“Let your heart be an altar”

Over the weekend, I’ve been reading some more of Jeffrey Pinyan’s book, Praying the Mass. It really is a must-read for anyone who would like to participate more fully in the Mass.

It hit me again how, during the offertory prayers of the Mass, we are each called to offer our own sacrifice, represented in the bread and wine. When Christ died for us on the Cross, His Sacrifice was all that was needed to draw us back into communion with the Father. This is the Sacrifice that is made present at the Mass. But what is different about the Mass from Calvary is that we are there, and we are invited to “complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church” (Col. 1:24) – that is, we are to complete our own participation in Christ’s life. How? By joining our own sacrifice with Christ’s. This is why the priest says “my sacrifice and yours”: the priest offers the bread and wine (and then, the Eucharist); we join to this offering our very selves: it is as if we are saying, ‘Yes, Lord, take my life too.’

Or, as St Peter Chrysologus wrote: “Let your heart be an altar.” It’s a good question to ask as we prepare for Mass: What is the sacrifice on the altar of my heart?


About transformedinchrist

I live in Southsea and work for the Diocese of Portsmouth. My first love is for catechesis and evangelisation: until January 2013, I worked for a busy, thriving parish in south London coordinating the catechesis - sacramental programmes and adult formation. In November 2013, I completed my MA in catechetics at Maryvale Institute, Birmingham. View all posts by transformedinchrist

2 responses to ““Let your heart be an altar”

  • Jeffrey Pinyan

    Hi there! Thanks for mentioning my book; I’m glad it’s helping you approach the Mass more deliberately and prayerfully.

    I was just in the UK a few weeks ago; I visited Maryvale, among other places. You’ve mentioned “The Sower” before, and you say you’re studying catechetics. Are you taking courses through Maryvale?

    Have a blessed week!

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