A month or so ago, when preparing to give a little instruction on the Mass, I came across some beautiful words by St. Cyprian of Carthage. I saved them to share here at some point. I guess that point is now 🙂 [I do, however, feel a bit awkward and inadequate in covering such an awesome topic.]
The above-mentioned Church Father wrote:
“For because Christ bore us all, in that He also bore our sins, we see that in the water is understood the people, but in the wine is showed the blood of Christ. But when the water is mingled in the cup with wine, the people [are] made one with Christ, and the assembly of believers is associated and conjoined with Him on whom it believes; which association and conjunction of water and wine is so mingled in the Lord’s cup, that that mixture cannot any more be separated…. nothing can separate the Church — that is, the people established in the Church, faithfully and firmly persevering in that which they have believed — from Christ, in such a way as to prevent their undivided love from always abiding and adhering..”
He also points out that as there are many grains gathered into one bread, there are many people united in Christ.
It is so important that we think about what’s going on at Mass. We don’t want to simply ‘hear Mass’ as an unfortunate old expression goes. We want to take part.
I remember hearing a talk (probably when I was in college) which helps me to this day. The speaker encouraged us to present ourselves: all that we have and are, even our needs and concerns, on the altar at the time of offertory. She spoke of the power of this offering.
I still try to do this every time I attend Mass. It is beautiful that we are able to do this, to unite ourselves with Jesus and His offering.
As St. Cyprian says, as the water and wine mingle and are no longer separated, so we hope to be united with Our Lord, especially in our participation at Mass.
Photo Credit: justingridveritasluxmea.blogspot.com