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The Holy Sacrifice as an Offering in Honor
of the Saints

   The Mass is offered up in honor of the Saints, as is shown in the Sanctoral Cycle. This implies an open recognition of the fact that it is to the Holy Eucharist as a Sacrifice and as a Sacrament that the Saints owe the graces granted to them in such abundance by God; indeed, we honor the Saints by thus glorifying the work of the Almighty in them.

It is also an act of homage paid to them when we unite them with our Lord in remembrance at the Altar, as is done on the anniversary of their death and from day to day in the Canon of the Mass. As members of the mystical body of Christ it is only right that they should be associated with the sacrifice of their Head, as by their sufferings and frequently by their death they have mingled their blood together with that of the Divine Victim. Here we find the explanation of the practice of the Church of letting in relics of Saints, and especially of Martyrs, in the altar-stone at the very spot where the Sacred Host is to be placed. "It is the whole redeemed city," says St. Augustine, "that is to say the congregation and company of the Saints, that is the universal sacrifice, and that is offered to God by the High Priest Who offered up Himself for us in His passion."
 In conclusion, we can pay no greater honor to the Saints than by offering to God in their name the Blood of Jesus as an act of adoration of the Supreme Being and by way of thanksgiving to Him, through Christ, for the many blessings He poured upon them. The Saints, eager as they are to glorify the Most Holy Trinity, are grateful to us for doing so to their intention, as it adds to their happiness. The efficacy of their past merits and present prayers is greatly increased when

offered to God in close association with the merits and prayers of Jesus, the Universal Mediator. And this is what takes place especially on their feastdays, when Mass is celebrated in their honor. "Inasmuch as so many are pleading for us," the Collect for the Feast of All Saints asks God "to confer upon us, through Jesus Christ, the fullness of his mercy for which we long." Also, God is more ready to accept the offering of the Blood of Jesus when made, so to speak, through the intermediacy of His Saints.

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last edited March 21, 1998