From Bethlehem to Calvary to Heaven
Thomas A. Droleskey
As we are now in Ascensiontide, the next-to-last part of the Paschal season prior to the Octave of Pentecost that begins on Whit Sunday, May 19, 2013, I thought it appropriate to offer a brief reflection on the inestimable treasure that is the perfect prayer, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Such a reflection, I believe, is particularly apt for this Ascension Thursday, which is extended in the ancient and unreformed liturgy of the Roman Rite by an octave, signifies the entrance Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ into Heaven forty days after His Resurrection on Easter Sunday with that which had never populated Heaven before: a human nature.
The Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity did not have a Body prior to His Incarnation in the Virginal and Immaculate Womb of His Most Blessed Mother by the power of the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, God the Holy Ghost, at the Annunciation. God is a pure spirit, without beginning and without end. The angels are created, noncorporeal beings. Our Lord ascended to His Co-Equal and Co-Eternal Father's right hand in glory on Ascension Thursday with the Sacred Humanity that He had assumed at His Incarnation hypostatically united to His Sacred Divinity. Never before had their been a corporeal being in Heaven.
Our Lord was born for us in the cradle in the stable in the cave in Bethlehem and placed in a manger, which was used as a feeding trough for the barn animals who were the dumb witnesses to His Nativity. The manger was made out of wood. The Infant God-Man was placed in a feeding wooden feeding trough in Bethlehem to die on the wood of the Holy Cross on Good Friday in atonement for our sins. That Holy Cross has become the True Manger from which we are fed with the Sacred Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man to prepare us for the eternal glories of Heaven itself. Oh, my few and disappearing readers, what love we must have for Holy Mass!
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the unbloody re-presentation of the Sacrifice offered by the God-Man, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to the Father in Spirit and in Truth to atone for human sins. Our Lord voluntarily took upon Himself the debt of our own sins so as to make it possible for us to know an unending Easter Sunday of glory in Paradise. We must have a deep and an abiding love for Holy Mass, which transcends time and places us at the foot of the Cross with Our Lady, Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Mary Magdalene, as well as each member of the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering, and is at the same time a foretaste of eternal glories in Heaven. Our love for Holy Mass should impel us to move, if necessary, so that we can assist at its offering by true bishops and true priests who make no concessions whatsoever to conciliarism or to the nonexistent "legitimacy" of the wolves masquerading as shepherds in the counterfeit church of conciliarism. Nothing is more important than our assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on a daily basis. Nothing.
Each offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by a true bishop or a true priest represents a miracle beyond all telling. There is no need to run off in this or that direction when learning about some alleged apparition or other kind of mystical phenomenon. The greatest miracle that takes place each day on the face of this earth is when a true bishop or a true priest utters these simple words, Hoc est enim Corpus Meum. . . .Hic est enim Calix Sanguinis Mei, Novi et Aeterni Testamenti, Mysterium Fidei: qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum, calling God down on an altar of Sacrifice under the appearances of bread and wine. A mere man utters mere words over the mere elements of this earth, making God Himself incarnate under the appearance of those elements by the working of God the Holy Ghost through his priestly soul, which bears the indelible impression of the Priesthood and the Victimhood of the Chief Priest and Victim of every Mass, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. You want a miracle? Go to the Immemorial Mass of the ages every day of your life for a miracle that has inexhaustible treasures to offer us, not the least of which is, of course, the reception the God-Man Himself in Holy Communion if we are without the stain of Mortal Sin on our souls and are prepared with the proper interior dispositions of the soul to receive Him worthily, fittingly, devoutly and reverently.
We must take care in our own assistance at daily Mass so that we will indeed have the proper dispositions to hear Holy Mass well and to profit from the Sanctifying Graces we receive in Holy Communion. This means that we should make every effort to pray the Mass with the priest, following along in our Latin-English hand missals, which we should prepare with diligence before we arrive for Mass (setting the ribbons for the Ordinary and the Propers for the particular Mass of the day--and whatever commemorations and/or secondary collects are to be prayed). Although not always possible given the press of duties, especially for large families, we should try to arrive in church early enough to afford ourselves a sufficient amount of time in recollected, attentive prayer before Our King of Kings in His Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament so as to be ready for the great, inestimable privilege of assisting at the unbloody re-presentation of the Sacrifice of the Cross. This time in prayer before Holy Mass permits us to formulate our own intentions for the Mass, which the priest who offers it gathers up with his own intentions in the Collect and presents to the Father through the Son in Spirit and in Truth.
Father Francis Xavier Lasance, the editor of The New Roman Missal, a wonderful treasure of a hand missal that is now out-of-print, provides some exemplary exhortations from various saints that each Catholic should take to heart in order to arouse themselves out of their lethargy and indifference to get to Holy Mass on a daily basis:
"Why do you not run to the churches, there to hear with holy hearts all the Masses in your power? Why not imitate the holy angels, who, according to the saying of St. Chrysostom, when holy Mass is being celebrated, descend in squadrons from the empyrean, and stand before our altars, covered with the wings of reverential awe, waiting the whole of that blessed time, in order that they may intercede for us the more effectively, well knowing this to be the time most opportune, the conjecture, above every other, propitious for obtaining favors from heaven. Sink down, then, in confusion, for having in time past so little appreciated holy Mass, for perhaps having even many times profaned an act so dread and holy; much more so, if you are of the number of those who have recklessly dared to utter: 'A Mass more or less is of little importance.' Yes; let us heed it as the voice of heaven calling us to Mass, when the solemn sound of church bells reverberating through the fresh and fragrant morning air falls upon our ear." (Saint Thomas Aquinas, as quoted by Father F. X. Lasance, The New Roman Missal, p. 24.)
Heaven is calling us to daily Mass. Heaven. How can we refuse the entreaties of Heaven?
Father Lasance provides several other exhortations to amplify this point:
"All Catholics," write the author of Jewels of the Masses, "unfortunately do not regard this Great Act, as we call it, with the same awe or attention--and yet it should be approached much as some of the old writers have put it. 'If the Holy Sacrifice,' they tell us, 'were to be celebrated but once since the death of Our Saviour, it would be an event of such tremendous significance as to excite the awe and reverence of the whole world.'"
"And, indeed, we might conceive for ourselves what would be our feelings if it were announced for the first time that Our Saviour would descend form heaven upon an altar, and that there and then the sacrifice of Calvary would be renewed. Beside such an event all historical events would become tame and insignificant. It would be next in interest only to the original coming of Our Lord. Yet most Catholics, from habit and familiarity, 'go to Mass,' as it is called, in a languid, irresponsible fashion, for the most part once in the week. How often do we see the rear of the church crowded with men, standing for the necessary twenty minutes, and then hurrying away with impatience, almost before it is concluded! How few make it a practice of attending on week-days, on the ground of there being 'no obligation'--a curious delusion! It surely ought to be a wonderful feeling for the Catholic to think, during the day, that he has actually witnesses this Great Act, the change of bread and wine into the Lord's body, and His descent upon the altar of men! The day that follows may be considered hallowed, or even, in a lower sense, a lucky one. Indeed, those who have gained the habit of hearing Mass 'every day' will own that when they have been hundred by some casualty there has been a sense of incompleteness and discomfort, as though the whole day had been thrown out of gear. One of the most picturesque, but alas! heterodox of our writers--Thomas Carlyle--has given a striking account of the impression left on him by the Mass (which he attended in the old Dom at Bruges, and again at Ghent). The impression leads him later on to the striking admission--for him, Thomas of Chelsea--that the Mass was the only genuine thing of our time.
"Many run to sundry places," says Thomas a Kempis, in the fourth book of the Imitation, "to visit the relics of the saints, and are astonished to hear their wonderful works; they behold the noble church buildings and kiss their sacred bones, wrapt up in silk and gold.
"And I behold I have Three present on the altar, my God, the Saint of saints, the Creator of men, and the Lord of angels.
"Oftentimes in seeing these things men are moved with curiosity, and the novelty of the sight, and but little fruit of amendment is reaped thereby; especially when persons lightly run hither and thither, without true contrition for their sins.
"But here, in the Sacrament of the Altar, Thou art wholly present, my God, the man Christ Jesus; where also the fruit of eternal salvation is plentifully reaped, as often as Thou art worthily and devoutly received.
"And to this we are not drawn by any levity, curiosity, or sensuality; but by a firm faith, a devout hope, and a sincere charity.
"O God, the invisible Maker of the world, how wonderfully dost Thou deal with us! How sweetly and graciously dost thou order all things in favor of Thy elect, to whom Thou offerest Thyself to be received in this sacrament."
In his admirable little treatise on Daily Mass, Father McDonnell writes: "The earnest wish of the Pope (Pius X) that the faithful should receive the Blessed Eucharist daily is an obvious and implicit expression of his desire that they should assist at Mass daily. The connection between daily Mass and daily communion is clear. Moreover, for such as have not as yet taken up the practice of daily communion, daily Mass will be a step and a very important step, in the right direction.
"Many persons urge that they have not time to go to Mass every day. I am afraid in the vast majority of cases this is a mere excuse. They have time to read the newspapers, time to visit their friends, time to amuse themselves, to go to places of public entertainment, to spend, perhaps, hours together in useless or idle conversation, and yet, they say, they have not time to give one half-hour in the day to what is immeasurably the most important occupation it could possibly be devoted to!
"Other assert, and with some show of reason, that domestic duties render it impossible for them to leave their homes in order to hear Mass. No doubt there are cases where this is true; a mother must see after her husband and children, and attend to the breakfast arrangements at home. Yet, in cities, at least, there is Mass to be had at a late hour, when, that, might not a little more energy and diligence in rising secure an early Mass at a neighboring church without the smallest dereliction of duty? The old saying, 'Where there's a will, there's a way,' applies here.
"Again, it is a common excuse to say: "Well, I should be only to happy to hear Mass every day, if I could; but really it is beyond my power. I have to earn my bread, to support my family, and, even, as it is, it is as much as I can do, by constant attention to business, to make ends meet, without sacrificing an hour, or half an hour, of my day to hearing Mass.' To this I reply: 'What about the help that God would give you, my friend, and the grace and blessing that would go with your work in return for the little sacrifice you make in going to daily Mass? Do you think God will allow Himself to be outdone in generosity, or that He is not able, by the blessing and the success He will grant to your efforts, to make up to you, a hundredfold, for the hour or half hour that you give to His service? You are in business, or in a profession, or otherwise occupied; can not and will not God in return for the homage you do Him, by hearing daily Mass, make your business or your profession or occupation a thousand times more successful than your own unaided efforts could possibly make it, even if you were to slave form morning till night? Can not He ward off a thousand sources of failure? Is he likely, in return for your fidelity to His service, to allow you and your family to starve or fall into penury? Listen to His own words on the subject: 'Be not solicitous, therefore, saying. What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? . . . For your Father knoweth you have need of all these things. Seek ye therefore, first the kingdom of God, and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you' (Matth. v. 31-39.)
"Our one and only real business on earth is to 'seek the kingdom of God and His justice,' and we may assume that, if we do so, God will never allow us to suffer, even in temporal affairs; on the contrary, He will bless us and give us a certain measure of prosperity even in these temporal matters. However, even granting that you did suffer some diminution of earthly prosperity by devoting an hour to Mass, or did gain some advantage by the saving of time, yet 'What doth it profit a man to gain the whole world if he suffer the loss of his own soul?' Against this awful misfortune there is, with the exception of daily communion, no greater safeguard than hearing daily Mass." (As quoted in Father F. X. Lasance, The New Roman Missal, pp. 23-26.)
Do we want to get to Heaven? Then why don't we long to be present, if at all possible at true offerings of Holy Mass? What earthly attachment can keep us to a particular place where there are no true offerings of Holy Mass? Yes, people married to non-Catholic spouses who do not appreciate the Mass fall into a different category. Granted. What about those who simply want to remain a familiar locale, whose children are grown and/or who have disowned them because of their embrace of the fullness of the Catholic Faith without compromise to the apostasies and blasphemies and sacrileges of conciliarism? How can a nice summer breeze from the ocean replace the ineffable Sacrifice of the Holy Mass? How? What is more important after hearing Holy Mass devoutly than to spend time with Our Beloved in His Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament?
Pope Pius XII, presciently piercing the sophisms of those in his own day who objected to to Eucharistic piety as "individualistic," an objection raised in many conciliar quarters today (see the last "hard news" story of mine to have appeared in The Wanderer one hundred twenty-eight months ago now, ST PETERSBURG DIOCESE ENDS PERPETUAL EXPOSITION OF EUCHARIST), exhorted us as follows in Mediator Dei, November 20, 1947:
176. In keeping with your pastoral solicitude, Venerable Brethren, do not
cease to recommend and encourage these exercises of piety from which the
faithful, entrusted to your care, cannot but derive salutary fruit. Above all,
do not allow -- as some do, who are deceived under the pretext of restoring the
liturgy or who idly claim that only liturgical rites are of any real value and
dignity -- that churches be closed during the hours not appointed for public
functions, as has already happened in some places: where the adoration of the
august sacrament and visits to our Lord in the tabernacles are neglected; where
confession of devotion is discouraged; and devotion to the Virgin Mother of God,
a sign of "predestination" according to the opinion of holy men, is so
neglected, especially among the young, as to fade away and gradually vanish.
Such conduct most harmful to Christian piety is like poisonous fruit, growing on
the infected branches of a healthy tree, which must be cut off so that the
life-giving sap of the tree may bring forth only the best fruit.
177. Since the opinions expressed by some about frequent confession are
completely foreign to the spirit of Christ and His Immaculate Spouse and are
also most dangerous to the spiritual life, let Us call to mind what with sorrow
We wrote about this point in the encyclical on the Mystical Body. We urgently
insist once more that what We expounded in very serious words be proposed by you
for the serious consideration and dutiful obedience of your flock, especially to
students for the priesthood and young clergy. (Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, November 20, 1947.)
We can see that the propaganda against private devotion to Our Lord in His Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament and against frequent confession are those made by many of the ultra-progressive revolutionaries who have been at work for a long time now, men whose work has permeated so much of the pastoral praxis of the counterfeit church of conciliarism. It cannot be that way with those us who, despite our own many sins and failings, have come to recognize the actual state of the Church Militant on earth at this time. We must help to build up the Church Militant on earth as we seek relief for the Poor Souls in the Church Suffering in Purgatory with the help of the saints of the Church Triumphant in Heaven at each Mass and by spending time in fervent prayer before Christ the King in His Real Presence. One Mass is worth more than spending a billion dollars in behalf of some naturalist candidate for public office. Thirty or sixty minutes spent before the One Who has made possible our very salvation is nothing if we want to spend all eternity with Him in Heaven. What's the excuse? What?
We should be in utter awe at the inexhaustible mystery of love that Our Lord showed us when He offered Himself up to God the Father on the wood of the Holy Cross in atonement for our sins, a propitiatory offering that is, of course, perpetuated in every true offering of Holy Mass. This passage Father Frederick Faber's reflection on the Fifth Dolor,the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus that is re-presented in an unbloody manner in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in his book The Foot of the Cross, might give us some small idea of the inexhaustible nature of this mystery of love that Our Lord had for us, a love that was mirrored in the Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother as the fifth sword of sorrow was plunged deep into this mother heart of purity:
The marvel of His uncomplaining silence was more pathetic now that He had spoken. Grief seemed to have reached its limits; but it had not. The word threw down the walls, laid a whole world of possible sorrow open to it, and poured the waters over it in an irresistible flood. The well-remembered tone pieced her [Our Lady] like a spear. They very beauty of the word was anguish to her. Is it not often so that deathbed words are harrowing because they are so beautiful, so incomprehensibly full of love? Mary's broken heart enlarged itself, and took in the whole world, and bathed it in tears of love. To her that word was like a creative word. It made the Mother of God Mother of mercy also. Swifter than the passage of light, as that word was uttered, the mercy of Mary had thrown round the globe a mantle of light, beautifying its rough places, and giving lust re in the dark, while incredible sorrow made itself coextensive with her incalculable love.
The words of Jesus on the Cross might almost have been a dolor by themselves. They were all of them more touching in themselves than any words which ever have been spoken on the earth. The incomparable beauty of our Lord's Soul freights each one of them with itself, and yet how differently? The sweetness of His Divinity is hidden in them, and for ages on ages it has ravished the contemplative souls who loved Him best. If even to ourselves these words are continually giving out new beauties in our meditations, what must they be to the saints, and then, far beyond that, what were they to His Most Blessed Mother? To her, each of them was a theology, a theology enrapturing the heart while it illumined he understanding. She knew they would be His last. Through life they had been but few, and now in less than two hours He will utter seven, which the world will listen to and wonder at until the end of time. To her they were not isolated. They recalled other unforgotten words. There were no forgotten ones. She interpreted them by others, and others again by them, and so they gave out manifold new meanings. Besides which, she saw the interior from which they came, and therefore they were deeper to her. But the growing beauty of Jesus had been consistently a more copious fountain of sorrow all through the Three-and-Thirty Years. It was not likely that law would be abrogated upon Calvary. And was there not something perfectly awful, even to Mary's eye, in the way in which His divine beauty was mastering every thing and beginning to shine out in the eclipse? It seemed as if the Godhead were going to lay Itself bare among the very ruins of the Sacred Humanity, as His bones were showing themselves through His flesh. It was unspeakable. Mary lifted up her whole soul to its uttermost height to reach the point of adoration due to Him, and tranquilly acknowledged that it was beyond her power. her adoration sank down into profusest love, and her love condensed under the chill shadow into an intensity of sorrow, which felt its pain intolerably everywhere as the low pulsations of His clear gentle voice ran and undulated through her inmost soul.
The thought which was nearest to our Blessed Saviour's Heart, if we may reverently venture to speak thus of Him, was the glory of His Father. We can hardly doubt that after that, chief among the affections of the created nature which He had condescended to assume, stood the love of His Immaculate Mother. Among His seven words there will be one, a word following His absolution of the thief at Mary's prayer, a double word, both to her and of her. That also shall be like a creative word, creative for Mary, and still more creative for His Church. He spoke out of an unfathomable love, and yet in such mysterious guise as was fitted still more to deepen His Mother's grief. He styles her "Woman," as if He had already put off the filial character. He substitutes John for Himself, and finally appears to transfer to John His own right to call Mary Mother. How many things were there here to overwhelm our Blessed Lady with fresh affliction! She well knew the meaning of the mystery. She understood that by this seeming transfer she had been solemnly installed in her office of the second Eve, the mother of all mankind. She was aware that now Jesus had drawn her still more closely to Himself, had likened her to Himself more than ever, and had more their union more complete. The two relations of Mother and Son were two no longer; they had melted into one. She knew that never had He loved her more than now, and never shown her a more palpable proof of His love, of which, however, no proof was wanting. But each fresh instance of His love was a new sorrow to her; for it called up more love in her, and with more love, as usual, more sorrow. (Father Frederick Faber, The Foot of the Cross, written in 1857 and republished by TAN Books and Publishers, pp. 250-252.)
It is not possible to fathom all of the great treasures contained in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is why a dignified amount of time needs to be taken in its offering.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori discussed the importance of using time well in the context of his masterful Preparation for Death. This great saint's words about the proper use of time apply also to how it should be used in the careful, recollected and dignified offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:
Son, says the Holy Ghost, be careful to preserve time, which is the greatest and the most precious gift which God can bestow upon you in this life. The very pagans knew the value of time. Seneca said that no price is an equivalent of it. But the saints have understood its value still better. According to St. Bernardine of Sienna, a moment of time is of as much value to God; because in each moment a man can, by acts of contrition or of love, acquire the grace of God and eternal glory.
Time is a treasure which is found only in this life; it is not found in the next, either in hell or in heaven. In hell the damned exclaim with tears: Oh! that an hour was given to us! They would pay any price for an hour of time, in which they might repair their ruin: but this hour they will never have. In heaven there is no weeping; but, were the saints capable of weeping, all their tears world arise from the thought of having lost the times in which they could have acquired greater glory, and from the conviction that this time will never again be given to them. A deceased Benedictine nun appeared in glory to a certain person, and said that she was perfectly happy, but that if she could desire anything, it would be to return to life, and to suffer pains and privations in order to merit an increase of glory. She added, that, for the glory which corresponds to a single Ave Maria, she would be content to endure till the day of judgment the painful illness which caused her death.
My brother, how do you spend your time? Why do you always defer till to-morrow what yo can do to-day? Remember that the time which is past is no longer yours; the future is not under your control: you have only the present for the performance of good works. "Why, O, miserable man," says St. Bernard, "do you presume on the future, as if the Father had placed time in your power?" St. Augustine asks: "How can you, who are not sure of an hour, promise yourself to-morrow? If then, says St. Teresa, you are not prepared for death to-day, tremble lest you die an unhappy death. (Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Preparation for Death, Redemptorist Fathers, 1926 printing, Brooklyn, New York, pp. 117-118.)
Neither a priest or any member of the laity present at his offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass knows whether that particular Mass will be the last one of their lives. We must, therefore, love Holy Mass, and truly weep when a day comes when we are unable, for one legitimate reason or another, to assist thereat.
We must stop making excuses to miss the true offering of Holy Mass on a daily basis if there is one available to you offered by a true priest who makes no concessions to conciliarism or its false shepherds. We can do much for our priests, who are few in number and scattered about the the face of the earth at present, by our assisting at Mass on a daily basis and hearing Mass well, spending time in Thanksgiving after Mass as the duties of our states-in-life permit on any given day. Saint Leonard of Port Maurice has words of wisdom, written in the Eighteenth Century, for us in the laity that apply to persons of all social classes, from the royal classes to the most common peasant (and most of us, truth be told, are from utterly peasant stock, something is good for our own humility to contemplate!):
Many are the excuses which those who attend holy Mass grudgingly and with reluctance find for their tepidity. You may observe them all immersed in business, all anxious and intent (to use a common and most accurate expression) on promoting "their own dirty interests." for these, every fatigue is a trifle; nor is there any inconvenience which they will allow to stand in their way; while, for attending holy Mass, which is the great affair of all, you will perceive them languid, cold, with a hundred frivolous pretexts at hand about important occupations, weak health, family troubles, want of time, multiplicity of business, and so on. In short, if holy Church did not oblige them under pain of mortal sin to frequent the divine mysteries at least on festivals, God knows if ever they would visit a church, or bend a knee before the altar. O, shame and utter disgrace to our times! Miserable that we are! How have we declined from the fervor of those first believers who, as I said before, every day assisted at the adorable sacrifice, and refreshed their souls with the Bread of Angels, communicating sacramentally! And yet they also were not without transactions and business and occupations; nay, by this very means their temporal business and interests, as well as their spiritual, got on all the better. Blind world, when wilt thou open thine eyes to recognize delusions so gross? Up, and awaken, one and all! Be this your most sweet and beloved devotion--to hear holy Mass every morning, and to accompany it by a spiritual Communion. To gain this end with you, I know no method more efficacious than example, it being an irrefragable maxim, Vivimus ab exemplo; and everything is rendered easy and pleasant which we see done by our companions or equals. . . .
[To princes and other rulers] You summon diets, you convoke congresses, you establish public boards, you assemble councils of war to secure your provinces; yet all does not answer; while one thought, suggestive, perhaps of some middle course, would adjust a negotiation, and that negotiation adjusted might secure a kingdom. But that thought so advantageous, whence shall it come? From God--yes, understand me well, from God. And what the means most efficacious for obtaining it? The holy sacrifice. Hear, then, more Masses; cause, besides, many to be celebrated; provide the altars with sacred vessels, with precious vestments and furniture--and you will experience over you a most marvellous providence of God, which will secure your dominions, and will render you happy in time and in eternity.
Let us conclude this division with the example of St. Wenceslaus, King of Bohemia,which should at least in part be imitated by all of you. This holy king did not content himself with assisting every day at several Masses, with his knees bent on the bare pavement, nor with serving in person the celebrating priests, and this with greater humility than any cleric that has only received the lowest of minor orders; but besides this, he contributed to the sacred altars the richest jewels of his treasury, and webs of texture and embroidery the most precious in the royal wardrobes. He was, further, in the habit of making with his own hands the altar-bread which was to be used for the holy sacrifice; and with this view, without any regard to the royal dignity, he applied those hands, born to wield the sceptre, in cultivating a field, in directing the plough, in sowing the seed, and in reaping the harvest. Then he ground the grain, separated the finer flour for the oven, and made the breads which should afterward be consecrated; and these he presented, with the lowliest reverence, to the priests, to be converted into the most divine body of the Saviour. O hands worthy to have held the sceptre of this globe! And did other kings despise him for this? Far from it. Almighty God led the Emperor Otho I. to conceive for this holy king an unparalleled regard, so far as to grant him the right to quarter in his arms the imperial device (an eagle sable in an argent field), a favor not extended to any other prince. Thus god, by means of the emperor, rewarded with temporal honors the great devotion of Wenceslaus toward the divine sacrifice. But much more was he rewarded by the King of heaven when, by means of a most glorious martyrdom, there was granted to him a a crown of eternal glory: and we behold him, through his passionate tenderness for holy Mass, doubly crowned, in this and in the other world. Reflect and resolve. (Saint Leonard of Port Maurice, The Hidden Treasure: Holy Mass, pp. 65-66; 75-76.)
Saint Leonard wrote near the end of his treatise that he wanted reiterate the points he had been making throughout his book: the laity must make the effort o hear Holy Mass daily and priests must offer it well:
Therefore, if any one may speak out clearly on this subject, without any fear of reproval, it is I, who seek merely your good; as I do in all the other matters touched on in this little book, which now at its close I sum up afresh. Hear many Masses, I beseech you; hear many; cause many to be celebrated; get as many as you can. Make sure of this great treasure, which will be to you indeed a treasure both in this world and the next.
The second point to be extracted and stored up out of the incident now narrated is the efficacy of holy Mass for winning every benefit from on high, for procuring exemption or escape from every evil, and particularly for obtaining or reinvigorating our spiritual energies, so as to insure victory over all temptations. Let me, then, repeat: to Mass, I beseech of you; to Mass, if you want to triumph over your soul's enemies, and to behold all hell cast down and trampled under your feet.
One single counsel remains to be repeated, one applicable alike to clergy and seculars, which is, that to obtain in great abundance the fruits of holy Mass, you must hear it with the deepest devotion. I have struck at this nail several times in the course of my little book, but now just at the close, I must beat at it with still more vigor. When at Mass, keep deeply engaged in devotion; and if you like, make use of this book, putting it in practice with all the exactitude prescribed in he second chapter. I boldly refer you to experience as your master; for in a short time you will be conscious of a sensible change in your heart, and you will, so to speak, be able to touch with your very hand the great blessing which you will carry at your heart.
And for you, O priests, tremble before the justice of God if, either by excessive haste or irreverent negligence, you transgress the rules of the sacred ceremonies, if you hurry out your words, or confuse the different acts, and, in short, bustle slipshod through your Mass. Reflect that then you consecrate, you touch, you receive, the Son of the Most High, nor are your blameless in regard to each the very slightest ceremony which you either leave out or perform more or less imperfectly. Such is the teaching of the most learned Suarez, when he treats of the question, Vel unius caerimoniae omissio culpae reatum inducit. Whence that oracle of Spain, [St.] John of Avila, was always firmly of opinion that the Eternal Judge will, in the case of priests, make, before every thing else, a most rigorous scrutiny into all the Masses they have celebrated. Thus when on one occasion a young priest had departed to the other world, just as he had barely finished his first Mass, the holy man, hearing of his death, heaved a sigh, and asked, "Had he ever offered Mass?" And when they told of his happy fate in dying so soon as his first Mass was celebrated, "Ah," he resumed, "he has much to thank God for if he has once celebrated Mass!" But you and I, who have celebrated so many, how shall we pass before the tribunal of God? Let us, then, make the holy resolution to re-study (at latest in our first spiritual retreat) all the rubrics of the Missal, and all the sacred ceremonial, so as to celebrate for the future with all exactness possible. It is my hope that if we priests shall generally celebrate with serious and devout exterior composure, and, what is far more, with thorough interior fervor of soul, the laity will return to daily hearing of holy Mass, and to hearing it with deepest devotion. Thus we shall have the joy of beholding renewed in the Christians of our time all the fervor of the first believers of God's Church, and thus will our most gracious and Almighty God be supremely honored and glorified--the sole and single aim of this poor work. (The translator asks here for a "Hail Mary" for himself, noting that Saint Leonard's request for one is mooted by the fact that he, Saint Leonard, is in Heaven! Thus, say a Hail Mary for the anonymous translator of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice's The Hidden Treasure: Holy Mass, from which the above quotation was taken from pages 90-91.)
Makes things pretty clear, does it not?
A final meditation from the great treasure that is Father Faber's The Foot of the Cross might help to increase our fervor for Holy Mass and strengthen our resolve to move, if need be, to be able to assist at its valid offering each and every single day of our lives:
Such were the outward, or rather let us call them the official, occupations of Mary during the first hour upon the Cross. Her inmost occupation, and yet outward also, was that which was above her, overshadowing her in the darkness, and felt more vividly even than if it had been clearly seen,--Jesus hanging upon the Cross! As our guardian angels are ever by our sides, engrossed with a thousand invisible ministries of love, and yet all the while see God, and in that one beatifying sight are utterly immersed, so it was with Mary on Calvary. While she seemed an attentive witness and listener of the men dividing our Lord's garments among them, and of the nailing of the title to the Cross, or appeared to be occupied with the conversion of the thieves, she did all those things, as the saints do things, in ecstasy, with perfect attention and faultless accuracy, and yet far withdrawn into the presence of God and hidden in His light. A whole hour went by. Jesus was silent. His Blood was on fire with pain. His body began to depend from the Cross, as if the nails barely held it. The Blood was trickling down from the wood all the while. He was growing whiter and whiter. Every moment of that agony was an act of communion with the Father. Mysteries, exceeding all mysteries that had ever been on earth, were going on in His Heart, which was alternately contracted and dilated with agony too awful for humanity to bear without miraculous support. It had divine support; but divine consolation was carefully kept apart. The interior of that Heart was clearly disclosed to the Mother's inward eye, and her heart participated in its sufferings. She, too, needed a miracle to prolong her life, and the miracle was worked. But with the same peculiarity. From her, also, all consolation was kept away. And so one hour passed, and grace had created many worlds of sanctity, as the laden minutes went slowly by, one by one, then slower and slower, like the pulses of a clock at midnight when we are ill, beating sensibly slower to reproach us for our impatient listening.
The second hour began. The darkness deepened., and there were fewer persons round the Cross. No diceing now, no disturbance of nailing the title to the Cross. All was as silent as a sanctuary. Then Jesus spoke. It seemed as if he had been holding secret converse with the Father, and He had come to a point when He could keep silence no longer. It sounded as if He had been pleading for sinners, and the Father had said that the sin of His Crucifixion was too great to be forgiven. To our human ears the word has that significance. It certainly came out of some depth, out of something which had been going on before, either His own thoughts, or the intensity of His pain, or a colloquy with the Father. "Father! forgiven them; for they know not what they do!" Beautiful, unending prayer, true of all sins and of all sinners in every time! They know not what they do. No one knows what he does when he sins. It is his very knowledge that the malice of sin is past his comprehension which is a great part of the malice of his sin. Beautiful prayer also, because it discloses the characteristic devotion of our dearest Lord! When He breaks the silence, it is not about His Mother, or the apostles, or a word of comfort that affectionate forlorn Magdalen, whom He loved so fondly. It is for sinners, for the worst of them, for His personal enemies, for those who crucified Him, for those who had been yelling after Him in the streets, and loading Him with the uttermost indignities. It is as if at Nazareth He might seem to love His Mother more than all the world beside, but that now on Calvary, when His agony had brought out the deepest realities and the last disclosures of His Sacred Heart, it was found that His chief devotion was to sinners. Was Mary hurt by this appearance? Was it a fresh dolor that He had not thought first of her? Oh, no! Mary had no self on Calvary. It could not have lived there. Had her heart cried out at the same moment with our Lord's, it would have uttered the same prayer, and in like words would have unburdened itself of that of which it was most full. But the word did draw new floods of sorrow. They very sound of His voice above her in the obscure eclipse melted within her. . . .
But this was not the only thirst that word was intended to convey. His soul thirsted as feverishly for souls as His Body did for the water of the well. He brooded over all coming ages, and yearned to multiply the multitudes of the redeemed. Alas! we have approximations by which we can measure His torment of physical thirst; but we have no shadow even by which we can guess of the realities of that torment in His Soul. If the love, which the Creator has for creatures, whom He had called out of nothing, is unlike any other love either of angels or of men, if its kind is without parallel, and is degree an excess of the reach of our conception, so also is the spiritual love of souls in the Soul of the Saviour of the world. Saving love is without similitude, as well as creative love. As all the loves of earth are but sparks of creative love so all apostolic instincts, all missionary zeal, all promptitude of martyrdom, all intercessory penance, and all contemplative intercession, are but little sparks of that saving love of which Calvary is at once the symbol and the reality. The torment of this thirst was incomparably beyond that of the other thirst. Mary saw it; and no no sooner had she seen it, than the very sight translated her, as it were, into a fresh, unexplored world of sorrow. She saw that this thirst would be almost as little satisfied as the other. She saw how Jesus at that moment was beholding in His Soul the endless procession of men, unbroken daily from dawn to dawn, bearing with them into hell the character of baptism and the seal of His precious Blood. See! even now, while the Saviour is dying of thirst, the impenitent thief will not given Him even his polluted soul to drink! So it was going to be evermore. Mary saw it all. Why had He ever left Nazareth? Why had he gone through all this world of unnecessary suffering, only to succeed so inadequately at last? Was God's glory, after all, the end of Calvary, rather than the salvation of men? Yes! and yet also No! Mary, like Jesus Himself, grudged not one pang, one lash, one least drop of Blood that beaded His crowned brow. She too thirsted for souls, as He did, and her heart sank when she saw that He was not to have His fill. Oh, poor, miserable children that we are! how much of our souls have we not kept back, which would have somewhat cheered both the Mother and the Son that day! (Father Frederick Faber, The Foot of the Cross, pp. 248-250; 255-256.)
And your excuse for not getting to a true offering of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition is exactly what?
The state of our immortal souls--and thus of the world--depends upon the valid offering of Holy Mass and the worthy, fervent reception of Holy Communion by the clergy, the consecrated religious and the laity alike. This is why the devil attacked the Mass during the Protestant Revolt. This is why he has attacked the Mass by means of the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo liturgical service. This is why he has attacked the sacramental validity of the transmission of Holy Orders in the ranks of the counterfeit church of conciliarism.
Priests have an obligation to offer Mass well. We in the laity have the obligation to hear it well, to pray it well, to live it well, extending our time before the Real Presence of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in profound Eucharistic piety and meditating upon the mysteries of our Redemption that are contained within Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary. Time well spent at Holy Mass will help us to have an eternity well spent in the glory of an unending Easter Sunday in Paradise in the Presence of the Beatific Vision of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
May Our Lady, who stood so valiantly at the foot of the Cross, help us to love the Mass and to treat each one we hear as though it is the last Mass of our lives. We ask her to pray for us nunc et in hora mortis nostrae in each Ave Maria. May our keeping close to her at the foot of her Divine Son's Holy Cross each day in the true offering of the Holy Sacrifice of Mass and in our praying as many Rosaries as our states-in-life permit help to plant the seeds for a day when all people will recognize that no day is complete unless we are at Calvary, on whose heights was Crucified the King of Kings and on which stood our Immaculate Queen, both of whom beckon us to be with them there each day so that we can be with them for all eternity.
Our Lord, Ascended into Heaven with his glorified Body. His Most Blessed Mother, she who is the Immaculate Conception, was assumed body and soul into Heaven. If we want to be body and soul in Heaven after the General Judgment, perhaps it's a good thing to be body and soul at Holy Mass, which takes us from Bethlehem to Calvary to the glories of Heaven.
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey! Vivat Maria Regina Immaculata!
Omnia instaurare in Christo.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our deaths. Amen.
All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
Viva Cristo Rey! Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints