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  • Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight

Traditional Catholicity of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Part 8

Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight

Holy Communion by Angelo Graf von Courten, 1848-1925.

Sacred Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Holy Bible

"After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased. Jesus therefore went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes, and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?

And this he said to try him; for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him: Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to him: There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves, and two fishes; but what are these among so many? Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand.

And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would. And when they were filled, he said to his disciples: Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost. They gathered up therefore, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten. Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: This is of a truth the prophet, that is to come into the world. Jesus therefore, when he knew that they would come to take him by force, and make him king, fled again into the mountain himself alone.

And when evening was come, his disciples went down to the sea. And when they had gone up into a ship, they went over the sea to Capharnaum; and it was now dark, and Jesus was not come unto them. And the sea arose, by reason of a great wind that blew. When they had rowed therefore about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking upon the sea, and drawing nigh to the ship, and they were afraid. But he saith to them: It is I; be not afraid.

They were willing therefore to take him into the ship; and presently the ship was at the land to which they were going. The next day, the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea, saw that there was no other ship there but one, and that Jesus had not entered into the ship with his disciples, but that his disciples were gone away alone. But other ships came in from Tiberias; nigh unto the place where they had eaten the bread, the Lord giving thanks. When therefore the multitude saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they took shipping, and came to Capharnaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him: Rabbi, when camest thou hither?

Jesus answered them, and said: Amen, amen I say to you, you seek me, not because you have seen miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you. For him hath God, the Father, sealed. They said therefore unto him: What shall we do, that we may work the works of God? Jesus answered, and said to them: This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he hath sent. They said therefore to him: What sign therefore dost thou shew, that we may see, and may believe thee? What dost thou work?

Our fathers did eat manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you; Moses gave you not bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world. They said therefore unto him: Lord, give us always this bread. And Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger: and he that believeth in me shall never thirst.

But I said unto you, that you also have seen me, and you believe not. All that the Father giveth to me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will not cast out. Because I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me. Now this is the will of the Father who sent me: that of all that he hath given me, I should lose nothing; but should raise it up again in the last day. And this is the will of my Father that sent me: that every one who seeth the Son, and believeth in him, may have life everlasting, and I will raise him up in the last day.

The Jews therefore murmured at him, because he had said: I am the living bread which came down from heaven. And they said: Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then saith he, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered, and said to them: Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him; and I will raise him up in the last day. It is written in the prophets: And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard of the Father, and hath learned, cometh to me.

Not that any man hath seen the Father; but he who is of God, he hath seen the Father. Amen, amen I say unto you: He that believeth in me, hath everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die.

I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.

For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever. These things he said, teaching in the synagogue, in Capharnaum.

Many therefore of his disciples, hearing it, said: This saying is hard, and who can hear it? But Jesus, knowing in himself, that his disciples murmured at this, said to them: Doth this scandalize you? If then you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning, who they were that did not believe, and who he was, that would betray him.

And he said: Therefore did I say to you, that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by my Father. After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him. Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known, that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.

Jesus answered them: Have not I chosen you twelve; and one of you is a devil? Now he meant Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon: for this same was about to betray him, whereas he was one of the twelve." (John 6:1-72)

To further illustrate the traditional Catholicity of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the following text has been taken from the Roman Catholic Daily Missal, 1962:

"What preparation should I bring to my Mass? The celebration of a Mass is not just something that can be improvised on the spot, especially when one considers that the Mass is the greatest event in world history. A proper preparation should be threefold:

1.) Doctrinal preparation. By means of reading, of listening to God's Word, and of study groups. Such preparation for Mass and compels us to study the great dogmas of our Faith, for which the Mass serves as a rallying-point: The Trinity, the Incarnation, Redemption, grace and glory.

If many souls fail to progress, if instead of going forward, they continually go backward, it should be recognized that the principal cause of their spiritual anemia is to be found in their total or partial ignorance of the Mass-center of their lives. Let us rise up against this ignorance and apathy. Let us study these great truths and then share with others the knowledge that we acquire.

2.) Liturgical preparation. The ceremonial of the Mass is of singular help in the understanding of the doctrine. The Church has multiplied the number of liturgical ceremonies so as to present, under a simple form of imagery, the fundamental theology of the Sacrifice of the Mass.

3.) Ascetic preparation. Of the three preparations, the ascetic (or that of the heart and will) is the most important. It should be the constant concern of my life. Its purpose is to conform me more and more to Christ. The more I am a victim the more will my Mass profit me and my neighbor. For Christ, the Mass is the Sacrifice of utter self-abasement and self surrender. We are members of Christ.

Purpose of the Holy Mass

The end of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was the salvation of mankind. As this end was attained fully and completely and for all times by the suffering of Christ, the purpose of the Holy Mass must be quite different from the purpose of the sacrifice on the cross. The Mass is an application of the merits of His death on the cross to us sinners. From this it follows that in a fuller way and with a more sublime signification than the sacrifices of the Old Testament, the Holy Mass is to be considered as:

  1. An offering of adoration and recognition of the Supreme Majesty: Jesus Christ adores God as fully as He deserves. In the Mass, we honor God by God Himself, namely by Jesus Christ.

  2. An offering of thanksgiving to God, the origin of all blessings. Here also Jesus takes our place and He thanks the Creator with infinite perfection for all His heavenly and earthly blessings. By Jesus alone can we entirely fulfill our duty of thankfulness towards God.

  3. An offering of atonement for forgiveness of daily sins and of temporal punishments due for mortal sins that are already forgiven. The Holy Mass makes mercy possible where there is sufficient sorrow for deadly sins.

  4. An offering of impetration or prayer. It is Jesus Who is praying for us in the Sacrifice, Jesus Whose prayers are always heard." (Roman Catholic Daily Missal, 1962, pp. lvii-viii)

Holy Communion, Francisco Goya, 1746-1828.

Sacred Liturgy: Pater Noster to the Ablutions (Ibid, pp. 903-917)

"C. From the Pater Noster to the Ablutions

25. The Pater Noster


Taught by the precepts of salvation, and following the Divine commandments, we make bold to say:

[Praeceptis salutaribus moniti, et divina institutione formati, audemus dicere:]

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation.

/R. But deliver us from evil.


[Pater noster, qui es in caelis: Sanctifecetur nomen tuum: Adveniat regnum tuum: Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo, et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie: Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.

/R. Sed libera nos a malo.


St. Gregory the Great placed this prayer after the Canon as its completion. In the ancient Church it was considered the only preparation worthy of Holy Communion.

Our Father is in heaven, and our daily lives should be brought into harmony with God's eternity. As Christ first pronounced "Thy will be done" in teaching us this prayer, He knew He would one day say the same prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. The daily bread we ask for is especially the divine Eucharist and all of the graces that flow from it into our day.

We ask not simply to be preserved from evil but to be delivered from it, by the profound purification that the Host will bring.

26. The Libera Nos and the Fraction of the Host

Deliver us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all evils, past, present, and to come; and by the intercession of the blessed and glorious Mary ever Virgin, Mother of God, together with Thy blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and Andrew, and all the saints, mercifully grant peace in our days: that through the help of Thy mercy we may always be free from sin and safe from all trouble.

By the sign of the cross with the paten, the Priest expresses symbolically the desire of participating in the peace which Christ bought for us by His Cross and by the sacrifice of His Body, for soon we will place the broken host on the paten. The kissing of the paten is a sign of love and reverence toward this "new sepulcher" of the holy Body of Christ.

The Host is broken to represent the Eucharist's character as a sacrifice, in an echo of the double Consecration. The breaking symbolizes Christ's violent and bloody death on the Cross.

The Host is broken over the chalice, to indicate that the Blood contained in the chalice proceeds from the broken Body of Christ. The breaking of the Host into three pieces distinguishes Christ's Mystical Body according to its various states: the Church Triumphant, the Church Militant, and the Church Suffering.

Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.

Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God.

World without end. [Per omnia saecula saeculorum.]

R/. Amen.

27. The Commingling of the Sacred Body and Blood

May the peace+ of the Lord be+ always with+ you. [Pax+ Domini sit+ semper vobis+ cum.]

/R. And with thy spirit. [Et cum spiritu tuo.]

May this mingling and consecration of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ avail us who receive It unto life everlasting. Amen.

The commingling of the Sacred Body and Blood symbolically expresses that in reality on the altar the Body and Blood are not separate, but under each species the whole Christ is present as one sacrificial gift and one sacrificial food. It tells us also of His Resurrection, in which His Body and Blood were again united and vivified: the Lamb that was slain now lives eternally.

Likewise, the three signs of the cross at Pax Dimini represent our Lord's Resurrection on the third day. This in is the ninth occasion during the sacrifice itself on which signs of the cross are made, and complete the representation of Christ's Passion.

28. The Agnus Dei

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. [Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: miserere nobis.]

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. [Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: miserere nobis.]

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, grant us peace. [Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: dona nobis pacem.]

In the Old Law a lamb was one of the usual animals of sacrifice. Jesus Christ is the one true Lamb, who atoned for and effaced the sins of the world in His Blood. His designation as a Lamb refers also to the patience and voluntary resignation with which He subjected Himself to suffering and death. The invocation also proclaims Christ's divinity. He is the sacrificial Lamb, that takes away the sins of the world only because He is the beloved Son in Whom God is well pleased.

29. The Prayers for Holy Communion

a) Prayer for Peace

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst say to Thy Apostles, peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: regard not my sins, but the faith of Thy Chruch, and vouchsafe to her that peace and unity which is agreeable to Thy will. Who livest and reignest, God, forever and ever. Amen.

/V. Peace be with thee.

/R. And with thy spirit.

The Communion, or the reception of the Sacrament, is the third principal part of the Sacrifice of the Mass.

The interior peace of knowing ourselves reconciled to God by the remission of sin and united to Him in mystical friendship, as well as the exterior peace of concord and union with our neighbor, Christ acquired by His death and bequeathed to us a precious heritage. The Church appeals to the promise and legacy of the Savior as she prays for peace, confident of being heard.

The kiss of peace prepares us for the actual or at least the spiritual reception of the Sacrament of charity and concord. It "reconciles and unites souls to one another, procuring an entire oblivion of all offenses. It is a sign that minds are again reconciled with one another, and that all remembrance or injustice suffered in the past is banished from the heart" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem).

The Priest first kisses the altar, symbol of Christ Himself, and the peace received from Christ is then passed to the ministers.

b) Prayer for Sanctification

O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, Who according to the will of the Father, through the cooperation of the Holy Ghost, hast by Thy death given life to the world: deliver me by this, Thy most sacred Body and Blood, from all my iniquities and from all evils; and make me always adhere to Thy commandments, and never suffer me to be separated from Thee. Who with the same God the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest, God, forever and ever. Amen.

We adore a God Who is life itself, and Who makes us live. We receive Communion, the Bread of Life, because we desire to live otherwise than like a man destined to die.

The prayer ends by asking that we may always adhere to all the commandments of God, and especially to the substantial Word of God, His Son, Jesus Christ. To inhere denotes a more profound and intimate attachment that merely to adhere. We ask God, like a child, to make us cling with all our soul to everything we understand of the life of Christ.

c) Prayer for Grace

Let not the partaking of Thy Body, O Lord Jesus Christ, which I, unworthy, presume to receive, turn to my judgement and condemnation; but through Thy goodness may it be to me a safeguard and remedy both of soul and body. Who with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest, God, forever and ever. Amen.

The Priest humbly confesses his own unworthiness to receive His God in Holy Communion, and with fervor begs of the Savior that He would at all times avert from him the misfortune of an unworthy Communion. Confiding in the goodness of our Lord, the Priest goes on to pray that his soul and body may be healed of every weakness and frailty by reception of the Sacrament, and be preserved and safeguarded for life eternal.

30. The Prayers at the Communion

a) Communion of the Priest

I will take the Bread of heaven, and call upon the name of the Lord. [Panem caelestem accipiam, et nomen Domini invocabo.]

The Priest receives first, then afterwards gives Communion to others; he who gives divine things ought first to partake thereof himself.

Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof, but only say the word, and my sould shall be healed. [Domine, non sum dignus, and he continues in a low voice ut intres sub tectum meaum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea.]

The words of the centurion of Capharnaum, spoken by the Priest as he is about to receive Communion, teach us in what spirit to approach our Lord: with profound humility and unshaken confidence.

May the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve my sou unto life everlasting. Amen.

If we cannot receive Holy Communion, we should make a spiritual Communion as the Priest receives, telling Jesus Christ our desire to belong to Him, asking Him to increase that desire.

God has no need of our gifts. The most acceptable thanksgiving to His Heart, consumed with love for us, is to esteem His benefits. The Priest gives thanks by asking for more grace. He extends his hand to take up the chalice.

We should approach the Son of God in Holy Communion with a sort of admiration, burning to have some small part in the courage of the One humiliated beyond imagining, and showing our gratitude by humbling ourselves courageously and continuing the same struggle, to taste the same victory.

What shall I render to the Lord for all He hath rendered unto me? I will take the Chalice of Salvation, and call upon the Name of the Lord. Praising, I will call upon the Lord and I shall be saved from my enemies.

May the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve my soul unto life everlasting. Amen.

b) Communion of the Faithful

Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who taketh away the sins of the world. [Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccata mundi.]

Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof. Speak but the word and my soul shall be healed. [Domine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meaum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea.]

The Celebrant shows the Host to the people, presenting our Lord in the words of St. John the Baptist on the banks of the Jordan. The Priest is asking us explicitly for an act of faith in the Real Presence. Our faith is never great enough, and increases with acts of faith: "I do believe, Lord; help my unbelief!"

We receive our Lord as the tabernacle receives Him, whole and entire, and the angels adore before the altar and before His eternal throne in heaven.

Our Lord desires to come into our souls more than we can desire to receive Him. He was sent by the Father to cast fire upon the earth, and this fire is His love; this fire is Himself in Holy Communion.

May the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve thy souls unto life everlasting. Amen.

31. Prayers During the Ablutions

Grant, O Lord, that what we have taken with our mouth we may receive with a pure mind; and that from a temporal gift it may become for us an eternal remedy.

May Thy Body, O Lord, which I have received, and Thy Blood which I have drunk, cleave to my heart; and grant that no stain of sin may remain in me, whom Thy pure and holy sacraments have refreshed; Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

We should open our will to Jesus Christ as we open our lips to receive Him, leaving Him free to act in us and accepting in advance everything His grace will ask us to become. We consume the Sacred Host, asking that we be consumed by His Divinity. We receive Him physically, that He might receive us divinely into His sacred activity, and transform our life and action and desires into His.

We should receive Him as the Blessed Virgin received Him at the Annunciation, concerned only with leaving Him free to act, with a will to conform to His will for the Redemption of the world.

As we come to know Christ in the Mass we cannot do otherwise than to imitate Him; our life, actions, and desires are transformed into His.

32. The Communion Verse

See Proper of Mass for the day.

/V. The Lord be with you. [Dominus vobiscum.]

/R. And with thy spirit. [Et cum spiritu tuo.]

Let us pray. [Oremus.]

33. The Postcommunion Prayers

See Proper of Mass for the day.

As with the Collects, to the first and last only of these prayers is answered.

/R. Amen.

The Priest then gives thanks by prayer, as Christ "said a hymn" at the close of the supper with His disciples.

The Communion verse and the Postcommunion prayers are the official thanksgiving of the Church. They guide our private acts of thanksgiving, and prepare us to extend the fruits of Communion throughout our day."

St. King Louis IX Receiving Viaticum, Alejandro Ferrant y Fischermans, 1843-1917.

Sacred Scripture continued from the Holy Bible, Douay-Rheims:

"Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fishes, one hundred and fifty-three. And although there were so many, the net was not broken. Jesus saith to them: Come, and dine. And none of them who were at meat, durst ask him: Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. And Jesus cometh and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish in like manner. This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to his disciples, after he was risen from the dead. When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.

He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep." (John 21:11-17)

In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.



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