The Opposite of Original Sin

The Mass is about love. It is not an idea about love but the supreme encounter with love. A Christian is defined entirely by this encounter. And so, I am not in the world as in Descartes’ notion: I think, therefore I am, or as a variation on this theme, something to the effect of: I love, therefore I am. Rather, because of what happens at Mass, I know what it is that makes me to be: I am loved, therefore I am. For this I give thanks together with all others who know their existence to be defined in this way.

To say that the Mass is about love is to say that it is an encounter. It is an encounter with God, but not God as vaguely conceived. It is an encounter with God through Jesus. We encounter Jesus, and through him we encounter the one whom he calls God and Father. We do not encounter Jesus as vaguely conceived. Our encounter with him is nothing less than an encounter with one whom we must also call Lord and God. These are not arbitrary designations of Jesus, ideas floated during the course of a ceremony. The Jesus who was crucified under Pontius Pilate and whose death is remembered during the course of the Mass is encountered there as risen from the dead and so known as Lord and God. This precisely defined encounter with God gives me freedom. It defines me. It offers me a new self in which I am defined through this new relationship. It is the very opposite of original sin, for original sin is wanting to be myself by myself alone and not through relationship with God.

–Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, What Happens at Mass, Gracewing, 2005, p. vii.


  1. The Ironic Catholic says


  2. Quin Finnegan says

    Ned Flanders’ book, “The Lamb’s Supper”, is also very fine – particularly in showing the paralells between the Mass and Revelation, but Driscoll’s book is about the best thing going out there. It really should be required reading for all Catholics. And Father Driscoll has another book out called “A Monk’s Alphabet” which is just excellent. In an entirely different vein, but a five star read, for sure. I’ll try to post some selections in the coming days. If you promise to buy the book. Autographed copies available at Mt. Angel Abbey, while they last!

  3. Jonathan Webb says

    So, you guys are Catholic?

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