Some Thoughts on The Sacrifice of the Mass
I was reading the last chapter of Jeff Pinyan's new book, Praying the Mass, where he quoted from Mediator Dei, Pope Pius 12th's encyclical on the liturgy. The pope was encouraging the faithful to present themselves to God along with the Eucharistic sacrifice. While the priest, by virtue of his holy orders, has the singular privilege of offering the un-bloody sacrifice to God, we too offer ourselves to God in union with Jesus sacrifice in the Eucharist. "Nor should Christians forget to offer themselves, their cares, their sorrows, their distress and their necessities in union with their divine Savior upon the Cross." These are the spiritual sacrifices we can offer up that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.(1 Pet. 2:5)
Thinking of the Mass this way really invites and necessitates our participation. It moves us from observer to active participant, which is what is intended by the liturgy. Perhaps those who say they don't get anything out of going to Mass are not allowing themselves to participate in the sacrifice that is being offered. You have to give to get.
Is the Sacrifice of the Mass a medieval invention of the Catholic Church? Reading the writings of the Early Church would prove it is not:
"Assemble on the Lord’s day, and break bread and offer the Eucharist; but first make confession of your faults, so that your sacrifice may be a pure one. Anyone who has a difference with his fellow is not to take part with you until he has been reconciled, so as to avoid any profanation of your sacrifice [Matt. 5:23–24]. For this is the offering of which the Lord has said, ‘Everywhere and always bring me a sacrifice that is undefiled, for I am a great king, says the Lord, and my name is the wonder of nations’ [Mal. 1:11, 14]" (Didache A.D. 70).