even the Passover Meal of the Jews involved the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb, which foreshadowed Jesus’ ultimate Sacrifice as the sinless "Lamb of God."

In addition, Christ’s salvific Death on the Cross put an end to God’s demand for animal sacrifice under the Old Covenant.  Under the New and Eternal Covenant, sealed by the Precious Blood of Our Lord and God Jesus Christ, the ONLY acceptable sacrifice is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, re-presenting Christ’s Sacrifice on Calvary.  The Protestant and Modernist notion of a "happy meal" centered around a "table" is an egregious insult to the suffering that Jesus Christ endured on the "Altar" of the Cross for our salvation.  There was not a "joyful celebration" at the Last Supper, the First Mass; nor was there a banquet and rejoicing going on at Calvary by His disciples in the sight of our Crucified Savior.

The accepted offering of Abel in the Supra quae propitio calls to mind that the offering of Cain (Gen 4:5) was rejected by Almighty God.  The Almighty demands a Holy Sacrifice from people whose thoughts, words and actions are obedient to His Holy Will.  When we are in a state of grace and do God’s Holy Will, we are looked upon with His favorable and serene countenance.  Cain decided to give to God what Cain thought best – and Cain was rejected.  When Protestants and Modernists reject the Divinely-chosen God-centered Tradition of the Mass as a Holy Sacrifice, and replace it with a man-fabricated man-centered meal, then they too will be rejected.

In Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

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