Fr. Brice Higginbotham from the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux provides excellent insight into the meaning and significance of the altar as he answers many of the questions you’ve probably never even thought to ask about this fixture present in every church. Take a minute to listen and learn something new.
“This altar whereat we stand is by nature only common stone, nothing different from other stones, whereof our walls are made and our pavements adorned; but after it is consecrated and dedicated to the service of God, it becomes a holy table, an immaculate altar.” – St. Gregory of Nyssa
“When Mass is being celebrated, the sanctuary is filled with countless angels who adore the Divine Victim immolated on the altar.” – St. John Chrysostom
“Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and he who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 1 Peter 2:4-6
“The altar on which the Sacrifice of the Cross is made present under sacramental signs is also the table of the Lord to which the People of God is called together to participate in the Mass, as well as the center of the thanksgiving that is accomplished through the Eucharist.” – General Instruction of the Roman Missal
“In the New Law the altar is the table on which the Eucharistic Sacrifice is offered. Mass may sometimes be celebrated outside a sacred place, but never without an altar, or at least an altar-stone.” – http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01346a.htm
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