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OF THE MASS.
UNLESS a Priest esteem the Holy Sacrifice as it deserves, he can never celebrate it with suitable devotion. Assuredly there is no action, which man can perform, so sublime, so sacred, as the celebration of Mass. Fateamur, says the Council of Trent, nullum aliud opus, adeo sanctum ac divinum a Christo fidelibus tractari posse, quam hoc ipsum tremendum mysterium. Sess. 22. Decret. de observ. in cel. etc. God himself could not enable man to perform any thing greater than the celebration of Mass.
All the ancient sacrifices, by which God was so much honoured, were but shadows and figures of our sacrifice of the altar. All the honour that angels by their adorations, and men by their good works, austerities, and even martyrdoms, have ever rendered or will ever render to God, never could,
and never will, give him so much glory as one single Mass; for, while the honour of all creatures is only finite, that which accrues to God from the holy Sacrifice of the Altar is infinite, inasmuch as the victim which is offered is of infinite value. The Mass, therefore, offers to God the greatest honour that can be given him; subdues most triumphantly the powers of hell; affords the greatest relief to the suffering souls in purgatory; appeases most efficaciously the wrath of God against sinners, and brings down the greatest blessings on mankind.
If, as it is promised, we may confidently hope to obtain from God whatever we ask in the name of Jesus: Si quid petieritis Patrem in nomine meo dabit vobis. Jo. xxiv. how much more confidently may we hope to obtain what we ask for, when we immolate to the Father, Jesus himself? Our loving Redeemer is continually making intercession for us in heaven: Qui etiam interpellat pro nobis. Rom. viii. But this he does more especially in the sacrifice of the Mass, in which, by the hands of the priest, he presents himself to his Eternal Father, to obtain graces for us. Were we assured that all the Saints and the blessed Mother of Christ were praying for us, with what great confidence should we ex ect to receive all graces necessary for
us? But it is certain that one prayer of Jesus Christ will avail infinitely more than all the prayers of the Saints. Poor wretched sinners, what would become of us, without this sacrifice to appease the Lord! Hujus quippe oblatione placatus Dominus, gratiam et donum poenitentiæ concedens, crimina et peccata etiam ingentia dimittit, says the Council of Trent. In a word, as the passion of Jesus Christ was sufficient to save the whole world, so is a single Mass sufficient to save it. Hence, at the offertory of the chalice the priest says: Offerimus tibi, Domine, calicem salutaris... ..pro nostra, et totius mundi salute.
The Mass is the good thing and the beautiful thing of the Church, according to the prediction of the prophet: Quid enim bonum ejus est et quid pulchrum ejus, nisi frumentum electorum et vinum germinans virgines? Zacch. ix. 17.
In the Mass, the Word incarnate offers himself in sacrifice to his Eternal Father, and gives himself to us in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, which is the end and aim of almost all the other sacraments, as the angelic doctor teaches: Fere omnia sacramenta in Eucharistia consummantur. Hence St. Bonaventure says, that in the Mass God manifests to us all the love which he has borne us, and includes in it, as in a compendium, all his benefits: Est memoriale totius dilectionis suæ, et