The Recuperation of Sacrifice

  • David W. Fagerberg University of Notre Dame, USA
Keywords: Sacrifice, Mass, liturgy, priest, victim


We could better understand the sacrifice of the mass if we could recuperate the word “sacrifice.” The common, secular understanding of sacrifice speaks in terms of loss, sadness, and giving something up, whereas the biblical, theological understanding speaks in terms of gift, joy, and giving to God. This article therefore considers sacrifice in the three environments in which it occurs: innocence, sin, and Christ. The first is the cosmic liturgy of homo adorans, done in the state of original justice. The second recognizes a corrupted form of sacrifice, waiting redemption. The third is the sacrifice of the cross wherein grace perfects nature, and sacrifice is recuperated. The sacrificial Christ – priest and victim – gives himself to members of his mystical body to train them in true sacrifice.


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