OF THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS.
THE Eucharist is both Sacrament and Sacrifice.
There are several points of difference between the Eucharist as a Sacrament and as a Sacrifice. The efficacy of the Sacrifice
lies in its being offered, and of the Sacrament in its being received. The Eucharist as a Sacrament increases our merit, and
gives to the soul all the advantages that food gives to the body. As a Sacrifice the Eucharist is not only a source of merit
but also of satisfaction for sm. Again, the Eucharist as a Sacrament benefits only the person who communicates: if it obtains
graces and blessings for others, this happens only through the goodness of God. But as a Sacrifice the Eucharist is offered
for and benefits the whole Catholic Church, and its satisfactory power is extended to all faithful Christians living and dead.
Lastly, the chief end of the Holy Eucharist as a Sacrament is our own sanctification, while its chief end as a Sacrifice in
the Mass is the supreme worship of God. There is consequently a clear difference between the Eucharist as a Sacrament and
as a Sacrifice.
The Council of Trent (Sess. xxii. can.
22) defines the Mass to be a true and proper Sacrifice; and says "it is one and the same Victim and the same Offerer now offering
by the ministry of His priests Who then offered Himself on the Cross, only the manner of offering is different." The Council
has not defined a Sacrifice. Sacrifice is commonly held to be an offering of a substantial thing made to God by a fitting
minister through its destruction, or equivalent destruction. Sacrifice is made to God alone; 1 His supreme dominion over life
and death is shown in the destruction of the victim, to acknowledge God s supreme dominion and to appease Divine Justice when
sin has been com mitted.
The Mass, according to the Penny Catechism,
is the Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, really present on the altar under the appearance of bread and wine,
and offered to God for the living and the dead. In the Mass there is all that we need for a true Sacrifice:
(1) a visible thing, i.e., the Body and
Blood of Christ under the appearance of bread and wine;
(2) the offering is made by Christ through
(3) there is the mystical destruction in
the consecration of bread and wine;
(4) Mass is offered to God alone never
to saints or to our Lady;
(5) Mass is offered for the living and
dead, "for all faithful Christians living and dead," as the Church says at the Offertory.
1 See Trent,
Sess. xxii. cap. 3, where the Council teaches that though the Mass is said in honour and in the memory of the Saints, sacrifice
is offered not to them but to God alone who crowned them.