Paragraph 78 of the GIRM
When I lived in Cleveland I had a membership for the Cleveland Museum of Art. During this time the Vatican Exhibit came to town and I went with a bunch of family to see it. Being a member of the museum, I could have gone in the VERY short line to get in. But since my relatives were not members, we walked the end of the three mile long queue to wait our turn. It was worse than waiting in line for a new roller coaster at Cedar Point.
I lady with a clipboard came walking past us asking, “Members? Are there any members here?”
“I’m a member,” I said.
“Well sir, you may go to the front of the line.”
With my most dejected face I said, “No I can’t. I’m here with family and they are not members. I have to stay here with them.”
“No you don’t!” she said in a most cheery manner, “Because they are with you, you ALL can come to the front of the line!” To my family I was a hero, to the others in line; the new enemy.
Anyway, because they were associated with me, my family received the benefits. Now it wasn’t me, I wasn't any more special than they were, but I was associated with the museum. THAT was what was special, and we all benefited, I as much as they
Okay - bearing in mind all analogies limp, that is what is going on as we begin the Eucharistic Prayer, the source and summit of our lives, or as this paragraph states it, “the center and high point of the celebration.” The priest, as a man, does not associated himself with the gathered people. He associates himself with Jesus and is acting in personal Christi or “in the person of Christ.” And in persona Christi, he associates the people with himself.
“Pray my brothers and sisters that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the Almighty Father.”
It seems as though it is a subtle distinction and semantics, but it is the difference to waiting at the end of the three mile long line or going right in. We are not just a bunch of really good average Joes getting together to worship our great God. We are, rather, A royal people, a holy nation, a people set apart acting as the Body of Christ. The priest isn’t any more special as a man than any other person present, it is Christ Who is the special One and with Whom, through the priest, we all associate. We are a community of priests coming together with the ordained priest to offer sacrifice and praise. We are performing a supreme act, the crowning achievement of a worthy life, reaching our highest dignity, grasping at our ideal and potential, capping of our identities gained at our baptism off priests, prophets, and kings!