I was discussing the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with the girls this week. Each was using their Seton book for their grade (finishing up the third grade and Kindergarten books).
We read together that Jesus offers Himself in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: the same sacrifice as on Calvary, but in a non-bloody manner.
This is a very difficult thing to understand. How can He offer Himself this way? Isn't Calvary a long time ago? What does this all mean? I have struggled with learning an appropriate way to explain this so that my own children won't fall prey to someone who wishes to "save" them from Catholicism. I seemed to have a bit of a revelation yesterday, which I can only thank God for and give Him complete credit for putting in my brain.
First, to understand how the sacrifice of Calvary is present at the Mass, we must understand that God is outisde of time. Gracious! How on EARTH do I explain that everything in time is an ever-present NOW to God?
Suddenly, a picture came into my head: a snow globe.
Imagine the people inside the snow globe are real. Inside their tiny world, they can look around and see stuff. But they cannot see everything. We, outside, can see the entirety of the snow globe. In this way, we are like God looking at Man who is trapped in time. He can see all of time all at once, while we can see only what is right in front of us.
This helped them to understand a bit more the idea that God is outside of the constraints of time. It's a rough idea, but I think it serves its purpose well.
Next was how to explain Jesus offering Himself to the Father daily. Offering, specifically, His Sacrifice on the Cross.
Again, I got a clear picture in my mind of my daughters' art work.
"Imagine," I said, "that you have drawn a special picture for Mommy and Daddy. And every day, you take out the picture and say, 'Remember when I drew this for you. I love you so much. Isn't my picture beautiful?' This is what Jesus does for us."
I went on to talk about how He is not re-sacrificed at Mass, but the eternal Sacrifice that Christ made on the Cross is presented to the Father at each Mass. It's like Jesus takes out a picture and shows it to His Father each day.
Even more like it, really, is the idea that the Sacrifice is ever-present to the Father, much like the pictures my daughters have made for us are ever-present in my bedroom. The paintings and drawings they've hung up are a constant reminder to us how much they love us. They decorate the walls all around our bed, so that one of the first things we see when we get up, as well as one of the last things we see when we go to sleep, are love notes and artwork from our two girls.
Now, neither of these are perfect metaphors (and no metaphor is perfect: that's why it's called a metaphor!), and neither are especially deep in a theological sense, but I think that both of the girls were better able to understand how Christ's Sacrifice - done once for all - is re-presented to the Father without re-sacrificing Him.