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  • Alexandra Clark | The Daily Knight

The Holy Mass as it Relates to the Interior Life ~ Part III

Fr. Samuel Waters | The Daily Knight | Sermon

The Good News

In the Solemn High Mass [One that has three Clergymen officiating: The Priest, Deacon and Subdeacon] there is a ceremony that takes place. It involves the Priest imposing incense in the Thurible and the Deacon receiving a blessing from the Priest. After the announcing of the Gospel and before the Deacon sings the Gospel, he incenses the Missal. The Subdeacon holds the Missal while the Deacon sings the Gospel. Once the Gospel is completed, the Subdeacon takes the Missal to the Priest and the Priest reverences the Gospel with a kiss followed by the words: “By the words of the Gospel may our sins be blotted out.” The hearing of the Gospel can produce the grace to awaken in our souls many different feelings including the grace to ask God to pardon our sins.

These ceremonies connected with the Proclamation of the Gospel remind us of the deep respect and veneration we owe to the words of the Gospel. The words of the Gospel are the words of God Himself. This is the only liturgical book that is kissed, incensed and on which the Sign of the Cross is made. The Gospels should be read and meditated on often. We should memorize the most notable passages. Priests should know the Gospels like the palms of their hands.

St. Gregory says, “Every Pastor has an undeniable duty to read and study the Word of God with great care and attention.” During his papacy Sacred Scripture was viewed as a manual of Dogmatic and Moral Theology for the Clergy. It was also a Book for Meditation for them.

“Blessed are they who hear the Word of God and keep it.” Samuel said, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”

When the Gospel is proclaimed, we stand up, our attitude is of a person who is prepared to suffer everything for these words. Prepared to die to self, to die to our disorderly inclinations, to die to our own self-will. If necessary to die every day, to die every moment of the day. This is how you must be. You must be whole-hearted without the slightest complaint. Doing everything, giving everything, with your heart generously wide open, manfully.

Can the Lord ask you to sacrifice everything? Yes. I will sacrifice for you. But Lord, some things you ask me to sacrifice are so hard to sacrifice. Can God ask you to sacrifice this desire or that affection? Fix your eyes on a Crucifix and listen to what God has to say to you, “Everything, yes sacrifice everything.” Sacrifice your most legitimate desires, sacrifice your holy ambitions, sacrifice those occupations that you carryout with the highest supernatural motives. A generous heart does not begin to weigh up or measure the arguments for and against what God asks. The generous heart is always ready to sacrifice. At times it hurts, sometimes it stings and sometimes it draws blood. The Soul is faithful and knows that what God wants is always the best for you.

Your Soul can become confused. There will be times when you will hear voices from inside you suggesting that God has abandoned you. Reaching for you faith and trust in God, these voices will die and go away. Your faith and trust which is grounded on the “Rock.” Stand firm and your Soul will return to its peaceful state and Peace will reign. Your Soul, in the peaceful state, finds its way back to the Will of God in your life. You Soul only wants what (He) God wants, where He wants it; how He wants it; and very often only because He wants it. Your Soul is consoled knowing that God wants your Soul where it is. This is how you come to love Christ enough in your mind and will (which is your soul) to live Him in your daily lives.

What is this Good News that is proclaimed and received? It is a New Commandment: It is to love. It is love for our friends, our fellow countrymen, for strangers and even our enemies. Love of others for our own good. It is a lover of suffering, persecutions for the sake of Justice as well as for the Love of God. It means forgetting ourselves in order to help others for their good with our eyes and heart on God. It means dying to yourself in order to live in God so that He may live in you. It is the Word becoming Flesh and dwelling in you to show you the Way to become The Way. It is Jesus, The Man of God looking for the Lost Sheep to bring back to the fold. It is Jesus Himself in the Eucharist.

St. Paul was willing to be doomed to separation from Christ for the love of his spiritual sons, willing to be excommunicated for his persecutors. St. Stephen when being stoned, asked God to pardon those who were stoning him to death. There are countless other saints who loved God enough to give Him whatever He asked of them. You also have an obligation to preach the Good News through the way you live your life.

The Gospel is to be the light which guides your steps through life. This path is the only path we are to follow. You are to fear nothing in order to stay on the path, never looking back. You are to always move forward with your eyes on Heaven. It is the faithful Soul which the angels take by the hand, lest the Soul dash its feet against the stone in the Way.

Offertory: A Host for a Host

Have you ever noticed the Host on the Priest’s paten which he raises at the offertory?

The Host will be transformed into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Jesus was the one who willed and decided that it should be so. If only you also were willing and decided to be a Host. Become now a Host in expiation for your sins. Love your brother as yourself for the love of God. Sacrifice yourself for them. Stop thinking of only yourself. Think about their needs. You are a member of the Mystical Body of Christ and there are so many ill and suffering members who are in need. If you will not sacrifice for them at least pray for them. Your prayers take on infinite value through the merits of Christ.

Come, offer yourself as a host of praise and adoration. Have you ever stopped to examine your inclinations, talents, strengths? Have you ever tried or asked God, “What do you want from me?” Perhaps He wants you to detach yourself from the things of this world.

Remember, this is the most important task (because if you become attached to this world, you will become blind to the world to come). Have you consulted a prudent Priest or God? Go now and ask God. Open your heart to God. Ask Him to show you what His Will is for you? Insist until you get an answer. He will not fail to show you what He wants of you. Start now. You will find thorns in the path but you will also have the help of God and His graces.

Be a Host

Are you willing to place yourself on the Priest’s paten. Once you decide to, do not reverse your decision. Do not take back from God anything you have given Him. Every offering you make to the God is holy. Perhaps He asks you no more than the little things of everyday from you. Maybe He asks of you, your most intimate desires, or absolutely everything from you. The Way is narrow but there is much light. Try to do what you are doing, better. That is what God wants you to do, His Will. Being a saint consists in doing for love, the tasks we have to do every day. Your Crosses will follow you wherever you go.

In time of sickness, do not think you cannot do anything. You may not be able to do what you would like to do, but you can do the Will of God. Remember you are where God wants you to be there because He has either put you there or allowed you to be there, to teach you something about you, Himself or both. When you find yourself in a place you have not put yourself in because of pride, but by God, then be quiet and suffer with great patience all that is being asked of you. If you are reduced to obscurity and silence, continue to be content. God will never fail you in any situation. He is ready to enlighten and strengthen you to be more united to Him. Advance, He is calling you. Do you not feel the delights of His presence? These delights will encourage you. Be careful, for one day you may be without them. You will share in the Holiness of Him who became a Host and a Victim for you.

The prayers which accompany this sacrifice makes it clear that the oblation belongs to those who assist at it. At the end of the offertory the Priest says, “Pray Brethren that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the Father Almighty.” ( Orate Fratres ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium accetabile fiat apud Deum omnipotentem).

Before the Consecration this concept of those who assist in the offering is reflected again. The Priest begs God to be mindful of those who are present at the Holy Mass. It is expressed in the part of the Canon entitled the Commemoration of the Living. It says in English, “For whom we offer or who offer up to Thee this sacrifice to praise for themselves and all those dear to them for the redemption of their souls, the hope of their safety and salvation: who now pay their vows to Thee, the eternal, living and true God.” The Priest then extends his hands over the oblation from his entire family gathered at Holy Mass (Hanc igitur oblationem servitutis nostrae…”).

It is the Faithful united to the Priest and through the Priest who offers to Christ this sacrifice. Christ is the Supreme and Principal Pontiff. The Priest is His minister chosen by Christ. Lastly the Faithful participate in the Priesthood and all the acts of Christ. Yes, it is not Christ alone who offers Himself, it is offered by all the Faithful, not only the Priest.

Going back to the offertory, at the moment of the offertory, the priest pours a little water into the chalice with wine already in the chalice. A prayer is offered following the pouring of the water. The Priest then offered the chalice, praying that it will be accepted by God. The mingling of the water with wine seeks to show the union of humanity with the divinity of Jesus Christ. It also shows the union between Christ and His Church, His Mystical Body. The water symbolizes the Catholic people. This is why it is forbidden to offer either the water or the wine alone. To offer the Consecrated wine without water would imply that Christ can be offered without us.

Let us become a Host, a victim with Jesus. Let us offer Him the afflictions caused us by some suffering or even by some pleasure which our desire has brought about, but was forbidden by the Law of God. If we want more sacrifices to offer with Christ to the Father at Holy Mass, we can find them everywhere. How about getting up earlier than usual to pray; refrain from listening to useless things; restrain our tongue from singing our own praises; sacrifice our eyes by not looking at attractive things that our curiosity entices us to look at.

Let us be victims in union with the Most Holy Victim!

Let us be ready to give God everything, to suffer everything, to accept everything for love of Him. Lord with your Church we often pray thus, that we may be Hosts worthy to be offered eternally to You.

(This sermon series on the Interior Life and the Holy Mass to be continued in Part VI)