We are part of a big picture….a living, beautiful reality. In spite of the upheaval in the Church and in our world, there are good priests offering the Holy Mass throughout the world. We have much to be thankful for. Teach your kids about the Mass…teach them that it is what their lives should revolve around. And when times get tough, it is the Mass that will have us grounded so we can endure and not go astray….
A beautiful meditation today….
The following pen-picture will help us to realize more vividly the truth of the prophecy contained in the first chapter of Malachias—”From the rising of the sun, even to the going down, My name is great among the Gentiles; and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to My name a clean oblation; for My name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of Hosts”.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the Mass is offered somewhere in the world at every moment of the twenty-four hours of the day. The offering of the Mass travels with the sun, and seems like one continuous and uninterrupted act of worship, which the devout Catholic at any moment by day or by night can join in spirit.
When it is midnight in New York, Masses are beginning in the churches of Italy. There, ancient altars, at which saints have knelt, are lit up with tapers, and the Vicar of Christ and thousands of priests are lifting holy hands up to heaven in the sacrifice of adoration, thanksgiving, reparation, and supplication.
A little later and the bells of a thousand towers in France begin to fill the air with holy sounds, and in every city, town, and hamlet kneeling crowds adore the chastening hand of God and pray for sinners who despise His ordinances.
Chivalric and religious Spain catches the echoes, and, when it is one o’clock in New York, offers the great sacrifice in countless splendid churches.
And then Catholic Ireland, the Island of Saints, which during centuries has suffered for the Faith, rallies anew around the altars it would never forsake, despite the most cruel persecutions.
At two o’clock and after, the priests of the islands of the Atlantic — perhaps the Cape Verde — white-robed and stoled and wearing the great cross on their shoulders, bend before the tabernacle. An hour later a courageous missionary lifts up the chalice of salvation on the ice-bound coast of Greenland.
At half-past four the sacred lamps twinkle through the fogs of Newfoundland, and at five Nova Scotia’s industrious population begins the day by attending Mass. And now all the Canadian churches and chapels grow radiant as the faithful people — the habitant of the country, the devout citizen, the consecrated nun, and the innocent — hasten to unite their prayers around the sanctuary where the priest is awaiting them.
At six how many souls are flocking to the churches of New York, eager to begin the day of labor with the holiest act of religion! Many young people, too, gather around the altar at a later how, just as the fresh flowers open with the morning, and offer their dewy fragrance to heaven.
An hour later, the bells of Missouri and Louisiana are ringing, and at eight Mexico, true to her faith, bends before her glittering altars. At nine the devout tribes of Oregon follow their beloved black-gown to their poor but gayly-decorated chapels, and California awhile loosens its grasp on its gold to think of the treasure that rust doth not corrupt.
And when the Angelus-bell is ringing at noon in New York, the unbloody sacrifice is being offered in the islands of the Pacific, where there are generous souls laboring for our dear Lord; and so the bells are ringing on, on over the waters, and one taper after another catches the light of faith, making glad all the isles of the sea.
At two o’clock the zealous missionaries of Australia are hastening to the altar, and whispering in their eagerness for the coming of Our Lord, Introibo ad altare Dei. And all the spicy islands of the East catch the sweet sounds one after another, till at four in the afternoon China proves there are many souls who are worthy of the name of celestial by their rapt devotion at the early rite.
Then in Tibet there is many a modest chapel where the missionary distributes the Bread of Life to a crowd of hungry souls. At six the altars of Hindustan, where St. Francis Xavier ministered, are arrayed with their flowers and lamps and the sacred vessels, and unwearied priests are hastening to fortify their souls before Him Who is their life and their strength.
At nine in Siberia, many a poor Catholic exile from Poland has no other solace from his woes but the foot of the altar and the bread of heaven.
During the hours when New York is gay with parties and balls and theatrical amusements the holiest of rites is going on in the Indian Ocean and among the sable tribes of Africa, whose souls are so dear to the Savior Who once died for all.
At eleven in Jerusalem, the Holy City over which Jesus wept, where He wrought so many miracles, where He suffered and offered Himself a sacrifice for the whole world, the Holy Mass is offered.
When midnight sounds again in New York the silver bells are tinkling again in every chancel in Rome. And so it goes on; the divine host is constantly rising like the sun in its course around the earth. Thus are fulfilled the words of the prophet Malachias: From the rising of the sun even to the going down thereof, My name is great among the Gentiles; and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to My name a clean oblation.
All day long — at any hour — we can assist at Mass spiritually; let us frequently unite ourselves to the Masses going on in some part of the world, thus adding new brightness to God’s glory, atoning for the neglect of others, making reparation for our offences, in thanksgiving for our blessings, and thus effectually promoting our sanctification.
“Oh, what a gift is the holy Mass!” exclaims Father Baker, C.S.P., in his stirring sermon on “The Mass, the Highest Worship.”
“How full an utterance has humanity found therein for all its woes, its aspirations, its hopes, its affections! How completely is the distance bridged over that separated the creature and the Creator!
The Mass supplies the want of the human soul for an adequate mode of approaching God. As a creature before its Creator, you are oppressed with your own inability to worship Him worthily.
Do you want a better worship than that which His eternal Son offers? In the Mass the Son of God in His human nature worships the Father for us. He prays for us; asks pardon for us; gives thanks for us; adores for us.
As He is perfect man, He expresses every human feeling; as He is perfect God, His utterances have a complete perfection, an infinite acceptableness. Thus, when we offer Mass, we worship the Father with Christ’s worship.
It seems to me that the Catholic can have a certain kind of pride in this. He may say, I know I am weak and as nothing before God, yet I possess a treasure that is worthy to offer to Him. I have a prayer to present to Him all perfect and all powerful, the prayer of His only-begotten Son, in Whom He is well pleased.”
“Come, then,” continues the eloquent Paulist, “Come, children, come to Mass, and bring your merry hearts with you. Come, you that are young and happy, and rejoice before the Lord. Come, you that are old and weary, and tell your loneliness to God. Come, you that are sorely tempted, and ask the help of Heaven.
Come, you that have sinned, and weep between the porch and the altar. Come, you that are bereaved, and pour out here your tears. Come, you that are sick, or anxious, or unhappy, and complain to God. Come, you that are prosperous and successful, and give thanks.
Christ will sympathize with you. He will rejoice with you, and He will mourn with you. He will gather up your prayers. He will join to them His own almighty supplications, and that concert of prayer shall enter heaven, louder than the music of angelic choirs, sweeter than the voice of those who sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, more piercing than the cry of the living creatures who rest not day or night, and more powerful and prevailing than the intercession of the Blessed Virgin and all the saints of paradise together.
The Mass a formalism! The Mass an unmeaning service! Why, it is the most beautiful, the most spiritual, the most sublime, the most satisfying worship which the heart of man can even conceive.
And here, too, in this idea of the Mass, we have the answer to another perplexity of Protestants. They cannot understand why we make such a point of attending Mass. They see us go to Mass in all weathers. They see us so particular not to be late at Mass, and they ask what it all means!
Is it not superstition? Do we not, like the Pharisees, give an undue value to outward observances? May we not worship God at home just as well? Ah, if it were really only an outward observance!
But there is just the difference. There stands one among us Whom you know not. We believe that the Savior is with us, and you do not. We believe this with a certain, simple faith. Come to our churches and look at our people — the poorest and most ignorant — and see if we do not. It is written on their faces. They may not know how to express themselves, but this is in their hearts.
You think we come to Mass because the Church is so strict in requiring us to do so; but the true state of the case is that the law of the Church is so strict because Christ is present in the Mass.
You think it is the pomp and glitter of our altars that draws the crowds. Little you know of human nature if you think it can long be held by such things alone. No; we adorn our altars because we believe Christ is present. This is our faith. It is no new thing with us. It is as old as Christianity.
It was the comfort of the Christians in the Catacombs. It was the glory of St. Basil and St. Ambrose and St. Augustine. It was the meaning of all the glory and magnificence of the Middle Ages. And it is our stay and support in this century of knowledge, labor, and disquiet.
Yes; strip our altars; leave us only the Corn and the Vine, and a rock for our altar, and we will worship with posture as lowly and hearts as loving as in the grandest cathedral.
Let persecution rise; let us be driven from our churches; we will say Mass in the woods and caverns, as the early Christians did. We know that God is everywhere. We know that Nature is His temple, wherein pure hearts can find Him and adore Him; but we know that it is in the Holy Mass alone that He offers Himself to His Father as the Lamb that was slain.
How can we forego that sweet and solemn action? How can we deprive ourselves of that heavenly consolation? The sparrow hath found her an house and the turtle a nest where she may lay her young, even Thy altars, 0 Lord of hosts, my king and my God! Man’s heart has found a home and resting-place in this vale of tears. To us the altar is the vestibule of heaven, and the Host its open door.
It is our delight now to think that, as the sun in its course brings daylight to each successive spot on earth, it ever finds some priest girding himself to go up to the holy altar; that thus the earth is belted, from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, with a chain of Masses; that as the din of the world commences each day, the groan of the oppressed, the cry of the fearful and troubled, the boast of sin and pride, the wail of sorrow — the voice of Christ ascends at the same time to heaven, supplicating for pardon and peace
Such be our thoughts about the holy Mass. Come to Mass, and come to pray. When the Lord drew near to Elias on the mount, the prophet wrapped his face in his mantle; so, when we come to Mass, let us wrap our souls in a holy recollection of spirit. Remember what is going on.
Now pray; now praise; now ask forgiveness; now rest before God in quiet love.
The truly religious wife finds God at Mass and from Him receives the strength to become the ideal helpmate to her husband. She does not leave God at church but keeps Him with her every minute of the day in every nook and cranny of her home. Each menial, repetitious task she must perform is a work of love for her husband and children, and through them, a work of love for her Creator. – Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J. 1950’s
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