The Most Sacred Heart and the Holy Mass
Alexandra Clark | The Daily Knight
Taken from The Love of the Sacred Heart Illustrated by St. Mechtilde:
The thrice holy Sacrifice of the Cross is renewed on our Altars. Holy souls devoted to the Sacred Heart know how to find there the drops of Blood fallen from this fountain during the Passion. They here offer to the infinite majesty of God all the adoration, annihilation and satisfaction of the Sacred Heart. The Heart of Jesus is the center of the Sacrifice of the Mass. From this Heart all flows for God and for man. Mechtilde was allowed to contemplate the grandeur of this mystery. During Holy Mass she once saw the Heart of Jesus Christ under the appearance of a lamp. It was as brilliant and transparent as a living flame. From this divine Heart overflowed on all around floods of sweetness, which filled the hearts of all who assisted at Mass. The flame signified the fire of divine love which burnt in the Heart of Christ when He offered Himself to God the Father on the altar of the Cross. The sweetness which over flowed signified the innumerable blessings and immeasurable happiness which He has bestowed on us through His divine Heart. In it we possess all that is necessary for salvation, praise and thanksgiving, as well as prayer, love, desire, satisfaction and reparation for all our negligences. Our Divine Lord said to His servant: "At the Mass offer thy heart to God, and before beginning thy prayer purify and detach it from all terrestrial thoughts, so preparing it to receive the inflowing of divine love which inundates and fills the hearts of those who assist. I also deliver Myself entirely, with all I possess, into the power of thy soul, and in that way thou canst dispose of Me as thou wilt.
One day when she was troubled with distractions and hindered from uniting herself to God during Mass, she begged our Blessed Lady to obtain for her the presence of her well-beloved Son. Through the intercession of the divine mediatrix between God and man she again saw Jesus on the Altar. She saw Him seated on a raised throne, clear as crystal. In front of this throne sprang two beautifully clear streams, one signifying the remission of sins, and the other spiritual consolation. These are the gifts given more especially and abundantly during Mass by divine providence. At the oblation of the Sacred Host our Lord, who is Himself this divine throne, seemed to elevate with His own hands his sweet Heart as a lamp which shone and was filled to overflowing. The divine oil overflowed on all sides so that it splashed up in large drops, and yet what had overflowed had not lessened what the lamp contained. From which we may understand that all receive of the abundance of our Lord s Heart, each one according to his capacity, but that He loses nothing of the superabundance of His beatitude nor does it suffer the smallest diminution. O marvellous treasury, never-failing source of blessings, what folly in man to neglect to avail himself of it! But in order to participate therein we must bring the necessary dispositions.
One day that Mechtilde was going to assist at Mass she saw our Lord coming from heaven clothed in white. He said to her: " When men go to Church they should prepare themselves by penance, striking their breast and confessing their sins. They may then approach My dazzling purity. This is what is signified by My white clothing." During the Holy Sacrifice the Sacred Heart is therefore an open treasury from which we may take all we need. But what are we to think of the Sacred Heart ? With what dispositions is it offered on the altar by the hands of its humble minister? Who could tell, O Jesus, unless Thou didst Thyself reveal it ?
Our Lord offers Himself to us during Mass with seven different dispositions. In the first, He comes with such humility that none is too lowly or vile for His condescension, if desirous of receiving Him. In the second, He comes with such patience as to endure any enemy or sinner and, if the sinner wished it, He would forgive him all his sins. In the third, He comes with such love as to inflame the coldest and hardest-hearted worshipper with His love and touch his heart, if it have in it any lingering spark of desire. In the fourth, He comes with such generosity as to enrich the poorest person present. In the fifth, He offers Himself to all as a sweet and satisfying food, so that there is no one so ill or so hungry as cannot be restored or fully satiated by Him. In the sixth, He comes with such light as to illumine the most blind or darkened mind with His presence. In the seventh, He comes with such sanctity and grace as to help the most cowardly and distracted to shake off his torpor, and stir him to devotion. And we who go before this God to receive Holy Communion, with what dispositions should we present ourselves to receive Him ? " While they sing the Sanctus" our Lord tells us, " let each one say a Pater, and beg of Me to prepare him, in giving him the all-powerful, wise and sweet love of My Heart, that he may receive Me worthily into his heart so that I may work and effect therein, according to My will, what I had resolved and ordained from all eternity." And what should be our thanksgiving? During the Communion this verse may be recited: " I praise Thee, O love so strong ! I bless Thee, O love so wise ! I glorify Thee, O love so sweet!"
"I exalt Thee, O love full of goodness, in all the works, and for all the good that Thy glorious divinity and blessed humanity have deigned to operate by Thy most holy Heart, and that it will continue to operate to all eternity. " At the priest s benediction I will bless thee thus : * May My power bless thee, may My wisdom instruct thee, may My sweetness fill thee, and may My goodness draw thee and unite thee to Me, for ever. Amen. " Illness sometimes prevents Christians from going to the church. Mechtilde had also to bear this trial; she groaned and complained to our Lord at being thus put aside. Our Lord consoled her thus: "There where thou art, I am also." She asked if she did not lose much in hearing Mass from so great a distance. Our Lord said to her: " It is good to be present, but, when impossible, and when illness, obedience, or any other legitimate reason prevents, then, where thou art, I am also present," Mechtilde then said: "O Lord, give now to my soul some spiritual consolation drawn from the words of the Mass." Our Lord replied: "At this moment they are singing the Agnus Dei three times, At the first, offer Me to God the Father with all My humility and patience for thyself: at the second, offer Me and all the bitterness of My Passion in order to obtain perfect forgiveness of thy sins : at the third, offer Me with all the love of My Heart to supply for all that man cannot do." Our Lord added: " Verily, to him who with zeal and devotion hears Mass, I will send at his last hour as many of the greatest Saints as he has heard Masses to console, defend, and form a guard of honour to him." The Saints have rejoiced so much at the Masses said in their honour, that, intoxicated with joy in the Sacred Heart, they have appeared to the dying man as much to thank him as to help him. May the poor sick accept this sweet consolation from the Sacred Heart ! It is with you where you are. But, even so, when you hear the tinkle of the bell which foretells the coming of Jesus on our altars, offer Him three times, as He Himself asks. But all you who have strength and leisure, assist every day at Holy Mass, so as to increase the number of Saints who shall assemble to help you at the hour of your death, according to the promise of the Sacred Heart. Even here below we receive numberless graces through the Sacred Heart immolated on our altars. Mechtilde saw the Sacred Heart under the form of a lamp, which overflowed all around, but she also saw the hearts of those who assisted at Mass and her own, under the appear ance of lamps united by mysterious bonds to the Heart of Jesus. Some were upright, full of oil, and seemed alight, others were empty and seemed overturned. By the upright, well-lighted lamps were designated the hearts of those who assisted at Mass with fervour and devotion. The empty, overturned lamps represented the hearts of those who were negligent and did not attempt to stir up their devotion.
PRAYER BEFORE MASS ~ Written by St. Mechtilde and St. Gertrude: O ALMIGHTY, everlasting God, seeing that it is the true faith of Thy Church that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass instituted by Thy Son is infinitely pleasing to Thy Divine Majesty, and renders Thee an infinite worship and praise, and since by it alone Thou canst be worthily and adequately worshipped and praised; impelled by an ardent desire of Thy honour and glory, I purpose to assist at this present Sacrifice with the utmost devotion of which I am capable, and to offer this most Holy Oblation to Thee in union with Thy priest. I offer Thee not only this Sacrifice, but all those which shall be this day offered up from every part of the world; and I protest before Thee that if it depended on me whether they should be offered or omitted, I would put forth all my powers to procure and to further their being offered. And were I able now to raise up to Thee, of the stones which are scattered over the earth, most devoted priests, who should day by day and with glowing fervour offer to Thee this Sacrifice of praise, I would most gladly do it. But, being what I am, I implore Thee, O most holy Father, through Jesus Christ Thy Son, to pour into the hearts of all Thy priests, and especially those who might perchance otherwise offer Thee this acceptable Sacrifice coldly and without due recollectedness, the spirit of grace and of fervour, that they may be enabled to celebrate Thy tremendous Mystery with becoming awe and devotion. Grant to me, and to all those who are here present with me, that we may join in this most sacred action with reverence and devotion, so that we may have our portion in its fruit and effect. I confess to Thee, O almighty God, and to the Blessed Mary ever Virgin, and to all the Saints, my own sins and those of all the world; and I lay them on Thy sacred Altar, that they may be entirely blotted out by the virtue of this Sacrifice. Do Thou deign to grant us this grace, by that love which held back Thy hand from smiting when Thy most beloved Son, Thine Only Son, was immolated by the hands of ungodly men. Amen.