Sunday, August 15, 2010

On Sacrifice and Holy Fire

I have always been impressed by the image of sacrifice shown to us in the book of Kings (18:36-39):
And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that thou, O LORD, art God, and that thou hast turned their hearts back." Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God."
I can picture this scene in my mind very vividly.  After witnessing this scene in which Elijah calls God down upon the sacrificial offering, perhaps we might expect that God would greet us in a similar fashion every time we experience the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the event in which we encounter, face to face, the One Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. After all, God indeed descends upon our gifts in the divine fire of the Holy Spirit. And yet, what we see is not a display of magnificence, but rather a display of ultimate humility as God gives of Himself for us and shares with us the eternal Gift of Himself, inviting and making us by grace to be partakers of His own divine nature and life. And in the face of THAT, what else can we do but fall on our faces also, exclaiming, "The Lord, he is God!"

1 comment:

Christopher said...

Thanks for this brief reflection on the sacrifice of the Mass. I really enjoyed the Kings quotation as an image of the Holy Spirit's descent on the gifts of bread and wine. Very powerful!

Fraternally in Dominic,


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