Liturgy of Heaven
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated on earth re-presents Calvary by continuing Christ’s perfect Sacrifice. In the Mass, no less than on Calvary, Jesus really offers His life to His heavenly Father. This is possible because, in the Holy Mass, it is the same Priest (Jesus Christ) whose human life, united to the divine, offers Himself; furthermore, it is the same Victim (Jesus Christ) whose human life, united with the divinity, is sacrificed.
The Holy Mass is a memorial of Christ’s Death and Resurrection. Although the word memorialusually refers to a remembrance, or a recollection, or a bringing back to mind, the Eucharistic Sacrifice is infinitely more! It literally re-presents Christ’s Death on Calvary. Moreover, it is the risen Christ Who now offers Himself in the Mass. The Sacrifice of the Mass is the same sacrifice offered by Christ on Calvary, except that Our Lord’s Crucifixion and Death was a bloody sacrifice, while the Mass is an unbloody sacrifice.
Our Savior offers Himself in the Sacrifice of the Mass precisely so that His sacrifice may be accessible to the Church and the faithful. He is present immediately in a sacrificial way, offering and being offered. The difference is that, now, we can offer His sacrifice to the Father with Him, and offer ourselves united with Him in reparation. We can now share the fruits of the sacrifice.
In the Mass we find ourselves not simply close to Heaven, but over the threshold into Heaven. The sacrifice in Heaven, the worship in Heaven, the Liturgy in Heaven is the same Liturgy in which we participate on earth in the Holy Mass. In other words, the Liturgy of Heaven is identical with that of earth; the two are not parallel ceremonies, but one; it is a heavenly sacrifice in both Heaven and on earth. All those in Heaven, the angels and the Saints, and all those Holy Souls in Purgatory are participating, and we participate with them in the ONE Liturgy of Heaven.
How can it be that all the Masses celebrated on earth, until the end of time, are one Liturgy in Heaven? This is possible because God, Who created time, is outside of time. It is said that He is in the “eternal now.” Everything is “present” to Him. He sees the past, the present and the future all at once. Thus, He sees the Redemptive Sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, as a constant “now.” Since there is no sequence of time in Heaven, the earthly Masses are all taking place “now.” On earth, we experience time which is always changing; it has a past, a present, and a future. Therefore, Holy Masses are offered at different times, places and by different priests but, even so, all the Masses offered on earth are one in Heaven. Consequently, because we live “in time,” and Jesus uses the ministerial priesthood to offer Himself in the Mass so that people of every time and place can actively participate in it, we can legitimately say that Masses on earth can be countedand individual intentions can be prayed at each of those Masses being offered. Thus, for example, we can say five Masses were offered at our parish, or 100 were offered in our city, or 1000 were offered in Rome today. In the case of concelebration, all of the concelebrating priests offer the ONE same Mass, even though each has a proper intention. (For Advanced Course 20-13.)