The Symbolism of the Offertory - Part 6

Second Part: The Symbolism of the Offertory

Totíus mundi salute – for the salvation of the whole world. These words are said when the priest offers the chalice.  The thought of countless souls deprived of the fruits of Redemption was a real martyrdom for Archbishop Lefebvre.  In a 1982 homily to his seminarians he said:

This is also the cause of the Church’s martyrdom, and must be your martyrdom too. If you do not understand that, if you are not martyrized by the sight of these souls that refuse Our Lord, then you are not really sons of the Church. (…) Like Our Lord, you must have the desire to pray, offer yourselves, suffer and give yourselves entirely to God so that souls might open their hearts and receive the Name of Jesus outside of which there is no salvation. (The Mass, p.63)

So here we have a reference to those who are at present in act, members of the Church and the others, all the others on the face of the earth who are called to be members of the Church, for whom Our Savior died, just as He did for you and for me.

The Council of Trent makes a reference to this when it teaches that,

It has been enjoined by the Church on priests, to mix water with the wine that is to be offered in the chalice; as well because it is believed that Christ the Lord did this, as also because from His side there came out blood and water; the memory of which mystery is renewed by this commixture; and, whereas in the apocalypse of blessed John, the peoples are called waters, the union of that faithful people with Christ their head is hereby represented. (Chapter 7)

In the Solemn High Mass, after the offering of the chalice, the subdeacon receives the humeral veil and holds the paten in plano, at the foot of the altar.  In that position he represents Our Lady of Sorrows accompanying Her divine Son during the Passion, Stabat Mater dolorosa, but he also represents the seraphim covering their face with their wings before the Majesty of the Thrice Most Holy, as in the vision of the prophet Isaiah.

I have already mentioned the reference to the souls in Purgatory when we omit the blessing of the water, during masses for the dead.

In one of the last prayers of the Offertory, the Suscipe Sancta Trinitas, one which expresses so profoundly our faith in the nature of the Sacrifice of the Mass, and which has simply been removed in the New Mass, we also have a beautiful profession of faith in the mystery of the communion of Saints, between the Saints in Heaven and the faithful on earth.  As the Council of Trent states,

the Church has been accustomed at times to celebrate, certain Masses in honour and memory of the saints. (Chapter 3)

So, by looking carefully at only a few simple rites and prayers of the Offertory, you see how the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass connects us with the 4,000 years of waiting for the Messiah in the Old Testament, with all the faithful since the Passion of Our Lord until the end of the world, with the Saints and Angels of Paradise, and with the souls in Purgatory.

The Sacrifice of Our Lord is truly at the same time the Sacrifice of His Mystical Body, the Church.