Bearers of the Preborn Christ


Recollections By Patrick O’Donnell from a Teaching of the Mass

Given by Fr. Michael McNamara of Servants of Christ Ministries

Given December 18, 2002

© 2002 Precious Life Ministries


The Marriage of God and Man

One Explanation of the Mass


Overview:  There is a traditional aspect of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that is not currently taught, that if taught and emphasized, may help orient people to the value of human life and the human body in light of God’s value of the same.   The simple premise that, as the Trinity is “communion of the communion” [Original Unity of Man and Woman; Pope John Paul II, March Talk}.  In explanation, the Holy Trinity is a communion of the three persons of God – Father, Son and the Holy Ghost.  The Mass is God’s initiation to humanity, collectively and individually [the Church as Bride], to enter into communion with God, specifically with the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.  This communion is bet understood by us mere, sinful humans in terms of nuptials, as in marital covenant relationship with vows.  Jesus Christ, as the Bridegroom has sent His Holy Spirit, the initiator, to His bride, the Church.  Inspired and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, the Church, the Bride, responds to its bridegroom, Jesus Christ, who courts her by word as well as by laying down His life, His Body and Blood, for her.  As one with Jesus Christ, the Church dies in Baptism to be raised with Jesus Christ, her Bridegroom, in His Resurrection.  To be one with Jesus Christ, we must be of one spirit, one heart and, then consummate the marriage, two becoming one, by way of Communion, hence the Mass.


Chasuble or Alb – The White vestments the priest wears represents the white clothing worn during Baptism, or simply Our Baptism.  Purity, innocence, washed in the Blood of the Lamb.


Stole – the long band-like vestment worn by the priest about his neck and falling to about his knees.  This represents the yoke as on oxen, the surrender to God’s guidance, the submission of the spouse to her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.


Cincture – The cord worn by the priest about his waist to hold the Alb close to his body.  A sign that of being all together.  You get right with God and everything else will fall into place.  There is order to God’s plan.


Chasuble – The large outer vestment worn by the priest that covers his body.  This garment usually seamless as was Christ’s garment when taken from Him at the cross, represents unity with Christ as one.


Jesus shares with his people His priestly, kingly and prophetic mission.  The colors of the Chasuble identify with Christ in his various roles.  The bluish/purple color for Advent represents penance and conversion, but also reflects the bluish/purple that was reserved for Kings and royalty in days of old.  As adopted children, the baptized are royalty.  The reddish/purple color for Lent also represents penance and conversion, but also represents martyrdom, or sacrifice of life.  As so many prophets suffered loss of life, so does Jesus Christ.  We are called to sacrifice our life, spiritually first, and may be physically as well.  This is for the prophetic role that we are called to share with Christ.  Are we prepared to live proclaiming God’s word, or the Gospel, willing to suffer for this as the prophets have done?  At least, we must be preparing ourselves to do so.  The white is used during the two liturgical seasons of Christmas and Easter.  The white represents purity and integrity of life.  It also gives a foretaste of eternal life in heaven.  Green, worn during Ordinary Time, represents hope and the vitality of the life of faith.  This is for the priestly mission of Christ, the life giving aspect of Jesus Christ.


Altar:  Usually set upon steps, typically three, symbolic of the Trinity.  A wooden altar represents the cross, a stone altar represents Calvary.  The separation of the sanctuary from the rest of the church is because the sanctuary represents heaven.  The altar itself also represents the body of Jesus Christ and is kissed by the priest upon entrance into the sanctuary at the beginning of the Mass.


Two candles:  The two candles, each set at one of the front corners of the altar, represent the dual natures of Jesus Christ, human and divine.


Liturgy of the Word:  This is the banquet.  This is when there is a reading of an Old Testament passage, a Psalm Response, a New Testament passage, and a Gospel reading.  The readings are for us to Feast on, feasting on the Word of God.  [One does not live on bread alone, but on the Word of God.]  The Old Testament is read with Christ in mind, while the Psalm is identification with Christ who prayed the Psalms while on earth, the New Testament further expands on the Gospel reading and the Gospel reading is directly about Christ.  Christ is present.


The Alleluia:  During the first two readings and the Psalm response, the people are sitting as if waiting, representative of the cemetery [meaning “the waiting place”].  Upon the first Alleluia, representative of the angels praising God, those in the cemetery will rise – the Resurrection – and join the angels in singing Alleluia.  In like manner, those at Mass will rise and respond with the first Alleluia.


Preparation of the Gifts: The bread and wine is representative of God’s work in the wheat and grape, and man’s labor in preparing the bread and wine.  The addition of water, representative of humanity (possibly the baptized with Spirit), to the wine, representing Jesus Christ’s divinity.  The water, once united with Christ, can not be separated from the wine.  The water and wine are also representative of the water and wine that gushed forth from the heart of Christ after the piercing through His side by a lance following His death on the Cross.


The Holy, Holy, Holy:  Unity with the adoring angels and elders in heaven as described in Revelation. 


Liturgy of the Eucharist:  This is leaving of the banquet table and entry to the bridal chamber with the intentions of consummating the love or marriage of Jesus Christ with His bride, the Church.  This begins with the priest approaching the Altar.  The consecration is when Jesus Christ spiritually lays his life down for his Bride, the Church.  His death was at one point in time, on Calvary, 2,000 years ago, and that was sufficient to redeem all of mankind.  He does not lay His life down again, but as there is no time in heaven, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s life may be remembered in the temporal world while spiritually we are one with Jesus Christ on the Cross.  His one and only sacrifice transcends time and space and we can be present at that one sacrifice during the Mass.


This sacrifice is begun with the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, the host, formerly bread.  To preserve faith, the bread retains all apparent properties of bread, but is Jesus Christ, body and soul.  He comes to sacrifice, to cleanse His Bride, to demonstrate His love for His bride. 


Communion:  The receiving of the host, Jesus Christ, in Body and Soul, is the joining of two to become one, as in Genesis – “two become one” in describing the union of Adam and Eve.  Here we are talking about Jesus Christ becoming one with the communicant – collectively His Church.  This is as in the consummation of the marriage of Jesus Christ with the communicant, His Church, God and Humanity.


The bearing of Jesus Christ after communion is as Mary bore Jesus during her pregnancy through his nine months in her womb.  One, but distinctly two persons, not unlike in marriage.


Final Blessing:  It is not enough to be one with Jesus Christ in the Church, but we are to be one with him in the world, and the blessing is to do just that throughout your life.  To live an integrated life, one with Jesus Christ always, not just while in church.


            See Galatians 4:19     My children, I labor until Christ is formed within you.


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