21 January 2010


"For the primitive Church the doctrine of the Sacrifice of the Mass was of primary importance. Today Church-people make the Sacrifice to depend on the Sacrament. The Primitive Church made the Sacrament to depend on the Sacrifice. I am speaking of something which is the essence of all religion - the attempt of the creature to achieve union with the creator, to leap the chasm between God and man; to ascend above its derived creaturely being to the self-existent being of God Himself. It must contain two things: (1) the attempt to leave behind the status of being a creature; and (2) the attempt to ascend from its own natural being and rise to God.

"Here we meet with tragedy. Man, being a sinner, cannot make that leap. That supreme act of religion is for him impossible. Death is the penalty which God has imposed on sinners. The acceptance of death is the supremely moral act of human existence. We have sinned but accepted the consequence of our sin. That is one half - the negative side of the act of religion. But obviously, if there is to be sacrifice, it cannot be done by sinful people as an act of suicide.

" It is here that we have the New Testament doctrine of our Saviour as the Second Adam. He is very Man - He accepted death, sinless though he was, as the penalty of sin. His death is the representative act of death of all mankind, as Head of the human race. As S Paul said, 'To recapitulate in Christ all things'. His death is His entrance into the glory of God. So that His death has the full character of Sacrifice; and it is a representative act on behalf of all mankind. It is the Sacrifice, par excellence."

Delivered to the CBS June 3 1947 and summarised in the CBS Newsletter.To be continued.

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