The sacrifice of Christ is the center of all human history and is the source of all transformation and renewal in the world. As Christians, we can actually participate in the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross and win grace for the world.
When I’m doing hospital ministry, I’ll often meet people who have been suffering for a long time. There’s some good news I try to share with them. I say, “This time in the hospital bed is not spent in vain. You know how in Mass, the priest places bread and wine on the altar? And how he takes the bread in his hands and says, ‘This is My Body, which has been given up for you’? And how it becomes the Body of Christ? And how he lifts it up and offers it to the Father?” And they say, “Yes.” So, I say to them, “Ok. This very bed that you’re laying in, this hospital bed, is the altar. And you are a baptized Catholic. That means that you are a member of the Mystical Body of Christ. In a supernatural, mystical, yet very real way, your body is the Body of Christ. And every minute of every hour that you are lying in this bed, Jesus Christ — who is the great high priest — is within you, and He takes you in His hands, and He says, ‘This is my Body, which will be given up …’. And He lifts you, and your life, and your sufferings, and everything up, and He offers it all to the Father. You can join Christ in this act in which He, in you, is offering you up, like the host on the altar. You can offer your sufferings up for a particular intention, whatever intention is on your heart. In answer to that prayer, the Father pours out the Holy Spirit upon the people you offer it up for. And it has effects. The world is changed and transformed through this sacrifice. We can offer our suffering for big intentions, and great things will come to the world.”
By Fr. James Brent, OP. Originally published in IMPRINT, Winter 2020