The Mass as it Relates to the Interior Life ~Part IV
Fr. Samuel Waters | The Daily Knight | Sermon
In the Holy Mass there is no real immolation. There is an unbloody renewal of the bloody immolation of the Cross. The renewal takes place in the Double Consecration. The Consecration is surrounded by a series of Rites which constitute with it one single unity.
This action begins at the “Dominus Vobiscum” of the Preface to the “Amen” at the end of the Canon. Originally it was one single prayer of thanksgiving (Eucaristia) which sang of God’s blessing from creation to the decent of the Holy Ghost and the admission of the faithful into everlasting glory. Now it is divided by the Sanctus. The first part is the Preface, which is recited out loud and the Canon is recited silently.
The word Preface currently means an “introduction” to the Canon. It used to be part of the Canon. The Canon is one of the most important prayers in the Holy Mass because of its antiquity, its structure and the ideas it expresses. It is the Eucharistic Prayer, the supreme act of thanksgiving.
Following the “Dominus Vobiscum” (the Lord be with you) the priest calls on the Faithful “Sursum Corda” (lift up your hearts). This is so that they will free themselves from all earthly cares, of all their perverse and vain thoughts and give thanks to God with dignity, attention and devotion.
The Faithful’s reply is “Habemus a Dominum” (we have raised up our hearts to the Lord). The priest says, “Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro” (let us give thanks to the Lord our God). When the priest says these words, he raises his eyes to heaven and joins his hands, expressing the forcefulness and sincerity of his sentiments. The Faithful remember God’s great gifts and His goodness namely creating man in His own image and likeness. It was God seeing man separated from Him that moved God, without hesitation, to give His only begotten Son to save us from our sins.
The Son of God became man and died for men. He would give the souls of men many graces. The Faithful respond in their need of telling the Lord, repeating to Him many times how thankful they are. They feel they must confess that it is meet/right and just that He (the Lord) be thanked often.
This is why the priest says in the beginning of the preface, “Vere Dignum et Justum Est”, (it is truly meet and just) and availing unto Salvation, that we at all times and in all places give thanks to thee. Do not say it only with your lips, confirm it, translate it into deeds when the opportunity arises.
We are far from the conformity, which should exist between what we say and what we do, between what we appear to be and what we are. How little truth there is in our lives. God knows, for His penetrating eyes are always resting on the good and the bad, penetrating, terrible, paternal and loving eyes.
We must never forget that it is through Jesus Christ that we must thank God the Father because there is no act of thanksgiving that is more worthy of Our Father then that which ascends to Heaven through the Son, Jesus. He is “The Way”, the only Way that will take us to Heaven.
How many Souls are ignorant of this basic Truth, who get lost in the little details. It is through Christ that the majesty of God is praised and adored by the angels and the Heavenly Host. How beautiful is the Communion of Saints. We ask the Lord through the mouth of the priest to allow us to join our voices with the Heavenly Host in awe, in wonderment, and great enthusiasm to sing with “Una Voce” (with one voice) the hymn of victory: “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth” (Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Host).
The Preface is truly overwhelming. While the Preface is recited or sung, we can think of nothing but Jesus in the presence of His Heavenly Father and the entire church (Church Triumphant/in Heaven, Church Militant/on Earth and Church Suffering/Souls in Purgatory) through which resounds this song of His praise. When all are present, those assisting at Mass, sing with one voice. It reminds one of Heaven itself, where all the armies of Heaven sing and repeat, without ceasing, these same words of praise and adoration.
In Truth, the Prayer of the Church is a Heavenly Prayer. If we meditate on these Prayers and tried to translate our enthusiasm into works, the fruit of assisting at Mass would be different. Individuals, families, society would be different. Yet many of us are unwilling to believe in the Truth. We accept this as an intellectual truth and desire, but we do not put our desire into practice.
Resolve to make the Eucharist a Sacrifice and a Sacrament the center of your Interior Life.
Try to act in agreement with the words you pronounce with the Priest and the Faithful. Do not let the Light from on High be lost.
To be continued to Part V next week....