sábado, 18 de maio de 2013


Sacrifice of Jesus Christ,



IN the two preceding volumes we have been consider
ing that the Son of God, not content with becoming
man and immolating himself for our salvation, in order
to satisfy the love that he bore us, also wished to create
for himself an entirely new life of love by instituting the
Holy Eucharist expressly for the purpose of giving him
self to us in three different ways; namely, as a victim of
of an infinite price in the Holy Sacrifice; as the food of
our souls in Holy Communion; and, in the holy taber
nacle, as a perpetual companion of our exile here upon

After having paid our homage to our Saviour in his
sacrament of love, we honor with a special worship his
divine heart, which is regarded as the seat of his im
mense love for us.

Now, as God loves only in order to be loved, we are
led by the foregoing considerations to the practice of
the love of Jesus Christ.

We conclude by speaking of the devotion that is due
to the Holy Spirit, who is the love that is consubstantial
with the Father and the Son, through whom God loves
us, and through whom we love God.

Such are the contents of this volume, which is Vol
ume VI. of the ascetical works.

We place at the beginning of this volume a short
treatise entitled " The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ," because
the Sacrifice of the Altar is intimately connected with
the Sacrifice of the Cross, the latter being the subject
considered in the last volume, and because the Sacrifice
of the Altar completes the Sacrifice of the Cross by
Holy Communion.

St. Alphonsus wrote this little work in his retreat in
the year 1776, when he was eighty years of age, and pub
lished it with his work called the Victories of the Martyrs.



I ACKNOWLEDGE to have drawn this little treatise on the
Sacrifice of Jesus Christ from a work composedly a
learned French author.* His work is complete and
somewhat diffuse. I have composed and have published
this abridgment because of the profit that may be de
rived from it, not only by the priests who say Mass, but
by the faithful who are present at it.

My little work bears the title " The Sacrifice of Jesus
Christ," for, although we distinguish by different names
the Sacrifice of the Cross from the Sacrifice of the Altar,

* This is, however, not a mere abridgment that St. Alphonsus
gives us. As was usual with him, he appropriated the subject and
treated it after his own manner by confining himself to quoting on
some points the opinion of the French author. What he ascribes to
the latter is found, nearly word for word, in the book entitled "L Idee
du Sacerdoce et du Sacrifice de Jesus-Christ, par le R. P. De Condren,
etc. Par un Pretre de 1 Oratoire." We doubt, however, whether
this excellent work is that which our Saint had before him; for it ap
pears to us that such a work cannot be called anonymous, though the
learned Oratorian who published it in 1677 gives in the title-page only
his title, and the initials of his name in his dedication, by signing
himself P. Q. (This is Father Pasquier Quesnel, who later on became
unfortunately so famous.) This doubt is confirmed by the remark
that we add further on, page 26, and is changed almost into certainty
in view of a passage that we read on page 36, and that we have not
seen in the aforesaid work. We therefore believe that there exists
a more recent work in which " L Idee" of Father De Condren is re
produced in an incomplete manner and without the name of the
author. ED.

1 6 Notice.

yet it is substantially the same sacrifice. In fact, we
find at the altar the same victim and the same priest
that one day offered himself on the cross. The Sacrifice
of the Altar is a continuation or a renewal of the Sacri
fice of the Cross, and differs from it only in the manner
in which it is offered.

&!je Sacrifice of Jesus Christ,

The Sacrifices of the Old Law were Figures of the Sacrifice of
*~ Jesus Christ.

All the sacrifices of the old law were figures of the
sacrifice of our divine Redeemer, and there were four
kinds of these sacrifices; namely, the sacrifices of peace,
of thanksgiving, of expiation, and of impetration.

1. The sacrifices of peace viz* t instituted to render to
God the worship of adoration that is due to him as the
sovereign master of all things. Of this kind were the

2. The sacrifices of thanksgiving were destined to give
thanks to the Lord for all his benefits.

3. The sacrifices of expiation were established to obtain
the pardon of sin. This kind of sacrifice was specially
represented in the Feast of the Expiation by the emis
sary-goat, 1 which, having been laden with all the sins of
the people, was led forth out of the camp of the He
brews, and afterwards abandoned in the desert to be
there devoured by ferocious beasts. This sacrifice was
the most expressive figure of the sacrifice of the cross.
Jesus Christ was laden with all the sins of men, as Isaias
had foretold: The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us
all? He was afterwards ignominiously led forth from
Jerusalem, whither the Apostle invites us to follow him

1 Lev. xvi. 8.

2 " Et posuit Dominus in eo iniquitatem omnium nostrum." ha.
liii. 6.


1 8 The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

by sharing in his opprobrium: Let us go forth therefore to
him without the camp, bearing his reproach. 1 He was aban
doned to ferocious beasts; that is to say, to the Gentiles,
who crucified him.

4. Finally, the sacrifices of impetration had for their
object to obtain from God his aid and his grace.

Now, all these sacrifices were abolished by the coming
of the Redeemer, because only the sacrifice of Jesus
Christ, which was a perfect sacrifice, while all the ancient
sacrifices were imperfect, was sufficient to expiate all
the sins, and merit for man every grace. This is the
reason why the Son of God on entering the world said to
his Father: Sacrifice and oblation Thou wouldst not; but a body
Thou hast fitted to me. Holocausts for sin did not please Thee.
Then said I: Behold, I come; in the head of the book it is
written of me, that I should do Thy will, O God? Hence, by
offering to God the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we can fulfil
all our duties towards his supreme majesty, and provide
for all our wants; and by this means we succeed in main
taining a holy intercourse between God and ourselves.

We must also know that the Old Law exacted five
conditions in regard to the victims which were to be
offered to God so as to be agreeable to him; namely,
sanctification, oblation, immolation, consumption, and

i. The victim had to be sanctified, or consecrated to
God, so that there might not be offered to him anything
that was not holy nor unworthy of his majesty. Hence,
the animal destined for sacrifice had to be without stain,
without defect; it was not to be blind, lame, weak, nor

" Exeamus igitur ad eum extra castra, improperium ejus por-
tantes." Heb. xiii. 13.

" Hostiam et oblationem noluisti, corpus autem aptasti mihi;
holocautomata pro peccato non tibi placuerunt; tune dixi: Ecce
venio; in capite libri scriptum estde me, utfaciam, Deus, voluntatem
tuam." Heb. x. 5.

/. The Sacrifices of I he Old Law. 19

deformed, according to what was prescribed in the Book
of Deuteronomy. 1 This condition indicated that such
would be the Lamb of God, the victim promised for the
salvation of the world; that is to say, that he would be
holy, and exempt from every defect. We are thereby in
structed that our prayers and our other good works are
not worthy of being offered to God, or at least can never
be fully agreeable to him, if they are in any way defec
tive. Moreover, the animal thus sanctified could no longer
be employed for any profane usage, and was regarded as
a thing consecrated to God in such a manner that only a
priest was permitted to touch it. This shows us how
displeasing it is to God if persons consecrated to him
busy themselves without real necessity with the things
of the world, and thus live in distraction and in neglect
of what concerns the glory of God.

2. The victim had to be offered to God; this was done
by certain words that the Lord himself had prescribed.

3. It had to be immolated, or put to death; but this im
molation was fiot always brought about by death, prop
erly so called; for the sacrifice of the loaves of proposi
tion, or show-bread, was accomplished, for example,
without using iron or fire, but only by means of the
natural heat of those who ate of them.

4. The victim had to be consumed. This was done by fire.
The sacrifice in which the victim was entirely consumed
by fire was called holocaust. The latter was thus en
tirely annihilated in order to indicate by this destruction
the unlimited power that God has over all his creatures,
and that as he created them out of nothing, so he can
reduce them to the nothingness from which they came.
In fact, the principal end of the sacrifice is to acknowl
edge God as a sovereign being, so superior to all things
that everything before him is purely nothing; for all

1 Devt. xv. 21.

2O The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

things are nothing in presence of him who possesses all
things in himself. The smoke that came from this sac
rifice and arose in the air signified that God received it
as a sweet odor, that is to say, with pleasure, as is
written of the sacrifice of Noe : Noe . . . offered holo
causts upon the altar; and the Lord smelled a sweet savor?

5. All the people, together with the priest, had to be
partakers of the victim. Hence, in the sacrifices, except
ing the holocaust, the victim was divided into three
parts, one part of which was destined for the priest, one
for the people, and one for the fire. This last part was
regarded as belonging to God, who by this means com
municated in some manner with those who were par
takers of the victim.

These five conditions are found reunited in the sacri
fice of the Paschal Lamb. The Lord had commanded
Moses 2 that, on the tenth day of the month on which
the Jews had been delivered from the slavery of Egypt,
a lamb of one year and without blemish should be taken
and separated from the flock; and thus were verified the
conditions enumerated above, namely: i. The separation
of the lamb signified that it was a victim consecrated to
God; 2. This consecration was succeeded by the oblation,
which took place in the Temple, where the lamb was pre
sented; 3. On the fourteenth day of the month the
immolation took place, or the lamb was killed; 4. Then
the lamb was roasted and divided among those present;
and this was the partaking of it, or communion; 5.
Finally, the lamb having been eaten, what remained of
it was consumed by fire, and thus was the sacrifice con

"Noe . . . obtulit holocausta super altare; odoratusque est Domi-
nus odorem suavitatis." -Gen. viii. 20.
2 Exod. xii. 3.

//. Fulfilment of the Figures. 2 1


Fulfilment of the Prophetic Figures.

The Sacrifice of our Lord, as we have said, was a per
fect sacrifice, of which those sacrifices of the Old Law
were but signs, imperfect figures, and what the Apostle
calls weak and needy elements. 1 The sacrifice offered by
Jesus Christ really fulfilled all the conditions mentioned
above. The first condition, which is the sanctification, or
the consecration of the victim, was accomplished in the
Incarnation of the Word by God the Father himself, as is
mentioned in the Gospel of St. John: Whom the Father
hath sanctified? Likewise, when announcing to the
Blessed Virgin that she was chosen to be the Mother of
the Son of God, the Angel said: The Holy which shall be
born of thee shall be called the Son of God* Thus this divine
victim, who was to be sacrificed for the salvation of the
world, had already been sanctified by God, when he was
born of Mary. From the first moment in which the
Eternal Word took a human body, he was consecrated
to God to be the victim of the great sacrifice that was
to be accomplished on the Cross for the salvation of
men. In regard to this our Lord said to his Father:
But a body Thou hast fitted to me . . . that I should do Thy
will, O God?

The second condition, or the oblation, was also fulfilled
at the moment of the Incarnation, when Jesus Christ
voluntarily offered himself to atone for the sins of men.
Knowing that divine justice could not be satisfied by all

1 " Infirma et egena elementa." Gal. iv. 9.

2 "Quern Pater sanctificavit." John, x. 36.

3 " Quod nascetur ex te Sanctum, vocabitur Filius Dei." Luke,
i- 35-

4 "Corpus autem aptasti mihi, . . . ut faciam, Deus, voluntatem
tuam." Heb. x. 5.

2 2 The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

the ancient sacrifices, nor by all the works of men, he
offered himself to atone for all the sins of men, and hence
he said to God, Sacrifices, and oblations, and holocausts for
sin, Thou wouldst not. . . . Then said /, Behold, I come to do
Thy will, O God. 1 Then the Apostle adds immediately, /;/
which will we are sanctified by the oblation of the body of
Jesus Christ once. 1 This last text is remarkable. Sin had
rendered all men unworthy of being offered to God and
of being accepted by him, and, therefore, it was neces
sary that Jesus Christ should offer himself for us in order
to sanctify us by his grace, and to make us worthy of be
ing accepted by God. And this offering which our Lord
then made of himself did not limit itself to that moment,
but it only then began; it always has continued since,
and it will continue forever. It is true it will cease on
earth at the time of Antichrist: the Sacrifice of the Mass
is to be suspended for twelve hundred and ninety days;
that is, for three years six months and a half, according
to the prophecy of Daniel: And from the time when the con
tinual sacrifice shall Jbe taken away, and the abomination unto
desolation shall be set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred
ninety days? Yet the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ will never
cease, since the Son of God will always continue to offer
himself to his Father by an eternal sacrifice, for he him
self is the priest and the victim, but an eternal victim
and an eternal priest, not according to the order of Aaron,
of which the priesthood and the sacrifice were tempo
rary, imperfect, and inadequate to appease the anger of
God against rebellious man, but according to the order
of Melchisedech, as David predicted : Thou art a priest ac-

" Quia hostias et oblationes et holocautomata noluisti . . . tune
dixi : Ecce venio, ut faciam, Deus, voluntatem tuam." Heb. x. 8.

" In qua voluntate sanctificati sumus per oblationem corporis
Jesu Christ! semel." Ibid. 10.

" Et a tempore cum ablatum fuerit juge sacrificium, et posita
fuerit abominatio in desolatione, dies mille ducenti nonaginta."
Dan. xii. n.

//. Fulfilment of the Figures, 23

cording to the order of Melchisedech} The priesthood of
Jesus Christ will, therefore, be eternal, since, even after
the end of the world, he will always continue to offer in
heaven this same victim that he once offered on the
Cross for the glory of God and for the salvation of man

The third condition of the sacrifice namely, the im
molation of the victim was evidently accomplished by
the death of our Lord on the Cross.

There remains for us yet to verify, in the Sacrifice of
Jesus Christ, the two other conditions requisite to ren
der a sacrifice perfect that is, the consumption of the vic
tim and i\it partaking of it.

It is then asked, What was this consumption of the
victim in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ ? for although his
body was by death separated from his holy soul, yet it
was not consumed, nor destroyed.

The anonymous author of whom I spoke in the begin
ning, says that this fourth condition was fulfilled by the
resurrection of our Lord ; for, then, his adorable body
was divested of all that is terrestrial and mortal, and
was clothed in divine glory. He adds that it is this
glory that Jesus Christ asked of his Father before his
death: And now glorify Thou me, O Father, with Thyself,
with the glory which I had, before the world was, with Thee?
Our Lord did not ask this glory for his divinity, since
he possessed it from all eternity as being the Word
equal to the Father; but he asked it for his humanity,
and he obtained it at his resurrection, by which he
entered in a certain manner into his divine glory.

In speaking of the fifth condition, which is, the par
taking of the victim, or Communion, the same author

" Tu es Sacerdos in aeternum secundurn ordinem Melchisedech."
Ps. cix. 4.

" Et nunc clarifica me tu, Pater, apud temetipsum, claritate
quam habui, priusquam mundus fieret, apud te." John, xvii. 5.

24 The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ,

says that it is also fulfilled in heaven, where all the
blessed are partakers of the victim of the Sacrifice that
Jesus Christ continues to offer to God while offering

These two reflections, made by the author to explain
the two last conditions of the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ,
are wise and ingenious ; but for myself I think that the
two conditions of which there is question, namely, the
consumption and Communion, are manifestly fulfilled
in the Sacrifice of the Altar, which, as has been declared
by the Council of Trent, is the same as that of the Cross.
In fact, the Sacrifice of the Mass, instituted by our Lord
before his death, is a continuation of the Sacrifice of the
Cross. Jesus Christ wished that the price of his blood,
shed for the salvation of men, should be applied to us
by the Sacrifice of the Altar ; in which the victim offered
is the same, though it is there offered differently from
what it is on the Cross, that is, without the shedding of
blood. These are the words of the Council of Trent :
" Although Christ our Lord was to offer himself once to
his Eternal Father on the altar of the Cross by actually
dying to obtain for us eternal redemption, yet as his
priesthood was not to become extinct by his death, in
order to leave his Church a visible sacrifice suited to the
present condition of men, a sacrifice which might at the
same time represent to us the bloody sacrifice con
summated on the Cross, preserve the memory of it to the
end of the world, and apply the salutary fruits of it for
the remission of the sins which we daily commit ; at his
last supper, on the very night on which he was betrayed,
giving proof that he was established a priest forever
according to the order of Melchisedech, he offered to
God the Father his body and blood, under the appear
ances of bread and wine, and, under the same symbols,
gave them to the apostles, whom he constituted at the
same time priests of the New Law. By these words,

//. Fulfilment of .the Figures. 25

Do ye this in remembrance of me/ he commissioned
them and their successors in the priesthood to conse
crate and offer his body and blood, as the Catholic
Church has always understood and taught." And
further on the Council declares that the Lord, appeased
by the oblation of the Sacrifice of Mass, grants us his
graces and the remission of sins. It says : * It is one
and the same victim ; the one that offers sacrifice is
the same one who, after having sacrificed himself on
the Cross, offers himself now by the ministry of the
priest ; there is no difference except in the manner of
offering." :

Jesus Christ has, then, paid the price of our redemp
tion in the Sacrifice of the Cross. But he wishes that the
fruit of the ransom given should be applied to us in the
Sacrifice of Altar, being himself in both the chief sacri-
ficer, who offers the same victim, namely, his own body
and his own blood; with this difference only, that on the
Cross his blood was shed, while it is not shed at the

1 " Is igitur Deus et Dominus noster, etsi semel semetipsum in ara
crucis, morte intercedente, Deo Patri oblaturus erat, ut aeternam illic
redemptionem operaretur; quia tamen per mortem sacerdotium ejus
exstinguendum non erat; in coena novissima, qua nocte tradebatur,
ut dilectae sponsae suae Ecclesiae visibile, sicut hominum natura exigit,
relinqueret sacrificium, quo cruentum illud semel in cruce peragen-
dum repraesentaretur, ejusque memoria in finem usque saeculi per-
maneret, atque illius salutaris virtus in remissionem eorum, quae a
nobis quotidie committuntur, peccatorum applicaretur, Sacerdotem
secundum ordinem Melchisedech se in aeternum constitutum decla-
rans, corpus et sanguinem suum sub speciebus panis et vini Deo
Patri obtulit; ac, sub earumdem rerum symbolis, Apostolis, quos tune
Novi Testament! Sacerdotes constituebat, ut sumerent, tradidit; et
eisdem eorumque in sacerdotio successoribus, ut offerrent, praccepit
per hsec verba: Hoc facite in meam commemorationem; uti semper
Catholica Ecclesia intellexit et docuit." Sess. 22, c. I.

2 " Una enim eademque est Hostia, idem nunc offerens Sacerdotis
ministerio, qui seipsum tune in cruce obtulit, sola offerendi ratione
diversa." Sess. 22, c. 2.

26 The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

altar. Hence the Roman catechism J teaches that the
Sacrifice of the Mass does not serve only to praise God
and to thank him for the gifts that he has granted us, but
it is a true propitiatory sacrifice, by which we obtain from
the Lord pardon for our sins and the graces of which we
stand in need. Because the fruit of the death of Jesus
Christ is applied to us by the Sacrifice of the Altar, the
Church expresses herself thus in her prayers: "As often
as the memory of the Sacrifice of the Cross is celebrated,
so often is accomplished the work of our redemption." :

Now, in the Mass we find not only the three essential
parts of the Sacrifice of the Cross, that is, the sanctifica-
tion and oblation of the victim, as also the immolation,
which is here done mystically, the consecration of the body
and that of the blood taking place separately, but we
also find the two other parts of the sacrifice; namely, the
destruction or consumption, communion or partaking, of
the victim. The destruction or consumption is accom
plished by the natural heat of those who receive the
consecrated Host. Communion or partaking of the
victim consists in the distribution of the Holy Eucharist
to the faithful who approach the altar for this purpose.

In this manner we clearly see realized in the Sacrifice
of the Altar the five conditions required in the ancient
sacrifices, all of which were signs and figures of the
great Sacrifice of our Lord.*

1 P. 2, C. 4, q 62.

" Quoties hujus Hostise commemoratio celebratur, opus nostrae
redemptionis exercetur." Dom. 9 p. Pent.

* It seems to us that the two explanations which we have just
read the explanation of the anonymous author and that of St. Al-
phonsus about the consummation or the last two parts of the Sac
rifice of Jesus Christ can be and should be admitted, should not ex
clude each other, but should be united. It was necessary that this
great sacrifice, the only real sacrifice worthy of God, should be con
summated in heaven and on earth at the same time, to unite to God

//. Fulfilment of the Figures. 27

the body of Jesus Christ entirely; that is, the Church triumphant and
the Church militant : in heaven, by the glorious union of Jesus Christ,
of the Blessed Virgin, of the angels, of the saints with God, and
among themselves in the bosom of God in which the sacrifice is per
fect and eternal : on earth, by Holy Mass and Communion, in which
all the faithful partake of the same victim under the Eucharistic veil.
The body of the Redeemer, immolated on the Cross, had, therefore,
to be transformed in a twofold manner ; namely, by the resurrection,
for the consummation of the sacrifice in heavenly glory ; by the Eu
charist, for the consummation of the sacrifice in earthly combats.
This twofold consummation of the true sacrifice was typified in the cere
monies of the Old Law: the burning of the victim represented heavenly
Communion, and the eating of it represented earthly Communion.
But in heaven, as in Holy Mass, we have not only consummation, but
we have all the parts of the Sacrifice of the Cross and of the sacri
fices of the Old Law. Hence, three kinds of sacrifices, or three
degrees, are to be distinguished. In the Old Law there were figures
without the reality ; in the New Law we have the reality under the
figures or appearances; in glory we have the reality exposed and un
veiled. Such is, briefly, the thought of Pere De Coudren, wisely de
veloped by him who published it. Such is, also, without doubt, the
thought of St. Alphonsus; for otherwise we should not understand
what he says on page 22, where he explains the text taken from
Daniel. ED.

01)ort explanation of tl)e Praters of Illass.

Mass is rightly divided into six parts. The first part
is the preparation for the sacrifice ; and this is made at
the foot of the altar. The second part extends from the
Introit to the Credo, inclusively and was formerly called
the Mass of the Catechumens, who had to leave the church
after the Credo. The third part contains the Offertory
and the Preface. The fourth part comprises the Canon
with the Pater Noster ; for the Canon in olden times
finished with the Pater Noster, as a learned author con
cludes from a passage in the writings of St. Gregory
the Great. 1 The fifth part begins with the prayer Libera
nos, qucesumus, Domine (" Deliver us, O Lord, we beseech
Thee"), which is a preparation for Communion, and in
cludes Communion. The sixth and last part comprises
under the form of thanksgiving the rest of the Mass.

The Preparation that is made at the Foot of the Altar.

In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen ("In
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Ghost. Amen").

In order to sacrifice a victim one must have the power
over its life and death ; but as God only has the power
over the life of his incarnate Son, who is the victim of
the Sacrifice of the Mass, the priest needs divine author
ity in order to be able to offer Jesus Christ to his heavenly
Father. Yet as he is invested with the authority that

1 Epist. 1. 7, ind. 2, ep. 63.

Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass. 29

belongs to the priesthood, he says, in union with Jesus
Christ, who is the principal one that offers that sacrifice,
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost ; thus declaring that he offers the sacrifice
by the authority of the three Persons.

The priest afterwards recites the antiphon Introibo ad
altare Dei (" I will go unto the altar of God "), and the
psalm Judica me Deus ("Judge me, O God"). He im
plores the help of God against the enemies who are laying
snares for him. Then expressing the pain that he feels
of seeing himself, as it were, rejected by the Lord, he
begs him to assist him with his light, and to console
him with the graces that he promised by leading him
into his tabernacle. Finally, he reproaches himself for
indulging in fear, for why should he be troubled when
he has with him his God in whom he should confide ?

Innocent III. 1 attests that the recitation before Mass of
the psalm Judica me was the custom of his time, that is,
in the twelfth century ; and Cardinal Lambertini, after
wards Benedict XIV., 2 assures us that it was recited be
fore the eighth century. The psalm is concluded with
the Gloria Patri. It was Pope St. Damasus who ordained
that each psalm should be concluded in this manner. It
is, however, believed that the Gloria Patri was intro
duced by the Council of Nice, or, as we are told by Ba-
ronius 3 and St. Basil, even by the Apostles, the Council
of Nice having added only these words, Sicut erat, etc.

Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini ("Our help is in
the name of the Lord"). Affrighted by the grandeur
of the act he is about to perform, and by the thought of
his unworthiness, the priest asks God s help in the name
of Jesus Christ ; and acknowledging himself guilty, he
accuses himself of his sins, not only before God, but
before the Blessed Virgin and all the saints, who on the

1 De Alt. Myst. \. 2, c. 13. 9 De Missa S. 1. 2, c. 3. 3 Ann. 325.

30 Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass.

last day, with Jesus Christ, will pronounce judgment
upon sinners.

Deus, tu conversus, vivificabis nos ("Thou, O Lord," says
the priest, " wilt turn and bring us to life"). The sinner
remains in death so long as God in his goodness does
not come to restore to him the life of grace. Then he im
plores anew the divine mercy : Ostende nobis, Domine, mise-
ricordiam tuam (" Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy") ; and
supplicates the Lord to hear him : Domine, exaudi ora-
tionem meam (" O Lord, hear my prayer").

Before leaving the people to go up to the altar, the
priest says to them, Dominus vobiscnm (" The Lord be
with you "). By these words he wishes and asks that
Jesus Christ may grant to the people as well as to him
self the effects of the prayers that he has said ; and the
server expresses to him the same wish when answering
for all the people : Et cum spiritu tuo ("And with Thy
spirit"). These reciprocal wishes indicate the union of
faith in Jesus Christ that exists between the priest and
the people.

Anfer a nobis, etc. (" Take away from us our iniquities,
etc."). In going up the steps of the altar, the priest begs
the Lord to deliver him from all iniquities, in order that
he may approach the Holy of Holies with a pure heart ;
that is to say, in order that he may worthily offer up the
great sacrifice.

Oramus te, Domine, per mcrita Sanctorum tuorum, etc.
("We beseech Thee, O Lord, by the merits of Thy
saints, etc."). Having reached the altar, he kisses it, to
unite himself to Jesus Christ, represented by the altar;
and, through the merits of the holy martyrs whose relics
are therein enclosed, he conjures our Lord to deign to
pardon him all his sins.

From the first ages the Church was accustomed to
offer up the Eucharistic sacrifice on the tombs of the
martyrs who had sacrificed their lives for God, and who

Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass. 3 1

for this reason have always been particularly honored in
the Church. During the first period of the Church there
were no other festivals than those of the mysteries of
Jesus Christ, those of the Blessed Virgin, and the anni
versaries of the martyrs. However, it is not to the saints,
but only to God that altars are erected, " and," as St.
Augustine says, " we have not erected an altar to the
martyr, Stephen, but with the relics of the martyr Ste
phen we have erected an altar to God." 1

From the Introit to the Credo.

It is usually in the Introit that the Church proposes
the subject of the feast that is celebrated. Mention is
therein made of some divine mystery, of the Blessed
Virgin, or of some other saint whom the Church honors
on that day, so that we simply render this honor to the
saint, since the sacrifice, as we have said, is offered only
to God. It is asserted that the author of the Introit is
St. Gregory the Great, as may be seen in the works of
Benedict XIV. 2

Kyrie, eleison ; Christe, elcison. These are Greek words
that mean "Lord, or Christ, have mercy." This prayer
is addressed three times to the Father, three times to
the Son, and three times to the Holy Ghost. Durand 3
says that Mass was begun to be said in Greek in the
Oriental Church at the time of the Emperor Adrian L,
about the year 140. Pope St. Sylvester ordered that,
after the example of the Greeks, the Kyrie elcison should
be said in the Latin Church. According to Cardinal
Bellarmine 4 this custom was introduced into Italy about

1 " Nos, in isto loco, non aram fccimus Stephano, sed de reliquiis
Stephani aram Deo." Serm. 318, E. B.

De Missfr S. 1. 2, c. 4. 3 Ration. 1. 4, c. I.

4 De Miss. \. 2, c. 16.

32 Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass.

a hundred and fifty years before St. Gregory. Thereby
is shown the union that exists between the Greek and
the Latin Church.

Gloria in excelsis Deo, etc. (" Glory be to God on high,
etc."). This canticle or prayer is formed of the words
that the celestial choirs used when the Angel came to
announce to the shepherds the birth of the Saviour ;
" Glory to God in the highest : and on earth peace to
men of good will." The remaining words were added
by the Church. In it God is thanked for his glory, be
cause God has used our salvation for his glory by saving
us through Jesus Christ, who, in offering himself as a
sacrifice to his Father, has procured salvation for men,
and has given, at the same time, infinite glory to God.
Then the Church, addressing herself to Jesus Christ,
asks him by the merits of his sacrifice to have pity on
us; and she concludes by proclaiming him: Quoniam
tu solus Sanctus, tu solus Dominus, tu solus Altissimus,
Jesu Christe, cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei Patris.
Amen ("For Thou only art holy; Thou only art Lord;
Thou only, O Jesus Christ, art Most High in the glory
of God the Father. Amen"). For our Saviour, who
sacrifices himself as a victim, is at the same time God,
equal to Him to whom the sacrifice is offered.

Then follows the prayer or Collect, thus called because
the priest, performing the office of mediator between
God and men, collects all the prayers of the people, and
presents them to God. The Collect is said in a suppli
ant manner, with outstretched and raised hands. In
these prayers are asked of God the graces that have
reference to the mystery of the day: for example, at
Easter, the grace to rise with Jesus Christ, and at the
Ascension to dwell with him in spirit in heaven; or we
ask for those graces that we wish to obtain through the

1 Luke, ii. 14.

Sliort Explanation of the Prayers of Mass. 33

intercession of the saint whose feast we are celebrating.
But all these prayers are concluded with the name of
Jesus Christ : Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum
(" Through our Lord Jesus Christ"). Because all the
graces that we obtain are given to us chiefly in view of
the merits of Jesus Christ. It is not true, as the innova
tors say, that we offer the Sacrifice of the Altar to the
saints. It is altogether false; for we know very well
that the sacrifice, being a cult or worship that is due to
the sovereign Lord of the universe, can be offered only
to God; and if at the Mass we make mention of the
saints, we do so only because of the favors that they
have received from God, to whom they acknowledge
they are indebted for all the happiness that they pos

Here follow the Epistle and the Gospel. While list
ening to the reading of the Epistle, we must hear it as if
it is God himself who speaks by the mouth of his proph
ets and apostles.

The Epistle is followed by the Gradual, which, accord
ing to Bellarmin, was sung in former times while the
deacon ascended the steps of the ambo an elevated pul
pit to read the Gospel. The Gradual was followed by
the Alleluia, a Hebrew word that signifies Praise the Lord.
But in Lent the Alleluia, which expresses joy, is replaced
by the Tract, which Abbot Rupert calls the lamentation
of penitents (Pxnitcntium lamentum).

The priest then leaving the left side of the altar, which
represents the Jewish people, passes to the right side,
which represents the Gentiles, who accepted the Gospel
that was rejected by the Jews. We should listen to the
Gospel as if we heard the words of our divine Saviour
instructing us himself, and we should at the same time
ask him for the necessary help to put in practice what
he teaches. It is an ancient custom to stand during the
reading of the Gospel, to show that we are ready to fol-

34 Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass.

low the precepts and counsels that our Lord points out
to us.

Credo (" I believe"). While the priest is reciting the
symbol, we should renew our faith in all the mysteries
and all the dogmas that the Church teaches. By the
symbol was formerly understood a military sign, a mark by
which many recognize one another, and are distinguished
from one another: this at present distinguishes believers
from unbelievers. Benedict XIV. 1 tells us that at Rome
the recitation of the symbol during Mass was begun only
in the eleventh century.

The Offertory and the Preface.

The Offertory embraces everything from the Dominus
vobiscum till the Preface. In offering the bread and
wine the priest calls them the immaculate Host, the Chalice
of salvation. We should not be astonished at this; for all
the prayers and all the ceremonies before and after the
consecration have reference to the divine Victim. It is
at the moment of consecration that the Victim presents
himself to God, that he offers himself to him, and that
the sacrifice is offered; but as these different acts cannot
be explained at the same time, they are explained one
after the other. The priest then offers by anticipation
the bread prepared for the sacrifice, and while saying,
Suscipe, sancte Pater, hanc immaculatam Hostiam, etc.
("Accept, O holy Father, this immaculate Host, etc.");
and he offers the wine as if it had already been conse
crated, by saying, Offerimus tibi, Dominc, Calicem salu-
taris, etc. (" We offer unto Thee, O Lord, the Chalice of
salvation, etc.") ; because this wine, being afterwards
changed into the blood of Jesus Christ, becomes our sal-

De Missa S. 1. 2, c. 8,

Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass. 35

vation. St. Augustine says that as at the Eucharistic
Table our Saviour offers us to eat and to drink his body
and his blood, we should also offer to him our body and
our blood by giving ourselves entirely to him, being
ready to sacrifice our life for his glory, should it be neces
sary. These are the beautiful words of the holy Doctor:
" You know what this banquet is, and what nourishment
is offered you at this table. Since Jesus Christ gives
entirely his body and his blood, let no one approach
without giving himself entirely to the Lord."

A little water is mixed with the wine to represent the
mixture or the union that takes place in the Incarnation
of the Word between the divinity and the humanity, and
also to represent the intimate union that is effected in the
sacramental Communion between Jesus Christ and the
person who communicates a union which St. Augus
tine calls Mixtnra Dei et hominis ("A mixture of God
and of man"). Hence the priest, in the prayer which he
recites while mixing the water with the wine, beseeches
God to grant that, as his divine Son became partaker of
our humanity, we may be made partakers of his divinity.
The Council of Trent declares that this mingling of water
and of wine in the chalice is prescribed: "The holy
Synod admonishes that it is enjoined on the priests by
the Church that they should mix water with the wine
that is to be offered in the chalice, as it is believed that
the Lord has done the same thing." 8 However, this is
only an ecclesiastical, not a divine precept.

Offcrimus tibi, Domine, Calicem salutaris, etc. (" We offer
unto Thee, O Lord, the Chalice of salvation, etc."). The
chalice of salvation is offered to the Lord, so that it -may

1 " Mensa quae sit, nostis; ibi est corpus et sanguis Christi; qui ac-
cedit ad talem mensam, praeparet talia." In Jo. tr. 47.

2 " Monet sancta Synodus praeceptum esse ab Ecclesia Sacerdoti-
bus, ut aquam vino in calice offerendo miscerent; quod Christum Do-
minum ita fecisse credatur." Sess. 22 c. 7.

36 Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass.

arise in his divine presence as an agreeable odor, for our
salvation and for the salvation of the whole world.
Cardinal Bona, 1 in his Liturgy, assures us that neither
in the Sacramentarium of St. Gregory, nor in other authors,
is any prayer found for the offering of the bread and
of the wine; however, the same Cardinal says that in the
ancient Liturgy which he caused to be published we
find the prayers that were recited by the clergy as well
as by the faithful when the latter presented to the priest
their offerings. Moreover, our French author says that
the prayers recited at present by the priest at the obla
tion of the bread and of the wine have reference to the
offerings which the faithful formerly made, not at the
altar, but at the balustrade of the choir.

In spiritu humilitatis et in animo contrito suscipiamur a te,
Doniine, etc. (" In the spirit of humility, and with a con
trite heart, let us be received by Thee, O Lord, etc.").
The priest presents himself before our Lord with an
humble and a contrite heart, and begs him to bless the
great sacrifice that is about to be offered: Vc/ii, Sanctifi-
cator, etc. ("Come, O Sanctifier, etc.").

Then he goes to wash his hands, out of respect for this
divine sacrifice, while reciting the psalm Lavabo t/iter in-
nocentes manus uieas, etc. (" I will wash my hands among
the innocent, etc.").

Suscipe, Sancta Trinitas, etc. (" Receive, O Holy Trinity,
etc."). By this prayer the priest offers to God Jesus
Christ as a victim already immolated by his death on the
Cross. Heretics calumniate us when they affirm that we
offer to God two different sacrifices, namely, the sacrifice
of the Cross and that of the altar. We reply to them that
there are not two sacrifices, since, as we have already
explained elsewhere, the sacrifice of the altar is a
memorial of the sacrifice of the Cross; it is really the

1 Lib. 2, c. 9, 2.

Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass. 37

same sacrifice as that of the Cross, Jesus Christ being
there the principal offerer and the victim that is offered.

Orate, fratrcs, etc. ("Brethren, pray, etc."). By these
words the priest exhorts the people to supplicate the
Lord to receive this sacrifice for the glory of his name
and the good of the faithful. The server then answers
in the name of the people by praying to God to accept
this sacrifice: Suscipiat Dominus Sacrificium de manibus
tuis, etc. (" May the Lord receive this sacrifice from thy
hands, etc.").

Then follows the Secret, a prayer that refers to the
offerings made by the people, namely, of the bread and
wine that are to be changed into the body and the blood
of Jesus Christ. The Church asks the Lord to bless
them and to render them profitable, not only to those
who present them, but to all the faithful, just as may be
seen in the Secret of the fifth Sunday after Pentecost:
"Mercifully receive, O Lord, these offerings of thy ser
vants ; that what each hath offered to the honor of thy
name, may avail to the salvation of all." Thus the
Offertory is concluded.

Before passing to the Canon, the priest reads the Pref
ace, in which he exhorts the faithful to raise their hearts
to God: Sursum corda ("Lift up your hearts"). The
people answer that they have already done so> Habemus
ad Doininum (" We have lifted them to the Lord "), And
the priest continues by inviting them to unite with him
in thanking the Lord: Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro
(" Let us give thanks to our Lord God "). He after
wards says that it is just and salutary to render thanks
through Jesus Christ, who alone can worthily give
thanks for the eternal salvation and for so many benefits
granted to men and also to angels, who also give thanks
to God through Jesus Christ for all the gifts that they

1 " Domine, has oblationes benignus assume, ut, quod singuli obtu-
lerunt, cunctis proficiat."

38 Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass.

have received. The priest entreats the Lord to accept
our prayers united with those of the angels, who cele
brate his glory by repeating without ceasing the can
ticle, Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Dens Sabaoth ! 1
("Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!"); and he
concludes by repeating the words used by the Jewish
people in their acclamations at the triumphant entry of
Jesus into Jerusalem: Benedictus, qui venit in nomine
Domini! Hosanna in eoccelsis / 2 ("Blessed is he that
cometh in the name of the Lord ! Hosanna in the

The Canon.

Te igitur, clementissime Pater, etc. (" We therefore hum
bly pray and beseech Thee, most merciful Father, etc.").
Here begins what we call the Canon of the Mass, which
the Council of Trent declares to be free from every
error, 3 since it is composed of the very words of our
Lord, of the traditions of the apostles, and of pious regu
lations of the Holy See. 4 The Canon is very ancient: it
was already in use in the fourth century, according to the
testimony of St. Ambrose. 5 The priest first prays to his
heavenly Father in the name of the whole Church, and
through the merits of Jesus Christ, to accept and to bless
the offerings that are made to him, and that are called
gifts without spot: H&c dona, ha>c munera, hcec sancta sacri-
ficia illibata ("These gifts, these presents, these holy un
spotted sacrifices"). These words apply not only to the
bread and the wine that have been offered, but refer by

1 Isa. vi. 3. 2 Matt. xxi. 9.

3 " Ab omni errore purum."

" Is enim constat, cum ex ipsis Domini verbis, turn ex Apostolo-
rum traditionibus, ac Sanctorum quoque Pontificum piis insiilutioni-
bus." Sess. 22, c. 4.

5 De Sacr. \. 4, c. 4.

Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass. 39

anticipation to the body and the blood of Jesus Christ,
into which the bread and the wine are soon to be
changed; hence they are called unspotted sacrifices.
Innocent III. refers these last words to the purity of the
heart and of the body with which the priest should cele
brate Mass: "We call them by this name because of the
purity of heart and of body with which the priest should
offer them." But this is rather a spiritual and mystical
reflection, the proper explanation is that which precedes
it above.

The Holy Sacrifice is, before all, offered for the
Catholic Church by praying to God that he may pre
serve her in peace, may defend her, maintain her in
unity, and govern her through the ministry of the pas
tors, by communicating to them his Holy Spirit. It
must be observed that the prayers of the Church, during
the Holy Sacrifice, should be addressed to God the
Father, as was ordained by the Third Council of Carth
age: " During the August Function the prayer should be
addressed to God the Father." : It does not follow that
the other divine Persons should be excluded from these
prayers; but they are considered together in the Person
of the Father, their first principle, and this is the reason
why the Church is accustomed to pray to the Father,
with the Son, in the Holy Ghost.

At the first Memento, the priest recommends, at first,
all those persons for whom he wishes most especially to
pray; then he recommends all those who, happening to
be present, offer with him the Holy Sacrifice; finally, he
recommends all their relatives and friends. He says:
i. Pro quibus tibi offcrimus, vel qui tibi offerunt (" For whom
we offer, or who offer up to Thee"). It must be re
marked that the disjunctive particle vel, "or," is some-

1 " Illibata, quse sine macula cordis et corporis oportet offerri."
De Alt. Myst. 1. 3, c. 3.

f " Cum altari assistitur, semper ad Patrem dirigatur oratio." c. 23.


4O Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass.

times conjunctive, and that it is probable that it is here
taken in this last sense according to St. Gregory, as we
are told by Benedict XIV. Moreover, it must be ob
served that there is a great difference between sacrificing
and offering: to the priest alone belongs the right to
sacrifice, whilst all those who are present may offer the
sacrifice. 2. Quorum tibi fides cognita est, et nota devotio
("Whose faith is known, and devotion apparent unto
Thee"). By these words we are to understand that in
order to participate in the fruit of the sacrifice we must
have faith and devotion, which spring from charity.
3. Pro rede.mptione animarum suarum (" For the redemption
of their souls"). The first effect of the sacrifice of the
Cross, which is applied to us by the sacrifice of the altar,
is to become free from the power of the devil. 4. Pro
spe salutis et incolumitatis suce (" For the hope of their
safety and salvation"). These words comprise all the
spiritual and temporal graces that God grants to us by
virtue of this sacrifice, through which alone we can
render to God the thanks that we owe him.

Communicantes et memoriam venerantes, etc. (" Communi
cating with the saints and honoring the memory, etc.").
This prayer is said in order to enter into communion
with the Church triumphant. Thereby we honor, in the
first place, the memory of the Mother of God, then that
of the apostles, then that of the martyrs and of all the
other saints, through the merits and the intercession of
whom we beg our Lord s protection in all our necessi
ties. We who are travellers upon earth form only-one
body with the saints who are in heaven, and united
with them in the same spirit, we offer to God the same
sacrifice. *

Hanc igitur oblationem, etc. (" We therefore beseech
Thee, O Lord, graciously to accept this oblation, etc.").
The priest spreads his han^s^nvfr the bread and the
wine, and, through the m^rarTTr Ctlpls Christ, who re-

Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass. 4 1

deemed us from the power of the devil, he prays to the
Eternal Father favorably to accept this offering that his
servants and his whole family make to him. He also
asks God to help us to enjoy peace in this life, to pre
serve us from hell, and to admit us among the number
of the elect: Et in elector urn tuorum jubeas grege numerari
("And number us in the flock of Thine elect"). Estius
observes that by these last words we do not ask of God
predestination, as if God could change his eternal de
crees, but we ask of him the effects of predestination,
that he may draw us to himself and conduct us to eter
nal happiness. 1 In the Old Law lie who offered sacrifice
placed his hands on the victim to signify that just as
this animal was soon to lose its life by immolation, so
he also offered up his own life to God. It is with the
same spirit of sacrifice that every priest should offer
himself to God, when he spreads his hands over the host
and the chalice.*

Quam oblationem tu, Deus in omnibus, qucesumus, bene-
dtctam, adscriptam, ratam, rationabilem, acceptabilemque
factre digneris ; ut nobis corpus et sanguis fiat dilectissimi
Filii tui Domini uostri Jesu Christi (" Which obla
tion do Thou, O God, vouchsafe in all respects to
make blessed, approved, ratified, reasonable, and ac
ceptable, that it may become to us the body and blood
of Thy most beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord ").
In this prayer the priest asks God to cause this oblation
to be blessed (benedictaui), that by this blessing the bread
and the wine may be changed into the body and the blood

1 " Non petimus immutari aeternum Dei propositum, sed causam pro
effectu ponimus, orantes ut Deus nos ad se convertat atque ad aeter-
nam felicitatem perducat; qui sunt effectus praedestinationis." In
Sent. 1. i, d. 40, 22.

* Such should also be, in this grave ceremony, the sentiments of all
the faithful, who, we should not forget, offer the holy sacrifice jointly
with the priest. En.

42 Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass.

of Jesus Christ ; that it may be admitted (adseriptam),
that is, substracted from all profane usage and wholly
consecrated to the divine Majesty; ratified (ratam), that
is, approved as a perfect sacrifice ; reasonable or rational
(ratio nabtlem], this includes an allusion to a passage
in the Epistle to the Romans, in which St. Paul says : " I
beseech you . . . that you present your bodies a living
sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable
service;" 1 acceptable (acceptabileni), that is, altogether
agreeable and worthy of being received, differently from
the victims and the oblations of the Hebrew people,
which were not sufficient to appease the divine justice
incensed against sinners ; and, finally, Ut nobis corpus
et sanguis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui ("That it may become
to us the body and blood of Thy most beloved Son" ).
The priest, according to St. Thomas, does not thereby
ask that the consecration, be accomplished, but that it
be profitable to us. 2

Qui^pridie quam pateretur, etc. ("Who the day before
he suffered," etc.). Here the priest, renewing the mem
ory of the Passion of Jesus Christ, relates what the
Lord did on the evening before his death, when he in
stituted the Sacrament and the sacrifice of his body and
blood. Then the priest does the same thing, and con
secrates by pronouncing the very words used by Jesus
Christ, as St. Ambrose remarks: "He uses not his own
words, but the very words of Jesus Christ." 3

The form of the consecration is taken from St.
Matthew : Hoc est corpus meum (" This is my body"). 4
These words need no explanation, since they themselves

" Exhibeatis corpora vestra hostiam viventem, sanctam, Deo
placentem, rationabile obsequium vestrum." Rom. xii. I.

2 " Non ut consecratio impleatur, sed ut nobis fiat fructuosa. " P.
3, q. 83, a. 4.

3 " Non suis sermonibus, sed utitur sermonibus Christi." De Sacr.
1. 4, c. 4.

4 Matt, xx vi. 26.

Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass. 43

declare what mystery is accomplished, namely, the
change of the bread into the body of Jesus Christ.

The form of the consecration of the chalice is as fol
lows: Hie est enim calix Sanguinis mei, novi et ceterni Tes
tamenti, mysteriittn fidei, qui pro vobis et pro multis effnndetur
in remissionein peccatorum (" For this is the chalice of my
blood of the new and eternal testament, the mystery of
faith, which shall be shed for you, and for many, to the
remission of sins"). These words the Church has taken
from different texts of the Gospel, partly from St. Luke,
partly from St. Matthew. St. Luke says: This is the
chalice , the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for
you. 1 St. Matthew: For this is my blood of the new testament
which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins? The word
cetenri, "everlasting," is found in St. Paul: In the blood
of the everlasting testament.* The other words, Mystery of
faiih, the Roman catechism declares are taught by
sacred tradition, which is the guardian of Catholic
truths. This divine mystery is called Mystery of faith,
not to exclude the reality of the blood of Jesus Christ,
but to show that in it the faith shines forth in a wonder
ful manner, and triumphs over all the difficulties that
may be raised by human reason, since it is here, says
Innocent III., 4 that we see one thing and believe another.
We believe, he adds, that the form that we read in the
Canon was received from Jesus Christ by the Apostles,
and that they transmitted it to their successors. 5 The

1 " Hie est calix novum Testamentum in Sanguine meo, qui pro
vobis fundetur." Luke, xxii. 20.

2 " Hie est enim Sanguis meus novi Testamenti, qui pro multis
effundetur in remissionem peccatorum." Matt. xxvi. 28.

3 " In sanguine Testamenti aeterni." Ileb. xiii. 20.

4 " Quoniam aliud ibi cernitur, aliud creditur." De Alt. Myst. 1.
4, c. 36.

6 "Sane formam istam verborum ab ipso Christo accepcrunt Apos-
toli, et ab ipsis Apostolis accepit Ecclesia." Ibid. c. 5.

44 Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass.

Roman catechism, 1 moreover, says, that the words of
consecration should be thus understood: It is my blood
that is contained in the chalice of the New Testament.
This signifies that men receive no longer the figure of the
blood of Jesus Christ, as was the case in the Old Law ;
but they really receive the true blood of the New Testa
ment. The words Provobis et pro multis (" For you and
for many") are used to distinguish the virtue of the
blood of Christ from its fruits; for the blood of our
Saviour is of sufficient value to save all men, but its
fruits are applicable only to a certain number and not to
all, and this is their own fault. Or, as the theologians
say, this precious blood is (in itself) sufficiently (suf-
ficienter } able to save all men, but (on our part) effectu
ally (efficaciter) it does not save all it saves only those
who co-operate with grace. This is the explanation of
St. Thomas, as quoted by Benedict XIV.*

The consecration is followed by the elevation of the host
and of the chalice: this is done, writes Sassi, in order to
prove the truth of the Eucharist which was attacked by
Berengarius at the beginning of the twelfth century. The
same truth is again professed at the second elevation
shortly before the Pater noster, when the priest says, Omnis
honor et gloria (" All honor and glory"). It was also at the
time of the heresy of Berengarius that the custom was
introduced of ringing the bell at the elevation of the
Host and of the chalice.

1 P. 2, c. 4, q. 20.

* De Miss. Sacr. 1. 2, c. 15. Benedict XIV. here observes that
St. Thomas (P. 3, q. 18, a. 3) seems to favor the opinion of those
who make the essential form of the consecration of the chalice con
sist in all the words that the priest pronounces as far as Hac quoties-
cumque; because the words that follow, Hie est enini calix sanguinis
mei, are determinationes pradicati, that is to say, sanguinis Christi,
and consequently, belonging ad integritatem ejusdeni locutionis, are
de substantia forma. St, Pius V. caused the contrary opinion to be
erased from the commentary of Cajetan.

Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass. 45

H<zc quotiesc unique feceritis, inmei memoriam facietis ("As
often as ye do these things, ye shall do them in remem
brance of me"). After the two consecrations the priest
repeats the words of Jesus Christ, by which our Saviour
commanded his Apostles and their successors to do, in
memory of his Passion, what he had just done himself in
their presence.

Undeet memores.Domine, etc. (" Wherefore, O Lord, . . .
calling to mind," etc.). Here the priest calls to rnind
the Passion of our Lord, his resurrection, and ascension.
He offers to the divine majesty in the name of the
Church the consecrated victim, which he calls a pure
Host, exempt from every sin; holy, being united with
the divinity in the person of the Word; immaculate, with
out any stain; and then, "The holy bread of eternal life,
and the chalice of everlasting salvation." While pro
nouncing these words he blesses the bread and the
chalice with the sign of the cross. On this subject
Luther turns to ridicule the Roman Church by asking
how the priest blesses Jesus Christ how the creature
blesses the Creator. We answer here that the priest
blesses the Host, not by his own authority, nor in his
own name, but in the name and by the authority of the
Eternal Father, who alone can bless Jesus Christ as
man and as victim. Such is the answer given on this
point by Innocent III. St. Thomas answers differently
by saying that after the consecration the priest does
not make the sign of the cross to bless, but only to re
mind us of the power of the cross and of the death of our
Lord. 1

Supra qucB propitio, etc. (" Upon which vouchsafe to
look," etc.). The priest then prays to the Lord that he

1 " Sacerdos, post consecrationem, non utitur crucesignatione ad
benedicendum et consecrandum, sed solum ad commemorandum vir-
tutem crucis et modum passionis Christi. quae ad crucem est termi-
nata." P. 3, q. 83, a. 5.

46 Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass.

may accept with pleasure this sacrifice, just as he ac
cepted the offerings of Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham,
and that of Melchisedech. In recalling to mind the sacra-
fice of Abel, of Abraham, and of Melchisedech, we regard
less the value of the things offered than the sanctity of
those who offered them, because they were holy men. Con-
quently, if God, because of his sanctity, favorably re
ceived their sacrifice, how much more should please him
the sacrifice of the Saint of saints of our Lord Jesus
Christ ! But the most decisive reason on account of which
the Church makes special mention of these three sacrifices
is, because they represented in an excellent manner the
sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Supplices te rogamus, etc. ("We most humbly beseech
Thee," etc.). The priest continues humbly to ask the
Saviour that the consecrated Host be presented to his
divine Majesty through the hands of his holy Angel, in
order that all those who are going to receive the body
and the blood of his adorable Son may be filled with
blessings and all celestial gifts through the merits of
Jesus Christ. By the Angel of whom mention is made
in this prayer, we may understand the Angel who pre
sides at the Sacrifice of the Altar, or, as our French author
says, we may understand Jesus Christ himself, who is pre
eminently the Holy Angel, called in Scripture the Angel
of the Great Counsel. But the explanation of St.
Thomas seems to be the most natural. The priest, he
says, speaks for the Church, and asks that the Angel
who presides at the divine mysteries may present to God
the prayers of the celebrant and of the people. 1

Memento etiam, Domine, etc. (" Be mindful, O Lord,"
etc.). The priest asks the Lord to remember his ser
vants who have passed to the other life and are slumber-

1 " Sacerdos petit hoc pro corpora mystico, ut scilicet orationes
Sacerdotis et populi Angelas assistens divinis mysteriis Deo reprae-
sentet." P. 3, q. 83. a. 4.

Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass, 47

ing in the sleep of peace, and to grant them a place of
refreshment, light, and peace, through the merits of
Jesus Christ. When the charity of the souls that depart
from this life is not sufficient to purify them, the fire of
purgatory will supply this defect. Yet the charity of the
Saviour supplies it best by means of the Eucharistic
sacrifice, which procures for these holy souls great miti
gation of their sufferings, and often deliverance from
their torments. The Council of Trent says: "The souls
there detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful,
but principally by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar." *
And it adds 2 that this is a tradition of the Apostles. St.
Augustine exhorts us to offer the sacrifice for all the
dead, in case the souls that we recommend cannot re
ceive our help.

Nobis quoque peecatoribus, etc. (" And to us sinners,"
etc.). Here the Church prays for sinners, in order that
God may vouchsafe, in his mercy, to permit them to
enter the society of the saints ; and she asks this grace
through the merits of Jesus Christ. She then adds :

Per quern hcec omnia semper bona creas, etc. (" By whom,
O Lord, Thou dost always create," etc.). By the Word
Thou hast created this bread and wine, and now, by the
same Word, Thou hast sanctified {sanctificas} them by
reserving them for the sacrifice. Thou hast quickened
them (vivificas] by changing them into the body and the
blood of Jesus Christ; Thou hast blessed (benedicts) them
and transformed them into a source of benediction for
the Church of Christ; and, finally, Thou hast given us all
these good things (et prcestas nobis) by distributing them
to the faithful in Holy Communion. And all these
favors the Church asks through the merits of Jesus
Christ: Per ipsum, that is, through him; cum ipso, in

J : Animas ibi detentas, fidelium suffragiis, potissimum vero ac-
ceptabili altaris Sacrificio juvari." Sess. 25, Deer, de Purg.
2 Sess. 22, "c. 2.

48 Short Explanation of the Prayer s of Mass.

union with our Saviour; in ipso, in him as the members
are in the body, since God recognizes as his own only
those who are united with Jesus Christ.


Oremus. Prceceptis salutaribus moniti, etc. (" Instructed
by Thy saving precepts, etc."). The Church militant
regards herself as entirely composed of sinners ; she
thinks herself unworthy to call God her Father, and to
address to him the seven petitions, which in the name of
the faithful she is going to address to him by reciting
the Pater noster,("Qur Father"). Hence she protests
that she only dares to address to God this prayer
because God himself has commanded her to do so. She
then teaches us that we may venture to present to God
the seven petitions which contain the whole economy of
our salvation, because it is pleasing to him and he him
self gives us the command. We are so miserable, and
our mind is so limited, that we do not even know what
graces we should ask of God in behalf of our own sal
vation. Regarding our poverty and our insufficiency,
Jesus Christ himself deigned to compose our prayer or
to indicate the subjects on which we should address
Almighty God. He instructs us to say :

Pater noster, qui es in coelis (" Our Father, who art in
heaven, etc.). The Apostle St. John says: Behold what
manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us that we
should be called, and should be the sons of God. 1 It is as
suredly only by the effect of extreme love that we worms
of the earth have been enabled to become the children of
God, not by nature, but by adoption; and such is the
immense grace that the Son of God has obtained for us
by becoming man; for St. Paul says: You have received the

1 " Videte qualem charitatem dedit nobis Pater, ut Filii Dei nomi-
nemur et simus." I John, iii. i.

Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass. 49

spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry, Abba (Father]
Can a subject wish for greater happiness than to be
adopted by his king? or a creature to be adopted by its
Creator? This is what God has done for us; and he
wishes that we should address to him with filial confi
dence the following prayer :

1. Sanctificetur nomem tuum (" Hallowed be Thy name").
God cannot possess a greater sanctity than that which
he possesses from all eternity, because he is infinite;
hence what we ask in this prayer is merely that God
may make known in every place his holy name, and
that he may make himself loved by all men: by unbe
lievers, who know him not; by heretics, who do not know
him in the right manner; and by sinners, who know him
but do not love him.

2. Adveniat regnum tuum (" Thy kingdom come"). Two
kinds of dominion God exercises over our souls the do
minion of grace and the dominion of glory. By these
words we ask for both, namely, that the grace of God
may reign among us in this life, that it may direct and
govern us, so that one day we may be judged worthy of
glory, and may have the happiness to possess God and
be possessed by him for all eternity.

3. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in ccelo, et in terra (" Thy will
be done on earth, as it is in heaven"). The whole perfec
tion of a soul consists in the perfect accomplishment of
the will of God, as is done by the blessed in heaven.
Hence Jesus Christ wishes us to ask the grace to ac
complish the will of God upon earth, as the angels and
saints accomplish it in heaven.

4. Panem nostrum quoiidianum da nobis hodie (" Give us this
day our daily bread"). Such is the text as we find it in
St. Luke. 2 By this prayer we ask God for the temporal

1 " Accepistis Spiritum adoptionis, in quo clamaraus : Abba (Pater)."
Rom. viii. 15.

2 Luke, xi. 3.


5<D Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass.

goods of which we stand in need to sustain our present
life. The words " Our daily bread " teach us that we
should ask for this kind of goods with moderation, after
the example of Solomon, who asked only what was neces
sary: Give me only the necessaries of life. 1 It is to be re
marked that in the Gospel of St. Matthew, instead of the
daily bread, we read, Give us this day our supersubstantial*
bread* By this supersubstantial bread we must un
derstand, according to the explanation given by the
Roman catechism, Jesus Christ himself in the Sacra
ment of the Altar, that is, in Holy Communion. We ask
this heavenly bread every day, Give us this day, because
every good Christian should communicate every day,
if not really at least spiritually, as we are exhorted by
the Council of Trent.

5. Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus
debitoribus nostris ("And forgive us our trespasses, as we
forgive them that trespass against us"). To eat worthily
of this heavenly bread, we must be free from mortal sin,
or at least be washed of it by the blood of the Lamb in
the sacrament of penance. We say, free from mortal sin;
but it must be observed that if anyone should communi
cate with an actual affection for some venial sin, he could
not be said to communicate without offering some indig
nity to our Lord at least if he communicates often.

6. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem (" And lead us not
into temptation"). How are these words to be under-

1 " Tribue tantum victui meo necessaria." Prov. xxx. 8.

2 "Supersubstantialem." Matt. vi. n.

* These two expressions are not opposed to each other; on the
contrary, one explains the other. We ask, in the one as in the other,
what is each day necessary for the subsistence of the body and of the
soul; but we chiefly ask for spiritual nourishment, and, above every
thing else, for the Holy Eucharist, which is pre-eminently and beyond
co "nparison called the bread of life and the true bread of the children
of God Panis vita, vere Pants filiorum. ED.

Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass. 5 1

stood ? Does God sometimes tempt us does he lead us
into temptation? No; for St. James says: God is not a
tempter of evils, and He tempteth no man. 1 This text we
must understand as we do that of Isaias: Blind the heart
of this people . . . lest they see? God never blinds any
sinner, but he often refuses to grant to some, in punish
ment for their ingratitude, the light that he would have
given them had they remained faithful and grateful.
Hence when it is said that God makes any one blind, it
is meant that he withholds the light of his grace. This,
therefore is the sense of the prayer, and lead us not into
temptation; we ask God not to permit us to have the mis
fortune of being in those occasions of sin in which we
might fall. Hence we should always watch and pray
as the Lord exhorts us to do, in order not to fall into,
temptation : WatcJi ye, and pray that ye enter not into tempta
tion? To enter into temptation means the same as to
find one s self in the danger of falling into sin; we should
therefore often say to God, Lord, lead us not into tempta

7. Sed libera nos a malo (" But deliver us from evil ").
There are three kinds of evils from which we should ask
the Lord to deliver us the temporal evils of the body,
the spiritual evils of the soul, and the eternal evils of the
next life. As for the temporal evils of this life, we ought
always to be disposed to receive with resignation those
that God sends us for the good of our souls, such as
poverty, sickness, and desolation; and when we ask God
to deliver us from temporal evils we should always do
so on condition that they are not necessary nor useful
for our salvation. But the true evils from which we

1 " Deus enim intentator malorum est; ipse autem neminem ten-
tat." James, \. 13.

4 " Excseca cor populi hujus . . . ne forte videat." Tsa. vi. 10.

3 "Vigilate et orate, ut non intretis in tentationem," Matt. xxvi.

5 2 Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass.

should absolutely pray to be delivered are spiritual evils,
sins, which are the cause of eternal evils. Moreover, let
us be convinced of this infallible truth, that in the present
state of corrupt nature we cannot be saved unless we
pass through the many tribulations with which this life
is filled: Through many tribulations we must enter into the
kingdom of God. 1

The priest finishes the Lord s prayer with the word
Amen, which he pronounces in a low voice, because he
represents the person of Jesus Christ, who is the founda
tion of all the divine promises.* This word is a summary
of all the petitions that have been made petitions the re
petition of which pleases the Lord, for the more we pray
to God the more he will hear our prayers. The great
people of this world are not pleased when they are im
portuned by petitions; but this importunity is pleasing
to God, says St. Jerome. 2 Cornelius a Lapide even as
sures us that God wishes that we should persevere in
this importunity in our prayers. 3

From the Prayer " Libera nos" till the Communion.

Immediately after the Pater noster the priest recites
the prayer Libera nos, qucesumus, Domine (" Deliver us, O
Lord"), by which he asks the Lord for himself and for
all the faithful to grant, through the intercession of the
Blessed Virgin, of the apostles and of all the saints, a
continual peace during the days of the present life, so

1 " Per multas tribulationes oportet nos intrare in regnum Dei."
Acts, xiv. 21.

2 " Oratio, quamvis importuna, plus arnica est." Horn, in Matt.

3 " Vult Deus nos in oratione esse perseverantes usque ad impor-
tunitatem." In Luc. xi. 8.

* This signifies that the divine Mediator gives support to our
prayer and renders it efficacious. ED.

Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass. 53

that his divine mercy may preserve them from every sin
and from all confusion.

He then says, Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum (" May
the peace of the Lord be always with you"). He wishes
the peace of the Lord for all his brethren, who answer
him with the same wish: Et cum spiritu tno ("And with
thy spirit"). He makes at the same time upon the chalice,
with the particle of the Host which he holds in his hand,
three signsof the cross, which indicates, according to St.
Thomas, 1 the three days that Jesus Christ spent in the

The priest then drops the sacred particle into the
chalice and says these words: H<zc commixtio et consccratio
Corporis et Sanguinis Domini nostri Jesit Christi fiat accipi-
entibus nobis in vitam ceternam! (" May this mixture and con
secration of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ
be to us that receive it effectual to eternal life"). Ex
plaining these words, Consccratio . . . fiat, Bellarmin says
that we do not here ask that the consecration should
take place, but that it be profitable for eternal life to
those who are about to receive Jesus Christ in Holy Com
munion. 2 This mixture of the holy species represents
the union of the divinity with the humanity which was at
first effected in the womb of Mary through the Incarna
tion of the Word, and which is renewed in the souls of
the faithful when they receive him in the Eucharistic

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi (" Lamb of God, who
takest away the sins of the world"). Before Communion
the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, as the victim of the sac
rifice, is invoked, and is invoked three times, to point out

1 P. 3, q. 83, a. 5.

2 " Non enim petimus ut nunc fiat Consecratio, sed ut Consecratio,
antea facta, sit nobis ad vitam aeternam salutaris." De Miss. 1. 2, c.

54 Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass.

the need that we have of his grace, in order to be recon
ciled with God and to receive his peace.

Here follow the three prayers that precede Commun

In the first prayer Domine Jesu Christe, qui dixisti
Apostolis tuis, Pacem relinquo iwbis (" Lord Jesus Christ,
who said to Thy Apostles, I leave you peace") prayer
is offered to God that he may vouchsafe to grant peace
to the Church in consideration of her faith, and keep her
in union, according to his will, by delivering her from the
division produced by false doctrines, and from all that is
contrary to the divine will. And here the Church has in
troduced the custom that the" faithful should give one an
other the kiss of peace, to remind them that their hearts
should be united in charity. Before giving the kiss of
peace, the priest kisses the altar, to show that he cannot
give the peace unless he has first received it from Jesus
Christ, who is represented by the altar.

In the second prayer, Domine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei
vivi, the priest asks Jesus Christ, by virtue of his ador
able body and blood, to deliver him from all evils, and to
keep him always united with him.

In the third prayer he beseeches the Lord that this
Communion may not turn to his condemnation, but may
be for the salvation of his soul and body. The Holy
Eucharist protects the soul against temptations and pas
sions; it extinguishes the fire of concupiscence that burns
in our bodies, and is a powerful remedy against the death
of the soul.

After these prayers the priest says, while invoking the
name of the Lord, Panem ccelestem accipiam, et nomen
Domini invocabo (" I will take the bread of heaven, and
call upon the name of our Lord"). In order that the
earthly food may be of benefit to us, we must eat it when
we are hungry; in like manner, in order that Communion
may produce in us much fruit, we should receive it with

Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass. 55

great desire to possess Jesus Christ and to love him ar
dently. As John Gerson says, we ought, at the moment
in which we are about to receive Jesus, invoke him anew,
in order to obtain the grace to receive him with great
profit to our souls.

Corpus (Sanguis) Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat ani-
mam meam in vitam ceternam (" May the Body (Blood) of
our Lord Jesus Christ preserve my soul to life everlast
ing"). While pronouncing these words the priest re
ceives the body and the blood of Jesus Christ. This
prayer recalls to our mind that this precious body and
blood are given to us as a pledge of eternal life, and as a
viaticum in order to pass from this exile to our heavenly
country. Hence when we receive Communion we ought
to be so disposed as if we had to leave the earth at once,
to enter eternity.


Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus quce retribuit mihi ?
(" What shall I render to the Lord for all he hath rendered
unto me ?") The priest says, For all, etc., because he who
receives Jesus Christ in Communion receives all the
gifts and all the goods that one can desire, according to
the words of St. Paul: How hath He not also, with Him,
given us all things. 1 He says, What shall I render? be
cause man is not capable of thanking God as he should
thank him. Jesus Christ only can worthily thank the
Eternal Father for the gifts that he bestowed upon men.
The priest therefore adds: Calif em salutaris accipiam, et
nomen Domini invocabo (" I will take the chalice of salva
tion, and call upon the name of the Lord"). He suppli-

1 " Quomodo non etiam cum illo omnia nobis donavit ?" Rom. viii.

56 Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass.

cates the Divine Redeemer to thank the heavenly Father
for himself and for all men.

After having taken the precious blood he renews his
thanks to God in the following words: Quod ore sumpsi-
mus, Domine, pur a mente capiamus, et de munere tempor all fiat
nobis remedium sempiternum ("Grant, O Lord, that what
we have taken with our mouth we may receive with a
pure mind, that of a temporal gift it may become to us an
eternal remedy"). By this prayer the Church makes us
ask God that, as our mouth has received this divine
food and drink, our hearts may also receive them, so that
they may be for us an eternal remedy that may forever
heal us of all our infirmities.

Finally the priest says, Corpus tuum, Domine, quod
sumpsi, et Sanguts quern potavi, adhcereat visceribus meis
(" May Thy body, O Lord, which I have received, and
the blood which I have drunk, cleave to my bowels"). In
this prayer, and in the last prayer called Post-commun
ion, he asks, through the merits of Jesus Christ in this
mystery, and through the intercession of the saint whose
memory is celebrated, that this divine Saviour may al
ways preserve him in this intimate union with him, and
that no stain may rest on his soul, which has been
nourished by a sacrament so holy and so pure.

Ite, Missa est (" Go, the Mass is ended"); or, Benedica-
mus Domino ("Let us bless the Lord"). It is with these
words that the priest dismisses the people, just as if he
said, The Sacrifice is accomplished; and those who are
present while thanking God by the mouth of the ser
ver, say, Deo Gratias ("Thanks be to God"). "To give
thanks to God," says St. Augustine, " is to acknowledge
that all good things come from God, and to thank him
for them."

The priest afterwards passes to the right side of the

1 " Deo gratias agere, est sentire omnia bona a Deo data esse, ^t
pro ipsis Deum laudare."

Short Explanation of the Prayers of Mass. 5 7

altar, and recites the Gospel of St. John: In principio erat
Verbum (" In the beginning was the Word"). William de
Bury says that it was St. Pius V. who ordained that this
Gospel should always be recited at the end of Mass; as
formerly some said it, and others omitted it.

This explanation of the prayers of Mass may be ser
viceable to all to the faithful as well as to priests.


In order to hear Mass with devotion, it is necessary to
know that the sacrifice of the altar is the same as that
which was once offered on Calvary, with this difference,
that on Calvary the blood of Jesus Christ was really
shed, but on the altar it is shed only in a mystical man
ner. Had you been present on Calvary, with what
devotion and tenderness would you have attended that
great sacrifice! Enliven your faith, then, and consider
that the same action is performed on the altar, and that
the same sacrifice is offered not only by the priest, but
also by all who attend Mass. Thus, all perform, in a
certain manner, the office of priests during the celebra
tion of the Mass, in which the merits of the Passion of
our Saviour are applied to us in a particular manner.

It is, moreover, necessary to know that the sacrifice of
the Mass has been instituted for four ends. T. To
honor God. 2. To satisfy for our sins. 3. To thank
God for his benefits. 4. To obtain the divine graces.
Thence arise the following considerations which may aid
us to hear Mass with great fruit :

1. By the oblation of the person of Jesus Christ, God
and man, to the Eternal Father, we give to God infinite
honor ; we give him greater honor than he would receive
from the oblation of the lives of all men and all angels.

2. By the oblation of Jesus Christ in the Mass, we
offer to God a complete satisfaction for all the sins of
men, and especially for the sins of those who are present
at Mass ; to whom is applied the same divine blood, by

* We add this paragraph that it may serve as a practical conclusion.
It is taken from the "True Spouse of Christ," chap. 24, 4.

Hearing Mass.- 59

which the human race was redeemed on Calvary. Thus,
by each Mass more satisfaction is made to God than by
any other expiatory work. But although the Mass is of
infinite value, God accepts it only in a finite manner,
according to the dispositions of those who attend the
holy sacrifice, and, therefore, it is useful to hear several

3. In the Mass we render to God an adequate thanks
giving for all the benefits that he has bestowed upon us.

4. During the Mass we can obtain all the graces that
we desire for ourselves and for others. We are un
worthy of receiving any grace from God, but Jesus
Christ has given us the means of obtaining all graces,
if, while we offer him to God in the Mass, we ask them
of the Eternal Father in his name, for then Jesus him
self unites with us in prayer. If you knew that while
you pray to the Lord, the divine Mother, along with the
whole of paradise, united with you, with what confidence
would you pray ? Now when you ask of God any grace
during the Mass, Jesus (whose prayers are more effica
cious than the prayers of all who are in heaven) prays
for you, and offers in your behalf the merits of his

You will do well, then, to divide the Mass into four
parts, as follows :

1. From the Beginning to the Gospel.

Offer the sacrifice of the Mass to honor God, saying :

My God, I adore Thy majesty. I would wisli to honor

Thee as much as Thou deservest ; but what honor can

I, a miserable sinner, give Thee ? I offer Thee the honor

which Jesus renders to Thee on this altar.

2. From the Gospel to the Elevation.

Offer the sacrifice in satisfaction for your sins, saying:
Lord, I detest above every evil all the offences that I

60 Hearing Mass.

have given Thee : I am sorry for them above all things,
and in satisfaction for them I offer Thy Son, who sacri
fices himself again for us on this altar, and through his
merits I pray Thee to pardon me, and to give me holy

3. From the Elevation to the Communion.

Offer Jesus to the Eternal Father in thanksgiving for
all the graces that he has bestowed upon you, saying :

Lord, I am unable to thank Thee ; I offer Thee the
blood of Jesus Christ in this Mass, and in all the Masses
that are at this moment celebrated throughout the

4. From the Communion to tlie End.

You will ask with confidence the graces that you need,
and particularly sorrow for your sins, the gift of perse
verance, and of the divine love ; and you will recom
mend to God, in a special manner, the persons with
whom you live, your relatives, poor sinners, and the
souls in purgatory. I do not find it amiss if you
recite vocal prayers during Mass,* but I desire that you
should not fail at the same time to fulfil the four duties
to God that I have pointed out to you ; namely, honor,
expiation, thanksgiving, and prayer. I desire you to
hear as many Masses as possible. Every Mass heard in
this manner will obtain for you a treasure of merits.

* See Vol. I., A Christian s Rule of Life, chap. 2, 4.

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