Category: Mass and the Liturgy

The Holy Mass is an inexhaustible fountain of grace. As a most divine mystery it is an unfathomable source of wonder and contemplation. Countless spiritual writers have made it, and the divine liturgy enshrining it, the subject of their books and meditations, each attempting to glorify so great and terrible a gift, so holy a sacrifice. That is what the Mass is, first and foremost, the unbloody sacrifice of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, our Victim and Priest. It is the same identical sacrifice as that offered on Calvary near two thousand years ago, only the manner of offering being different. It is Calvary re-presented in an unbloody manner in every time and every place until the end of the world.

Four hundred years before the Incarnation of the Son of God, Malachias, the last of the Old Testament prophets, foresaw the Holy Mass, and, through him, God announced to Israel its advent with these words: “For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts” (Malachias 1:11).

The liturgy of each individual Mass, in every approved rite, honors the whole life of Our Lord. At the consecration of the bread the altar becomes Bethlehem; with that of the wine, the altar becomes Calvary; with the covering of the chalice with the pall after consecration is symbolized the burial of Christ; and with the Minor Elevation before the Pater Noster is symbolized the Resurrection. The Victim who is glorified and Immortal cannot be slain again, but He is truly made present under the sacramental species, and He appears in that guise, as the Apostle John saw Him in vision, “as a Lamb standing as it were slain” (Apoc. 5:6).

The articles in this section deal in some way with the Holy Mass and/or the liturgical life of the Church in her feasts. Gary Potter’s article, for example, on the greatest of all liturgical writers, Dom Prosper Guéranger, is a magnificent tribute to this prolific Benedictine reformer and writer. Guéanger’s masterpiece, The Liturgical Year, employs all the Church’s liturgical treasures, East and West, to immerse the reader in the life of Christ as He lives it in our sanctuaries from Advent to last day of Pentecost.

Glory to God in the Highest

The Gloria is the most ancient of the Church’s liturgical hymns. As with the Angelic Salutation, it was intoned first by the voice of an angel, or the choirs thereof. Saint Elizabeth added the second part of the Ave Maria … Continue reading

Pentecost Sunday

Today is the anniversary of the Holy Ghost’s mission on earth. Because that mission is largely neglected, sorely misunderstood, and vitally important for the life of the Church and individuals, we should do our best to understand it so that … Continue reading

Third Sunday after Easter

Today’s Gospel presents us with the first reference in the Easter Cycle to Our Lord’s Ascension. For three weeks now, we have enjoyed the sweetness of our resurrected Lord’s presence, as symbolized by the Paschal Candle in the sanctuary. In … Continue reading

The Agony of the Resurrection

Every year around Holy Week, the publishers of America’s popular reading material let loose a volley of blasphemies against our Lord’s Resurrection. Citing one or another perfidious “noted scholar,” the glossy-covered journals that accost us at the checkout counter vie … Continue reading