A Catholic Monthly Magazine

The Mind of Christ the Mass and You – Part 2 of 2

Fr Tony King SM

Contact with the Mind of Christ

What do we need then to ensure that the power of the Mass to transform our minds is in fact efficacious? An intense, constantly renewed desire that Christ’s mind should become our mind, a willingness to seek this, together with a recognition that we depend more on his grace than on our efforts.

In a word, we make the moment of our presence at, and our offering of the Mass and of ourselves, a moment of total sincerity. We are not unmindful of our many failures, but we do not allow them to impede us from entering wholeheartedly into this supreme act of loving obedience that is Christ’s. We express genuine sorrow for our sins, then press on so that Christ can catch us up into his own self-surrender for the redemption of this world. While joining with Christ our High Priest in giving glory to the Almighty Father, we confidently expect Christ to work effectively at our transformation, because we are seeking this within the sacramental framework of His own supreme act of reverence that has become ours.

We have two points, or manners, of contact during the Mass with the supreme expression of Christ’s mind: one is in our offering of that sublime act of Christ as the expression of our own personal dedication to the Father; the other is in communion with Christ made present sacramentally in his sacrificial oblation.

Offering and Communion

With regard to that contact which is our offering: in a sense, we can say that the whole point about the Mass is that what is offered should truly stand for us. Of course, the Mass simply as an offering gives infinite glory to the Father, because it is Christ’s offering of himself sacramentalised. But Christ left the sacrifice to the Church, to us, the people of God, so that it could become our sacrifice.

Now, in sacrifice, what God looks at first and foremost, is not what is offered, but the minds and hearts of the ones offering, expressed by the sacrificial gifts. Even in Christ’s sacrifice, it was not the agonising death as such that gave glory to the Father, but the loving surrender to which his death gave witness. “He was heard for his reverence”, says Hebrews (5:7).

When Christ’s sacrifice is offered anew, sacramentally in the Mass, not only by the Head of the Church and High Priest, but by the whole Church, the Father wants to see this new oblation as truly expressing our reverence, the reverence of minds seeking to be in tune with the mind of Christ. If, then, we are making our presence at, and our offering of the Mass, to the Father a moment of real sincerity, this then is how I see it:

We offer a gift to God in sacrifice, the gift stands for the giver -- us. We put ourselves into the gift, as it were, so that it truly bears us and our reverence to God.

We start with simple things, bread and wine, but they are not at all bad, because they easily signify our lives and ourselves, which must be sustained by food. And then we know our simple gifts will be transformed into Christ’s Body and Blood. If we were not so familiar with everything, we would be absolutely startled to find that what we are offering to God as a symbol of ourselves contains the most sublime expression of dedication to God ever offered on earth. There is no proportion at all between our reverence and the reverence living in the very gift we make as a sign of ourselves.

No matter! It is our Head who gave us this great gift so that the whole Church, Head and members, could still give great praise to our one Father. And if we make this great sacrifice become a loud cry of our sincere desire to have as our own the mind of Christ, then the flood of grace won for us by Christ, will make us that, increasingly.

Though the disproportion between the reverence within the Christ-gift we offer and within ourselves will always remain, there is another reason why we need not be disturbed.

We do not only offer Christ in his oblation as the sign of ourselves and of our sincerity in desire. He also comes to us in the sacramental efficacy of the oblation, to achieve ever more and more profoundly within us that to which we have sought to give expression. Communion with Christ, during the sacramental representation of his sacrifice, is the second great way that we actually contact the Lord, in the sovereign expression of his mind.

We can certainly trust him in the work of transforming our minds into the likeness of his own mind.   

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