• Alexandra Clark | The Daily Knight

Miracle of the Christ Child made Present at the Consecration

Alexandra Clark | The Daily Knight

St. Mary, Our Lady of Peace, Breckenridge, CO (Christmas 2019)

Taken from The Incredible Catholic Mass, by Fr. Martin von Cochem, O.S.F. (1625-1712). Chapter 4.

Wonderful and admirable indeed is the mighty power of the words of Consecration, the renewal of Christ’s Incarnation in the hands of the priest! Rejoice, moreover, and exult that we are privileged, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as we know on the authority of Christ Himself, to magnify our heavenly Father, to cause great joy to our Blessed Lady and all the Saints in glory.

Holy Mass is, besides, the best help of the living, the sweetest consolation of the departed. Here, again, we may exclaim: “God so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.” (John 3:16). God first manifested this unspeakable love to the world when He sent His Son from Heaven to take upon Himself the nature of man. He now daily manifests anew this same love by sending His Son from Heaven again to become man in the Mass. And as His first Incarnation caused joy in Heaven and brought salvation to earth, so is it with His daily Incarnation upon the altar. By His first Incarnation, Christ earned inestimable treasures of divine grace; by the renewal of that Incarnation He distributes those celestial riches to all those who say or hear Mass devoutly.

The following example will illustrate this:

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.

From this incident it may be seen what joy comes down from Heaven to earth when the Source of all celestial felicity vouchsafes to descend upon our altars. Many a time have saintly souls tasted this bliss, and we too might have been privileged to taste it, had we assisted at Mass with more devout recollection, more lively faith. We may also learn of what great profit to us is this renewal of Christ’s Incarnation, since those who hear Mass are made partakers in the merits of His first Incarnation.

By this profound abasement of Himself, He appeases the just anger of God and averts the chastisement we so well deserve. We cannot thank Him enough for all the benefits He bestows on us, especially for this, that He has instituted Holy Mass for our sake and renewed in it not His Incarnation alone, but also all the mysteries of His life and death. We can show Him our gratitude in no better way than by devoutly hearing Mass every day, or at least as often as we can, and offering it to the Most Holy Trinity in thanksgiving for the mercies we have received.

Taken from The Incredible Catholic Mass, by Fr. Martin von Cochem, O.S.F. (1625-1712). Chapter 4.

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