Worshiping the Lord of the Sabbath
If we let the liturgy mold us, forming our days and weeks and years, not dragging it into the turmoil of our superficial emotions, but letting it gently and firmly, draw us into its own rhythm, then we will find in it a true school of Christian living, a source of wisdom and inspiration, and more and more we shall find that it is not just an interruption of the day, but its very heart.
And the heart of that heart is, of course, the Mass, in which we bring ourselves symbolically in the bread and wine, offering ourselves in them on the altar, for the Lord to say to us “this is my Body,” so that everything that is in us may be caught up into that divine reality, that human-divine reality, of the body of Christ. This requires of us a complete surrender of self; if the Lord says “this is my Body,” it is no longer open to us to say “it is my body.” Once again the fundamental gesture is one of giving ourselves into the hands of God, but here it is most perfectly and completely expressed. In the Mass we present ourselves totally to him, and then receive ourselves back, transformed and consecrated, not as we were before in ourselves, but as we are in Christ, hidden and renewed. At the invitation to communion in the ancient liturgies the priest says “the holy things for the holy people”: the whole event is one great act of transubstantiation, making both us and the elements holy. It is not that we can claim to be holy in ourselves; but we have offered our unholiness, our sinfulness, and the Lord has accepted that offering and made it his own, uniting it with the mystery of his sacrificial death, in which death is destroyed, and with the mystery of his resurrection, that mystery of divine invincibility. The very unholiness and sinfulness that we offer is “transubstantiated” into the holiness and righteousness of God.