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What do a sense of the spiritual, of the sacred and of sin all have in common? They are all necessary for the sense of sacrifice.
One of the main reasons why many people don't go to Mass is that they are lacking in any number of the first three senses and therefore see no need for the fourth.
Evidence is that they, and even many of those attending, see Mass as a sacrifice only in the sense that they have to sacrifice time in their busy lives to get there. They seem to see no need in their lives for adoration, reparation, thanksgiving and petition, (the four ends of the Mass) or to "derive from [the Eucharistic celebration] the many fruits for which Christ, the Lord instituted the Eucharist Sacrifice" (Code of Canon Law, 899, 3).
Equally, there are fewer vocations because of the example of priests who, by their words and actions, appear not to believe in the sacrifice of the Mass, either.
Yet, the Code of Canon Law (904) exhorts priests to "remember always that in the mystery of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the work of redemption is continually being carried out". I don't think there would ever have been a period more in need of redemption than our times. Yet many priests seem unwilling to sacrifice time from their day to offer the Supreme Sacrifice.
However, recently at daily Mass we heard again the story of Abraham willing to sacrifice Isaac in obedience to God's call, so for a priest not to give up simply a little time each day in obedience to the directive that "priests are to celebrate [the Eucharistic Sacrifice] frequently, indeed daily, as their principal role" (ibid) is really a shameful example of the loss of the sense of sacrifice.
Where all the related senses and the understanding of the Sacrifice of the Mass have been revived, both congregation and priest numbers have increased.
M.A. ROSS (MRS)
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 18 No 7 (August 2005), p. 15
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