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  • Alexandra Clark | The Daily Knight

Miracle of the Christ Child in the Holy Sacrifice: Joy of the Mass!

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The great grandeur and mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is one which we can never truly understand but one which when we do look, if we truly understood, we would die of joy!

St. Gertrude would pray this beautiful pray before assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:

“O sweet Jesus, the work which Thou art about to accomplish is so sublime that one so lowly and abject as I am may not dare to look upon it. I will therefore take refuge in the abyss of my own nothingness and will there await my share of the salvation which this Mystery is about to bring to all Thy elect. Would to God, O sweet Jesus, that I could cooperate in this glorious work! How gladly would I spend all my strength and endure the heaviest toils in order that this sacrifice, which is offered for all Christians both living and dead, may be productive of results proportionate to its great dignity. I beseech Thee to grant Thy grace to all who say or who hear Mass, that they may offer the most Holy Sacrifice for Thy greater glory and for the benefit of all the faithful. Amen.”

Let us then, to deepen our love of the Holy Mass, listen to this Miracle of the Christ Child that happened one day in the Holy Sacrifice:

“It is recorded in the annals of the Franciscan Order that Blessed John of Alvernio was accustomed to say Mass with extraordinary devotion, so much so that he often experienced an ineffable sweetness almost too great for his frail powers to endure. On one occasion, when he had to sing the High Mass on the feast of the Assumption, no sooner had he begun the Mass than his soul was flooded with bliss so rapturous that he feared he should be unable to finish the function. It was as he anticipated. For when he got to the Consecration and the exceeding greatness of the love of Christ was borne in upon him, which impelled Him to come down from Heaven to assume human nature (and which still continually impels Him to renew the same act in Holy Mass), the heart of the good priest melted within him, his strength forsook him and he was unable to finish the prayer of Consecration. The Father Guardian, perceiving this, hastened to the altar with another father to assist him to finish the Consecration. The other monks and the rest of the congregation were much alarmed, for they thought the priest had suddenly been taken ill. At length, exerting himself tremendously, he finished the words of Consecration.

And behold, the Host he held in his hands was changed into the form of a smiling Infant, and Blessed John saw the divine Child as a newly born babe resting in his priestly hands! At that moment so keen an appreciation was given him of the profound humility of Our Lord in becoming man for us and daily renewing His Incarnation that this knowledge was too much for him; his forces gave way, and he would have fallen, had not the Father Guardian and some of his brethren supported him in their arms. Nevertheless, he contrived to proceed with the Mass until the Communion. But when he received the Consecrated Elements, he became completely unconscious and had to be carried into the sacristy, where for some hours he lay like one dead. In fact, the people already began to lament and bewail his loss. When he came to himself again, his brethren entreated him for the love of God to tell them what had happened thus to overwhelm him at the altar. Unable to resist their importunity, he answered: “When immediately before the Consecration I thought upon the love of Christ, which once in time past induced Him to become man and induces Him daily to become incarnate anew in Holy Mass, I felt my heart melt like wax and my limbs lose their power, so that I could not stand upright or pronounce the words of the prayer. And when by a great effort I uttered them, I saw in my hands no longer the Sacred Host, but a lovely Child, the very sight of which pierced my soul and consumed my bodily strength, so that I swooned away and fell into a sweet ecstasy of love.” This is what the priest related to his pious hearers, to make known to them the unfathomable love of Our Lord for us poor sinners, since for us and for our salvation, He daily renews the mystery of His Incarnation, and imparts to us the fruits of that mystery in abundant measure.”

Thus, in Holy Mass we have the same Beautiful Christ Child lying before us Whom the shepherds beheld wrapped in swaddling-clothes, but under a form still more lowly, being that of mere bread and wine! What humility and love from Our Lord!!! May we adore Him piously and embrace Him lovingly, as did they, with the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

Father Sanchez, writing on this subject, proclaimed: “He who desires to profit by Holy Mass will be able to obtain forgiveness of sins and the gift of divine grace just as readily by assisting at it devoutly as if he had in person witnessed all these mysteries.”

Hence, it is especially important that we seek to know more about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and commit our wills and minds to prepare well for it and attend it devoutly! Let us now hear how Denys, a pious Carthusian, explains the representation of the mysteries of Our Lord’s life in Holy Mass. He says:

“The whole life of Christ which He led upon earth was one long celebration of Mass, He being Himself the altar, the priest, the victim.”

In further explanation of the parts of the Holy Mass Fr. Martin Cochem said:

It may be said that Our Lord put on the sacerdotal vestments when, hidden from sight in His Mother’s womb, He took our flesh and assumed the garb of mortality. Issuing thence on the night of the Nativity as from the sacristy, He began, on His entrance into the world, the Introit, which is the commencement of the Mass. The cries He uttered in the crib were the Kyrie Eleison. The Gloria was sung by the Angels who appeared to the shepherds and accompanied them to the stable at Bethlehem. The Collects represent the petitions He offered when He spent the night in prayer, imploring for us the mercy of God. The Epistle represents the instructions He gave on the prophecies of Moses and the prophets, showing how they were fulfilled in Himself. He read the Gospel when He traversed the country of Judea proclaiming His divine doctrine.

The Offertory was when He daily made an oblation of Himself to God the Father for the redemption of mankind as a propitiatory victim. The Preface represents His daily tribute of praise to God the Father, His thanksgiving for the benefits conferred upon man. The Sanctus was sung by the Hebrew people on Palm Sunday, when they cried: “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest!” {Matt. 21:9). The Consecration took place at the Last Supper, when He changed bread and wine into His Body and Blood. The Elevation was when He was lifted up upon the Cross and made a spectacle to Angels and to men. The Pater Noster represents the seven words He uttered upon the Cross; the Breaking of the Host, the separation of His sacred soul and Body. The Agnus Dei was spoken by the Centurion and those who were with him when, smiting their breasts, they said: “Indeed this was the Son of God.” {Matt. 27:54). The Communion represents the anointing of Our Lord’s Body and laying it in the tomb. The Blessing at the conclusion of Mass represents the benediction He gave to His disciples when about to ascend into Heaven. Such was the great act of worship which Christ performed upon earth and which He enjoined upon His Apostles and their successors to repeat daily in a short form. Fornerus says: “Holy Mass is a brief epitome of Our Lord’s life: a recapitulation in one short half hour of what He did during the thirty-three years He spent upon earth.”

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