“When the priest pronounces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from His throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the Victim for the sins of man.”
In his book The Faith of Millions, John O’Brien*, a Catholic priest and full Professor of Theology at Notre Dame, explains the procedure of the mass.
“When the priest pronounces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from His throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the Victim for the sins of man. It is a power greater than that of monarchs and emperors: it is greater than that of saints and angels, greater than that of Seraphim and Cherubim. Indeed, it is greater even than the power of the Virgin Mary. While the Blessed Virgin was the human agency by which Christ became incarnate a single time, the priest brings Christ down from heaven, and renders Him present on our altar as the eternal Victim for the sins of man—not once but a thousand times! The priest speaks and lo! Christ, the eternal and omnipotent God, bows His head in humble obedience to the priest’s command.”
For the Messiah did not enter a sanctuary made with hands (only a model of the true one) but into heaven itself, so that He might now appear in the presence of God for us. He did not do this to offer Himself many times, as the high priest enters the sanctuary yearly with the blood of another. Otherwise, He would have had to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. But now He has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment— so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. (Hebrews 9:24-28)
Someone please help me…
*John O’Brian, Research Professor of Theology at Notre Dame
Born 20 January 1893 in Peoria, Illinois, John A. O’Brien attended St. Patrick School, the Spalding Institute, Holy Cross College (Worcester, Massachusetts), and St. Viator’s College (Bourbonnais, Illinois). Bishop Edmund M. Dunne ordained him as a priest of the Diocese of Peoria and he celebrated his first Mass 18 June 1916. He served as chaplain for the Catholic students at the University of Illinois and earned a Ph.D. in psychology there. He started the Newman Foundation at the University of Illinois. He began his career as an author of Catholic books by organizing symposia (Catholics and Scholarship and The White Harvest) and writing about Evolution and Religion. In 1938 he published a book about Catholicism called The Faith of Millions which became a best seller (200,000 copies by 1945), was reprinted in 27 editions, and was translated into 10 languages. He remained at the University of Illinois for twenty-two years. In 1939 he spent a year at Oxford University and produced a book about communism, Thunder from the Left.
For the rest of his life he taught, and wrote, at the University of Notre Dame. Father O’Brien believed that Catholics ought to work actively to convert others to the Catholic faith; he participated in crusades to that end, organized campaigns in 50 American dioceses, spent his summers preaching in the streets of southern cities, published articles in popular magazines, and wrote pamphlets to promote missionary efforts and explain the doctrines of the Catholic Church. He continued to consider issues involving conflicts of secular and Catholic beliefs — anti-Catholicism, birth and population control, priestly celibacy, communism, evolution, science, sex education — and participated in friendly discussions with Protestants, Jews, Masons, and other non-Catholic groups. He wrote 45 books and hundreds of pamphlets and articles. In 1973, the University of Notre Dame awarded him the Laetare Medal. He died 18 April 1980 in South Bend, Indiana.