Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Holy Mass

1. The sacrifice of the Mass is the noblest act of our religion. In it is renewed in a real but unbloody manner the Sacrifice of Calvary.

Jesus desired to remain with us throughout the centuries in the Blessed Eucharist as our friend, comforter, and spiritual food. Similarly, not being satisfied with having shed His precious Blood on the Cross for our redemption, it was His wish that this sacrificial action should be renewed daily in every corner of the world in such a way that everyone could participate in it and benefit from it. When we are present at Holy Mass, therefore, we should imagine that we are on Calvary at the foot of the Cross on which our divine Redeemer is voluntarily giving His life as an innocent victim for our sins.

Let us see Him hanging between earth and sky, a holocaust of propitiation between God and men. Let us see Him imploring with His dying glance forgiveness for His executioners and for us sinners.

Let us imagine, moreover, His most holy Mother as she gazes sorrowfully upon her suffering Son. With love far greater than that of any other human creature, she offers herself in union with Jesus for our salvation.

We should make a similar offering when we assist at the Sacrifice of the altar. We should sacrifice ourselves along with Jesus. If we are tormented by sufferings, let us offer them up along with those of Jesus. If we are troubled by passionate inclinations to sin, let us sacrifice these bravely along with Jesus for love of Him. If we are full of hatred and coldness towards others, let us sacrifice these feelings for love of Jesus, Who forgave everybody and prayed even for His executioners.

Let us remember that the Sacrifice of the Mass should be our sacrifice also. It is not only the priest who offers it, but we offer it along with the priest and with Jesus. "Receive, 0 Holy Trinity, this oblation which we make to Thee." Let us unite the offering of our entire selves to the Sacrifice of Jesus and we shall obtain great spiritual benefits.

2. Let us meditate on the fact that the Sacrifice of the Eucharist was instituted for four ends, namely:

(a) To honour God.

All the Angels and Saints of Heaven and all the human beings upon earth could not possibly honour God as He ought to be honoured, because they are creatures who derive everything which they possess from God. Only Jesus the God-Man could offer the Eternal Father the infinite honour due to Him by offering Himself.

(b) To make adequate satisfaction for all our sins.

In so far as they are a revolt against God, our sins are in a certain way infinite. This is because they offend an Infinite Being. Only Jesus, being at the same time man and God, could offer for us, His brothers, an infinite satisfaction to the Eternal Father. Only He could redeem us from the debt of crime and punishment which we had contracted by offering Himself without reserve in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. It must be explained, however, that although the Mass is of infinite value in itself, God applies this value to us in a finite way only, according to His good pleasure and according to our dispositions. For this reason we should do well to attend Mass as often as possible and with the maximum fervour.

(c) To give thanksgiving to God for all the benefits which we have received from Him.

(d) Finally, to obtain all the graces and favours of which we and other people stand in need. The Mass is an extraordinary gift. Let us attend at Mass with recollection and devotion. It will be for us the source of every grace and virtue.

3. Let us pray:

Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water flowing from the side of Christ, purify me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O my good Jesus, hear me.
Hide me within Thy wounds.
Never permit me to be separated from Thee.
From the malignant enemy defend me.
At the hour of my death call me;
And bid me to come to Thee,
That with Thy Saints I may praise Thee
For everlasting ages.