Recently, I was walking around Sportsman’s Warehouse and said to a friend – “this place is like heaven on earth.” After he laughed at me. I also said to him, “I also think the PGA Superstore and Bass Pro Shops are like heaven on earth.” I said these comments in jest because these are three stores that supply the items for a few of my hobbies and I could spend countless hours just walking around them. Obviously, I meant my comments to be humorous in nature, but in all seriousness, I said to my friend, “there is one place where Heaven and Earth unite, and that is in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all” (#1326). Furthermore, the Catechism states The Lord’s Supper, because of its connection with the supper which the Lord took with his disciples on the eve of his Passion and because it anticipates the wedding feast of the Lamb in the heavenly Jerusalem” (#1329).
I have known this idea about Heaven and Earth uniting in the liturgy for many years. It was taught to me in my college years, however, my understanding of it has grown with my many years of studying the Catholic faith. It was not until last night where I viewed an artistic interpretation of this theological concept. Over the last two nights, we had a speaker in our parent session show the short film, The Veil Removed as part of her larger presentation on family life.
I heard about this film from a few of my catechists and parishioners but never saw it until Tuesday night. Let me tell you – the first time, and the second time and even the third time brought me to tears. It’s fantastic!. If you have not seen it yet, do not fret, it’s embedded into this article below. I would encourage you to watch it, watch it again, and then share this article or the video itself with your family and friends.
Before you view it below, here are a few more excerpts from The Catechism of the Catholic Church that speak on this idea of Heaven and Earth uniting in the Holy Mass –
Paragraph 1352 says, “The anaphora: with the Eucharistic Prayer – the prayer of thanksgiving and consecration – we come to the heart and summit of the celebration: In the preface, the Church gives thanks to the Father, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit, for all his works: creation, redemption, and sanctification. The whole community thus joins in the unending praise that the Church in heaven, the angels and all the saints, sing to the thrice-holy God.”
Paragraph 1383 states – The altar, around which the Church is gathered in the celebration of the Eucharist, represents the two aspects of the same mystery: the altar of the sacrifice and the table of the Lord. This is all the more so since the Christian altar is the symbol of Christ himself, present in the midst of the assembly of his faithful, both as the victim offered for our reconciliation and as food from heaven who is giving himself to us. “For what is the altar of Christ if not the image of the Body of Christ?” asks St. Ambrose. He says elsewhere, “The altar represents the body [of Christ] and the Body of Christ is on the altar.” The liturgy expresses this unity of sacrifice and communion in many prayers. Thus the Roman Church prays in its anaphora:
We entreat you, almighty God,
that by the hands of your holy Angel
this offering may be borne to your altar in heaven
in the sight of your divine majesty,
so that as we receive in communion at this altar
the most holy Body and Blood of your Son,
we may be filled with every heavenly blessing and grace
“Take this and eat it, all of you”: communion