Since Christ Our Passover Has Been Sacrificed

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All you who have been baptized into Christ / Have put on Christ.

Saint Melito of Sardis writes, “In Abel he was slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob exiled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die.”  Christ was in all the Old Testament types.  If we are in Christ by baptism, then we are in all the Old Testament types.  In Abel we were slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob exiled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die.  Our pilgrimage, our suffering, our cross have meaning when we join them to Christ’s fasting, praying, sweating blood, and being scourged.

The Passion has brought about our atonement, our at-one-ment with Christ.  Through His passion and cross we hope to be brought to the joy of his resurrection.  He is “the priest through whom we have been reconciled, the sacrifice by which we have been reconciled, the temple in which we have been reconciled, the God with whom we have been reconciled” (Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe).  He is at once priest and sacrifice, God and temple.

Since Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith and the first fruits of the resurrection, our participation in his divine life comes about through His action.  His incarnation makes our salvation possible.  God loves us as He loves His own son.

This theosis is made possible by the incarnation.  Tertullian calls the flesh the “hinge of salvation.”  As we offer our bodies a living sacrifice, God offers his flesh to us the in the Eucharist.  Saint Catherine of Sienna writes, “We image your divinity, but you image our humanity in that union of the two which you have worked in man.  You have veiled the Godhead in a cloud, in the clay of our humanity.”  The clay of Christ, His body, is the source of our hope.  Because He sits at the right hand of the Father as a divine person, we know that our frail flesh can enter heaven.

If the body of Christ in heaven assures us of our salvation, the body on Christ on earth is our sanctification.  J. R. R. Tolkien told his son, “Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: The Blessed Sacrament…There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth.”  All goodness flows from Christ as from an ocean.  All beauty looks to Him as its Maker.  All truth springs from Him as from a well of living water.

He is the fulfillment of all desire, the end of all our searching, our first cause and our final cause.  When Saint Augustine was baptized, he prayed, “Too late have I known Thee, O Thou Ancient Truth; too late have I found Thee, First and only Fair.”  We repent for the wasted time, the days of idleness, the years of complacency.  Yet He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.

Saint Ambrose: “I ardently desire to have Him as my Savior whom I am unable to withstand as my judge.”  We face a paradox:  He Who is Justice is also Mercy.  The greatest love and greatest wrath spring from the same source:  the infinity of God’s goodness.  Struck to the heart with awe, we pray with Ignatius of Antioch: “Let our striving for your kingdom not fall short through selfishness or fear: may the universe be alive with the Spirit, and our homes be the pledge of a world redeemed.”  Our lives and homes image the world to come.  The Old Testament is the shadow, the New Testament the icon, and the eschaton the reality.  We know not yet what we shall be.

Through the liturgy we gain a foretaste of heaven while yet on earth.  Liturgy derives from the Greek for “public service.”  God has made our communal work acceptable to Him.  He has deigned to accept our offerings.  In the Divine Liturgy we pray, “through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Savior save us.”  Christ came through Mary, He comes through Mary, and He will come through Mary.  St. Louis de Montfort reads the story of Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Esau as a Marian image.  He identifies Esau with the world, that sold its birthright for food and desires the approval of both God and man.  Esau works outside, pursuing the things of the world and not caring for his mother.  Isaac works inside and represents the contemplative, cultivating the interior life.  When Isaac tells Esau to kill game and make soup for him so his father can bless him, Rebekah overhears and tells Jacob to bring her two kids from the flock.  These two kids that we bring to Mother Mary are our body and our soul.  She skins them, mortifies them, and makes them acceptable for God.  Since Christ has given His body and soul for us through Mary, we offer our souls and bodies back to Him through the same vessel of mercy.

Mary Proffit Kimmel

Mary Proffit Kimmel

Mary Proffit Kimmel teaches literature, Greek, and Latin and attends St. Basil the Great Byzantine Catholic Church.

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1 thought on “Since Christ Our Passover Has Been Sacrificed”

  1. douglas kraeger

    I liked very much the quotes from the Saints. Thank you. I have never taken the time to study as in depth as you have been blessed to do. Mine is more speculative study.
    Concerning your last line: ” Since Christ has given His body and soul for us through Mary, we offer our souls and bodies back to Him through the same vessel of mercy.” I agree completely, but I ask, Can we take it a bit further by considering Jesus, True God and True man?
    Specifically: If we take as a given, self-evident fact, that God, in order to be truly God and the Creator of all time and space, and infinitely all-Knowing; God can have only one, single, infinite, indivisible (perfectly simple) always in the present tense thought, in which God the Father thinks of His Name, (the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit) everything He is, does, and shares with God the Son and with God the Holy Spirit, thinks of all the events in time and space, all the thoughts and actions of men and angels, His entire plan to “reconcile all things in Christ” (2 Cor. 2:19), by His Blood (Col. 1:20) and by His prayer on the Cross, a prayer for all sinners at each and every point of space and time because His prayer is for all:
    Consider also that the Church teaches in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, at 2666, that “But the one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in his incarnation: JESUS. the divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity the Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: “Jesus,” “YHWH saves.”16 The name “Jesus” contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray “Jesus” is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies”
    and 2668 “The invocation of the holy name of Jesus is the simplest way of praying always. When the holy name is repeated often by a humbly attentive heart, the prayer is not lost by heaping up empty phrases,19 but holds fast to the word and “brings forth fruit with patience”

    and at 2741 “Jesus also prays for us – in our place and on our behalf. All our petitions were gathered up, once for all, in his cry on the Cross and, in his Resurrection, heard by the Father. This is why he never ceases to intercede for us with the Father.32 If our prayer is resolutely united with that of Jesus, in trust and boldness as children, we obtain all that we ask in his name, even more than any particular thing: the Holy Spirit himself, who contains all gifts.”

    My idea is that since Mary believed Her Son to be the Son of God, one in being with the Father, therefore God, She resolutely united Her prayers to His praying of His Name, “Jesus” because She knew that the Father could have no other thought than the Name of the Son which also must be the Name of the Father if they share everything infinitely, which they must in orderfor both be infinite God, AND she knew that Jesus truly honored St. Joseph as the head of the family because He did so for thirty years revealing that the single, infinite, eternal, changeless, eternally in the present tense Divine Will of God was to honor St. Joseph with the authority and obligations of a Jewish Head of the Family AND THEREFORE Mary offered Her prayers, resolutely united with the prayer and sacrifice of Her Son, at the foot of the cross, through St. Joseph because she believed Her Son was God and God cannot change His mind.(Numbers 23:19).
    At Mass, we are present at the foot of the Cross with Mary. Let us resolutely unite our prayer with Her prayer resolutely united with the prayer of Her Son, through St. Joseph as Head of the Family, asking that her promise to the children of Fatima, that Joseph and the Child Jesus would come in October to give peace to the world would be fulfilled by God’s mercy and infinite Goodness because we sought to honor St. Joseph the way does eternally, as the head of the family, with true authority and obligations. Unfathomable as it is, must it not be true because God cannot change his mind like men Numbers 23:19)

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