The text below is from the 5th edition, April 1949. It was originally published by the Benedictine Convent of Perpetual Adoration, Clyde, Missouri. *****NOTE: In the book, the Latin & English text of the Mass is side by side throughout, but since I'd like to complete this sometime soon, I will sometimes place the English text below the Latin, or just use the English text. A devotional explanation of the prayers, ceremonies and mysteries of the Holy Sacrifice, and the benefits to be derived by devout particip- ation. Nihil Obstat +Stephanus Schappler, O.S.B. Abbas Coadjutor Im. Conceptionis Imprimatur + Carolus Hubertus Le Blond Episcopus Sancti Josephi Introduction BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH The Almighty God is, in Himself, eternal happiness. Therefore nothing can be wanting to Him. Were something lacking to Him, He would no lon- ger be God, in whom all perfection dwells. And still, there was a time when God called the wonderful universe into existence. Millions and millions of blessed spirits now surround Him in heaven. A host of suns and myriads of stars form, as it were, a via triumphalis - a triumphal way, on which He treads. On our earth, the three kingdoms of nature: the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms, of which He made man the king, proclaim His wisdom and power, His beauty and goodness. Considering this, we involuntarily ask ourselves: For what reason did God, to whom nothing is wanting, create all this beauty, and call these many creatures into existence? Reason and faith answer: God did it out of purest love and goodness, out of Divine generosity. He did not wish to enjoy His bliss and happiness alone; - He desired that other beings should share His glory and His riches. For this reason He called creation into existence. Duty of Adoration God is the Creator. Man, the creature, is the work of His hands, His possession. It is the duty of man to consider the Creator as his sup- reme Lord and Master, to prostrate in reverence and admiration before Him; to adore and praise Him. To adore the Divinity, to pay homage to God - what an honor for a poor creature! To acknowledge in God all good, all truth, all that is worthy of affection; to submit one's understanding and will to God's greatness; to offer Him one's soul and body; yea, even to wish to con- sume oneself in order to procure Him honor and glory - can there be a nobler aim in life? God not only called the universe into being but He also preserves it continually. This constant preservation is no less a miracle than the creation itself. Were the Creator to withdraw His hand for but one in- stant from His work of creation, the great universe would return to nothingness; likewise would every individual creature. Hence, God thinks of us, His creatures, at every moment; He provides for us from day to day and preserves us with infinite love. He holds in store for us everything good, everything lovely and beautiful, for He would not enjoy His happiness alone; He wishes us to participate in it. He has made our earthly life like unto one of paradise; His whole creation He places at our feet. If we find thorns and thistles, it is not God's fault. Sin, willfil sin, has spoiled everything. The malice of original sin and of the many personal sins of mankind is the sole cause of our sufferings and trials here below. However, God in His infinite mercy and goodness has destined that these very sufferings and trials should become a source of merit and future hapiness for us through His beloved Son. Jesus has ennobled and sanctified suffering through His Cross. Is it not just, then, that we should prove ourselves grateful for His Divine Providence, for the preservation of our life, for the many benefits He bestows upon us? God's Right to Our Gratitude God has a strict claim to the gratitude of Hid creatures. Gratitude should incessantly ascend to Him from the hearts of men, because God's providence is without limits, and God's love operates continually for us. Just as each moment of our life is a new benefit from God, so should it be a renewed thanksgiving toward our benevolent Creator. Benefits demand gratitude. Oh, that man would have the understanding and good will to think of his great Benefactor often during the day and often during the night - his life would become an uninterrupted hymn of thanks. But alas! how different is the reality! what a misfor- tune for man! Instead of adoring his Lord and Creator and thanking Him, man offends Him fearlessly and impudently to His face. He sins every day! The helpless creature offends an Almighty God! Sin is contempt of God, re- volt against God, and exacts from the Creator, the exercise of His right to demand an account from the sinner, to punish him, and refuse him pardon until he is sorry, does penance and makes satisfaction. God's Right to Satisfaction God is infinitely good, but likewise infinitely just. HE WILL NOT YIELD HIS RIGHT OF DEMANDING SATISFACTION FROM THE SINNER. God cannot allow a haughty creature to despise His commands and break His laws with impunity. His dignity and sanctity cannot tolerate this. Not to punish the sinner would mean to disregard sin, and indirectly, appr- ove of it; it would mean to discourage the good. A father who does not punish the child that is indulging in vice and showing no signs of am- endment--is such a father to be considered a good father? Sad to say, all too many people look at sin in a different light. But God must punish sin; hence sinful man - and we are all sinners - must render SATISFACTION, or live and die an enemy of God and be forever seperated from Him. Necessity of Prayer God gives to man the life of the body, and, in holy baptism, the far more precious supernatural life of grace. If our natural life cannot continue even for one moment without Divine Providence, much less can the life of grace be retained without Divine assistance. Did not God's generosity always accompany man with His blessings, how would he ever attain to eternal blessedness? What is man without the grace of God? Grace, however, is a free gift of God; God even desires to lavish grace upon us. We need thousands of graces for obtaining life eternal, and we must ask for them: that is the Divine will; hence, THE NECESS- ITY OF PRAYER. God has created and redeemed us without our meriting these benefits; but He will not give us eternal happiness without our co-operation. WE MUST MERIT HEAVEN. He expects that we toil for Him. He expects OUR CO-OPERATION WITH HIS GRACE AND OUR CO-OPERATION BY GOOD WORKS. This co-operation is to be of our own free will, not forced. Were God to do all, and we nothing toward our eternal salvation, where would be our merit? where our claims to reward? Or, if God were to force us, where would be our liberty in our actions? God leaves every man FREE to de- cide for good or evil, and, according to this choice we meet with good and wicked men in this world. If we choose the good and perform it, we acquire merits for heaven. However, of ourselves we can neither will nor accomplish any good; for this we need the assistance of God. "Without Me you can do nothing," said Our Lord (John xv,5). We must ask for this assistance, fot this grace of graces. In other words, WE MUST PRAY. Four Claims and Four Duties What has been said in the foregoing parafgraphs regarding the mutual relations of God and man, the Creator and the creature, may be briefly summed up as follows:- 1. God is the supreme good, the Creator of all things, the most holy One. Therefore man owes God, in the first place, ADORATION. 2. God is the origin and motive of good; He is Author of all man is and has. Hence, man must show GRATITUDE toward God, his greatest bene- factor. 3. God is offended by sin. Therefore the sinner must ask His pardon and render SATISFACTION FOR SIN. 4. God has decreed to give His special graces only to those who ask for them. Therefore, man must PRAY to obtain these graces and to live in grace. Thus we see from the four claims of God upon His creatures, arise four duties of the creature toward his Creator. But we, poor children of Eve how can we fulfill these duties? Are we at all capable of ful- filling them so as to win the approval of God? To this there can be but one answer: NO. We have become so helpless through sin that even with the best of will and the greatest exertion it would be imposs- ible, of our own strength, to regain the friendship of God. Our ador- ation will never correspond to the infinite majesty of God, nor our gratitude to the benefits we have received; our satisfaction could never repairt the insult and contempt we have offered to the Supreme Being; and our prayer, alas! our poor, distracted prayer, could of it- self never reach the throne of God, could never merit to be heard. There is a deep abyss between the Almighty, thrice holy, eternal God and His poor sinful creatures. Since we cannot, of ourselves, comply with our four principal duties to God, what remains to be done? The Unspotted Lamb BEHOLD! in the midst of this desert of sinfulness and helplessness there rises before our eyes AN ALTAR. A priest ascends the steps; a supernatural, indelible mark is impressed upon his soul. He places upon the altar a chalice and a host. From his lips proceed a few omni- potent words which he pronounces over this chalice and this host-and, O wonder! the Body and Blood of the Son of God are present upon the altar. Earth awakens, its exiled children arise; they draw nearer and nearer; they gather about the altar, and from millions and millions of hearts ascend humble and grateful prayers. Songs of praise resound; fervent petitions are heard; and from on high, from heaven's heights, resound melodies that betoken love and forgiveness, blessings and joy. Heavenly spirits proclaim glory to God and peace to men. What has happened? Why this jubilation, this hope? MANKIND HAS OFFER- ED UPON THE ALTAR THE PURE, UNSPOTTED LAMB TO THE ETERNAL FATHER. By this sacrifice mankind worthily acknowledges God's sovereign rights, thanks Him for His gifts, renders atonement for its misdeeds and pet- itions His help. The Eternal Father accepts the sacrifice of His Son, the homage of mankind: IT IS HOLY MASS-the rescuing oasis where, as on another Calvary, God and man meet and offer friendship's hand. The Sacrifice of Calvary Perpetuated The Sacrifice of the Cross was the greatest act which the Divine and human love of Jesus Christ accomplished for us. Through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross we were redeemed. Through His immolation on the Cross, the Lamb of God took away the sins of the world and recon- ciled mankind with the Heavenly Father. No further sacrifice of Red- emption was necessary. However, the Sacrifice of our Savior on the the cross did not do away with the personal duty of His creatures to pay unto their God and Creator the highest form od outward worship poss- ible to man-SACRIFICE. Otherwise man's worship would have been shorn of its most important feature, its highest and principal function. Therefore the unfathomable love and wisdom of the Savior provided a means of daily RENEWING the Sacrifice of the Cross in the holy Sacri- fice of the Mass. THE SACRIFICE OF THE CROSS MERITED FOR US IMMEASUR- ABLE TREASURES OF GRACE; THROUGH HOLY MASS THESE GRACES ARE APPLIED TO OUR SOULS. Holy Mass is, according to the teaching of Holy Church, the SAME Sac- rifice as that which our Savior offered on the Cross, differing only in the MANNER OF OFFERING. "The SAME Sacrifice!" Who can fully grasp the purport of these words? Yet they are true, nevertheless, for in Holy Mass we have the same PRIEST and the same VICTIM as in the Sacri- fice of Calvary. On the Cross, Jesus Christ offered Himself by SHED- DING His Blood and MERITING for us; on our altars He sacrifices Him- self through the ministry of the priest, WITHOUT SHEDDING HIS BLOOD, and APPLIES TO US THE FRUITS OF HIS PASSION AND DEATH. The Sacrifice of the Mass does not increase the merits of the Sacrifice of the Cross; it merely APPLIES them to souls. Since Holy Mass is a renewal of the Sacrifice of the Cross, it foll- ows that HOLY MASS IS THE MOST SUBLIME MEANS OF HONORING GOD AND THE RICHEST FOUNTAIN OF GRACE AND BLESSINGS FOR THE CHURCH AND FOR THE FAITHFUL. A spiritual writer says: "Just as the sun surpasses all other planets in brightness and strength, and brings more benefit to the earth than all the stars combined, so the Sacrifice of the Mass surpasses all other works of devotion." Holy Mass possesses an INFINITE VALUE. The Heavenly Father looked with infinite complacency upon His Divine Son when He accomplished the Sacrifice of the Cross. With the same complacency His eye rests upon every altar whereon the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered. Fro each altar a stream of graces flows out over the whole Church of Christ. Ceaselessly we can draw from this stream of grace in Holy Mass for our life on earth and for our glory in eternity. HOW GREAT IS THE LOSS THAT ONE SUFFERS WHO PASSES THROUGH LIFE WITHOUT DRAWING FROM THIS OCEAN OF GRACES, TO WHICH HE MAY SO EASILY HAVE ACCESS, THE BLES- SINGS WHICH HE NEEDS TO MAKE HIM TRULY HAPPY! Jesus on our altars off- ers us His help and His consolations, His blessings and His peace, His goodness and His joy, His sufferings and His Death, with all their merit. He yearns to come to our assistance in our needs, and WHOSE NEED IS NOT GREAT? Means of Fulfilling our Fourfold Duty Through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we can perfectly fulfill our fourfold duty toward God. This spotless Sacrifice redounds to GOD'S GREATEST HONOR AND GLORY. It is likewise the most perfect sacrifice of ADORATION AND PRAISE that the majesty of God can demand. We can offer this Sacrifice TO THANK GOD for all the graces which He has granted to ourselves, to those near to us,, to the Church, to all man- kind, as well as those which He has granted and will continue to grant to all the saints and angels for all eternity. We can also offer this Holy Sacrifice TO MAKE ATONEMENT for our own sins and for the sins of the whole world. This Sacrifice of priceless worth we may also offer TO IMPLORE BLESSING, GRACE AND PROTECTION for ourselves, for our dear ones, for the Church and for all mankind as also for the relief of the souls in purgatory. WOULD TO GOD THAT WE APPRECIATED ARIGHT THE IMMENSE TREASURE WHICH WE POSSESS IN HOLY MASS! How happy we should then be! How zealously we should embrace every opportunity to hear Mass, and how attentively we should assist at its celebration! Too many Catholics look upon atten- dence at Mass only as an obligation; they fulfill that obligation lar- gely through a sense of duty, and only when the law of the Church prescribes attendance. ALAS! OF WHAT TREASURES DO THOSE CATHOLICS DEPRIVE THEMSELVES WHO ABSENT THEMSELVES FROM HOLY MASS WHEN THEY COULD SO EASILY BE PRESENT EACH MORNING AT ITS CELEBRATION! Ah, how shall we excuse ourselves before God on the day of judgment for having neglected to assist at Holy Mass on account of our often trivial occcupations, or our love of ease? It is true, we are not COM- MANDED to hear Mass on WEKDAYS and God will not condemn us for for not doing so. BUT MAY HE NOT ACCUSE US OF BEING SLOTHFUL IN HIS SERVICE, AND OF WASTING THE TALENT OF GRACE WHICH WAS CONFIDED TO OUR KEEPING- that is, the graces which would have been communicated to us through daily Holy Mass? - May these humble pages inspire many souls with a deeper understanding and a more ardent love of the Holy Sacrifice, and urge them to assist more FREQUENTLY, more FERVENTLY, and more FRUITFULLY at its celebration! The Structure of the Mass The first part of the Mass is a kind of introductory service, made up of chants, prayers and lessons (i.e. readings from Holy Scripture) - namely, the INTROIT, the KYRIE, the COLLECT, the EPISTLE or lesson, and the GOSPEL. On certain days the GKLORIA and the NICENE CREED are added. This first part of the Mass is called the MASS OF THE CATECH- UMENS, while the remaining part is called the MASS OF THE FAITHFUL. These names have their origin in the discipline of the early Church. In the first ages of Christianity, persons desiring to become Christ- ians were obliged to undergo a course of instruction preparatory to baptism. They were called "catechumens," a Greek word meaning "one who is being instructed." Such persons, being not yet fully initiated in the teachings and practices of Christianity, were dismissed before the sacrificial part of the Mass commenced. Likewise, those who were und- ergoing a course of penance and had not yet been admitted to Communion were ordered to leave the church at this part of the Mass. That which followed was considered too holy for the presence of notorious sin- ners, and too mysterious to permit those to assist who were not yet fully instructed. Only those who were baptized,-"the Faithful"-could take part in the actual Eucharistic Sacrifice. The Church, during the course of centuries, changed her discipline in this regard, and ALL are now permitted to remain during the entire sacred rite. It may be interesting also to note the subdivisions of the parts of the Mass given in the St. Andrew's Missal. Be it understood, however, that the Mass is not a series of acts loosely joined together; the Mass IS ONE CONTINUOUS ACTION, reproducing in a mysterioius way the Life, Passion, and Death of Jesus Christ. These subdivisions are int- ended only as an aid in studying the Mass by an enumeration of the various parts which go to make up the whole. They are as follows:- 1. The PREPARATION-which includes the prayers at the foot of the altar, the INTROIT, KYRIE and GLORIA. 2. The INSTRUCTION-which includes the COLLECT, the EPISTLE, GRADUAL, ALLELUIA (or TRACT, and on certain feasts the SEQUENCE), the GOSPEL (often followed by a sermon), and the CREDO. 3. The OBLATION-which includes the OFFERTORY antiphon, the offering of bread, the pouring of water and wine into the chalice, the offering of the chalice, the washing of the hands, the prayer to the Blessed Trinity, the "Orate Fratres," and the SECRET. 4. The CONSECRATION-which includes the PREFACE and the CANON of the Mass, embracing the prayer "Te igitur," the MEMENTO OF THE LIVING, the COMMUNICANTES and the other two prayers before the Consecration, the CONSECRATION and ELEVATION, the three prayers after the Consecration, the COMMEMORATION OF THE DEAD, the "Nobis quoque peccatoribus," and the Minor Elevation. (This part is, properly speaking, also a part of the oblation or sacrifice offering.) 5. The COMMUNION-which includes the PATER NOSTER, the LIBERA, the AG- NUS DEI, the three prayers before the Communion, the"Domine non sum dignus," and the Communion of the Priest and the Faithful. 6. The THANKSGIVING-which includes the COMMUNION antiphon, the POST- COMMUNION prayer, the "Ite missa est," and the LAST GOSPEL. Ordinary and Proper of the Mass The Mass consists of a fixed framework into which at certain points the variable prayers, lessons and chants are fitted. The former is called the ORDINARY or the COMMON of the Mass, and the latter, the proper.* The variable or proper parts of the Mass are the following: The INTROIT, COLLECT, EPISTLE, GOSPEL, GRADUAL, ALLELUIA (or TRACT, and on some feasts the SEQUENCE), the OFFERTORY, SECRET, COMMUNION, and POSTCOMMUNION. All the other parts remain the same in each Holy Mass, except the PREFACE, which occupies an intermediate place between the changeable and unchangeable parts. Certain feasts and seasons have their own proper Preface, which changes after the introductory sent- ence. A common Preface is arranged for all days which do not have a proper Preface of their own. Similarly, a special clause is inserted in the prayer of the Canon called the COMMUNICANTES, on certain of the principal feasts. Because of the parts of the Mass varying, we speak of the Mass of such a day or of such a feast. In order to follow the changeable parts of the Mass, it is necessary to have a Missal, in which the proper parts of the Mass for each day and feast are given. ___________________ *In our explanation of the Mass we have used the proper of the Mass of Corpus Christi, in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, which is one of the most beautiful combinations of psalms, prayers and hymns in the Catho- lic liturgy. _______________________________________________________________ THE TREASURES OF THE MASS _______________________________________________________________ I Mass of the Catachumens The Ambassador of Christ All the preparations for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are comp- leted; the altar is in readiness; a throng of devout souls, absorbed in God, is in expectation. A solemn stillness reigns in the house of God. The soft light of two blessed candles scarcely dispels the shad- ows of the morning twilight. Footsteps break the hallowed stillness. Apriest comes forth in an attire set apart for the Divine service, and with serious mien. Slowly and reverently he approaches the altar, gen- uflects, ascends the steps, places the veiled chalice he carries in his hand upon the corporal, moves to the Epistle side and opens the missal. He then returns to the center of the altar, inclines to the Crucifix, descends the steps, and begins the most sublime of rituals- HOLY MASS. Who is this priest? He may have come from the palace of a king, from the furrows of a farm, or from the noise of a workshop; his cradle may have stood in the lowly hut of a mountain village, or in the splendor of golden riches in the midst of a surging metropolis-all this signi- fies nothing and alters nothing in the eminent nature and sublimity of his mission. That which invests him with this singular dignity and greatness is not from mem; GOD HIMSELF HAS IMPRESSED UPON HIS SOUL A MYSTERIOUS, INDELIBLE MARK WHICH PLACES HIM ABOVE ALL THE MIGHTHY ONES OF EARTH. Heaven has given him a special mission and authority; hence, every door is open to him among Catholic people; to them he is the AM- BASSADOR OF CHRIST, a priest who has the right to ascend the steps of the altar. When God wishes to give us commands, promises, admonitions or graces, He makes use, not of an angel, but of a PRIEST. Everything must pass through the hands of this extraordinary man. And woe to the one who despises his office and mission, who persecutes him, or grieves him! Woe! For such a man despises God Himself. Jesus declared this in a solemn manner. But happy the Christian who honors the priest! Happy the family that receives him! Thus the priest is God's ambassador to man; but he is, at the same time, MAN'S AMBASSADOR TO GOD. Dignity and Power of the Priest An ambassador of God! How often from the pulpit has he announced hea- venly tidings to the faithful! how often spoken to them of their bin- ding obligations, of imperishable hopes, of eternal rewards and ever- lasting punishments! Now he ascends the altar. In a little while he will speak mysterious words of astounding power, and the almighty, immortal God, obeying his call, will descend from heaven upon the altar. He will raise Him aloft in his hands before the kneeling wor- shippers, and give Him to souls who believe in Him, long for Him, seek Him, love Him, and wish to live through Him. The priest, in union with Jesus Christ, offers man's ADORATION, THANKSGIVING, EXPIATION, and PETITION to the heavenly Father, who re- ceives this gift with complacency. IN OUR NAME and FOR OUR SALVATION the priest offers to the Eternal Father His only-begotten Son Jesus; he offers to God the infinite merits of Jesus' life on earth, and esp- ecially His sacrificial death on Calvary. What angel of God can comp- are with the priest in greatness and dignity? The priest negotiates with God on the most momentous questions of life-on the affairs of the soul. He raises his absolving hand, pro- nounces words of forgiveness, and the burden of sin is lifted from the repentant soul. He stands at the bedside of the dying, and equips the departing soul with the means to wage successfully its last conflict. It is his word that seals and gives validity to the covenant of peace which is daily made between earth and heaven. Kings and rulers of this earth frequently experience that the scepter is snatched from their hand, the royal purple torn from their should- ers, and they themselves sent into exile. But the priest, the ambass- ador of Christ, remains a priest FOREVER. God will never deprive him of his office. Of all ambassadors who speak and act in the name of a sovereign, the Catholic priest alone can, until his dying breath, treat with his Master with full authority in behalf of all mankind, and with mankind in the name of God. - Do we think of his exalted dig- nity when we meet a priest on the street, or see him at the altar in the act of celebrating Mass?
AT THE FOOT OF THE ALTAR By his first act, the priest, the ambassador of God, convinces the people of the lawfulness of the office which he is now exercising. He genuflects, makes the Sign of the Cross and solemnly utters the words:- In nomine Patris, et Filii, In the name of the Father, and of et Spiritus Sancti. Amen the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Is there, in the solemn services of the Catholic Church, another mom- ent when these words, so simple, so frequently used, imply such maj- esty and sublimity as here at the foot of the altar, at the beginning of Holy Mass? Can the priest give us a more solemn explanation of his mission? To appear in the Name and with the authority of the eternal, almighty Creator-this, O Priest of God, is thy portion alone! Alone thy dignity and power, O Anointed of the Lord! The priest joins his hands and continues:- V. Introibo ad altare Dei V. I will go unto the altar of God. R. Ad Deum qui laetificat R. Unto God who giveth joy to my youth. juventutem meam. Behold the young priest with the holy oils still fresh upon his con- secrated hands. The moment for which he has been longing for years has arrived; HE STANDS BEFORE THE HOLY ALTAR. He signs himself with the sacred Cross, and the first exultant words that escape his lips are: "I will go unto the altar of God, unto God, who giveth joy to my youth!" - beautiful expression of a soul that has clung to God, who has led him to the mount of sacrifice; heavenly expression of love for God, for whom he has despised all worldly and sinful pleasures, to find his joy in Him. Day after day these words surge up from the heart of the minister of God. Years pass. Maturity is reached with its experience, and perhaps, honors; old age steals on with its rich harvest and its peculiar tri- als, yet the same lips pronounce the same exultant words: " I will go unto the altar of God, unto God, WHO GIVETH JOY TO MY YOUTH." And when the anointed of the Lord shall stand at the threshold of eternity, when the vision of the Immolated Lamb shall break upon his purified soul in all its dazzling beauty, will not his lips once more exclaim: "I will go unto the altar of God, unto God, who giveth joy to my youth!" But now his feet must still tread the weary paths of earth, and mindful of his own weakness, the priest presents his petitions in the words of the Psalmist (Ps. xlii), which he prays alternately with the server, or, in the case of a dialogue Mass, with the congregation: P. Judica me, Deus, et discerne Judge me, O God, and distinguish causam meam de gente non sancta; my cause from the nation that is ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me. not holy; deliver me from the un- just and deceitful man. R. Quia tu es, Deus fortitudo mea: For Thou, O God, art my strength; quare me repulisti, et quare tristis why hast Thou cast me off? and incedo, dum affligit me inimicus? why do I go sorrowful whilst the enemy afflicteth me? P. Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem Send forth Thy light and Thy truth: tuam; ipsa me deduxerunt et addux- they have conducted me and brought erunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in me unto Thy holy hill, and into Thy tabernacula tua. tabernacles. R. Et introibo ad altare Dei: ad And I will go unto the altar of Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam. God; unto God who giveth joy to my youth. P. Confitebor tibi in cithara, Deus, I will praise Thee upon the harp, O Deus meus: quare tristis es, anima God, my God: why art thou sad, O my mea, et quare conturbas me? soul, and why dost thou disquiet me? R. Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc con- Hope in God, for I will still give fitebor illi: salutare vultus mei, praise to Him: the salvation of my et Deus meus. countenance, and my God. P. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spir- Glory be to the Father, and to the itui Sancto. Son, and to the Holy Ghost. R. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, As it was in the beginning, is now, et semper: et in saecula saeculorum. and ever shall be, world without Amen. end. Amen. This is the touching supplication which the priest makes to Almighty God, to detach his sentiments from the spirit of the world and from his own corrupt nature; to keep him on the steep and narrow path and smooth away the difficulties on the way to the holy mount. Conscious of his own weakness, he trusts in God, his "strength"; he begs to be led by His "Light," Jesus Christ, the TRUE LIGHT WHICH ENLIGHTHENS EVERY MAN WHO COMES INTO THIS WORLD, and His "Truth," the Spirit of Truth, WHO PROCEEDS FROM THE FATHER AND TEACHES US ALL TRUTH,-confident that he will thus reach his eternal destination. The priest promises the Most High to make known to men the Divine precepts. He entrusts to God the sorrow and grief that overwhelm his soul, but likewise the hopes that fill his heart. The antiphon "Introibo" is then repeated* Thereupon the celebrant makes the Sign of the Cross and protests that he places all his trust in the Name and in the help of God:- V. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine V. Our help is in the Name of the Domini. Lord. R. Qui fecit coelum et terram. R. Who made heaven and earth. ___________________________________ *In Masses for the dead and during Passiontide, the Psalm "Judica" is omitted and the Antiphon "Introibo" is not repeated. Plea for Pardon At the same moment, the realization of his own unworthiness overpowers the priest; he remembers his past sins, for, though vested with unearth- ly power, he is still merely a creature. In the consciousness of his guilt, he bends low before the altar and strikes his breast in all hum- ility as he prays the act of contrition known as the CONFITEOR Confiteor Deo omnipotenti beatae Mariae semper Virgini, beato Michaeli Archangelo, beato Joanni Baptistae, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, omnibus Sanctis, et vobis, fratres: quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, ver- bo et opere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, beatum Michaelem Archangelum, beatum Joannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, omnes sanctos, et vos, fratres, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum. The acolyte answers:- Misereatur tui omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis tuis, perducat te ad vitam aeternam. I confess to Almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to you brethren, that I have sin- ned exceedingly in thought, word and deed: through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore, I beseech blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, all the saints, and you, brethren, to pray to the Lord our God for me. The acolyte answers:- May Almighty God have mercy upon thee, forgive thee thy sins, and bring thee to life everlasting The priest says "Amen" and stands upright. The acolyte then repeats the Confiteor in the name of all present, with appropriate changes. What a solemn moment! In the presence of the holy, omniscient God, both priest and people feel their guilt and publicly ask for grace and pardon. The souls must cleanse itself in the waters of contrition at the very be- ginning of this sublime act. How could it otherwise receive the full ben- efits of the approaching Mystery? As once on the Cross Our Lord took upon Himself the sins of the whole world, to atone for them with His Blood, so now we lay our sins upon Him as upon a victim about to be immolated on the altar, that He may expiate them. It is to indicate this that the priest at the commencement of the Mass bows down at the foot of the altar, and in the spirit of humility, presents himself as laden with the sins of the people before the Eternal Father, in order to prevail upon Him to have mercy. In this position he also personifies Christ upon the Mount of Olives, who, bowed down under the burden of the sins of the whole world, fell upon his face, his sweat becoming as drops of blood, and prayed earnestly to His Heavenly Father. In like manner, Christ's representative prays for the pardon of his own sins and the sins of all present, for whom the price of Redemption was once paid, and is daily offered anew to operate the remission of sin. No sooner has the priest heard the faithful, in their turn, acknowled- ging their sins, than he invokes a blessing upon them:- V.Misereatur vestri omnipotens May Almighty God have mercy upon you, Deus, et, dimissis peccatis vest- forgive you your sins, and bring you ris, perducat vos ad vitam aeter- to life everlasting. R. Amen. nam. R. Amen. Signing himself with the Sign of the Cross, the priest continues:- Indulgentiam, absolutionem et re- May the Almighty and and merciful missionem peccatorum nostrorum, Lord grant us pardon, absolution, tribuat nobis omnipotens et mis- and remission of our sins. R. Amen. ericors Dominus. R. Amen. The priest stands erect after his previous humble posture, to signify by this upright posture that both he and the faithful are uplifted and comforted by the firm hope of receiving the forgiveness of their sins. Consolation now fills the heart of the priest, and bowing, he turns to God with these trustful words upon his lips:- V. Deus, tu conversus vivificabis V. Thou shalt turn again, O God, and nos. quicken us. R. Et plebs tua laetabitur in te. R. And Thy people shall rejoice in Thee. V. Ostende nobis, Domine, miseri- V. Show unto us, O lord, Thy mercy. cordiam tuam. R. Et salutare tuum da nobis R. And grant us Thy salvation. V. Domine exaudi orationem meam. V. O Lord, hear my prayer. R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat. R. And let my cry come unto Thee. V. Dominus vobiscum V. The Lord be with you. R. Et cum spiritu tuo R. And with thy spirit. Extending and then joining his hands, the priest says, "Oremus - Let us pray. The word OREMUS introduces nearly all of the liturgical prayers. It im- plies an invitation to those present to join with the priest in present- ing the petitions of the faithful in the name of Holy Mother Church, rather than to pursue their private devotions. AT THE ALTAR Hands which touch things sacred can never be sufficiently pure, nor can souls called by God to the sublime dignity of the priesthood ever be suf- ficiently innocent. Conscious of this fact, the priest, although he has just implored pardon of his sins and has heard from the faithful a heart- felt MISEREATUR, still feels keenly his need of Divine mercy. Therefore, as he ascends the altar steps, he implores the Lord to look with kindness upon him and upon all present, to grant them pardon, and to lend a merci- ful ear to the silent yet mighty cry of the hearts of the faithful:- Aufer a nobis, quaesumus, Domine, Take away from us our iniquities, we iniquitates nostras: ut ad Sancta beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be sanctorum puris mereamur mentibus made worthy to enter with pure minds introire. Per Christum Dominum into the holy of holies. Through nostrum. Amen Christ our Lord. Amen Will God hear this prayer? Of this the priest cannot be certain; there- fore he calls upon the saints, the friends of God, to intercede for him with the Almighty. Bowing low over the altar, he kisses the altar stone which encloses the relics of the saints, while he prays:- Oramus te, Domine, per merita We beseech Thee, O Lord by the merits Sanctorum tuorum, quorum reli- of Thy saints whose relics are here quiae hic sunt, et omnium Sanc- and of all the saints, that Thou torum, ut indulgere digneris om- wouldst vouchsafe to forgive me all my nia peccata mea. Amen. sins. Amen. In the beautiful language of symbolism, this kiss is expressive also of a greeting to Christ, the Bridegroom, who is represented by the altar, on the part of His Bride, the Church. The priest then goes to the Epistle side of the altar, makes the Sign of the Cross and recites the Introit The INTROIT is a verse from the Psalms or the Old Testament and varies according to the feast celebrated or the season of the year. It stands in close relationship with, and is so to say, the KEY to a right understand- ing of the Epistle and Gospel. It expresses the spirit of the feast or the mystery being celebrated - whether of joy, of gratitude, of hope, of longing, of desire, of petition - and the sentiments which ought princip- ally to animate the hearts of the faithful. On the feasts of saints, the Introit recalls the vocation, the outstand- ing work, the sufferings, the glorification, etc. of the saint who is be- ing honored. On the various Sundays of the year, the Introit announces some truth of religion, or a Divine promise, or recalls some event which inspires confidence, reverence, resignation, or some other virtue. Some- times it is a plea for help or for mercy, or again, an invitation to give praise and thanks to God. During Advent we cry with ardent longing for the Redeemer in the words of Isaias, "Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just: let the earth be opened, and bud forth a Savior" (Isaias xlv. 8). At Christmas we rejoice in the birth of the "Prince of Peace." In the INTROIT of the Mass of Corpus Christi we rejoice in the great gift of the Holy Eucharist, the Heavenly Bread with which we are fed. Cibavit eos ex adipe frumenti, He fed them with the fat of wheat, alleluia; et de petra, melle satur- alleluia; and filled them with honey avit eos, alleluia, alleluia, alle- out of the rock, alleluia, alleluia, luia. Ps. Exultate Deo adjutori alleluia. Ps. Rejoice to God our nostro; jubilate Deo Jacob. v. Glo- helper; sing aloud to the God of ria. Jacob. V. Glory. Kyrie With sentiments of complete dependence on God, the priest, returning to the center of the altar, with hands joined before his breast, implores mercy for himself and the people, repeating alternately with the server, the words: "Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison, " each invoc- ation being repeated three times. The words KYRIE ELEISON are taken from the Greek language and mean "Lord, have mercy on us." Though the prayers of the Mass are in Latin, these Greek words, as also "Amen," "Alleluia" and "Hosanna" taken from the Hebrew, are retained. This threefold petition to each Person of the Holy Trinity is expressive of the earnestness with which we implore the Divine Mercy. We call upon the Father to be merciful to us through His OMNIPOTENCE; upon the Son, to be merciful to us through His WISDOM, and upon the Holy Ghost, to be merciful to us through His GOODNESS. We imp- lore mercy because we have often offended the Heavenly Father, who IN HIS POWER HAS CREATED US; because we have often offended the Eternal Son, who THROUGH HIS WISDOM has endured such great sufferings TO REDEEM US; be- cause we have often offended the Holy Spirit, who THROUGH HIS GOODNESS HAS SANCTIFIED US. Mercy is one of the most touching attributes of God. Our creation, our redemption, and our sanctification are effects of God's mercy. We need not fear to ask for great mercies; the more He gives the more glory He receives. His mercy lies before us as a boundless ocean which envelopes us; we need but reach out to draw therefrom. It is true, God's justice demands its rights, but precisely on account of His justice God will be merciful to those who implore mercy, because of justice to His only- begotten Son, who has paid so great a price to obtain mercy for us. The psalmist cries out: "Thou, O Lord, art sweet and mild: and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon Thee" (Ps. lxxxv. 5). God desires to give; He loves to be entreated to give; it is His nature to be ever giving; and regarding man it has been said: "There is nothing more Godlike than to give." The mercy of God is infinite. We take into consideration far too little the essence of God. We forget that with Him nothing may be measured by our standards. He loves us in an infinite degree. We must be convinced of this, after all He has done for us. The damned will regret nothing so much as not to have benefitted by the goodness and mercy of God. As Jesus Christ suffered so inexpressibly much for us and shed His Blood even to the last drop, is it not meet that the power and efficacy of this Blood should come to Its just rights wherever and whenever the hand of man reaches out for It? Consider the penitent thief on the cross. We, too, speak words imploring mercy at Holy Mass. The words are short - "Lord, have mercy on us; Christ, have mercy on us; Lord, have mercy on us." With God our words are not COUNTED but WEIGHED. May these words, KYRIE ELEISON, ever come forth from our heart as a burning petition for mercy from the Triune God. JOY IN GOD GLORIA* Having said the last "Kyrie," the priest standing in the same place ext- ends his hands, raises them, and intones the "Gloria in excelsis Deo." At the word "Deo" he joins his hands, and bows his head to the Crucifix; then, standing erect, he continues the "Gloria" to the end with hands joined, bowing his head when he says: "Adoramus te; Gratias agimus tibi Jesu Christe; Suscipe deprecationem nostram." At the end he makes the Sign of the Cross on himself when he says: "Cum Sancto Spiritu." Gloria in excelsis Deo. Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. Lau- damas te. Benedicimus te. Adoramus te. Glorificamus te. Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam. Domine Deus Rex caelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens. Domine Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe. Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris. Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis. Qui tollis pecc- ata mundi, suscipe depecrationem nostram. Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserer nobis. Quoniam tu solus sanctus. Tu solus altissimus, Jesu Christe. Cum Sancto Spiritu, in gloria Dei Patris. Amen. Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace to men of good will. We praise Thee; we bless Thee; we adore Thee; we glorify Thee. We give Thee thanks for Thy great glory, O Lord God, Heavenly King, God the Father Almighty. O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son: O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us: who takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer: who sittest at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For Thou only art holy: Thou only art the Lord: Thou only, O Jesus Christ, art most high, together with the Holy Ghost, in the glory of God the Father. Amen. ______________________________________ *The "Gloria," being a hymn of praise, is omitted in Masses for the dead, during the seasons of Advent and Lent, and also on other occasions when the expression of joy is inappropriate. Truly, this is a prayer of "joy in God." It is an expression of grati- tude and joy for our Redemption, which is renewed in every Holy Mass. Holy Church borrows from the angels the canticle of joy which they sang above the manger of the Infant God and adds to it her own expressions of gratitude and praise. As the angels intoned this canticle when the great work of our Redemption began in Bethlehem, so we echo their song as we are preparing to celebrate the renewal of the Redemption in Holy Mass and to offer the sublime Sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Our hearts overflow with gratitude for the benefits of the Incarnation, and we voice our thanksgiving in these fervent exclamations:- LAUDAMUS TE, BENEDICIMUS TE, ADORAMUS TE, GLORIFICAMUS TE! Whenever we wish to give expression to our praise of God, these words are most beautiful to repeat: "We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we adore Thee, we glorify Thee!" We also thank God for His glory, for we and all things have been cre- ated for His glory. What a sublime thought: To thank God - not for His benefits to man, - creation, redemption, the promise of heaven - but to thank Him FOR HIS OWN GLORY - to think only of God and His attributes! After we have praised God for His great glory, we turn to the Eternal Son enthroned at the right hand of the Father, and call upon His mercy and goodness. We behold in our Savior the Lamb of God immolated for the sins of the world. We implore Him TO TAKE AWAY OUR SINS and TO RECEIVE OUR PRAYER. We plead with Him in the oft-repeated cry of the liturgy, in virtue of His power - "Who sittest at the right hand of the Father"- TO HAVE MERCY ON US. We praise and extol Him as the highest King and Lord who lives and reigns from eternity to eternity and who will pre- pare a throne for us near His own, He who is one with the Holy Ghost in unending glory. The GLORIA is a sublime hymn of praise, and we should repeat it in the spirit of a joyful welcome to our Savior who is soon to be born anew upon the altar as He was born in the cave at Bethlehem. - Jesus is pre- sent in the Most Blessed Sacrament as he was in the grotto. The taber- nacle is the stable of His Eucharistic life. The ciborium is His man- ger, the white form of the Sacred Host His swathing bands, and here, too, He is often exposed to bitter cold. It is winter about Him because many times He is surrounded by the cold blasts of the indifference and ingratitude of the hearts of men. Let us join with the angels to praise Him, with the shepherds to adore Him, witht he Magi to glorify Him. Dominus Vobiscum When the "Gloria" is ended, the priest turns to the people, extends His arms and says:- V. Dominus vobiscum V. The Lord be with you. Frequently during Holy Mass the priest salutes the congregation with these words, DOMINUS VOBISCUM. This is an ancient form of greeting, ex- pressive of everything good, for whosoever has the Lord with him wants nothing. These words express the wish of the priest in behalf of the faithful who are present, that God may be with them and assist them to pray in spirit and in truth, for special grace is needed to pray well. We need the Divine assistance in order that our petitions may be offer- ed for the things that are best and may find a ready hearing at the throne of Divine Mercy. The congregation answers, through the server:- R. Et cum spiritu tuo R. And with thy spirit. It is as though the faithful were to say: "May the Lord be with thy spirit, O Shepherd of our souls, for thou prayest for us and teachest us the way of life eternal; therefore does thy spirit need the Lord to be near." This versicle and response, repeated so often during Mass, signify the close relation that exists between the priest and the peo- ple. When the priest says DOMINUS VOBISCUM, he extends his arms and hands toward the people as a sign of reverent affection, and to indi- cate a blessing. Collect The Celebrant then goes to the right of the altar and inclines toward the Crucifix. With the words, "OREMUS" - Let us pray," the priest invites the congre- gation to join him in his supplication, indicating by these words the union of his heart with theirs. Then follow the COLLECTS, or collective prayers for the day, which for conciseness of form, richness of express- ion and depth of meaning, have never been equaled. They are called "collective" prayers because they sum up all the intent- ions and needs of the Church and of her children, both spiritual and temporal, which by the priest are laid before God. The priest extends his hands and then folds them as a mark of humility, acknowledging that we can do nothing of our own strength and that we must put all our trust in God; afterwards he extends them once more in an attitude of appeal in memory of out Savior who, with arms extended upon the Cross, interceded with His Heavenly Father for the whole human race. Nearly all these prayers* conclude with the words, "PER DOMINUM NOSTRUM JESUM CHRISTUM - Through Jesus Christ our Lord..." for the Heavenly Father has given us the promise that He will refuse nothing which we ask in the Name of His beloved Son, Jesus. At these words the priest again joins his hands. The server answers - in the name of the people - "Amen - So be it," by these words sealing the petitions which have been uttered by the priest. Every COLLECT may be divided into three parts: first, the INVOCATION; second, the SUBJECT or matter which we desire by the prayer; and 3rd, the PLEADING through the merits of our Lord and Savior that we may ob- tain what we ask. Take, for example, the Collects for the festival of Corpus Christi:- _____________________________________ *Mostof the COLLECT prayers are addressed to the Triune God. The COLL- ECT for the festival of Corpus Christi is one of the few exceptions, as it is addressed directly to our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and therefore, the wording at the end is not the usual formula, "through Jesus Christ our Lord." Deus, qui nobis sub Sacramento O God, who in this wonderful Sac- mirabili passionis tuae memor- rament has left us a memorial of iam reliquisti: tribue, quaes- Thy Passion: grant us, we beseech umus; ita nos Corporis et Sang- Thee, so to venerate the sacred uinis tui sacra mysteria vener- mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, ari, ut redemptionis tuae fruc- that we may ever feel within us tum in nobis jugiter sentiamus. the fruit of Thy Redemption. Who Qui vivis et regnas... livest and reignest. The first part of this prayer is an INVOCATION, a calling upon God. Then follows the PETITION, beseeching Christ that we may venerate the Most Blessed Sacrament in such a manner as to profit by Its fruits for our Redemption; and lastly we pray that this grace may be granted by His merits. Sometimes there are several COLLECTS added to the COLLECT of the day. These are either commemorations of the saints, whose feast occurs on that day, or of the Blessed Virgin, or prayers for various occasions and necessities. Whenever the Most Blessed Sacrament is exposed, no matter what COLLECT is said for the season or the feast, the COLLECT of the Blessed Sacrament must also be said. There are but a few exceptions to this rule, namely when the Holy Mass is in honor of the Sacred Heart, the Most Precious Blood, the Passion, the Holy Cross, or the Most Holy Redeemer. Heralds Prepare The Way Jesus Christ was annouced by the prophets and prefigured by numerous types in the Old Law to prepare the people for His coming. Now that He abides with us under the appearance of the Eucharist, it is the same. AT EVERY HOLY MASS HE SENDS HIS PRECURSOR BEFORE HIM TO PREPARE THE WAY. The great line of patriarchs and prophets has been increased by the apostles and evangelists. All these great men of God, a Man, a Redeemer, a King of heaven and earth, a Lawgiver, a Judge and a Recompenser. They made known His commands, His promises, His threats. They also portrayed His life and death. The office of teaching likewise constitutes an essential part of the sublime Sacrifice of Redemption. The Epistle and Gospel represent to us the teaching of Christ; portions of Holy Scripture, proper to the feast or season, are chosen for each day. The Epistle unfolds to us the indi- rect teaching of the Redeemer, as transmitted through the patriarchs, prophets and Apostles. This teaching should prepare the heart and lead it to Christ, who speaks to it Himself in the holy Gospel. For this rason the Epistle precedes the Gospel. Epistle In the first ages of Christianity, passages from the prophets were read before the holy Gospel; later, also passages from the letters of the Apostles. In the Roman liturgy, the Epistle varies. It is taken from the Old or the New Testament, and the lessons are more frequently taken from the letters of the Apostles than from the prophets. Therefore, we call the Lesson "Epistle," which means "letter." Formerly the Epistle was read by the lector from a special elevated place, a kind of pulpit; since the eighth century, the Epistle is read by the subdeacon at Solemn High Mass, and at the ordinary celebration of the Mass, the priest him- self reads it. Formerly, the celebrating bishop or priest decided what was to be read each time. The present order of the Epistles and Gospels was arranged by St. Jerome (died 420) and finally established by Pope St. Pius V, in 1570. The priest lays his hand upon the book or altar while reading the Epis- tle, to show us that we should be ready at once to put our hand to the work in order to conform our life to the principles laid down for us in the Epistle. What a wealth of instruction and what an unerring guide for our conduct is given to us by St. Paul in the Epistle for the feast of Corpus Christi:- *****NOTE: Here I will put only the English translation of the Epistle. (Continued below)
Brethren: I myself have received from the Lord (what I also delivered to you), that the Lord Jesus, on the night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks broke, and said, "This is my Body which shall be given up for you; do this in rememberance of Me." In like manner also the Cup, after He had supped, saying, "This Cup is the new covenant in my Blood; do this as often as you drink it, in rememberance of Me. For as often as you shall eat this Bread and drink of the Cup, you proclaim the Death of the Lord, until He comes." Therefore whoever eats this Bread or drinks the Cup of the Lord unworthily, will be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself and so let him eat of that Bread and drink of the Cup; for he who eats amd drinks unworthily without distinguishing the Body, eats and drinks judgment to himself. (1 Cor. xi. 23-30) At the conclusion of the Epistle, the server answers, in the name of the people, "DEO GRATIAS! - Thanks be to God!" In order to express their gra- titude for the Divine revelation, which God does not grant to everyone. WILLINGNESS TO FULFILL GOD'S PRECEPTS, AND GRATITUDE FOR HIS SACRED WORD ARE THE SENTIMENTS WHICH SHOULD ANIMATE THE CHRISTIAN during the EPISTLE and the GRADUAL which immediately follows it. Gradual The priest, remaining in the same position as at the Epistle, now reads the "Gradual." The GRADUAL formerly consisted of an entire psalm or psalms and was sung with great solemnity. It is so called because it used to be sung from the steps (GRADUS) of the altar or pulpit. Pope Gregory the Great (died 604) reduced the length of the psalm to the present few verses which epitomize the EPISTLE. These few verses are so appropriately selected that they are little masterpieces, both from a literary and a spiritual standpoint. Like a golden thread, the spirit of the Mass is woven through the COLL- ECT, EPISTLE, and GRADUAL, showing the completeness and the exceedingly beautiful arrangement of the liturgy. The GRADUAL expresses the senti- ments and dispositions which the EPISTLE should produce in our souls. For instance, in the Mass of Corpus Christi, we honor the Most Blessed Sacrament as the memorial of the Passion, and in the COLLECT we ask that through the sacred mysteries of Christ's Body and Blood we may feel with- in us the fruit of the Redemption. St. Paul speaks to us in the Epistle, exhorting us to receive the most sacred Body and Blood of the Lord worth- ily. The GRADUAL, after exciting us to trust in God's providence and gratitude for His benefits, ends with those beautiful words of our Lord which tell us of our inestimable privilege and dignity of being united with Jesus Christ through the Holy Eucharist:- The eyes of all hope in Thee, O Lord, and Thou givest me meat in due season. v. Thou openest Thy hand, and fillest every living creature with Thy blessing. Alleluia, Alleluia. v. My flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed: he that eateth My flesh and drinketh My Blood abideth in Me, and I in Him. (John vi). The GRADUAL changes according to the feasts and the different seasons of the year. It is omitted during Paschal time, and two other verses are said in its place. Like the INTROIT, the GRADUAL verses announce the pur- pose for which the Mass id being said;- whether it be in honor of some saint, of some mystery of our holy religion, for the departed, or for some other intention. In times of joy and special solemnity, two ALLELUIAS with a verse foll- owed by a third ALLELUIA, are added to the GRADUAL. ALLELUIA is a Hebrew word which means "Praise the Lord." As it expresses a transport of joy which cannot be adequately rendered by any term in Greek or Latin, it has been retained in its original form. Tract and Sequence In times of penance and sorrow the ALLELUIAS would be out of place. They are, therefore, omitted on such occasions, together with the versicle, and several other verses are substituted. These latter verses, taken from the psalms or the Old Testament, form what is called the TRACT. On certain days, when Holy Church wishes to prolong the joy of the ALLE- LUIA or the sorrow and expression of penance in the TRACT, she adds a hymn or psalm called the Sequence. There are now five Sequences in our Missal, as follows:- VICTIMAE PASCHALI for EASTER SUNDAY, supposed to have been composed by a priest named Wipo about 1048. VENI SANCTE SPIRITUS for PENTECOST, ascribed to Pope Innocent III about 1198. LAUDA SION for CORPUS CHRISTI, composed by St. Thomas Aquinas about 1274. STABAT MATER for the FEAST OF THE SORROWFUL MOTHER, generally attributed to a Franciscan friar; composed about 1250. DIES IRAE, in MASSES FOR THE DEPARTED, also believed to have been comp- osed by a Franciscan friar about 1250. The SEQUENCES abound in poetic beauty, depth of thought and doctrinal soundness, as we will fully realize by reading attentively the incompar- able SEQUENCE for the feast of CORPUS CHRISTI. On account of its length, we give only the English translation here. Sion, lift thy voice and sing, On this festival Divine Praise thy Savior, praise thy King; Which records the origin Praise with hymns thy Shepherd true: Of the glorious Eucharist. Strive thy best to praise Him well, On this table of the new King, For He doth all praise excel; This, the New Law's paschal off'ring None can ever reach His due. Brings to end the olden rite. See today before us laid Here, for empty shadows fled, Living and life-giving Bread, Is reality instead; Theme for praise and joy profound; Here, instead of darkness, light. Bread which at the sacred board What He did at supper seated, Was, by our Incarnate Lord, Christ ordained to be repeated, Giv'n to His Apostles round. In His memory Divine; Let the praise be loud and high; Wherefore we, with adoration Sweet and rev'rent be the joy Thus the Host of our salvation Felt today in every breast; Consecrate from bread and wine. Taught by Christ, the Church main- Nor do thou doubts entertain taineth. When the Host is broken in twain: That the bread its substance changeth But be sure, each part contains Into Flesh, the wine to Blood, What was in the whole before; Doth it pass thy comprehending? 'Tis the simple sign alone Faith, the law of sight transcending Which hath changed in size and form, Leaps to things not understood. While the signified is one. And the same forevermore. Here, beneath these signs, are hidden Priceless things, to sense forbidden. Lo, upon the altar lies, Signs, not things, are all we see, - Hidden deep from human eyes, Flesh from bread, and Blood from wine, Bread of angels from the skies, Made the food of mortal man: Yet is Christ in either sign, Children's meat, to dogs denied; All entire, confessed to be, In old types foresignified: In the manna heaven supplied, They, too, who of Him partake, Isaac, and the Paschal Lamb. Sever not, nor rend, nor break, But entire, their Lord receive. Jesu, Shepherd, Bread indeed, Whether one or thousands eat, Thou take pity on our need: All receive the selfsame meat, Thou Thy flock in safety feed, Nor the less for others leave. Thou protect us, Thou us lead Lo, the wicked with the good To the land of heavenly grace. Eat of this celestial food: Thou, who feedest us below, Yet with ends how opposite! Source of all we have or know, Life to these, 'tis death to those: Grant that, at Thy feast of love, See how from taking flows Sitting with the saints above, Diff'rence truly infinite. We may see Thee face to face. Amen. Alleluia. Gospel Having read the Epistle and the prayers which follow, the priest leaves the Missal open and goes to the center of the altar, where, raising his eyes to the Crucifix, and immediately lowering them again, he inclines profoundly, keeping his habds joined. Meanwhile, the acolyte goes up to the altar, takes the Missal from the Epistle side, descends to the foot of the steps, genuflects, and takes it up to the left or Gospel side. The priest is about to read the holy Gospel, but out of reverence for its sacred words, he first stands with bowed head before the center of the altar and prays:- Cleanse my heart and my lips, O God Almighty, who didst cleanse the lips of the Prophet Isaias* with a burning coal; and vouchsafe through Thy gracious mercy, so to purify me that I may worthily proclaim Thy holy Gospel. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. Pray, Lord, a blessing. The Lord be in my heart and on my lips, that I may worthily and in a becoming manner announce His holy Gospel. Amen _________________________________________ *The following quotation explains the reference to the burning coal:- "Woe is me, because I have held my peace; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people that hath unclean lips, and I have seen with my eyes the King, the Lord of Hosts. And one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a live coal, which he had taken with the tongs off the altar. And he touched my mouth, and said: 'Behold, this hath touch- ed thy lips, and thy iniquities shall be taken away, and thy sin shall be cleansed' "(Isaias vi. 5-7). Well may the priest ask that his lips be cleansed, because he is about to proclaim the words of Christ, which are GREAT IN THEIR HOLINESS, GREAT IN THEIR WISDOM, and GREAT IN THEIR POWER. From the Divine lips came, in a few clear, significant words, the truest, the most exalted, the most practical doctrine concerning GOD AND HEAVENLY THINGS, concerning MAN AND HIS DEST- INY, concerning THE WORLD AND ITS FINAL DISSOLUTION. The speech of Jesus is full of BEAUTY; His words are LUMINOUS, "enlightening every man that cometh into this world" (John 1:9). His words are POWERFUL AND CONVINCING when He teaches those truths which the greatest and most devout intellects have studied uninterruptedly for over nineteen hundred years without fully com- prehending; and which other great but impious minds of all ages have not yet been able to overthrow, despite all their painstaking efforts. His words are STRONG AND TERRIBLE, thundering against the profaners of the tem- ple and against the deceitful pharisees. His words are MOST TOUCHING, especially when, at the Last Supper He gives the final pledges of His love and bids His Apostles a last farewell. His words are INIMITABLE, whether He teaches or condemns, whether He prays or mourns. His words distil a HEAV- ENLY UNCTION; they bear the STAMP OF DIVINITY. The Missal is carried from the Epistle to the Gospel side of the altar to indicate that the light of faith, having been rejected by the Jews, was carried to the Gentiles. No book should be preferred to the book of the holy Gospel. With the deepest reverence, with a holy timidity and a heart overflowing with gratitude should we read these living words of Jesus Christ. Having prayed that his lips be purified, the priest stands erect and with hands joined goes to the Gospel side and says:- V. Dominus vobiscum V. The Lord be with you. R. Et cum spiritu tuo. R. And with thy spirit. V. Sequentia (sive Initium) sancti V. The continuation (or beginning)of Evangelii secundum N. of the holy Gospel according to N. R. Gloria tibi, Domine. R. Glory be tto Thee, O Lord. The priest makes the Sign of the Cross on the book at the beginning of the Gospel, then on his forehead, lips and breast. This is a prayer that the holy Gospel may be, first, IN OUR MIND, that we may know Our Lord's teach- ings; secondly, ON OUR LIPS, that we may fearlessly proclaim the truths of our holy Faith, thirdly, IN OUR HEART, that we may faithfully live accor- ding to the precepts of the holy Gospel. The faithful also rise, to express their readiness to follow the teachings contained in our Savior's words. In the Gospel, Christ speaks directly to each one of us. The parables and examples He shows us contain lessons for our daily life. They tell us of His love, mercy, gentleness, patience, long-suffering and charity. Every action, every word, has its special meaning. How sublime and majestic are His words as He announces the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist, in which all the laws of nature are set aside to make way for the LAW OF HIS INFINITE LOVE:- At that time: Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: "My Flesh is food indeed and My Blood is drink indeed. He who eats My Flesh, and drinks My Blood, abides in Me and I in him. As the living Father has sent Me, and as I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me. This is the Bread that has come down from heaven; not as your fath- ers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this bread shall live forever" (John vi. 56-59). The faithful answer, through the server: "LAUS TIBI CHRISTE - Praise be to Thee, O Christ!" as an expression of their gratitude for the teachings of Our Lord contained in the Gospel, and as an act of thanksgiving to Jesus Christ who Himself brought us the glad tidings of Redemption and God's kingdom. When the Gospel is finished, the priest raises the Missal with both hands, inclines a little, and kisses it where he signed it at the be- ginning, to show his love and veneration for the Divine word.* While kiss- ing the Gospel, the priest says, in a low voice: "PER EVANGELICA DICTA DELEANTUR NOSTRA DELICTA - By the words of the holy Gospel may our sins be blotted out." The words of the Gospel, attentively and devoutly received, impart grace which leads to contrition and confession for the cleansing of our sins. The moment when our Savior is to be in our midst draws ever nearer. The Church wishes, before she gives our Redeemer to us, to show us, through the holy Gospel, WHO JESUS IS, WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR US, AND WHAT HE EXPECTS OF US. This is usually explained to the faithful by Christ's minister who on Sundays and holy days delivers a sermon after the Gospel. ________________________________________ *In Masses for the Departed, MUNDA COR MEUM is said, but a blessing is not asked, nor does the priest kiss the book. THE TORCH OF FAITH Nicene Creed We have heard proclaimed the joyous Gospel tidings. We have read from the book of life. THE DIVINE TEACHER HAS HIMSELF INSTRUCTED US BY HIS POWERFUL WORDS, HIS HEAVENLY WORDS, HIS GRACE-GIVING WORDS. He has told us that He came to seek and to save. He has exhorted us to carry our cross after Him if we wish to be His disciples. He has given proofs of His goodness and love. He has told us of the beauty of heaven and the reward awaiting those who strive to attain it. Still under the wonderous spell of His great MIRA- CLES, His sublime TEACHING and His Divine EXAMPLE, the Catholic heart with joy cries out:- I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only- begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages; God of God, light of light, true God of true God; begotten not made; consubstantial with the Father; by whom all things were made. Who for us men, and for our salvat- ion, came down from heaven (here all kneel); and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost, of the Virgin Mary; and was made man. He was crucified also for us, suffered under Pontius Pilate, and was buried. And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven. He sitteth at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the living, and the dead; and His kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who together with the father and the Son, is adored and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins. And I await the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen. "CREDO - I believe!" Glorious word! How impressive it sounds at this mom- ent when the Savior is nigh. He will soon be on the altar. With the great- est ardor we should long for His coming. There is no appropriate time than now to pour forth to Jesus the beautiful profession of our faith. Truly, the faithful must of necessity break forth in jubilation: "My Lord and my God, I believe in Thee, I believe in Thy word, and in this faith I will live and die." The Substance of Our Belief Then priest, standing at the middle of the altar, extends, elevates, then joins his hands while he says the "Nicene Creed." When he says, "Deum" he bows his head to the Crucifix, as also at the words "Jesum Christum" and "simul adoratur." When uttering the words: Et incarnatus est-and was made Flesh," he genuflects on one knee until after the words: "Et homo factus est-and was made man." As he says the last words of the "Credo," he makes the sign of the Cross. At the word "Amen" he places his hands on the altar. Let us, too, with holy fervor, bend our knees at the words: ET INCARNATUS EST. Let us worship the Divine Babe in the spirit of the shepherds and the Magi, when they adored Him in the crib at Bethlehem. If our Savior had not become incarnate, there would be no Creed, no Holy Catholic Church; there would be no hope for us of forgiveness of sins or the glory of heaven to come. THE CREED CONTAINS THE WHOLE SUBSTANCE OF OUR CATHOLIC BELIEF. Our Lord in all His mysteries can be placed before us under four titles: (1) As our great GOD; (2) as our loving BROTHER; (3) as our OBLATION; (4) as our BRIDEGROOM. He is presented to us under these four aspects in the Creed. (1) We acknowledge theat He is TRUE GOD OF TRUE GOD; (2) that He made Himself our BROTHER by taking our human flesh with all the affections of a human heart; (3) that He suffered and died for us, thus becoming our SACRIFICE, our OBLATION; (4) that He is our glorious BRIDEGROOM, who "on the third day arose again from the dead, ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of the Father Almighty, from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead." In these sentences of the Creed, the whole ador- able Person of Christ is presented to us. We review the mystery of His life, starting from the highest throne in heaven where He is and always has been adored eternally; then we follow Him to the abasement of His in- carnation; next, to the sufferings of His bitter Passion and Death, and finally back to His glory in heaven, with the hope of one day rising with Him to everlasting life. The Fruit of the Gospel The Nicene Creed is the confession of faith as it was formulated at the first general Council of Nice (325) and developed at the Council of Con- stantinople (381). It was prayed at Holy Mass in all the Eastern Churches from about the middle of the fifth century. In the churches of the West it was not introduced until some time later. The Creed marks the end of the "Mass of the Catechumens" or the first part of the Holy Sacrifice. It is placed at the end of the prophetic part of the Holy Mass and constitutes, as it were the FRUIT OF THE GOSPEL. The Creed is, at the same time, a fit- ting transition to the second part of Holy Mass, the true Sacrifice. The true love of sacrifice springs from a living faith; therefore those pre- sent once more reanimate their faith so that they may with fervor take part in the sacrifice itself. The Creed is not always said at Mass, but only on certain days. The days on which it is to be said are arranged in the liturgy according to mystery, doctrine. and celebration or solemnity. By reason of the mysteries of our religion it is to be said on all the festivals of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother; by reason of the doctrines of the faith it is to be said on all the feasts of the Apostles and the Doctors of the Church; and by reason of celebration or solemnity it is to be said on the feasts of patrons and other feasts of the first and second class, when the people are supposed to attend Mass in greater number. It is also said during the octaves of feasts. SENTIMENTS OF GRATITUDE SHOULD FILL OUR HEARTS, WHILE WE SING OR PRAY THE CREED. TOO OFTEN WE SAY IT THOUGHTLESSLY, WITHOUT REALIZING THAT IT IS SOMETHING HOLY, SOMETHING SUBLIME, WHICH THE CHURCH HAS PRESERVED FOR US DOWN THROUGHT HE CENTURIES, and whic sets forth the same truths which the Apostles taught, taking them from the lips of their Master. These are the same truths for which the confessors and martyrs have given their life and their blood. II Mass of the Faithful GIFTS OF THE MOST HIGH Offertory After the "Credo," the priest kisses the altar, the turns to the people and says:- V. Dominus vobiscum V. The Lord be with you. R. Et cum spiritu tuo R. And with thy spirit. With the words, "Oremus-let us pray," he joins his hands and reads the "Offertory," inviting the faithful to follow the priest attentively and unite in the Sacrifice which he is about to commence. In a broad sense, the OFFERTORY includes all that part of the Mass from the CREED to the PREFACE. In a strict sense, it is applied only to the short antiphon which the celebrant recites immediately after the DOMINUS VOBISCUM following the CREED. It owes its name to the ancient practice observed by the faithful of presenting their offerings of bread and wine at the altar at this part of the Mass, to be consecrated at the Holy Sacrifice. The verse forming the OFFERTORY is taken from Holy Scripture and, like the INTROIT and GRADUAL, is appropriate to the feast or season. The OFFERTORY of CORPUS CHRISTI reads:- The priests of the Lord offer incense and loaves to God, and therefore they shall be holy to their God, and shall not defile His Name. Alleluia. United in the Lord, let us pray, not so much by words as by deeds and sentiments of the heart; not so much by begging and petitioning as by off- ering and self-surrender. For now the gift which is to be changed into the Body and Blood of Christ is prepared on the altar. Now is the ACCEPTABLE TIME for each one in the Sacrifice of Christ. How can this be accomplished? In former times each person brought a VISIBLE gift to the altar,-bread or wine, flowers, fruits, gold or other precious things-according to his means. With the visible gift he also brought an INVISIBLE one-THE GIFT OF READINESS FOR SACRIFICE, which rendered his offering still more pleasing in the sight of God. In our days, the faithful no longer offer bread and wine or like gifts, but the DISPOSITION OF SACRIFICE is possible and necessary for each one of us. The present practice of making a collection or receiving the offerings of the faithful at this part of the Mass may be said to conform to the practice of early ages, as it is more convenient and suitable to the cir- cumstances of our time for the people to make offerings of money instead of bread and wine, which offerings serve the same purpose,-namely, the support of the priest, the supplying of the means requisite for the preservation and decoration of the altar and the church, and for the vestments and holy vessels required for the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Then, too, we have gifts, SPIRITUAL GIFTS, which we can offer to the Lord. We should not neg- lect, in spirit, to PLACE OUR OFFERING ON THE PATEN TO UNITE IT WITH THE OFFERING OF THE PRIEST. Have we not perhaps a sorrow that weighs us down? Let it be our gift to the Lord, sanctified and made especially pleasing through the Cross of Christ. Let us offer our work and our good will; they are precious gifts. Has God perhaps lavished joys and prosperity on us and blessed us abundantly? With a grateful heart let us offer them to Him. Every Christian is required to practice self-denial, to bear afflictions and privations. Let them be our gifts to the Most High. No one should come empty-handed, for God has given to each one something which he can and should now bring to Him as an offering. St. Gertrude was accustomed to place herself upon the paten, in spirit, surrendering to God her body with all its senses and her soul with all its powers. Let us animate ourselves with the same sentiments, that, as St. Paul says, we may become a "living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God." The Spotless Host With the "Offertory" the second part of Holy Mass is begun. The priest un- covers the chalice, places it at the side of the corporal, and presently with both hands raises the paten with the host and prays silently:- Receive, O holy Father, Almighty, Eternal God, this spotless host, which I, thine unworthy servant, do offer unto Thee, my living and true God, for mine own countless sins, offenses, and negligences, and for all here pres- ent; as also for all faithful Christians, living or dead; that it may avail for my own and their salvation unto life eternal. Amen. The priest raises his eyes to heaven when he elevates the host to denote that the oblation is made to God. Having finished the first words, he again lowers his eyes in token of his own unworthiness. After this prayer, he makes the sign of the Cross with the paten in memory of the Sacrifice of the Cross about to be renewed. He then lays the host on the corporal. By this act of oblation, the priest presents the host as a sacrifice of atonement to the Most High. He calls it SPOTLESS, not because it was pre- pared with great care and of the finest flour, but because it is to become the true stainless gift, the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose offering will avail us all unto salvation. He asks God, in virtue of the spotless Host, to forgive, first, his own sins, offenses and negligences; then, those of all present in the Church; and finally, those of all the faithful, whether still living in this world or suffering in the flames of purgatory. This prayer demonstrates the all-embracing charity which the Church wishes us to exercise in our prayers, especially at Holy Mass. Notice also that the priest here enumerates singly the three categories of sins by which the human heart is prone to offend God: 1. PECCATIS - sins of COMMISSION, evil thoughts, words and deeds; 2. OFFENSIONIBUS - sins of SCANDAL, disedificat- ion given to others, etc., and 3. NEGLIGENTIIS - sins of OMISSION, neglected duties, acts of zeal, charity, etc. Let us be mindful, then of this three- fold character of our sins, and say this prayer with heartfelt sentiments of contrition, without which we cannot hope to obtain the pardon which we ask of God. Mingling of Water and Wine With hands joined, the priest walks to the Epistle corner of the altar, takes the chalice in his left hand and with the right wipes the inside with the purificator. He then pours wine and water into the chalice (having first blessed the water*) while reciting this prayer: O God, who in creating human nature didst marvelously ennoble it, and hast still more marvelously renewed it; grant that by the mystery of this water and wine, we may be made partakers of His Divinity who vouchsafed to become partaker of our humanity, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God world without end. Amen. Water and wine are commingled, in imitation of the mixture of water and wine+ which at the Last Supper Our Lord changed into His Precious Blood. Jesus thereby typified two things in a mysterious and symbolic manner; first, THAT HIS DIVINE AND HUMAN NATURES ARE UNITED IN A WONDERFUL UNION, the wine, as the more precious beveage, signifying His Divine nature, and the water His human nature; secondly, that we, too, by the mystery of this union, are PERMITTED TO BECOME PARTAKERS OF HIS DIVINE NATURE, as the writer typifies mankind in general. The wine used at Mass is not blessed because it represents Christ, the Eternal Son of the Father, and the source of all benefits, of all blessings. In every Holy Mass water and wine are mixed anew. In like manner should we, by taking part in the Holy Sacrifice, become united with God each time anew to participate in His Divine Life. Rightly do we compare our gifts to the few drops of water; for what are we and all we can give in comparison with our High Priest, Jesus Christ and His Sacrifice? He it is who accepts our gifts and prayers in His own infinite surrender to His Father; He it is who changes water into the wine of salv- ation and makes it precious in the sight of God. ________ *In Masses for the departed, the above prayer is said, but the water is not blessed. +This is in accordance with the teaching of St. Thomas, based on the author- ity of Councils and tradition. The Chalice of Salvation Returning to the middle of the altar, the priest, with both hands, raises the chalice containing the water and wine, and says:- We offer unto Thee, O Lord, the chalice of salvation, beseeching Thy clemency that in the sight of Thy Divine Majesty it may ascend with the savor of sweetness, for our salvation, and for that of the whole world. Amen. It is called the "chalice of salvation" because the wine which it contains is to be changed into the Precious Blood which flowed for our eternal salvation. That this Sacrifice, the Sacrifice of Christ, asc- ends as a sweet odor, is told us by the Apostle: "Christ also loved us and delivered Himself up for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God to ascend in fragrant odor" (Ephes. v. 2). St. Gertrude, in spirit, placed her heart in the chalice at the offertory and prayed that all the words spoken over the chalice might be spoken over her heart; and that as the water and wine were to be changed into the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, so her heart might be changed from one cold and lukewarm into a heart glowing with ard- ent love for God. After the foregoing prayer, the priest makes the sign of the cross with the chalice, places it on the center of the corporal and covers it with the pall. He then inclines moderately and prays silently:- In an humble spirit, and a contrite heart, may we be received by Thee, O Lord; and may our sacrifice be so offered up in Thy sight this day that it may be pleasing to Thee, O Lord God. This prayer recalls the words of the Psalmist: "A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humble heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise" (Ps. L. 19). Begging God that our oblation may be accept- able, that our hearts may be changed and that we may be made worthy to be offered to the Most High with Jesus Christ, we continue with the priest to implore God to change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord by the the power of the Holy Spirit. The adorable Sacrifice of the Mass is the most sublime work of the Holy Ghost; therefore we invoke the Holy Spirit, by virtue of the Cross of Christ, to bless the sacrifice we have prepared:- Come, O Sanctifier, Almighty Eternal God, and bless this Sacrifice prepared for Thy holy Name. At these words, the priest looking up to God, raises his hands, folds them reverently, and makes the sign of the Cross over the oblation. Washing of the Hands The priest, with hands joined, goes to the Epistle side of the altar. The server pours water over the tips of the thumb and forefinger of both hands, which are dried while the priest recites part of Psalm twenty-five:- I will wash my hands among the innocent: and will compass Thine altar, O Lord That I may hear the voice of Thy praise: and tell all of Thy wondrous works. O Lord, I have loved the beauty of Thy house: and the place where Thy glory dwelleth. Destroy not my soul with the wicked, O God: nor my life with men of blood. In whose hands are iniquities: their right hand is filled with gifts. But I have walked in mine innocence: redeem me, and have mercy on me. My foot hath stood in the straight way: in the churches I will bless Thee, O Lord. *Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. This ceremony is symbolic of the cleanliness and purity of soul and body with which we should appear before God. At the beginning of Holy Mass we recited the Confiteor. This was to purify ourselves, to make our heart clean by sincere contition. The washing of the fingers sig- nifies our petition that Our Lord may wash us yet more from our iniqu- ities, and cleanse us from our sins, according to the words of the psalm. The washing of the hands which follows the offering of gifts was cus- tomary even in ancient times. IT IS A SYMBOL OF PURITY. Formerly, not only the priest who sacrificed washed his hands, but also he who ser- ved at the altar. WITH PURE HANDS, AND ALSO WITH PURE HEARTS, should the Holy Sacrifice be offered. By the washing of the hands we are re- minded of how Our Lord, by the washing of the feet of His disciples, prepared them for the reception of Holy Communion. The Church never forgets a single detail or lesson coming from that holiest of even- ings, which meant so much for us and for our salvation. Accordingly, in every Mass there is a washing, not of the feet, but of the hands. IT SYMBOLIZES THE NEED OF FORGIVENESS OF SINS BY REPENTANCE AND PRAY- ER. Having voiced our REPENTANCE in the CONFITEOR, we now, in the LAVABO, pray for the COMPLETE FORGIVENESS OF SINS which Christ alone can effect in our souls. _________________________________ *In Masses for the departed and at passiontide "Gloria Patri" is not said. Oblation to the Holy Trinity Having finished the twenty-fifth psalm, the priest returns to the center of the altar, and bowing down, with hands joined, humbly entr- eats the Most Holy trinity to receive the oblation which he is about to offer. He raises his eyes for a moment to the Crucifix enthroned on the altar; then, with bowed head, he makes the offering of his gifts to the Most Blessed Trinity, saying:- Receive, O Holy Trinity, this offering which we make to Thee, in rememberance of the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in honor of blessed Mary ever Virgin, of Blessed John the Baptist, of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, of these and of all the saints: that it may avail to their honor and our salvat- ion: and may they vouchsafe to intercede for us in heaven whose mem- ory we celebrate on earth. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. The entire offering is summed up in this beautiful prayer. The priest turns to the Triune God and to the whole Church Triumphant. He places himself in union with the heavenly court to invite them to par- ticipate in the adorable Sacrifice. In this prayer the priest begs the Holy Trinity to receive the offerings of bread and wine which are to be changed into Christ's Body and Blood, in honor of Christ's suff- erings, resurrection and ascension, in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints. By thus honoring the saints we obtain their intercession and salvation through Jesus Christ. Although there are many ways whereby we may honor Our Lady and aff- ord her pleasure, yet none of the accidental joys we thus procure her equals that which we can give her by assisting at Holy Mass. For, since the glory of God and the salvation of sinners are what she loves and desires above all things, it affords her inexpressible joy to see us, by piously assisting at Holy Mass, offering to the Holy Trinity the worthiest service, praising, venerating, invoking, rejoi- cing the Most High, and presenting to Him the most precious of all gifts. Every time Holy Mass is said, Jesus is born anew in a mystical man- ner, and the Blessed Virgin mary's high dignity of Mother of God is renewed. Mary sees us, moreover, worshipping her beloved Son with steadfast faith, humbling ourselves before Him in lowly adoration. She sees us striking our breasts with penitent hearts and earnestly imploring the forgiveness of sins. She looks with complacency on the offering we make to the heavenly father of the Body and Blood of her Divine Son for the cleansing and healing of our souls. Can we doubt, then, that she will favor us with her loving and powerful intercess- ion in return for the joy and honor we offer her? The best means of honoring the saints is likewise the offering of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass to God for their glory. Although the Mass is the renewal of Our Lord's Sacrifice on Calvary and is offered up to Almighty God alone, yet the saints derive joy and glory from it, as St. Chrysostom testifies: "When a public ovation is offered to a king, the officers who have shared with him the perils of war and have borne themselves valiantly, are also mentioned by name, that they may like- wise share in the glory of his triumph. So it is with the saints. They are honored and glorified in the presence of their Lord when His Pass- ion and death are triumphantly represented in Holy Mass. Then they, too, receive special mention, and the heroic deeds they achieved agai- nst their hellish foe are lauded and magnified. Then glory is given to Almighty God for the might wherewith he fortified them in the strife, and for the grace by means of which He secured to them the victory." Another spiritual writer testifies: "One can give no greater satis- faction to the saints than by offering the Holy Mass to God in their name, thanking Him for the gifts He bestowed on them, commemorating their meritorious deeds, and offering these to the Holy Trinity in union with the Sacrifice of the Mass." Orate, Fratres The priest bends and kisses the altar as if to salute Jesus Christ after this prayer in which he has once more offered the Sacrifice to the Most Blessed Trinity. Next he turns to the faithful, extends and rejoins his hands, while he greets them with the words "Orate, fratres - Pray, brethren." Then turning to the altar, he finishes the prayer silently:- That my Sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the Father Almighty. The server, on behalf of the faithful responds:- May the Lord receive the Sacrifice at thy hands, to the priase and glory of His Name, to our benefit, and to that of all His Holy Church. R. Amen At various times during the Mass, the priest has said, "OREMUS - Let us pray." This new invitation, "Orate, fratres - Pray, brethren," this new petition for the faithful to join with him in prayer is to impress upon us that the nearer we approach to the moment of consecration, the nearer we approach to Christ and the greater need we have of recoll- ection and prayer. Holy Mass - My Sacrifice "MY Sacrifice and YOURS," says the priest. Yes, each one of us can truly say, "Holy Mass is MY Sacrifice." "When you hear Mass," the learned Sanchez says, "remember that this Sacrifice is YOUR POSSESS- ION, which is donated to you by God the father and the Son." If we could realize this, Holy Mass would soon be considered by us the most holy, the most sublime and God-pleasing act of Divine worship. To the devout Catholic, Holy Mass is not merely a form of prayer, - IT IS AN ACT OF WORSHIP AND A SACRIFICE; for all who devoutly assist at Holy Mass offer the Divine oblation together with the priest. First of all, there is the great High Priest, the chief sacrificer, Jesus Christ, who Himself offers every Holy Mass to His Heavenly Father. Then there is the officiating priest, who immolates the Divine victim. Thirdly, there are the faithful present at the Holy Sacrifice, who also have the power of offering it. One of the greatest graces granted to the children of the Church is the THE PRIVILEGE OF OFFERING TO THE DIVINE MAJESTY THE SACRED AND SUBLIME SACRIFICE OF THE MASS IS NOT THE PREROGATIVE OF THE PRIEST ALONE, BUT BELONGS TO THE LAITY AS WELL, TO MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN. Saint Peter lays stress on this prerogative when he says: "You, how- ever, are a chosen race, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, a holy nation, a purch- ased people" (1 Pet. 2:9). When we offer the Mass by the hands of the priest, we offer what is better than a spiritual oblation, namely a VISIBLE one, even the self- same Victim Whom the priest holds in his hands. Happy indeed are we in being thus privileged, through the Divine bounty, to possess the ines- timable treasure of the Body and Blood of Christ, and with a few words to offer it to God for our own immeasurable profit! THIS SACRIFICIAL ACT IS THE CHIEF, THE MOST IMPORTANT PART, OF HEARING MASS, for with- out it we neither gain much profit to ourselves nor give pleasure to God. It is not enough TO BE PRESENT AT MASS in order to share in the fruits of the Mass; WE MUST MAKE A DEFINITE OFFERING OF IT TO GOD IN UNION WITH THE OFFICIATING PRIEST. The council of Trent teaches that by hearing Holy Mass, the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, the fruits of His Life, Passion and Death, are freely communicated to and bestowed upon us. Wherefore, since what we receive as a gift is as completely our own as what we earn oursel- ves, we are able at the time of Mass to present the merits of Jesus Christ to God the Father AS OUR OWN OBLATION, and thereby give infin- ite satisfaction to His Divine Majesty. With what complacency must not the Heavenly Father regard us when we offer Him so precious a gift! We can do nothing better during the time of Holy Mass than to make an act of oblation. The more frequently and fervently we do this, the more we please God, the more satisfaction we make for our sins and the more reward we lay up for ourselves in heaven. As often as we make this oblation to God, it is as if we said to Him: "I pay Thee this price for the remission of the temporal punishment due to my sins, for the purchase of celestial treasures, for the relief of the suffering souls in purgatory." It is indeed highly profitable for us to say at any time: "My God, I offer Thee Thy Beloved Son; I offer Thee His Passion and Death; I off- er Thee His virtues and His merits." But this act has a twofold value when it is uttered during the celebration of Holy Mass. At other times, this oblation is only one of the lips and of the heart; but during Holy Mass the oblation is A REAL AND ACTUAL ONE, for then Our Lord Himself is really present in person and His merits are abundantly communicated to us.; or rather, HE GIVES HIMSELF, THAT WE MAY PRESENT HIM TO HIS FATHER. Oh, let us make frequent and fervent use of this glorious prerogative; it is the easiest way of acquiring eternal rich- es. Let each one of us bear in mind: HOLY MASS IS MY SACRIFICE; it is MY work; it is MY possession. I unite myself with the priest, yes, with jesus Christ Himself. Especially at the moment of Consecration should we bear in mind that we are not merely witnesses, but ACTIVE PARTICI- PANTS in the offering of the Holy Sacrifice. The priest is merely our official representative; itis really OUR SACRIFICE that He offers. True, we are not allowed to take the Body of Our Lord into our hands, but the Sacred Host which the priest lifts up at the altar, the Prec- ious Blood which he holds aloft and presents to God, is OUR PROPERTY. In spirit let us take It into our hands and offer It to the Heavenly Father. He will accept It from us just as He accepts It from a conse- crated priest, and the more gladly, the more sincerely we offer our- selves to God in union with our Savior, promising to belong to Him in life and death, and to become a perfect offering unto His honor. NOTE: I would like to comment here. Keep in mind that this does not mean that we, meaning the laity, are sufficient of ourselves to offer the Mass. A Priest is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for the offering of a valid Mass. No priest, no Consecration = NO MASS. The point made here is that we can offer the Mass IN UNION with the priest, who stands in the place of Christ.
Secret After calling upon the faithful to unite their prayers with his, that he may offer them collectively to the Heavenly Father, the priest prays, in silence and with outstretched hands, the special offertory prayer called the SECRET. This prayer should be said with deep inter- ior sentiments. The faithful should be exceedingly attentive and exhi- bit the deepest respect, inasmuch as the priest is now entering into the holiest part of the Mass. The memorial of Christ's Passion is about to be celebrated and the hearts of all present should be filled with awe and reverence. The SECRET is a prayer of petition, wherein we beseech God to deign graciously to accept the oblation or we implore special gifts and gra- ces needful for our earthly pilgrimage or for our eternal salvation. These graces we hope to obtain as fruits of the sacrifice being offer- ed. The SECRET varies according to the feast or ecclesiastical season. Other SECRET prayers may be added, corresponding to the collects which have been prayed. The SECRET of the Mass of Corpus Christi demonstra- tes the strength and beauty of these prayers:- In Thy mercy, O Lord, we beseech Thee, grant to Thy Church the gifts of unity and peace, which are mystically shown forht in the offerings we make to Thee. Through our Lord... Preface Having finished the last prayers of the "Secret," the priest joins his hands as if to collect the hearts of all those present, to offer them to God as a sacrifice. He then disjoins his hands, places the right hand on the altar, and with the left turns the pages of the Missal. Thereupon he chants "the solemn prayer of praise and thanks- giving" which the early Christians in their language called "Euchari- stia," that is, thanksgiving. He begins it with a short preface (Pre- fatio) which has given the name "Preface" to the entire prayer. In the early centuries, there was a different Preface for most Masses. Later, the number was reduced to eleven, but a few special prefaces have been introduced in recent years. The PREFACE is a beautiful hymn of praise and thanksgiving to God, which has been used from the earliest days of Christianity. With the words: "PER OMNIA SAECULA SAECULORUM - World without end," the priest closes the SECRET. The server answers: AMEN. We need God's special graces so that we may be able to join in the hymn of praise with love and devotion. The priest then secures for himself, as before every public prayer, the united support of those present: "DOMINUS VOBISCUM- The Lord be with you." "Et cum spiritu tuo - And with thy spirit," comes the answer. Raising his hands symbolically, he chants: "SURSUM CORDA! - Lift up your hearts!" We answer: "HABEMUS AD DOMINUM - We have lifted them up to the Lord." "In this sublimest of hours," says the holy Bishop Cyril of Jerus- alem, "our hearts should be turned heavenward toward God and not down- ward to earth and our worldly affairs. It is as if the priest in this hour commanded us to forget all the cares of this life, all domestic griefs, and to raise our hearts to the good God in heaven. "By our answer, we respond to his summons. Let none of us be so dis- posed as to say with our lips, 'We have them with the Lord,' and yet in spirit be occupied with the cares of this life." The priest joins his hands and proceeds: "Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro - Let us give thanks to the Lord our God!" to which the people respond: "Dignum et justum est - It is meet and just." Convinced that he is speaking in the name of the entire congregation, the priest turns to God, extends his hands and solemnly continues: It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father Almighty, everlasting God,* for by the mystery of the Word made Flesh the light of Thy glory hath shown anew upon the eyes of our mind; so that while we acknowledge Him as God seen by men, we may be drawn by Him to the love of things unseen. And therefore with the angels and the archangels, the thrones and dominions, and the whole host of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, saying again and again: Sanctus, etc. ____________________________________ *From this point the Preface changes, according to the feast or the liturgical season. The Preface of the Mass of Corpus Christi is that of Christmas, which emphasizes the close relation of the incarnation to the Holy Eucharist. Thus the priest, with majestic words, praises the greatness of the Triune God and at the same time thanks Him for the revelation of His glory. Let us take special notice of the words: "SEMPER ET UBIQUE" - always and everywhere." Should not the life of every man be a cease- less song of praise and thanksgiving? a song of praise to God in the vicissitudes of life, which often bring joys but more often sorrows? a song of praise in sickness, on the deathbed? .. Everything comes from the hand of God. There is not a moment of our life which does not demand gratitude to God: ALWAYS AND EVERYWHERE. Ah, let us never for- get! Praise and honor to God! What a glorious mission! And as we are not able ourseelves to send up worthy songs of praise and adoration to the throne of God, we have need of a Mediator, we have need of a Savior. Therefore immediately after having proclaimed it is meet and just to praise God, the priest adds: PER CHRISTUM DOMI- NUM NOSTRUM - Through Christ Our Lord."* In these few words the sub- lime meaning of Holy Mass is impressed upon us. We are told in what way our homage reaches God most surely. Our worship is rendered plea- sing in the sight of the adorable Majesty THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, OUR SAVIOR. It is regrettable that the great mass of the faithful attach so lit- tle meaning to the liturgy of the Mass. How few, for example, consid- er the importance of the beautiful oft-repeated conclusion: "Through Christ out Lord." With God, however, these words have the same weigh- ty significance as the signature of the sovereign ruler has with a minor civil authority. "Through Christ our Lord" is the Divine seal impressed upon the hum- ble petition of man. And immediately the poor, wretched human petit- ion becomes a Divine mandate. This power lies in the name of Jesus. If the endorsement of this Name is lacking to our supplication, our supplication is without worth. ___________________________________ *The Preface for Corpus Christi, which is that of Christmas, is an exception. AMID ANGEL THRONGS ++++ SANCTUS AND BENEDICTUS The sublime words of the PREFACE still linger on our lips. We praise the Triune God, we give thanks for His goodness in Himself and for His benefits to us. But, realizing our unworthiness, we entreat God at the close of the PREFACE to permit us to join our feeble voices with the angels and archangels, with the cherubim and seraphim, who in all hum- ility and reverence cease not to cry out with united voices:- Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who cometh in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest. At the "Sanctus," the priest joins his hands and inclines moderately. The bell is rung thrice. At the words, "Benedictus qui venit," the priest stands erect and makes the Sign of the Cross on himself and at the words, "Hosanna in excelsis," he joins his hands again. At the sound of the sanctuary bell, a solemn hush falls upon the assembled faithful. All kneel as the priest recites the SANCTUS. This SANCTUS is a joyous cry of praise to God. We, poor creatures, are per- mitted to sing the sacred trisagion which is unceasingly sung at the throne of God! We read of the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem that "the crowds that went before Him, and those that followed, kept crying out, saying, 'Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord'" (Matt. 21:9). "Hosanna in the highest" (Mark 11:10) As Jesus was praised on His entry into Jerusalem, so was He heralded at His entry into this world. The multitudes that preceded Him were the succession of patriarchs and the just of the Old Testament, march- ing before Him through forty centuries, carrying their triumphal palms andsinging Hosanna to the King of ages. And the multitude that follow Him are the martyrs and the saints of the Church, the confessors and virgins of every clime and condition, following one another through twenty centuries to our own day, when we still repeat this hymn of praise. HOSANNA is a Hebrew word used in the Mass; also SABAOTH, which means, ARMIES, HOSTS, LEGIONS. "Hosanna in the highest," means, "May our Hosanna be ratified in heaven." HOSANNA is an exclamation of praise, meaning "Save now," "Give Thy salvation." This was the way the chosen people welcomed our Savior and it is the way we now welcome Him to our midst. Oh, the sublimity of this moment! Let us remember that we are about to witness the most stupendous wonder in heaven and on earth. Behold, the great Lord of heaven and earth is about to descend upon the altar. Myriad angels prostrate in profound adoration. Let our glad hearts cry out: "Welcome, Jesus! Blessed art Thou who comest in the Name of the Lord!" PRAYERS BEFORE THE GREAT WONDER ++++ THE CANON After concluding the "Preface," the priest places his right hand on the altar and with the left turns to the "Canon." He then joins his hands before his breast, extends and elevates them slightly. He raises his eyes to the crucifix and immediately lowers them, devoutly joining his hands. Then, with his hands on the edge of the altar, and inclin- ing profoundly, he begins the Canon. During the Holy Sacrifice when- ever one hand is used to turn the pages of the Missal, the other is placed flat on the altar,-beside the corporal before the Consecration, on the corporal afterwards. The CANON comprises the group of prayers from the SANCTUS to the PATER NOSTER. The words of consecration are its precious kernel. CANON means RULE. Holy Church uses this word to signify that the Canon is the unchangeable rule according to which the sacrifice of the New Law is offered. It is, with the exception of a few additions, of apostolic origin. It is quite certain that St. Gregory the Great (died 604) was the last who made an addition to the Canon.** What a consolation it should be for us to realize that today we recite the same fixed form of prayer that has been in use in the Church for more than thirteen centuries. The priest recites the prayers of the CANON in a low voice, for it is befitting that we celebrate in silence what is most holy and mysteri- ous. Priest and people should now withdraw into the secret of their hearts, "close the doors" of their senses, with reverence kneel before the face of God and pray with their hearts rather than with their lips. Because the sufferings of Christ are to be renewed in a mystical man- nerduring the part of the Holy Mass now to follow, a picture of the Crucifixion is placed at the beeginning of the CANON in every Missal, thereby more vividly to remind the celebrant of the Passion of Christ. -------------------------------- ** NOTE ** As is well known today, Pope John XXIII modified the Canon by adding the name of St. Joseph. PRAYER OF OBLATION FOR THE CHURCH (Te igitur) Bending low, the priest kisses the altar, and asks God through Jesus Christ, to accept our offerings.He then rises, rejoins his hands and makes the Sign of the Cross three times over the host and chalice to show that it is through the Redeemer that we obtain the blessing of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity. The remainder of the prayer is said with hands extended.