The sacrificial character of Christ's death is manifested in the fact that Christ, as an example of perfect self-surrender, voluntarily offered His life to God by permitting His enemies to kill Him, although He had the power of preventing it.
|Divine Revelation (Scriptural Proof)|
- 7He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth: he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth. 8He was taken away from distress, and from judgment: who shall declare his generation? because he is cut oh out of the land of the living: for the wickedness of my people have I struck him. 9And he shall give the ungodly for his burial, and the rich for his death: because he hath done no iniquity, neither was there deceit in his mouth. 10And the Lord was pleased to bruise him in infirmity: if he shall lay down his life for sin, he shall see a long-lived seed, and the will of the Lord shall be prosperous in his hand. 11Because his soul hath laboured, he shall see and be filled: by his knowledge shall this my just servant justify many, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12Therefore will I distribute to him very many, and he shall divide the spoils of the strong, because he hath delivered his soul unto death, and was reputed with the wicked: and he hath borne the sins of many, and hath prayed for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:7-12)
- 29The next day, John saw Jesus coming to him, and he saith: Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
- 2And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness. (Ephesians 5:2)
- 7Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new paste, as you are unleavened. For Christ our pasch is sacrificed. (1 Corinthians 5:7)
- 25Whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to the shewing of his justice, for the remission of former sins, (Romans 3:25)
- 28So also Christ was offered once to exhaust the sins of many; the second time he shall appear without sin to them that expect him unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)
- 28Even as the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a redemption for many. (Matthew 20:28)
- 19And taking bread, he gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me. (Luke 22:19)
- 28For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins. (Matthew 26:28)
|Catechism of the Catholic Church|
- 609 By embracing in his human heart the Father's love for men, Jesus "loved them to the end", for "greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." In suffering and death his humanity became the free and perfect instrument of his divine love which desires the salvation of men. Indeed, out of love for his Father and for men, whom the Father wants to save, Jesus freely accepted his Passion and death: "No one takes from me, but I lay it down of my own accord." Hence the sovereign freedom of God's Son as he went out to his death.
- 610 Jesus gave the supreme expression of his free offering of himself at the meal shared with the twelve Apostles "on the night he was betrayed". On the eve of his Passion, while still free, Jesus transformed this Last Supper with the apostles into the memorial of his voluntary offering to the Father for the salvation of men: "This is my body which is given for you." "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
- 611 The Eucharist that Christ institutes at that moment will be the memorial of his sacrifice. Jesus includes the apostles in his own offering and bids them perpetuate it. By doing so, the Lord institutes his apostles as priests of the New Covenant: "For their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth."
- 621 Jesus freely offered himself for our salvation. Beforehand, during the Last Supper, he both symbolized this offering and made it really present: "This is my body which is given for you" (Lk 22:19).
- 1088 "To accomplish so great a work" - the dispensation or communication of his work of salvation - "Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the Sacrifice of the Mass not only in the person of his minister, 'the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross,' but especially in the Eucharistic species. By his power he is present in the sacraments so that when anybody baptizes, it is really Christ himself who baptizes. He is present in his word since it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church. Lastly, he is present when the Church prays and sings, for he has promised 'where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them."
|Ecumenical Council Documents|
- General Council of Ephesus (431)
- Third letter of Cyril to Nestorius
- "For though "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God", and so we are prone to disorder and human nature has fallen into the weakness of sin, he is not so and consequently we are behind him in glory. How then can there be any further doubt that the true lamb was sacrificed for us and on our behalf ? The suggestion that he offered himself for himself as well as for us is impossible to separate from the charge of impiety. For he never committed a fault at all, nor did he sin in any way. What sort of offering would he need then since there was no sin for which offering might rightly be made?"
- Twelve Anathemas Proposed by Cyril and accepted by the Council of Ephesus
- 10. The divine scripture says Christ became "the high priest and apostle of our confession"; he offered himself to God the Father in an odour of sweetness for our sake . If anyone, therefore, says that it was not the very Word from God who became our high priest and apostle, when he became flesh and a man like us, but as it were another who was separate from him, in particular a man from a woman, or if anyone says that he offered the sacrifice also for himself and not rather for us alone (for he who knew no sin needed no offering), let him be anathema .
- General Council of Trent (1545)
- CHAPTER II The Sacrifice Of The Mass Is Propitiatory Both For The Living And The Dead
- "And inasmuch as in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the mass is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner the same Christ who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross , the holy council teaches that this is truly propitiatory and has this effect, that if we, contrite and penitent, with sincere heart and upright faith, with fear and reverence, draw nigh to God, <we obtain mercy and find grace in seasonable aid.>."
- "For, appeased by this sacrifice , the Lord grants the grace and gift of penitence and pardons even the gravest crimes and sins. For the victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner alone of offering being different.
|Papal Encyclical Documents|
- Mediator Dei (1947) - Mediator of God - Pius XII
- "70. Likewise the victim is the same, namely, our divine Redeemer in His human nature with His true body and blood. The manner, however, in which Christ is offered is different. On the cross He completely offered Himself and all His sufferings to God , and the immolation of the victim was brought about by the bloody death, which He underwent of His free will ."
- "81. It is quite true that Christ is a priest; but He is a priest not for Himself but for us, when in the name of the whole human race He offers our prayers and religious homage to the eternal Father; He is also a victim and for us since He substitutes Himself for sinful man . Now the exhortation of the Apostle, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus," requires that all Christians should possess, as far as is humanly possible, the same dispositions as those which the divine Redeemer had when He offered Himself in sacrifice : that is to say, they should in a humble attitude of mind, pay adoration, honor, praise and thanksgiving to the supreme majesty of God.
- Haurietis Aquas (1956) - Draw Waters - Pius XII
- "78. What is here written of the side of Christ, opened by the wound from the soldier, should also be said of the Heart which was certainly reached by the stab of the lance, since the soldier pierced it precisely to make certain that Jesus Christ crucified was really dead. Hence the wound of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, now that He has completed His mortal life, remains through the course of the ages a striking image of that spontaneous charity by which God gave His only begotten Son for the redemption of men and by which Christ expressed such passionate love for us that He offered Himself as a bleeding victim on Calvary for our sake: "Christ loved us and delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness ."
- Dominum Et Vivificantem (1986) - The Lord and Giver of Life - John Paul II
- "40. The redemptive value of Christ's sacrifice is expressed in very significant words by the author of the Letter to the Hebrews, who after recalling the sacrifices of the Old Covenant in which "the blood of goats and bulls..." purifies in "the flesh," adds: "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself without blemish to God , purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Though we are aware of other possible interpretations, our considerations on the presence of the Holy Spirit in the whole of Christ's life lead us to see this text as an invitation to reflect on the presence of the same Spirit also in the redemptive sacrifice of the Incarnate Word ."
- "The Son of God Jesus Christ, as man, in the ardent prayer of his Passion, enabled the Holy Spirit, who had already penetrated the inmost depths of his humanity, to transform that humanity into a perfect sacrifice through the act of his death as the victim of love on the Cross . He made this offering by himself. As the one priest, "he offered himself without blemish to God:154 In his humanity he was worthy to become this sacrifice, for he alone was "without blemish." But he offered it "through the eternal Spirit," which means that the Holy Spirit acted in a special way in this absolute self-giving of the Son of Man, in order to transform this suffering into redemptive love ."
- Ecclesia de Eucharistia (2003) - The Church of the Eucharist - John Paul II
- "16. The saving efficacy of the sacrifice is fully realized when the Lord's body and blood are received in communion . The Eucharistic Sacrifice is intrinsically directed to the inward union of the faithful with Christ through communion; we receive the very One who offered himself for us, we receive his body which he gave up for us on the Cross and his blood which he “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins ” (Mt 26:28)."
|Fathers and Doctors of the Church Documents|
- De Fide (378) - Of Faith - Ambrose
- Book III - Chapter 11
- "80. Furthermore, we are taught how He is made "higher than the heavens." "Unspotted," saith the Scripture, "separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; not having daily need, as the priests have need, to offer a victim first for his own sins, and then for those of the people. For this He did by sacrificing Himself once and for all ." None is said to be made higher, save he who has in some respect been lower; Christ, then, is, by His sitting at the right hand of the Father, made higher in regard of that wherein, being made lower than the angels, He offered Himself to suffer ."
- De Civitate Dei (Book 10) (426) - City of God - Augustine
- Chapter 6: Of the True and Perfect Sacrifice
- "Since, therefore, true sacrifices are works of mercy to ourselves or others, done with a reference to God, and since works of mercy have no other object than the relief of distress or the conferring of happiness, and since there is no happiness apart from that good of which it is said, It is good for me to be very near to God, it follows that the whole redeemed city, that is to say, the congregation or community of the saints, is offered to God as our sacrifice through the great High Priest, who offered Himself to God in His passion for us , that we might be members of this glorious head, according to the form of a servant. For it was this form He offered, in this He was offered, because it is according to it He is Mediator, in this He is our Priest, in this the Sacrifice."