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.

Quinquagesima Sunday

You will find nothing in the world’s literature that matches St. Paul’s “sublime Canticle of Charity” (Fr. Plassmann) in today’s epistle. This encomium to the divine love that is infused in our souls at baptism is singularly precious. Far from … Continue reading

Sexagesima Sunday

The Name. We are in Septuagesima season, which began last week, with Septuagesima Sunday — the name comes from the word for seventy. It’s about seventy days before Easter. Today is Sexagesima Sunday: about 60 days until Easter. The Gospel. … Continue reading

The Mass Does Not Hinder Our Work, But Helps

We may go farther, and say, not only does holy Mass not hinder our work: it does more, it furthers it, as experience has often proved. It is related of St. Isidore, a Spanish saint of comparatively humble birth, that he was engaged by a wealthy nobleman of Madrid to cultivate his lands for a fixed annual salary. He fulfilled his duty with exemplary industry, but without discontinuing Continue reading

Mary Mary, Quite Military

From the pen of the intrepid Dom Guéranger, that monkish powerhouse of Catholic piety and erudition, comes this brief rundown of the two battles in whose memory the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary was gratefully instituted: Manicheism, revived … Continue reading

A Yoke of Love and Peace

My thoughts are full of the recent wedding of my son. There is a great deal involved leading up to this major event: the prayerful choice of a vocation, the months of courtship, the endless details, the physical and emotional … Continue reading