4th Point: The Spirit of the Offertory continued.....
We see here the link, the dramatic link between the infinite value of the Sacrifice of Our Lord, vastly sufficient to redeem the whole world, and all the interior problems of personal sanctification. This relation is such, writes Fr. Combes, that each one of us, each soul carries within itself the responsibility of the concrete failures of the Redemption. Each sinful autonomy, every lack of generosity partially renders inefficient the Sacrifice which by right should save a million worlds.
However, it goes both ways, Father Combes rightly points out. If selfishness paralyses Redemption, fidelity fulfills it. And it is no longer just about one’s personal sanctity, it is the secret to render effective the sanctification of all souls.
Let us continue with the words of St Therese Couderc herself, how she understood this total offering of oneself, ‘se livrer’.
But then, what does it mean to hand oneself over? I understand the whole extension of this word ‘to hand oneself over’ but I can’t explain it. I only know that it is very vast, that it includes the present and the future. To hand oneself over is more than to be devoted to, it is more than the gift of self, it is even more than to abandon oneself to God. To hand oneself over is to die to all and to self, to have no more care of oneself except to make sure it is always turned towards God. Moreover, to hand oneself over, it is also to seek ourselves in nothing, whether for the spiritual or for the corporal, I mean to no longer seek any personal satisfaction, but only the divine good pleasure. We must add that to hand oneself over is also that spirit of detachment that holds on nothing, whether persons, things, time, places. It is to cling to all, to accept all, to submit ourselves to all.
That is a beautiful description of what the offertory signifies for our spiritual life.
I would dare say that, secundum quid, from this point of view, quoad nos, for us, the Offertory could be the most important moment of the Holy Mass. And it is all signified, we could add, in these few drops of water, blessed by the priest, and mingled to the wine.
As we have briefly seen with St Therese Couderc, we must give our consent, our ‘yes’ to the mystery of the Redemption. That is our part in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The Hebrews were told to eat the Pascal Lamb, with bitter herbs, standing, holding a walking stick. All this was a clear figure that we must unite ourselves to the Holy Eucharist by bringing to it our own consents, our own crosses, and our own little and big sacrifices.
This is expressed in these drops of water. When we see the priest at the Epistle side blessing the water and pouring it in the chalice, let us ask ourselves, What have I done since my last mass that can be offered on the altar, in the chalice? Have I consented to all the sacrifices my Savior has asked from me? Oh, I know that it can be so hard at times to give that ‘yes’ to the Will of God!
Yes to a sickness that breaks bright projects, a promising future, yes to a vocation, to yet another child, to an act of forgiveness, to a humiliation, to an act of obedience !