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Thb Holy Mabs : The Sacrifice for the Living and the Dead. The Clean Oblation 
Ofiered Up among the IS'ations from the Rising to the Setting of the Sun. By Michael 
Mtiller, Priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. New York and Cin- 
cinnati : Fr. Pustet, Printer to the Holy Apostolic See, 1874. 

New York, July 22, 18T4.— Dear Father Miiller : I take great pleasure in adding 
my commendation to the many others which have already been given of your excel- 
lent book on the Holy Mass. I sincerely hope that it will have the widely ext^ided 
circulation which it so well deserves. 

With best wishes, I remain, rev. dear sir, yours truly in Xto, 

John, Alyp. of Neiv Twk. 

{From the " Catholic World," March, 1874.] 

This is a work written in the true spirit of St. Alphonsus. It is not a reprint of 
the work entitled "The Blessed Eucharist, Our Greatest Treasure," by the same 
author, but an entirely new treatise. Its theology is sound and solid, its spirit most 
devout, and its style simple and popular. It is surprising that so hard-working a 
priest as Father Muller has been able to write so many excellent and edifying books, 
in a language, too, which is to him a foreign tongue. Every pious Catholic who reads 
this book wiU be charmed with it, and wiU find it most instructive and profitable. 
We are happy to be able to give it our unqualified commendation, and to recommend 
it in the most earnest manner to all the faithful, as well as to Protestants who are 
seeking for the truth. 

[From the " Catholic Review," January 17th, 1874.] 

Father Muller, of the Congregation of the Most Holy Eedeemer, has done many 
things to recommend him to the Catholic public, but of all his works we suspect hia 
latest book. The Holy 3Iass (Pustet, New York and Cincinnati) , will be the most use- 
ful and the most popular. It is difficult, where so many have written so well and so 
eloquently of this theme, suggestive of the noblest eloquence of the human heart, to 
write over six hundred pages, not one of which is wanting in the deepest interest, or 
is devoid of the most valuable information. Father Muller has done this. His book 
— as such books always ought to be — has been stibmitted to the censorship of an ap- 
proved theologian, and on his report it has received the imprimatur of the Most 
Reverend, the Archbishop of New York. From that report we very cheerfully make 
the following extract, premising that it is from the pen of a very eminent clergyman, 
wholly competent to discharge the important duty of examining and recommending 
such a book : 

" I have read with much pleasure and with great edification your admirable book 
on the holy sacrifice of the Mass. I feel confident that both the clergy and the laity 
will hail with deUght the publication of this book as a great God-send. Every zealous 
priest who has been in the ministry and observed the lukewarmness of so many in 
regard to attending at Mass, must have felt a strong desire to see a work like the 
present published in the English language. 

" Catholics are tatight and believe this great mystery of love ; but many, though 
they believe, do not realize sufficiently what it is they believe. They have not 
thought much upon it. They have not penetrated its depths. Their knowledge is 


PuperliL-ial, and their devotion consequently cold. And this, for many reasons, Is 
particularly the case in this country. Here we have immense congregations and few 
priests, and they loaded down with the building of churches, schools, and a variety 
of work which has been already done in other countries. The people often are either 
out of reach of the Church or struggling for the means of living, and, therefore, have 
grown careless, and tailed to receive the instruction which they require. Hence 
there is need, and great need, of all means of instruction which can be brought to 
bear, and good books on the grand doctrines of religion are calculated to do an im- 
mense amount of good. 

" Conversant as you are with the religious condition of our country, and the spirit- 
ual wants of the English-speaking Catholics, you have fully comprehended your task 
of making the treatise on the sublime dogma of the Mass both attractive and edifying 
to them. I have found the matter solid, well-dit,'ested, and instructive, and the 
style simple, earnest, and full of unction. The volume has nothing of the cold and 
dry system that makes religion among us so often a thing of duty more than of love. 
Deep thoughts in plain words, doctrinal sublimities in language so simple that a 
child without effort may understand. In it we find, together with all the motives 
that tend to draw our souls towards Jesus, our perpetual Victim at Mass, a glowing 
record of miracles, revelations, and wondrous graces obtaiued through faith in, and 
love of our dear Lord in His own Divine Sacrifice. Such legends, appropriately 
selected as illustrations of the text, are profitable unto edification, as the way of 
teaching by example is much more compendious, as well as much more impressive 
than by word or writing. 

"It is refreshing indeed, to find in our cold, utilitarian age and country, a work 
issued from the press so full of Catholic life, and so glowing with the fire of Catholic 
love. I think it even more necessary, more useful, more devotional, more beautiful, 
more attractive, more charming, more sound and solid, and more valuable and inter- 
esting, than your book The Blessed Eucharist, our Greatest Treasure, that has done so 
much good, and is liked so much by pious souls. It is not for me to tell how beauti- 
ful your book on the Mass is. To appreciate it, it must be read. It is. just the book 
one will enjoy in quiet and slow perusal, in a silent and devoiit church, before the 
Holy Tabernacle. It will undoubtedly receive an extensive sale, and all pastors of 
souls who promote its circulation in their parishes will soon perceive in their 
churches the great good produced by its diligent perusal. 

" I wish to say to every Catholic, buy the book. No matter how great a sinner you 
are, the hope of speedy relief is pointed out to you here ; no matter how weak and 
discourajfcd you are, the way to strengthen you is shown here ; no matter how dear 
the privilege is to you of hearing Mass, it will become doubly dear after reading this 
book. To the rich I would say, buy two copies and give one to your poor brother, 
that he, too, may taste the sweetness of its thoughts ; his prayers and blessings will 
well repay you for the trifling expenditure. To all men and women, to young and 
old, I would say : spare yourself some unnecessary article of dress and ouy this 
book ! Every single page of it is worth the price of the volume. To one and all I 
say, buy this inestimable book on the Holy Sacrifice for the Living and the Dead, 
* the Clean Oblation offered up among the nations from the rising of the sun to the 
going do^Ti thereof.' I can find no language adequate to express my admiration I'or 
this work on account of the incalculable good it will undoubtedly produce. We are 
certainly living in terrible, most anti-Christian time, when even greater trials may 
be expected. To whom shall we go? Surely to llim whom we have known and be- 
lieved—to His most Sacred and Adorable Heart daily sacrificed and offered up for ua 
in the Mass. 


•' Oh ! for a little more devotion among our people towards Jesus in the most Holy 
Sacrifice. How much we all feel the want of it 1 How much we instinctively deplore 
the loneliness of our churches on weekdays, the solitude to which our Saviour 13 
condemned in the Mj'stery of His Love ! 

" Your magnificent work on this most sublime subject is certainly calculated to in- 
duce very many to have recourse not only on Sunday, but also on the other days of 
the week, to that inexhaustible source of all graces — to the Divine Heart of Jesus in 
the Mass, so little loved because so little known. I wish it were in my power to 
place a copy of your work in the hands of every Catholic who can read the English 
language ; and I hope it will be translated into all modern tongues, and come to the 
knowledge of every human soul on earth. May the angels carry it to the hands, 
minds, and hearts of all." 

[From Brownson's Review, April, 1874]. 

This is a most excellent book, and though on a subject on which originality can 
hardly be expected, does great credit to the faith, the piety, and the learning of its 
revarend author. It is written with simplicity, eloquence, and unction, and we can- 
not too warmly recommend it to the faithful. The Holy Mass is the central fact of 
Catholic worship. 

[From the New York Tablet, January 31st, 1874]. 

This new work of the learned Iledemptorist who has already made so many valu- 
able contributions to the Catholic Uterature of our day, may be considered as the 
crowning efiort of his faith-inspired genius. It is lovingly dedicated " To the Most 
Sacred and Adorable Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, in Reparation, 
Thanksgiving, and Love." It is truly a great book, one of the greatest yet given to 
the world iu any language on the Eucharistic Sacrifice. It consists of forty-eight 
chapters, the first of which is an introductory one, serving as preface to the book. 
Now, many x^eople may sui^pose that books enough had already been written on the 
Mass, and that little remained at this time to be said or written about it, at least, 
little that had not been said or written before. A very cursory examination of Father 
MuUer's book will convince them of their error. It is true that many books have 
been written on the Holy Mass— quite recently, one by Father Sullivan, an excellent 
one, as far as it goes— but this of Father Muller's contains a great amount of highly 
interesting information, historical and otherwise, never before brought together. It 
is not only an admirable treatise on the Mass, but a carefully and elegantly written 
history of the Great Sacrifice of the New Law, presenting it to the reader, not alone 
in its dry doctrinal form, but with all the beautiful surroundings of the loving wor- 
ship of all faithful generations, the wonders it has wrought, and still does work on 
that earth, whose sublime act of homage to its Creator it is; in short, all the gran- 
deur, all the glories, all the benefits to mankind of this wonderful, life-giving, all- 
sustaining sacrifice. But the reader will be better able to judge what the nature of 
this great work is, from the headings of the chapters, which are as follows: The 
Wonderful Promise of God— The Wonderful Gift of God— A Wonderful Moans of 
Aw^akening Faith in the Real Presence— A Wonderful Manifestation of the Real Pros- 
euce— The Wonderful Effects of the Blessed Sacrament in Nicola Au^ry— Further 
Wonderful Manifestations of the Real Presence- The Sacrifice before the Coming of 
Christ— The Sacrifice of the New Law— IMass applies to us the Merits of Christ- 
Mass, the Renewal of the Mysteries of the Life of Christ— Mass, the Renewal of tlie 


Incarnation— Mass. the Renewal of Christ's Life in the Womb of Mary— Mass, the 
Renewal of the Birth of Christ— Mass, the Renewal of the Life of Christ— Mass, the 
Renewal of God's Wondrous Works— Mass, the Renewal of Christ's Passion —Mass, 
the Renewal of Christ's Resurrection— Mass, the Renewal of the Virtues of Christ— 
M.1SS, a Sacrifice of Adoration and Infinite Praise— Mass, a Sacrifice of Propitiation- 
Mass, a Sacrifice of Thanksgiving — Mass, a Sacrifice of Impretration — Mass, the Hope 
of the Dying- Mass Propitiatory for the Dead— Mass, the Joy of the Blessed Virgin- 
Reverence and Devotion at Mass— Why Catholics Must Hear Mass— How to Hear 
Mass— How to Hear Several Masses at Once— The Dignity and Sanctity of the Mass- 
Satan's Hatred for the Mass— Why Mass is Celebrated in Latin— The Honorary of 
Mass— The Use of Ceremonies— The Use of Sacred Vestments— Low Mass— Solemn 
High Mass— Lights and Incense— Music at High Mass— The Use of Holy Water before 
High Mass— How and Why Catholics Build Chnrchos— The Love of God. It will be 
seen tliat the pious and learned author has left no point untouched, no aspect of the 
great Eucharistic Sacrifice unpainted. His work will undoubtedly become a stand- 
ard one amongst Catholics, and it is just the one to put in the hands of non-Catholics 
who may desire information on that great centre of Catholic doctrine. 

[From the " JS'ew I'ork Tablet," February 7th, 1874.] 

Familiarity with the greatest persons, with t^he most sacred and holy things, if it 
does not actually beget irreverence, at least produces carelessness, sometimes in- 
diflference, if those who are brought in contact with what is reverent and holy are 
not continually reminded of the treasure which they possess, of the awful presence 
in which they stand. So true is this that what is in reality only the weakness of 
fallen humanity seems almost a necessary law. And in nothing is this exemplified 
more strikingly than iu the conduct of believers toward the Blessed Sacrament of 
the .Utar. 

Perhaps the easiest thing in this world for men to forget is their God. Exinanivit 
semetipsum pro nobis. He has emptied Himself for us : the Second Person of the 
Blessed Trinity left the bosom of the Father, to be one of us, to assume human flesh, 
dwell among us, and abide with us until the end in the blessed and adorable Sacra- 
ment of the Altar. And where are we, what are we doing, how do we appreciate this 
gilt of God ? 

To bring these thoughts more forcibly before our weak human minds, forever 
straying from the highest good and wasting themselves on puny delights, to draw 
failing hearts nearer to the only source of strength, to surround the earthly throne 
of God with his children — such seems to have been the aim of Father Muller's ex- 
cellent work. 

In a simple but forcible manner that approves itself equally to the theologian and 
the well-instructed child. Father Mullor exhausts, so to say, an exhaustless subject : — 
The Holy Mass. It certainly is by far the completest work, it may be said the only 
one of its kind, that has yet appeared on this subject in the English language. Pro- 
testants who have not lost the old phrase introduced with the Reformation of "the 
mummeries of the Mass," would do well to read Father Muller's book. In the 
earlier portion the author explains the nature of sacrifice, how inherent it is in the 
nature of man, whether he be Christian or Pagan, Gentile or Jew. The distinctions 
between the sacrifices of the Old Law and the New are dwelt upon and elucidated, 
showing the necessary imperfections in the one and the perfection of the other, 
which is in itself infinite, and the fulfilment of "the wonderful promise of God,* 


for whose accomplishment the patriarchs and prophets sighed. No small space is 
devoted to the history of many miraculous manifestations of the Eeal Presence in 
the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, which will be found of absorbing interest. The 
.'hapters on "The Wonderful Gift of God" and the "Means of awakening Faith in 
the Eeal Presence," are profoundly instructive. The bulk of the book is naturally 
devoted to the Mass itself, what it is, what it means, what it effects, what Our 
Bleesed Lord is doing every daj', every moment of the day, even all the world over. 
The Christian who reads cannot fail to be moved, to feel his eye open to the standing 
miracle of God's Presence before him, and to cry out with the mother in the story 
at the opening of the book — " Why have I known Thee too late ! " 

Not the least useful part of Father Mailer's book is the frequency with which he 
quotes the early Fathers on the Mass, showing the line of tradition stretching down 
to the very time of the Apostles, and the Saints, and martyrs of the first few 
centuries, speaking, reverencing, and writing on the Holy Mass as do we Catholics 
to-day. Their words glide in so naturally and imperceptibly that the reader is apt 
to take it as a matter of course, and lose sight of the full knowledge of his subject, 
the care and research thus displayed by the author. He also makes excellent use 
of Protestant writers on the same subject, and such authors as Henry VIII., and Dr. 
Martin Luther are made to do admirable service to the cause of truth in the hands 
of Father MuUer. 

The closing chapters are excellent : the explanation of "The Use of Ceremonies," 
"Sacred Vestments," "Lights andlncensi;," "Music," "Holy Water," "Why Mass is 
Celebrated in Latin," " High Mass," and " Low Mass." Something of this kind was 
very much needed, a simple explanation of matters that to strangers are so inexplica- 
ble, but that, when set forth, are so natural and easy of comprehension. Father Muller 
has done his work thoroughly ; not a point has he left untouched, and he has laid the 
great mass of Catholics under serious ohligation to him in writing this book. It is 
not merely a most excellent devotional work which will find its own way into the 
CathoUc family, but it is full of knowledge, real power, and extensive reading, while 
displaying on every page that ardent spirit of devotion to Our Blessed Lord and his 
Most Holy Mother, which one expects to find in a member of the Congregation of 
the Most Holy Redeemer, and a child of St. Alphonsus. The Imprimatur of the 
Archbishop of New York is sufficient on all doctrinal points. As a specimen of the 
author's strong, simple style, and an index of the tone and aim of the book, tho 
following, taken almost at hap-hazard, may be selected from the chapter " Hew to 
Hear Mass," p. iiO : 

"Does the fire that consumed the holocaust begin to smoulder? If so, the 
Catholic knows how to rekindle it at the perpetual Sacrifice of the Mass ; he returns 
to the altar where the burning fire of the love of God is kept up. As the blood 
returns from the extremities of tlie body to the heart whence it first set out, to start 
afresli, lieated and purified, in order to carry to the members heat and life, in liko 
manner does the Adorable Sacrifice of the Mass, the focus of heat and spiritual life, 
operate in the moral body of the Catholic Church. Yes, it is even here, to this 
Eucharistic Sacrifice, that our best Christians of to-day come to receive the riches 
of tiioir souls and the treasures of their love. Here it is that the good soldier learns 
how to die in defence of his coimtry, good parents to sacrifice themselves for tho 
temporal and spiritual welfare of their children. Here it is that pood children learn 
their filial obedience, respect and love for their parents, and good servants their 
submission to their masters in all lawful matters. Here all good Christians not only 
receive the power, but put themselves under the obligation of ottering to God con- 
tinued sacrifics — the sacrifice of their passions, their perverse inclinations, and evil 
propensities, by self-denial and mortification ; the sacrifice of their own will, by sub- 
mission to the dispensations of Providence ; the sacrifice of their pride by humility ; 
of their resentment by charity ; of their anger by meekness. ' By such sacrifices,' 
we may add, in the words of St. Paul, 'God's favor is oV)tiiincd.' " 


[From " New York Freeman's Journal,''' July 11th, 1874.] 

This is one of the hardest books to "finish reading " that we have met in a long 
time. It is more than six months since vre first took it up, and we are not done 
Vith it yet. We have tried to read a chapter a day, but on taking up the volume we 
want still to go back and read again something that struck us in it the day before. 
Father Miiller's volume, " The Blessed Eucharist Our Greatest Treasure," has been 
deservedly praised, and we have known some who habitually liked to make their 
preparation for communion by reading in it. No one can make a custom of re-read- 
ing ten or twelve pages of this book, " The Holy Mass," every evening, without very 
signal benefit. "What we remark especially is that the same sentences, the same 
thoughts, are at once jeplete with instruction, and with devotional suggestion. 
When these two are found ever going hand in hand, you have a book that it is a 
pleasure to read, not once only, but to keep near you, and recur to again and again. 
We are very glad to hear that a second edition is already called for, and will appear 
in a few days. 

[From "Baltimore folks Zeitung," February 14th, 187i.] 

The Rev. Father Miiller, of the Eedemptorist Society, has earned a reputation by 
his ascetical works, and, what is still more important, these works have done a vast 
deal of good. His work, "The Blessed Euchai-ist Our Greatest Treasure," was read 
by us several times, and used with profit in our sermons and instructions. It is, 
therefore, not surprising that we are doubly rejoiced to see another book written by 
the same hand and of the same natiire. This book, ''Holy Mass," is a mine of in- 
struction and edification for the priest as weU as for the layman, and entirely suited 
to increase and awaken in the hearts of its readers faith, love, and devotion. It 
happily combines within itself the dogmatic, ascetic, and apologetic elements. It is 
the book for our times and for our country. 


EuzABETH, N. J., June 22, 1873. 
liEV. Father Mtiller :— I have read a large part of your manuscript on " Holy 
Mass." It is most admirable, so profound and bo exhaustive, and bo eloquent. 
You did well say the readiug of the book would be good for me. It is, but it over- 
powers me. I do not know what may be the effect upon others, but such it is upon 
me. Reasoa is convinced, but staggers under the load of such infinite greatness. 

With very great respect, 


[From " Pittsburgh Catholic" January 24th, 1874.] 
This is a work much to be appreciated by the Catholic public, and one which, we 
trust, will receive an extensive circulation, as it fills a void long felt. It enters into 
a detailed explanation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in a clear and comprehensive 
manner, such as will come within the understanding of the most humble intellect. 
The author draws largely on the early Fathers of the Church, and the sacred volume, 
for his authorities to bear him out in the facts set forth. 

The volume contains G51 pages, and is got up in excellent style as regards typo- 
graphy, paper, and binding. 

Au^uhrung u Such J .Vanz' JuinM \'eTla4f 

ob\m:xf.fa :■• NX 

(i;Iioii .]rra^lrij'!U [nr riirr,arnirliiiii\ rn liir L^)riirr \\\ iflrlrliih-r'iirrli. 

Hebr 5, b. 

^ The Holt Mass: 












No. 52 Barclay Street. No. 204 Vine Street. 






1 »vrOH. LENO" AND 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by 


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, atr "Washington. 


^ JOHN, Archbishop of New York, 

L6cemi>er'\Wi, 1873 

Langk, Little & Co., 


108 TO 114 WoosTKR Stbket, N. Y. 



Heaet of Jesus 


§0011 is fuiublg gcWtakJr, 



Introductory 9 

The Wonderful Promise of God 35 

The Wonderful Gift of God 38 

A Wondeiful Means of Awakening Faith in the Real Presence. , . 49 

A Wonderful Manifestation of the Real Presence 64 


The Wonderful Effects of the Blessed Sacrament in Nicola Aubry. 88 

Further Wonderful Manifestations of the Real Presence 96 

The Sacrifice before the Coming of Christ 128 

The Sacrifice of the New Law 135 

The Sacrifice of the New Law — continued 149 



Mass Applies to us the Merits of Christ 159 

Mass, the Renewal of the Mysteries of the Life of Christ 167 

Mass, the Renewal of the Incarnation 173 

Mass, the Renewal of Christ's Life in the Womb of Mary 181 

Mass, the Renewal of the Birth of Christ 188 

Mass, the Renewal of the Life of Christ 197 

Mass, the Renewal of God's Wondrous Works 305 

Mass, the Renewal of Christ's Passion 214 

Mass, the Renewal of Christ's Passion — continued 324 

Mass, the Renewal of Christ's Resurrection 339 

Mass, the Renewal of Christ's Resurrection — continued 346 

Mass, the Renewal of the Virtues of Christ 255 

Mass, a Sacrifice of Adoration and Infinite Praise 203 



Mass, a Sacrifice of Propitiation 281 

Mass, a Sacrifice of Tlianksgiving 300 

Mass, a Sacrifice of Impetration 318 

Mass, a Sacrifice of Impetration — continued 337 

Mass, tlie Hope of the Dying 350 

Mass Propitiatory for the Dead 361 

Mass, the Joy of the Blessed Virgin 362 

Reverence and Devotion at Mass 395 

Why Catholics must Hear Mass 413 

How to Hear Mass 431 

How to Hear several Masses at once 454 

The Dignity and Sanctity of the Mass 403 

Satan's Hatred for the Mass 475 

8 COis^TENTS. 


Why Mass is celebrated in Latin 500 

The Honorary of Mass 506 

The Use of Ceremonies 510 

The Use of Sacred Vestments , . 520 

Low Mass 527 

Low Mass — continued 5 14 

Low Mass — concluded 5G0 

Solemn High Mass — Lights and Incense 575 

Music at High Mass 586 

The Use of Holy Water before High Mass 595 

How and Wliy Catholics Build Churches COl 

The Love of God 624 






Towards the middle of the fifth century there lived in 
the City of Eome a hidden saint named Alexius. He was 
the son of the Roman senator, Euphemian, a man of great 
wealth. At an early age he felt inspired hy God to leave 
his home for a strange country. Obedient to-this inner voice, 
he went forth from his father's house, and passed seventeen 
years in pious pilgrimages in the East, amid many trials and 
dangers. At length, to show his love for God in a still more 
striking manner, he resolved to return to his house in the 
garb of a poor beggar, and spend there the remainder of his 
days. On arriving at Rome, he met his father, Euphemian, 
in the street, followed by a train of attendants, as became 
his high rank. Clad in rags and attenuated by fasts, Alex- 
ius was not recognized by his father. So he besought him 
for charity to give him shelter in his house, and for food, the 
crumbs that fell from his table. 

The nobleman, moved with pity, bade one of his servants 
to lodge and take care of the poor beggar. The servant 
conducted him to an obscure apartment under the staircase 
where, for twenty-two years, he passed a life of suffering and 
humiliation, because the menials made him a butt for tlieir 
ridicule, beat liim, and subjected him to many indignities, 


whicli he bore with invincible patience. Thus did the life 
he spent in his father's house become one long-continued 
prayer, fast, penance, and austerity. At length, when he 
felt death approaching, he begged one of the servants to 
bring him writing materials. Then he wrote down on a 
sheet of paper the story of his whole life, whither he had 
wandered, what had happened to him, what he had suffered 
at home and abroad. He stated at the same time that he 
was Alexius, the son of tlie house, whom his parents had 
missed for so many years. This paper he held in his hands 
until death took him on a Sunday at the time when his pa- 
rents were at mass. No sooner had his soul taken flight to 
heaven than all the bells of the churches in Eome began to 
ring, and a loud voice was heard to say distinctly three 
times: — "Go to the house of Euphemian to find the great 
friend of God who hast just died and prays for Eome, and 
all he asks is granted." Then went the people to find the 
saint, and Euphemian was the first to enter his house. lie 
went straightway to the room under the staircase^ and to 
his surprise found that the poor beggar had just expired. 
Seeing the paper, he took it out of his hands, and reading 
its contents aloud burst into tears, embraced his holy son, 
hardly able to utter a word. The motlier of Alexius was 
still more deeply affected, and cried out, " my son, why 
have I known thee too late ! " 

The story of Alexius is a good illustration of what often 
happens in these days to many a Cliristian. Alexius went 
back to his father's house as a beggar clad in tatters, the 
better to disguise his rank and wealth. Our dear Saviour 
acts in the same manner in the holy Sacrifice of the j\Iass. 
There He is, but by no outward sign does He betray His 
real presence ; His heavenly glory and brightness He hides 
from us ; He is there, as one may say, in a poor miserable 
dress, under the appearances of bread and wine. As the pa- 
rents of Alexius paid little attention to their son in his state 
of poverty and subjection, so, in this life, many Christians 


pay but little attention to Jesus Christ, because He humbly 
condescends to conceal His glory in the sacrament of His 
love. Bat when this life is over and they come to see Him 
face to face, whom here they possessed in the Holy Euchar- 
ist, at the sight of the consokitions, of the beauty, and of 
the riches that they failed to recognize in time, they will ex- 
claim, with the mother of Alexius, " 0, Jesus ! dear Saviour, 
why have we known Thee too late ! Ah ! had we only 
known Thee in Thy mystery of love, when alive on earth, 
Ave would have allowed no opportunity to escape us of assist- 
ing at the celebration of Thy sacred mysteries, of receiving 
Thee, in holy communion. 'Not an hour should have passed 
without a thought of Thee. Thou wouldsfc have been our 
whole delight, our whole joy, our whole happiness, the object 
of all our desires, thoughts and actions. dear Lord, why 
have we known Thee too late ! " 

" Verily Thou art a hidden God, the God of Israel, the 
Saviour!" cries out the prophet Isaias (xlv. 15). Yes, un- 
doubtedly, God is a more hidden God in the Eucharist than 
anywhere else. His greatness lies concealed under the little- 
ness of a host. His power under the feeble species. His uni- 
versality under an atom. His eternity under a moment, His 
wisdom under an apparent folly. There indeed is He the 
hidden God; more hidden than in Mary's womb, more hid- 
den than in the crib, more hidden than under the darkness 
of Calvary, more hidden than in the gloom of the Sepulchre. 
For here His humanity. His divinity. His glory. His beati- 
tude — all, are hidden. To all unbelievers and heretics He 
is hidden indeed. To many lukc-warm Catholics, nay, even 
to many of those who stand at His altar and touch His sa- 
cred body He is hidden. Alas, that that adorable sacrifice 
and sacrament of the altar should be to so many a hidden 
treasure ; that there should be so many who have eyes and see 
not, although to them is granted to behold what kings and 
prophets, and patriarchs and saints have sighed in vain to 
gaze on! ALis! that there should be so many who deserve 


the reproach which our Lord made to his disciples, " I was a 
stranger, and you received me not." "Your little faith in 
my presence in the blessed sacrament made Me appear to 
you a stranger, although quite near. Touching Me, you 
knew Me not. You are like those disciples of Mine, jour- 
neying to Emmaus, to whom I appeared after My resurrec- 
tion, conversing with them most familiarly, but they knew 
Me not," saying, "Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem 
and hast not known the things that have been done there in 
these days?" "So long a time have I been with you and 
have you not known Me ? " Three years had Jesus spent in 
the company of His Apostles. This He calls a long time, in 
which they certainly should have learned who He was. Yet 
their faith was not such as He wished it to be. Philip asks 
of our Lord to show them His Father. Jesus answers, " So 
long a time have I been with you and have you not as yet 
known Me? he who sees Me sees also the Father; for the 
Father is in Me and I am in Him. We cannot be separated." 
And we ? How long have we been with Jesus ? We became 
acquainted with Him in our childhood ; we went to Mass at 
least every Sunday; we received Him over and over again for 
so many years ; and yet the complaint of our Lord, made to 
His Apostles, applies perhaps more justly to us.. " So long a 
time have you celebrated Mass," says He to many a priest ; 
" So long a time have you assisted at the Holy Sacrifice of 
Calvary," says He to many a Catholic ; " So long a time have 
you entered into close intimacy with Me in holy communion 
and yet you seem not to know Me. You know not My Divin- 
ity in the sacred Host, or your respect and veneration for it 
could not be so small ; you know not My Body and Soul there 
]Dresent, for you do not imitate the example I gave you on earth 
and give you in this mystery of love ; you know not My love, 
or it would affect you more ; you know not My heart, which 
is ever open to you, with charity inexhaustible, for you still 
seem to doubt its goodness and meekness, its tender love and 
its unbounded mercy. You know not My sanctity or you would 


not appear at the altar, without gravity, without deyotion, and 
without reverence. You know not My high dignity, or you 
would not touch Me with such coldness and thoughtlessness, 
nor would you approach the altar in a state of unworthiness. 
Indeed were you thoroughly impressed with the thought that 
in the adorable sacrament of My love you receive your Lord 
and your God, had you a lively conviction of this truth, 
would yoii dare approach Me as you do, without preparation, 
without sorrow, humility, or reverence ? Would you pre- 
sume after having received Me, your Redeemer, to employ 
the eyes that have contemplated your Lord and God in this 
adorable mystery, in the indulgence of curiosity, the tongue 
on which He has reposed, in slander, raillery, or expressions 
wounding to charity ? Would you profane the heart into 
Avhich He has entered, by inordinate affections, anger, hatred, 
or envy ? Whence is it that you relapse so frequently into 
habitual failing and draw so little profit from hearing Mass 
and receiving holy communion ? It is because you. know 
Me not in the mystery of My love. 

" Every object that is brought in contact with fire expe- 
riences its effects ; it is either enkindled wholly or at least 
is heated. What fire more intense than the fire of divine 
love in the Blessed Sacrament ? To receive this divine fire 
so often into your heart, to be near it every day and yet 
remain cold, not to burn for Me with that ardent love which 
consumed the just men of the old Law, in expectation of 
their Saviour coming! Do you then value the possession 
of a benefit less than its promise? You are always per- 
mitted to enjoy My Presence in the sacred tabernacle, and 
those patriarchs only asked for the momentary aj)pearance 
of a Redeemer. Truly the faith of the patriarchs, and" their 
fervent desires will one day rise up in judgment against 
you. Their desires had no centre upon earth, but you can 
repose your thoughts and your heart upon Me in this taber- 
nacle, in which abides your God. My love could not suffer 
you to repeat the complaint of the Prophet * my God, 
wherefore art Thou far from me ? • " 


Tlie tabernacle in our churches docs not contain, like the 
ark of the covenant, the perishable records of the past mer- 
cies of God. It encloses the living God himself, the creator 
of lieaven and earth. *'It is the Lord." The pure eyes of 
St. John speedily recognised his Divine Master when He 
appeared to His Apostles after His resurrection. " It is the 
Lord," he exclaimed. Our Lord is recognized by the beloved 
disciple because the pure heart easily penetrates those veils 
which surround His holy and glorious humanity. At the 
altar it is also the purest and most loving souls that enjoy 
the most intimate and consoling sense of His Sacred Pres- 
ence ; the outward appearances under which He hides Him- 
self are sufficiently transparent to the eyes of their faith ; 
they touch, they embrace Him in mutual love, and no sooner 
do they behold the Sacred Host than they exclaim, "It is 
the Lord." 

This earth, which is the abode of the holy Eucharist, would 
appear a kind of terrestrial paradise, if we were only capable 
of appreciating that precious treasure. Wonderful and 
ineffable truth which thrills every Catholic heart! Neither 
human nor angelic intelligence and imagination combined 
could ever in their highest flights have conceived the idea 
of power and love like this. "It is the Lord!" Fervent 
priests and Catholics, however, are not satisfied with merely 
knowing our Lord well in the Blessed Sacrament themselves, 
but consider it their duty to make Him known also to others 
by whatever means lies in tlieir power ; for He is not equally 
well known to all. 

Dark clouds of error and weakness in faith 'have settled 
thickly around the throne of our dear Saviour in the sacrifice 
of the Mass ever since the time of the Keformation. It is 
the duty of priests especially to scatter those clouds, by 
speaking on the sublime subject with a lively faith, in lan- 
guage glowing with love for this mystery of love, in words 
that work miracles ; that is in words which create in the 
mind of the hearers such profound conviction of this great 


truth of our religion, and which at the same time enkindle 
in their hearts such great love for our Lord in the Blessed 
Sacrament as is calculated to make them n«?i with a holy joy 
and delight to assist at the sacrifice and receive the commu- 
nion. Our Lord upon the altar is silent during Mass, 
expecting that His priests upon reflecting what He is there 
for — for them and for all the faithful — and what He has 
done for them in this mystery, would become inflamed with 
such love for Him as would put into their mouths words of 
such burning eloquence whenever they have to speak of Plis 
real presence, that every word should be a fiery dart pierc- 
ing the hearts of their hearers with that divine love, and 
light of faith, and ardor of devotion, which are burning in 
their own. This is indeed what Jesus Christ expects from 
every good priest of His, especially in our time when faith in 
this great mystery grows weaker every day, not only among 
the higher classes of society, but even among the common 
people, especially among the young men and young women. 
How many are there who regularly attend at Mass without 
ever entering into the spirit, nay, without ever properly 
joining in the external ceremonies ? How many are present 
at Mass with so much indifference, as clearly to show, that 
they either do not value these awful — these most beneficial 
mysteries, or that they understand little or nothing else than 
that the priest turns sometimes to the right, sometimes to the 
left, and is clothed in a motley-colored garment. To them 
Mass and Vespers, or the performance of the funeral rites 
are all pretty much the same thing. With great reason, then, 
did the Council of Trent command all the pastors of con- 
gregations frequently to explain the holy sacrifice of the 
Mass to the faithful, that at least they may not be answer- 
able for any want of respect, devotion and diligence which 
the people may be guilty of in attending at Mass. The 
Fathers of the Council were fully convinced that the power 
and influence of the Church over the hearts of men de- 
pended on the cfibrts which her priests would make to en- 

16 SACRIFICE or THE :mass. 

kindle in souls a lively faitli in, and an ardent love for, tlie 
Sacred Mysteries. " ^lany are infirm and weak among you," 
writes St. Paul to tlie Corinthians, "and many sleep" in sin 
and indifference towards God and their own salvation, 
"because they discern not the Body of the Lord," that is, 
because they are ignorant o.f the great treasure of the Mass 
and holy communion. As Samson was celebrated for his 
extraordinary bodily strength, so is the Catholic Church 
noted for her extraordinary spiritual strength. Were she 
asked like Samson wherefrom she derives all this invincible 
strengtli and vitality, she would answer, — " It is from her 
faith in the holy sacrifice of the Mass ; it is from holy com- 
munion. Take away the Mass and we are shorn of our 
strength, weak like the rest of mankind." 

This faith is the dove with the olive branch come to pro- 
claim the passing away of the mighty deluge of sin ; it rouses 
the lukewarm from the fatal lethargy that has fallen upon 
their souls, it brings sinners back to God, it inflames the 
pious with more ardent love for Jesus Christ, it causes the 
unbeliever to reflect on the truths of our religion, it dispels 
the clouds of religious errors, it puts the devil to flight and 
makes him tremble; it brings down the angels from heaven 
upon earth to stay with the Christians and defend them 
against the attacks of Satan ; it opens the source of all 
heavenly benedictions; it brings true peace and joy into the 
heart. It is this faith that disposes the heart for participat- 
ing in the plenitude of this divine mystery and makes it easy 
for the soul to contemplate the Son of God, to approach Him 
with ardor, and to enjoy Ilim in peace; that keeps the in- 
terior eye of the soul forever fixed, not upon the weak acci- 
dents that show themselves to the senses, but on the Son of 
God, the King of glory. Who veils the splendor of His coun- 
tenance that she may have easy access to His mercy unawed 
by the greatness of His Majesty. This is the faith that 
causes the heart to leap with joy, and give forth acts of every 
virtue, in order to receive with greater reverence the divine 


guesfc who honors it with His presence. This faith fills the 
soul with hope to approach Him with gladness; with hu- 
mility to lose herself in profound respect ; with charity to 
embrace Him ; with devotion to render Him homage ; with 
obedience to submit herself to His diyine will. This is the 
spirit that concentrates all the powers of the soul in a pro- 
found recollection,- and banishes from her whatever can in- 
terrupt her conversation with her dearly beloved Saviour, 
Jesus Christ. It introduces her into the true kingdom of 
God, leading her frequently as it does to the sacred banquet 
to unite herself with her divine Spouse by means of the 
Blessed Sacrament. 

The learned and the wise ones of this world are often blind 
to all this ; and as they rely too much on their own opinion 
and judgment, contented to guide themselves only by their 
own lights, not caring to rise higher than human reason, 
for want of humility and devotion, so they grovel all their 
life-time in the littleness of their own ideas and sentiments — 
a littleness incredible in all that regards the mysteries of the 
faith and the spiritual direction of souls. So they are vexed 
at Eevelation, and histories of miracles — with an occasional 
professed exception in favor of those recorded in the Gos- 
pel — offend them, just as though the Lord could and would 
no longer perform a miracle, nor reveal Himself again after 
His ascension into heaven, forgetful that in the very Gospel 
they profess to believe. He has told us plainly, " Amen, amen, 
I say to you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do, 
he shall do also, and greater than these shall he do;"* and 
he that loveth me, shall be loved by my Father ; " and I will 
love him and will manifest myself to 7iim.''\ 

These men do not consider that wonders are in a particu- 
lar manner the Avork of God, intended to awaken our atten- 
tion to His holy Providence, and to move our souls to praise 
His goodness and power, often also to bear witness to Hia 

* John xiv. 12. t lb. verge 21 


Our fathers in the faith never, as do so many of the wise 
ones to-day, found it so difficult for Almighty God to work 
miracles, especially by means of the Blessed Sacrament. 
Bossuet said: "Why do people wish to make it so laborious 
a work for the Ahuighty to cause miraculous effects?" 
" There are," says a great poet, " more things in heaven and 
on earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy." That 
which is considered to be impossible iit the present day, was 
doubtless possible formerly, when the w^orld was younger 
and more innocent than it now is, — more worthy of the 
miracles God wrought in it — ^when angels and saints of 
heaven loved to commune with its simple and innocent peo- 
ple, whose life was divided between labor and the practice 
of good works. 

" The bad," says St. Alphonsus, " are as ready to deride 
miracles as the good are to believe them ; " and he adds, 
"as it is weakness to give credit to all things, so, on the 
other hand, to reject miracles which come to us attested by 
grave and pious men, either savors of infidelity, which sup- 
poses them impossible to God, or of presumption which re- 
fuses belief to such a class of authors. "We give credit to a 
Tacitus, a Suetonius, and can we deny it without presump- 
tion to Christian authors of learning and piety ? There is 
less risk in believing and receiving what is related with some 
probability by honest persons and not rejected by the learned, 
and which serves for the edification of our neighbor, than in 
rejecting it with a disdainful and presum^Dtuous spirit." 
" When facts are related that teach and edify us," says St. 
Francis de Sales, " we should not believe that the proofs 
upon which they rest are entirely defective and woi*thless. 
* Charity believeth all things,' which is to say, it does not 
easily believe that one lies. And if there be no sign of false- 
hood in what is represented to her, she makes no difficulty 
in giving it credence, especially when it relates to anything 
which exalts and praises the love of God towards men, or 
the love of men towards God, the more so as Charity, which 


is the sovereign queen of yirtues, takes pleasure after the 
manner of princes in those things which tend to the glory 
of her empire and domination. Supposing then, that the 
narrative be neither so public nor so well attested as the 
greatness of the wonder would seem to require, it loses not 
for that its truth ; for, as St. Augustine excellently^ says, 
* when a miracle is made known, however striking it may be 
in the very place where it happened, or even when related by 
those who witnessed it, it is scarcely believed, but it is not the 
less true.' " " Though an assent of Catholic faith be not due to 
them," says Pope Benedict XIV., " yet they deserve a human 
assent according to the rules of prudence by which they are 
probable and piously credible." 

At the time of St. Bernard, some reverenced the revela- 
tions of St. Hildegarde, even those passages which they 
could not understand ; others, on the contrary, condemned 
them as mere reveries. St. Bernard himself read them with 
the greatest care, and he was edified leyond description. Now 
as those revelations were differently judged by divers persons, 
St. Bernard said to his companions, " These revelations are 
not the work of man ; and no mortal will understand them 
unless love has renewed in his soul the image and likeness 
of God." However, one of those present observed, that 
many persons, both learned and ignorant, religious and secu- 
lar, daily pierced the soul of the handmaid of God, by re- 
peating that her visions were only hallucinations of the 
drain, or deceits of the devil. Upon which St. Bernard re- 
plied: " Let us not be surprised, my brethren, that those 
who are sleeping in their sins should regard revelations from 
on high as follies, since the Apostle affirms that the animal 
man cannot comprehend the things of the spirit. Yes, cer- 
tainly, those who lie buried in pride, in impurity, or in other 
sins, take the warnings of God for reveries; but if they were 
vigilant in the fear of God, they would recognize ly sure 
signs, the divine work. As to those who believe those 
visions to be the suggestions of the devil, they show that 


they have no deep knowledge of divine contemplation ; they 
are like those who said of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, 
that He cast out devils through the power of Beelzebub." 

Such men, for being in the habit of always thinking 
first how a tenet or practice or a fact is most presentable to 
the public, are soon and almost imperceptibly led to profane- 
ness, from a habit producing, as it generally does, the spirit 
of rationalism in matters of faith. Their too delicate and 
fastidious taste has too much regard for the feelings of 
a certain class of people. I am aware that Christian charity, 
the great queen of virtues, demands of us to have due re- 
gard for the feelings of others ; and I am thoroughly per- 
suaded, that no one was ever yet converted by harsh means, 
or abusive language. Charity is, however, not only not in- 
compatible with truth, but it ever demands that the whole 
truth should be told, especially when its concealment be a 
cause of error or of perseverance in error and sin, in mat- 
ters, too, of most deep and vital importance. Hence to 
judge from the works of our greatest Catholic divines, it 
would appear that the deeper theologian a man is, the 
less does he give way to this studious desire of making diffi- 
culties easy at any cost short of denying what is positively 
defide. They seem to handle truth religiously just in the 
way that God is pleased to give it to us, rather than to see 
what they can make of it themselves by shaping it for con- 
troversy, and so by dint of skilful manipulation squeeze it 
through a difficulty. Let such men examine themselves 
well to see whether they are not out of harmony with the 
mind of the Church and the spirit of the saints, whether 
their faith is not too feeble, and their distrust of God's won- 
ders too overweening and too bold, whether, in short, for the 
good of their own soul they may not have the principle of 
rationalism to unlearn, and the temper of faith — sound, rea- 
sonable, masculine, yet childlike faith — to broaden, to heigh- 
ten and to deepen in themselves by the very contemplation 
of what may now be in some degree a scandal to them, 


namely, Quam miralilis est Deus in Sanctis suis, by means 
cf the holy Eucharist. 

What difficulty can one pretend to have in believing cer- 
tain extraordinary graces which we read of in the lives of 
the saints ? He who believes the favor which God conferred 
on men by making Himself man, ought to find no other in- 
credible and surprising. All the communications which 
God can make after this are as nothing. God, having given 
Himself in such a wonderful manner to men, can now refuse 
them nothing. It is to give them all else, that he gave Him- 
self in the Incarnation and the holy Eucharist. The belief 
in this truth naturally inclines all good Christians to believe 
whatever appears to reveal the power, the goodness, and the 
love of their divine Saviour towards men in the august 
mystery of the Mass. They appreciate the manifestations 
of this goodness of the Lord ; they bless and thank Him for 
them, and feel powerfully, yet sweetly, drawn by them to- 
wards this centre of all earthly happiness. 

It is principally for this reason that, for my own use and 
for the use of others, I have often wished for such a compi- 
lation on the holy sacrifice of the Mass as I now offer to my 
brethi'en of the Catholic Communion, a compilation which 
I have endeavored to write as much as possible in tlie same 
manner as the book " The Blessed Eucharist, Our Greatest 
Treasure," being fully convinced from a long experience 
that this manner of explaining so sublime a truth is better 
calculated than any other to convey instruction to the minds 
of all, especially of the humbler classes, who compose the 
greater part of the body of the faithful, to enliven their 
faith and make them relish and practise what they are 
taught to believe of so stupendous a mystery. A book like 
this, containing a full, plain, and, I trust, correct explana- 
tion of the Mass may be welcome to Catholics in general, 
but especially to well-disposed and pious souls, whose chief 
desire and aim in life is to know the will of God, their 
heavenly Pathcr, and knowing it, to do it. 


I am impressed more strongly than ever witli a sense of 
the grandeur and sublimity of the subject. It has always 
been a matter of considerable difficulty not only to Protes- 
tants, but even to most Catholics, nay even to many theolo- 
gians to form a clear conception of the holy sacrifice of the 
Mass. Perfectly conscious of my utter incompetency for 
the task, I could have wished that some one more compe- 
tent, and more experienced in writing, had engaged in the 
undertaking. Hence I am ready to charge myself with pre- 
sumption for venturing on so difficult a task which has 
occupied the pens of the ablest theologians. 

I can find for myself no excuse but in the sincerity with 
which I have sought to collect, from all the authors at my 
command, the most select and pithy sentences of the Fathers 
and theologians, in order to give devout persons an oppor- 
tunity, with little effort or expense, to become acquainted 
with the ideas of those great men and saints of God on the 
subject, that their hearts may be inflamed with greater 
ardor for the holy sacrifice of the Mass — a fountain so full 
that the farther it extends, the fuller it becomes ; and the 
fuller it becomes, the farther it extends, which signifies that 
the holy Mass is a subject so grand and so sublime that the 
more we say of it, the more there remains to be said. Not- 
Avithstanding this sincerity of mine, I am fully sensible that 
I am far from having done justice to a mystery inaccessible 
to angels, impenetrable to devils, and totally incomprehen- 
sible to human reason, a subject so difficult to handle, so 
vast in its extent, so sublime in its conceptions, so unspeak- 
able in its blessings, both spiritual and temporal. It is not 
necessary to urge in my defence any theological embarrass- 
ments under which I labored, since that will hardly be an 
excuse for not doing well what it was not necessary for me 
to do at all. But I may be permitted to add, that in my 
book, "The Blessed Eucharist, Our Greatest Treasure," a 
certain deficiency may have been felt by many a pious reader 
In the perusal of the first chapter on the Ileal Presence, and 

i:n'tiioductory. 23 

of those chapters treating on the holy sacrifice of the Mass ; 
they may have wished to see in the former still more solid 
proofs in confirmation of the Real Presence, especially as the 
belief in this truth forms the basis of our whole conception 
of the Mass ; in the latter they may have desired to see a 
fuller and more detailed explanation of the treasure of graces 
we possess in the divine gift of the Mass. To supply this 
deficiency, the following pages were written during intervals 
snatched, since last Fall, from my many religious and mis- 
sionary labors. As to the defects of. this undertaking — 
which unquestionably are many — I hope the sincerity of a 
good will and the desire of spiritually benefiting my Catho- 
lic brethren, will be sufficient to plead my cause with the 
indulgent and considerate reader. And thus, imperfect as 
this new production may be, I present it to my brethren of 
the clergy and laity, confidently hoping that it will induce 
many souls to betake themselves with greater eagerness and 
assiduity to the source of all temporal and everlasting hap- 
piness — to Jesus Christ, their sweet Saviour and good Shep- 
herd, in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. 

. Now should my brethren of the clergy and laity, many of 
whom Avould have been certainly better qualified than my- 
self for the task, deem this publication ever so little calcu- 
lated to realize this hope of mine, I would most humbly 
request them to encourage its circulation to the best of their 
power. " A willow-tree," says St. Gregory, " bears no fruit, 
but by supporting as it does the vine together with its 
grapes, it makes these its own by supporting what is not its 
own." (Hom. 20, in Evang.) In like manner, he who 
warmly recommends a book calculated to do much good 
makes his own all the good that is done by the book. 

But as it is only by faith that we can understand what 
the Lord teaches us in a mystery in which everytliing is 
sublime, everything is prodigious, and as it is only by prayer 
that we can derive profit from it, it is from Ilim that we 
must implore the necessary grace to discover the infinite 


treasures of the divine goodness and mercy wliicli lie so 
humbly hidden under the outward appearance of bread and 
wine, saying often ; — It is Thyself, Lord, Who hast ac- 
complished this sublime mystery ; of Thee we humbly beg 
understanding and love, so as to be able to apply to ourselves 
the fruits of it; and you, holy Mary, Mother of God, and 
our tender Motlier, obtain for us these precious graces, so 
that a work, whose accomplishment cost so many sorrows to 
your heart, may not prove sterile to our souls. Intercede 
particularly for me, I beseech you, that I may relate with 
benefit the supreme glories — the wonderful works — of your 
beloved Son, and my Divine Master. May the mysteries 
which I undertake to explain make a deep impression on our 
minds and hearts — so that they may shine forth in our 
whole life, — so that they may be our strength at the hour of 
death and become the pledge of our everlasting happiness. 
Beseech your Divine Son to bless these instructions, which 
I now offer to His people under your patronage, for the 
glory of Jesus Christ, the sanctification of the faithful and 
the edification of the Church. In the name of the Father, 
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 



Many centuries ago, when King Solomon reigned in 
Jerusalem, he bent his mind to the gratification of every desire 
of his heart, seeking for happiness. " I said in my heart, I 
will go and abound with delights, and enjoy good things; I 
made me great works ; I built me houses, and planted vine- 
yards, I made gardens and orcliards, and set them with 
trees of all kinds, and I made me ponds of water, to water 
therewith the wood of the young trees. I got me men-ser- 
vants and maid-servants, and had a great flimily ; and herds 
of oxen and great flocks of sheep above all that were before 
me in Jerusalem : I heaped together for myself silver and 
gold, and the wealth of kings and provinces; I made me 
singing men and singing women, and the delights of the 
sons of men ; cups and vessels to serve to pour out wine ; 
and I surpassed in riches all that v^ere before me in Jerusa- 
lem; my wisdom also remained with me. And whatsoever 
my eyes desired, I refused them not, and I withheld not my 
heart from enjoying every pleasure, and delighting itself in 
the things which I had prepared, and I esteemed my por- 
tion, to make use of my own labor." 

After such ample enjoyment of all earthly pleasures, might 
we not think that Solomon was happy indeed ? Neverthe- 
less he tells us that his heart was not satisfied, and that he 
felt himself more miserable than before. "And when I 
turned myself," he says, " to all the works which my hands 
had wrought, and to the labors wherein I had labored in vain, 
I saw in all tilings vanity and vexation of mind, and tliat 
nothing was lasting under the sun."* 

* Eccl. II. 

26 THE wo:n^derful promise of god. 

What liapi)ened to Solomon, happens still in one shape or 
form to every man. Here on earth we are never satisfied ; 
we always crave for something more, something higher, 
something better. Whence comes this continual restlessness 
that haunts us through life and pursues us even to the 
grave ? It is the home-sickness of the soul, its craving after 
God. All things were created for man, but man was created 
to live with God, and to be united with God. Therefore the 
idea, the essence of all religion may be expressed in one 
word : " Emmanuel, God with us." 

The existence of God among men in some sensible form 
is a want of the human heart. To satisfy this craving after 
the Real Presence of God, men made use of unholy means. 
Blinded by their passions they fell into idolatry, and instead 
of raising themselves to the true and pure God, they foolishly 
worshipped what they deemed the divine presence in stones, 
plants, and animals. It was God Himself wiio planted in the 
human heart the desire for the Eeal Presence, and God 
Himself also found means to satisfy this desire. 

The works of God come to perfection slowly and gradu- 
ally. This is the case in all, but especially in that m'ost ad- 
mirable of His works, the Real Presence. He first revealed 
Himself to man by creation, which is a continual revelation 
of His presence, although He is hidden therein. The good 
and pure indeed behold God in creation; they see His 
power in the storm, in the cataract, in the earthquake. 
They see His wisdom in the laws that govern the boundless 
universe. His beauty in the flower, in the sunbeam, and in 
the many-tinted rainbow. But the wicked and impure use 
tliis very creation only to outrage and blaspheme the 

God then made use of a more perfect means to reveal to 
man His divine presence. This was His word. If a friend 
visits us at night, and finds us sitting in the dark, he speaks, 
he makes use of words to show that he is really present. In 
like manner, God wishing to reveal His Real Presence to 


man, sitting in the darkness of this life, has addressed him in 
words. This is the very first article of faith. God spoke to our 
first parents in the garden of Paradise. He spoke to the Patri- 
archs, to the Prophets, and finally, as St. Paul assures ns. 
He has spoken for the last time by His only begotten Son. 

But merely to hear the voice of a friend is not enough ; 
the heart longs for something more ; the eyes yearn to look 
npon him. God knows this want of the human heart, and 
He has satisfied it also. The prophets have besought Him 
again and again to show Himself. '•' Show us Thyface^O 
Lord, and we shall be saved." This too was the ardent 
prayer of Moses. " Lord, show me Thy glory." * 

In the Old Law, God satisfied this desire by manifesting 
His Keal Presence to the Israelites, under the form of a 
cloud, and of a pillar of fire. He next commanded an ark or 
tabernacle to be made, and there He manifested His Real 
Presence by a peculiar, supernatural light, called the She- 
kinah. But all this did not satisfy either man's heart or God's 
unbounded love. If we love a person dearly; it will not satisfy 
ns to hear his voice or to see him in disguise ; we wish to 
behold him face to face. God gratified even this desire. 
He had commanded a tabernacle of wood to be made by 
the hand of man, and that tabernacle He chose for His dwell- 
ing place. But now with His own divine hands He made a 
living tabernacle, holy and spotless, the Immaculate Virgin 
Mary ; and in that tabernacle He took up His abode. There 
He formed for Himself a human body and soul. Thence 
He came forth to live amons: men and to be as one of them. 

In becoming man, God revealed His Real Presence to all 
our senses. Men saw God, heard God, even touched God. 
Ho had already revealed His Real Presence to man's reason in 
the creation, but man had forgotten Him. He had revealed 
His Real Presence by His word, and man refused to listen to 
Him. He had shown Himself face to face to man, and man 

* Exod. xxxiii. 18. 


crucified Him. There was now but one means left for God 
to reveal His Eeal Presence, and that was by faith. He hides 
Himself from our senses, He hides Himself from our reason ; 
He reveals His Presence in a far more perfect manner. He 
shows Himself to the eyes of faith in the blessed sacrament. 
The blessed sacrament, or holy Eucharist, is indeed a great 
mystery. Our Saviour knew that if He were to teach the 
Jews and His disciples the new and wonderful doctrine of 
this mystery without having first prepared them for it, there 
would be scarcely one found to believe Him. When God in- 
tends to do something very extraordinary, He generally pre- 
pcares men for it by revealing to them beforehand, what He 
is about to do. Thus we know that, when He intended to 
destroy the world by the deluge. He made it known through 
Noah, a hundred years before the event took place. Again, 
when the Son of God had become man, and was about to 
make Himself known as the Eedeemer of the world, He 
sent St. John the Baptist to prepare the people for His com- 
ing. Finally, when He intended to destroy Jerusalem, He 
foretold it by the prophets, and Jesus Christ has also de- 
scribed the signs by which men may know when the end 
of the world is near at hand. God acts thus with men be- 
cause He does not wish to overwhelm them bv His stransfe 
and mysterious dealings. Hence, when our divine Saviour 
was about to tell the people that He intended to give them 
His flesh and blood as food and drink for their souls, He 
prepared them for this mysterious doctiune by working an 
astounding miragle — the feeding of five thousand people 
with five loaves and two fishes. Those who witnessed this 
miracle, Avere so filled with reverence for Jesus Christ, that 
they wished to take Him by force and make Him their king. 
But Jesus, perceiving this, fled from them. They found Him 
again however, on the following day; and then He took oc- 
casion, from the impression the miracle had made on them, 
to introduce the subject of the heavenly food which He was 
about to give the world. "Amen, I say to you; ye seek 


Me, not because you have seen signs, but because you have 
eaten of the loaves and were filled. Labor not for the meat 
which perisheth, but for that which endureth to life everlast- 
ing, which the Son of man Avill give you." Here our Lord de- 
clares that the food He was to give them would confer eter- 
nal life. Their curiosity being excited by these words, they 
desired to know more about this heavenly food and asked 
what sign He would give them, and whether the food He 
spoke of was better than the manna from heaven, which God 
had given their fathers in the Desert. Before giving any 
further explanation, our Lord speaks of the absolute neces- 
sity of faith in His Divine Person. " This is the work of 
God that you lelieve in Me as your divine Redeemer. But 
you have seen Me and you believe not. This is the will of 
My Father that sent Me ; that every one who seetli the Son, 
and lelieveth in Him, may have life everlasting, and I will 
raise him up in the last day. Amen, amen I say unto you 
he that believe th in Me hath life everlasting." * In ordi- 
nary words Our Lord would say, you must believe that I am 
your Redeemer and your God, and that, therefore, it is in 
My power to give you such bread as bestows upon you life 
everlasting. Then having required of them an unwavering 
faith. He promises to give them a heavenly bread. He had 
just given them miraculous bread, a kind of bread far 
superior to ordinary bread, but the bread from heaven, 
which He was to give, was something far superior to the 
miraculous bread, and consequently far more than ordinary 
bread. The Jews thought that He would perhaps give them 
something like manna, but Jesus assured them that the 
heavenly bread, which He intended to give, was far superior 
even to manna. " Your fathers," He said to them, "did eat 
manna in the desert, and are dead, but he that eats of the 
bread that I will give, shall live forever." 
Now manna was called bread from heaven, the bread of 

* John XX ix. 47. 


angels. It was better than the miraculous bread, with which 
Jesus had fed the Jews, and consequently far better than or- 
dinary bread. But Jesus Christ promises to give us a kind 
of bread superior even to manna. This He calls the true 
bread from heaven, to show us, that the manna was but a 
figure of this heavenly bread. He calls it also the living 
bread, to show us unmistakably that it is far more than or- 
dinary bread, for ordinary bread is not living. Now what 
is this bread that Jesus Christ promises to give us? This 
bread, far superior to ordinary bread, to the miraculous 
bread, to manna, the bread of the angels, this bread from 
heaven, this living bread, must indeed be something very ex- 
traordinary, something which had never yet been given to 
man, since before promising it, before telling us Avhat it is, 
our Lord insists so earnestly upon the necessity of faith. 
What then is this extraordinary bread ? Our Lord no longer 
conceals it ; He tells us in the strongest, clearest language — • 
" I am the bread of life, I am the living bread, which came 
down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall 
live forever ; and the bread that I will give, is My flesh for 
the life of the Avorld." * " The Jews therefore strove among 
themselves saying : ' How can this man give us his flesh to 
eat ? ' " St. Cyril of Alexandria, who lived in the fifth century, 
asks here : " Jew, how can you make this question ? Let 
me also ask you, How didst thou go out of Egypt ? Tell me 
how the rod of Moses was turned into a serpent, how was his 
hand made leprous, and again restored, as it is written ? 
How was water changed into the nature of blood? How 
didst thou pass through the midst of the sea, as through a 
dry plain ? How was the bitter water of Merrha changed 
into sweet by a piece of wood ? How was water given thee 
from the bosom of the rocks? How was the manna brought 
down from heaven for thee? How did tlie Jordan stand still 
in its bed ? Or how, by a mere shout, did the impregnable 

* John vi. 48, 51,52. 


wall of Jericho fall ? And wilt tlioa not cease to utter that 
how ? Therefore it became tliee to believe in Christ's word 
and to strive to learn the manner of the eulogy (Eucharist), 
rather than say inconsiderately, like men drunk with wine, 
Ho'W can this man give us His flesh to eat ? 

" The Jews understood our Lord as inviting them to a 
barbarous cruelty. They thought it something horrible to 
order them to eat flesh and drink blood in an inhuman 
manner. Hence they thought : How can a human body in- 
troduce eternal life into us ? How can this body which is 
of the same nature as ours bestow immortality ? 

" * It is the Spirit that quickeneth (vivifies),' says our Lord 
to them ; * The flesh profiteth nothing.' That is to say ; 
there is no absurdity in saying that the flesh is not able to 
bestow life ; the nature of the flesh is such that by itself it 
cannot vivify in any way. On the contrary, it stands in 
need of a vivifying power. ISTow were you to believe that I 
am your God and Saviour, were you to consider the mystery 
of the Licarnation, were you to believe that the Divinity is 
united to My humanity in one person, you would also under- 
stand that My flesh is food indeed and that My blood is 
drink indeed. You would understand that he who eatetli 
My flesh and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me and I in him, 
and thus hath everlasting life. It is therefore very foolish 
on your part to be scandalized at my words. If you think 
that my flesh cannot infuse life into you, how shall it ascend 
to heaven ? And yet this spectacle shall be placed under 
your own eyes. What will you say then ? When you see My 
flesh ascend to heaven, which, to all seeming, is contrary to 
its nature, will you still say that My flesh contains no vivi- 
fying power ? * Amen, amen, I say to you, he that believeth 
in Me, hath everlasting life.' You must, then, believe Me 
to be what I have so often told you. * The words which I 
have spoken to you are spirit and life.' My flesh is not flesh 
only, it is spirit also, because of its being perfectly united to 
My divinity, and assuming the entire vivifying power of 


My Godhead. Altliougli your human body is subjected to 
death by sin, and forced to yield to corruption, yet if I am 
in you, by means of My own proper flesh, you shall assuredly 
rise again. For it is incredible, yea rather, it is impossible, 
that the life should not vivify those in whom it lives. It is 
by means of My own flesh, that I wish to hide life within 
you, and to introduce into you, as it were, a certain seed of 
incorruption which destroys the whole of the corruptible 
within you. For receiving within yourselves both My 
human and divine nature, you will become glorified by be- 
comiug partakers of and sharers in that nature which is 
above all things." It is thus that St. Cyril confounds the 
Jews for daring to say, " How cap this man give us his 
flesh ? " 

In the sixteenth century came the l^rotestants, in their 
pride and ignorance, to imitate the Jews in contradicting 
our Saviour, saying that He spoke only figuratively when 
He promised, and commanded us to eat His flesh. ISTow such 
an assertion is as absurd and ridiculous as it is false and 
blasphemous. In Hebrew, and in all the Oriental languages, 
the expression, '* to eat one's flesh," when taken figuratively, 
means to backbite, to slander, to persecute, and nothing else. 
To say, then, that our Saviour spoke only figuratively, would 
be to say, that He commands us under pain of eternal dam- 
nation, to backbite and to slander Him. 

AVhen our Lord Jesus Christ had made this extraordinary 
promise to the Jews, did they really understand Him to say, 
that He would give them His flesh to eat and His blood to 
drink ? They clearly did understand Him so, and for this 
reason asked in astonishment ; " How can this man give us 
His flesh to eat ? " And some of them said : " This is a 
hard saying, who can hear it ? " And even many of his dis- 
ciples were so shocked at the idea of eating the flesh of 
Jesus, and drinking His blood, that they went away from 
Him altogether, and never went with Him any more. The 
Jews then did not understand our Lord to have spoken fig- 

THE wo:n'dekful promise oe god. 33 

urafcively, for had tliey done so, there was no reason for 
being shocked at His words. The whole Jewish rehgion 
was made up of types and figures, so that if our Lord had 
spoken figuratively, it would have been nothing new to them. 
'No, the Jews understood Him to speak of eating His very 
flesh and drinking His very blood. 

But the question is: Did our Saviour wish the Jews to 
understand Him in this manner ? Most certainly He did. 
Our Lord saw that the Jews understood him to speak of 
eating His real flesh and drinking His real blood. Instead 
of contradicting that opinion, He confirmed it again and 
again, in the strongest and most unmistakable terms. Had 
His intention been to give them His flesh and blood to eat 
in a figurative manner only, would He not, and should He 
not have corrected the mistake of the Jews there and then ? 
He had come on earth to banish falsehood and error and to 
teach the truth. Must He not then have told the truth at 
that moment ? 

i Jesus Christ gave Himself to us as a model; we were to 
learn from Him how to speak the truth with honesty and 
sincerity. Could He then act as an impostor only to deceive 
us ? Even to think of such a thing would be blaspliemous. 
An impostor usually makes fine promises ; he exaggerates 
the value of what he promises to give ; but an honest man 
will rather underrate than exaggerate the value of what he 
promises, especially if he sees that his friends really believe 
his words, and that any exaggeration whatever would be 
productive of great evils. Suppose you promise a friend of 
yours, to make him a present of a fine house, but you intend 
to give him only a picture of the house which you have in 
your room. You see, however, that your friend believes 
that you intend giving him a real house ; you foresee, more- 
over, that this misunderstanding of his will be the cause of 
long and bitter quarrels and law suits. Are you not bound 
by every sense of honesty, charity, and justice, to inform him 
that he has misunderstood you, that you intend to give him 


only a picture of your house ? Our Lord promises in the 
clearest terms to give us His flesh to eat ; He sees that the 
Jews, His disciples, His Apostles, understood His words lit- 
erally. He sees many already take offence and leave Him; 
He knows that by leaving Him, they incur eternal damna- 
tion. He sees that in aftertimes disputes and quarrels will 
arise among men as to what is the real meaning of his words ; 
that many will understand them literally, whilst others will 
take them in another sense. Was it not His most sacred 
duty to explain beyond doubt the meaning of His words ? 
If He wished to be understood figuratively, should He not 
have said : My children, you misunderstand Me ; I will not 
give you my real flesh and blood, but only a figure of My 
flesh. But instead of speaking thus, and correcting the 
Jews, on the contrary, He confirms what He has said. He 
repeats at least five times, that He will really give us His 
flesh to eat. And as our Lord foresaw that there w^ould be 
many who would refuse to eat His flesh and drink His 
blood, He solemnly threatens eternal damnation to all those, 
that refuse. " Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood, 
you shall not have life in you." Wliilst to all who obey Him, 
He promises eternal life. " He that eateth My flesh hath life 
everlasting." He asserts twice that what He has spoken is a 
literal statement; for the Greek word " alethos," means true 
and literal. " For My flesh is meat indeed — /. e, it can be eaten 
indeed, and My blood is drink indeed" — ^. e. it can be drunk 
in very deed. 

Jesus Christ had at first said that He would give us 
bread from heaven, a living bread, but now, to take away 
every shadow of doubt. He tells us, that the bread, which 
He will give, is His flesh ; while to convince us that He 
really intends to give us His flesh, He says : " He that 
eateth Me, shall live by Me." And to confirm all this and 
take away every shadow of doubt and of excuse, He swears 
in the most solemn manner, at least four times, that He 
will give us His real flesh and blood, tliat He will give us 


Himself to be onr food. " Amen, amen, I say nnto you . . 
. . . ." Now in Hebrew, "amen," when used thus, is 
equivalent to an oath. Again Jesus swears, by His mission 
and by His life, that He will give us Himself to be our food. 
" As the living Father hath sent Me, and as I live by the 
Father, he that eateth Me . ..." It is just as if Jesus 
had said : " I declare to you, as true as the living God has 
sent Me, and as true as I live by the Father, he that eateth 
Me . . . ." Now what stronger, what clearer language 
could our Lord have used, to convince us, that He really in- 
tended to give us His flesh and His blood ? It is impossible 
to furnish stronger proofs than these, for any single truth 
in the whole Christian religion. No wonder that our bless- 
ed Lord was filled with sadness when He saw, in spite of all 
that He had said and done, there would still be many who 
would be lost for not believing in His words. " What ! " said 
He, turning to the unbelieving Jews, "does this scandalize 
you ? You do not believe that I can give you My flesh to eat ? 
What then will you say when you see the Son of Man ascend- 
ing to where He was before ? " Jesus Christ appeals to the 
mystery of His ascension, to show us that it is just as easy for 
Him to give us His sacred body to be our food, as it is for Him 
to ascend with that body to the right hand of God in heaven. 
He appeals to His ascension, to convince us that just as cer- 
tainly as His body is now in heaven, so certain is it that 
His body is now also in the Blessed Eucharist. 

Whenever Jesus Christ had spoken figuratively in public, 
He always explained Himself in private to His disciples. 
But here Hb speaks in private as in public, to show us, that 
He does not speak figuratively, that He wishes to be under- 
stood literally. When He saw that many, even of His own 
disciples, left Him because they would not believe His words, 
He turned to the twelve, to His chosen, beloved apostles, and 
instead of giving them any new explanation. He asked 
them: *'Will you also go away?" As saying: I have 
told you the truth, I cannot change what I have said ; 


for it IS the truth. If you will not belieye Me, you also 
may go. 

Indeed, the Christian, who after so many clear unanswer- 
able proofs sees not the truth, must in very deed be willfully 
blind. He is like the owl, that closes its eyes at mid-day, 
and flaps its wings and says : The sun does not shine, for I 
do not see it. If Jesus Christ left us His body only in 
figure, if He left us after all only a piece of bread, why did 
He use so many precautionary measures, in order to persuade 
lis ? why did He insist so much upon the necessity of faith ? 
For faith is to believe in something that we do not see. If 
Jesus Christ left us only a piece of bread, why did He tell 
ns that it is far superior even to manna ? Why did He tell ns 
in so many formal and affirmative propositions that He 
■would really give us His flesh to eat ? If He intended only 
to give us a piece of bread, what need was there to appeal 
to the great miracle of His ascension ? If He intended to 
give us His body only in figure, why did He sufi'er the Jews 
and His own disciples even to go away "without modifying a 
single word of His oft-repeated assertion, that He would 
really give us His flesh to eat ? Jesus, seeing that the Jews 
and many of His disciples would not believe that He was to 
give them His flesh and blood as food for their souls, suff'ered 
tliem to go away ofi"ended, and when tliey were gone. He 
said to the twelve : " Will ye also go away ? " Then Simon 
Peter answered in the name of all : " Lord, to whom shall 
we go ? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And w^e have 
believed and have known that Thou art the Christ the Sou 
of God/'* 

Eeraark the noble simplicity of faith of the Apostles. 
They believe the words of their Master Avithout the least 
hesitation ; they receive His words in that sense in which 
the others had refused to receive them. They accept them 
in tiieir obvious meaning, as a promise that He would give 

*V. 68.70. 


them His real flesh to eat and His real ilood to drink ; they 
believe with a fall fiiith, simply because He is " the Christ, 
the Son of God," too good to deceive and too wise to be de- 
ceived, too faitliful to make vain promises, and too powerful 
to find any difficulty in fulfilling them. It was from this 
time forward that the disciples were constantly expecting 
that Jesus Christ would fulfil His promise. 



The Apostles always remembered the promise whicli Jesus 
had made to give them His most holy Flesh and Blood. 
But the promise was not fulfilled at once. 

In Jerusalem there is a hill called Mount Sion. On this 
hill, near the tomb in which King David was buried, was a 
house which contained a large dining-room. If you had 
entered that room the evening before Jesus died on the cross, 
you would have seen Him sitting at a table with His twelve 
Apostles. What a sight! To behold the Creator in the 
midst of His creatures, whom He had. made out of the dust 
of the earth ! It was a solemn moment, for He was then 
about to work the greatest miracle that ever had been, or 
ever will be wrought. He was going to give Himself away, 
to give His own most sacred body and blood to be the food 
of His creatures. To give us heaven and earth, His angels, and 
His Blessed Mother to watch over us was surely gift enough. 
It would seem almost too good, what St. Augustine has well 
called the folly of love to give us Himself. But the love of 
Jesus for us was boundless, so that nothinsr seemed to Him 
too good to do for us. 

Let us consider how it was done. The word of God is 
life-giving and all-powerful. When God created the heavens 
and the earth, He merely spoke and everything was made. 
He said : " Let light be made and light tvas made. " For 
when God speaks, the thing is done, and done directly. Well, 
let us listen: Jesus is about to speak the word that will 
change the bread and wine into His Body and His Blood. 
On that table at which they were sitting, there was bread 
and wjne. First of all, as the Evangelist tells us, " Jesus 


took bread and blessed and brake, and gave nnto His disci- 
ples/' and said these solemn words: '*' Take ye and eat : This 
is My Body.'''' Quicker than a flash of lightning that bread 
was changed into His Body. Then did all the Apostles eat 
the most sacred flesh of Jesns. 

In like manner He then took the chalice with wine and 
gave to them saying : " Drink ye all of this : For this is My 
Blood of the New Testament which shall be shed for many 
unto the remission of sins.^' * And the wine obeyed the 
voice of Him whom the winds and the sea obeyed. In that 
moment the wine was changed into His sacred Blood. " Eat 
and drink/' said Jesus then to His Apostles ; it is all your 
own; do not think of what your senses perceive; it is to 
your faith, not to your senses that I say, " This is My Body." 
Eemember that it is I who have said this: I and no other : 
— the Son of God, by whom everything was made, alone 
could speak thus; for to Me nothing is impossible. The 
Apostles believed simply; they believed as strongly as our 
Saviour had spoken, and with as much submission on their 
part as He had displayed of authority and power. There 
Avas in their faith that same simplicity contained in the 
words of Jesus : " This is My Body, This is My Blood." It 
is then, really His Body under the appearance of bread, and 
His Blood under the appearance of wine, said and beliered 
the Apostles. 

Then did they all receive our Lord's Body, and drank 
of the most precious Blood of Jesus Clmst. An eternity 
had passed, and the most holy Flesh and Blood of God had 
never yet been given to any creature. The Apostles were 
the first to whom this blessing of blessings was given. Ifc 
was the will of Jesus that from that moment forward, all 
His poor creatures should everywhere freely eat His Flesh 
and drink His Blood to make them holy before God. For 
the good of His creatures. He wished His Body and Blood to 

* Matt. xxvi. 26-39 


be scattered oyer the earth, like the dew of heaven. But 
Jesus knew that in about forty days He would be no longer 
present in the flesh on earth, to give away with His own 
hands His sacred Body and Blood. For this reason He wished 
to leave others on earth to 2:)erform this office for Him. So 
He said to His Apostles and priests — " Do this in remem- 
brance of Me ; " that is to say, to you I give the power to do 
"what I have done — to change bread and wine into My Flesh 
and Blood, and to give it to My people. The word of Jesus 
will never pass away. The sun Avill shine on the earth until 
the last day of this world. So the Body and Blood of Jesus 
Christ will be given by the priests of Jesus Christ to His 
people, to be the light and strength and joy of their souls to 
the end of the world. It .is therefore an article of Catholic 
belief, that in the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, is 
truly and really contained the body of Christ, which was de- 
livered for us, and His blood which was shed for the remis- 
sion of sins ; the substance of the bread and wine being, by 
the power of God, changed into the substance of His blessed 
body and blood, the species and appearances of bread and 
wine, by the power of the same God, remaining as they were. 
This change has been properly called Transubstantiation. 

"As Christ our Redeemer," says the Council of Trent, 
" declared that to be truly His own body, which He offered 
under the species of bread ; therefore has it always been 
firmly believed in the church of God, and this holy Synod 
again declares it, that ; by the consecration of the bread and 
wine, a change is made of the whole substance of the bread 
into tlie substance of the body of Clirist our Lord, and of 
the whole substance of the whie into the substance of His 
blood : which change has been aptly and properly called by 
the holy Catholic Church, Transubstantiation." * Hence — 
" If any one shall deny that, in the sacrament of the most 
Holy Eucharist, there is contained truly, really, and substan- 

•— g . 

* Sess. xiii, c. iv. 


tially, the body and blood together witli the soul and divinity 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore the whole Christ ; 
but shall say that He is only therein in sign, or figure, or 
virtue, let him be anathema." 

NoAV Christ is not present in this sacrament, according to 
his natural way of existence; that is, as bodies naturally ex- 
ist, but in a manner proper to the character of His exalted 
and glorified body. His presence then is real and substan- 
tial, but sacramental and inefiable, not exposed to the exter- 
nal senses, nor obnoxious to corporal contingencies. Hence 
the Council of Trent says : " The holy synod openly and 
plainly professes that in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist, 
after the consecration of the bread and wine, our Lord Jesus 
Christ, true God and man, is truly, really, and substantially 
contained under the species of those sensible objects. For 
these things are not mutually repugnant : That our Saviour, 
according to His natural manner of existence, should always 
be seated in heaven, at the right hand of the Father ; and 
that, nevertheless, He should be present with us, in many 
other places, sacramentally in His own substance, in that 
way of existence, which, though in words we can hardly ex- 
press it, the mind, illumined by faith, can still conceive to 
be possible to God, and which we are bound most firmly to 
believe. For so all our ancestors — as many as were in the 
true Church of Christ — who have written concerning this 
most holy sacrament, have most openly professed." * 

The body of Christ, however, in this holy sacrament, is 
not separated from His blood, nor is His blood from His 
body, nor is either of them disjoined from His soul and 
divinity ; but all and the whole living Christ is entirely con- 
tained under each species, so that, whoever receives under 
one kind, becomes truly partaker of the whole sacrament : 
He is not deprived either of the body or the blood of Christ. 
" For at all times," says the Council of Trent, " the faith 

* Sess. xiii. ci. 


has been in tlie Church of God that, immediately after con* 
secration, the true body of our Lord and His true blood, to- 
gether with His soul and divinity, are present under the 
species of bread and wine ; but the body indeed under the 
species of bread, and the blood under the species of wine, by 
virtue of the words (of consecration) : moreover, that the 
body itself is under the species of wine, and the blood 
under the species of bread, and the soul under each, by vir- 
tue of that natural connection and concomitance, by which 
the body and soul of our Lord, who, being now risen from the 
dead, can die no more, are naturally joined together ; the 
divinity, furthermore, is there, on account of its admirable 
hypostatic union with the body and soul. AVherefore, it is 
most true that as much is contained under either species, as 
under both; for Christ, whole and entire, exists nnder the 
species of bread, and under each (divided) particle of that 
species : and whole under the species of wine, and under its 
separated parts." * 

It is thus that our Lord has redeemed His promise of giv- 
ing to the world His flesh to eat and His blood to drink. It 
is thus that we see the truth of what He said to His apos- 
tles : " I will not leave you orphans." f I shall indeed with- 
draw from you My visible presence by ascending into heav- 
en, but I will stay with you in the blessed sacrament to the 
end of the world. 

" When Elias ascended into heaven," says St. John Chry- 
sostom, "he left notliing else behind him to his disciple than 
his mantle. * With this,' said he, 'have I wrestled with the 
devil; take this and arm thyself also with it against him.' 
Eliseus received that mantle as the greatest inheritance, for 
indeed it was the greatest inheritance, a more precious one 
than all gold. And that Elias was now a twofold person, an 
Elias above and an Elias below. I know that you reckon 
that just man blessed, and each one of you wishes to be he, 

* Sess. xiii. ciii. f St. Jolin xiv. 18. 


What then if I show you tliat we have receiyed something 
else much greater than that which he had ? For Elias left 
a mantle to his disciple, but the Son of God, when ascending 
to heaven, left unto us His own flesh. Elias indeed having 
stripped off his covering went up, but Christ left His flesh 
unto us, and yet retaining it, ascended. 

"Parents, indeed, have given their children toothers to 
feed, but *not so I,' says Jesus Christ, ^but I feed Mine with 
My flesh ; I set Myself before you ; My will being that you 
shall be ennobled, and holding out to you, as regards future 
things, glad expectations. For He that has given Himself 
unto you here, much more will He do so in the world to 
come. I was willing to become your brother; for you I 
partook of flesh and blood, again do I give to you that same 
flesh and blood, whereby I became your relative.' 

" This blood efi'ects for us that blooming kingly image, 
this begets beauty unrivalled ; this suffers not the soul's dig- 
nity to fade away, irrigating and nourishing it continually. 
For the blood that is formed within us, from our food, does 
not at once become blood, but something else ; but not so 
this ; it at once irrigates the soul and infuses a mighty 
power. This blood, worthily received, drives away demons, 
and keeps them far aloof from us, but summons angels to us, 
and the Lord of angels. For wheresoever they behold the 
Lord's blood, demons fly, and angels crowd in haste. This 
blood when poured out washed the whole world. Wherefore, 
let us not be cast down, nor lament, nor fear the difficulties 
of the times; for He who refused not to pour out His blood 
for all, and who has given us to partake of His flesh and of 
His blood again, what will He refuse to do for our safety ? " * 

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has said : " I am the truth : " 
i. e. all words that I speak are true. Now He took bread into 
His hands and said, "This is My Body; " it is then really 
His Body under the appearance of bread. He took a cup of 

* T. ii. Horn. ii. ad Popul. Antioch. n. g. 


wine and said: ^''This is My Blood;" it is then really His 
Blood under the appearance of wine which He poured into 
the cup and presented to His Apostles. He who spoke in 
this raanner was the creator of heaven and earth, with 
Whom to speak and to act are the same thing. 

When God works miracles for the relief of bodily necessi- 
ties, men believe. Now when His immense love for our 
souls prevails upon Him to change bread and wine into His 
body and blood for the relief of our spiritual necessities, 
they refuse to believe. What blindness of the mind ! What 
perverseness of the heart ! . Had Christ said, '^ This is not 
My body, This is not My blood," every one would say that 
neither. His body nor His blood was present in the sacra- 
ment, because these words, taken in the natural, literal sense, 
could convey no dubious idea. But Jesus Christ has said-^ 
" This is My body, this is My blood : " why then shall not • 
those words be held to have equal force in proving that His 
body and blood are truly and really present in the Blessed 
Sacrament ? 

"■ Since Christ Himself pronounced it," writes St. Cyril of 
Jerusalem, in the fourth century, "and said * This is My 
Body^ who after that shall dare to doubt of it ? And since 
He says, '■ This is My Bloody who would dare to say it is 
not His Blood? He once changed water into 'wine, and 
does He not deserve to be believed, when He has changed 
wine into His blood? With a certainty excluding all 
manner of doubt, we take the body and blood of Christ ; 
for under the appearance of bread His body is given, and 
His blood under the appearance of wine." 

" Let us, therefore," says St. John Chrysostom, " believe 
God always, let us never contradict Him, though what He 
says appears above our reason ; for His word cannot deceive 
us, but our senses may easily be deceived. As, therefore, 
He said. This is My body, let us believe it without the least 
hesitation. We are nourished with that flesh which the 
angels see, and before which they tremble. What shepherd 

THE wo:n"derful gift of god. 45 

ever fed his flock with his flesh ? He nourished us with His 
own body, He cements and incorporates us with Himself. 
He makes us His own body, not merely by faith, but in fact 
and in reality. 

St. Isaac, a holy priest of Antioch, in the fifth century, 
says : " I saw the mingled vessel (cup), and I saw it filled 
with blood instead of wine ; and instead of the bread, I saw 
the body placed in the middle of the table. I saw the blood 
and feared; I saw the body and was awed. She, Faith, 
beckoned, saying, *Eat and be silent; drink, search not, my 
child.' She showed me a body slain, of which, placing a por- 
tion on my lips, she calmly said, * See what thou eatest' She 
held out to me a reed, and bade me subscribe myself I took 
it, wrote and confessed that. This is the Body of God ! In 
like manner taking the chalice I drank, and out of the chal- 
ice the odor of that Body which I had eaten smote me. 
And what I had said of the Body, namely, that it is the 
Body of God, that also did I say of the chalice, namely, that 
This is the Blood of our Redeemer ! " 

We read in the Gospel of St. Matthew * that our Divine 
Redeemer one day asked His disciples to tell Him whom 
men said that He was. The disciples answered that some 
said He was John the Baptist, others that He was Elias, 
others again that He was Jeremias or one of the prophets. 
Then Jesus asked, " But whom do you say that I am ? " 
Simon Peter answered, " Thou art Christ, the Son of the 
living God." And Jesus replied : " Blessed art thou, Simon 
Barjona, because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, 
but My Father, Who is in heaven ; " that is to say, it is not 
by your senses, or by any human means, that you know for 
certain, that I am the Son of God, for your senses behold in 
Me but an ordinary man, but My heavenly Father has en- 
lightened you to know that I am His Son, God and man at 
the same time ; for this faith of yours, I call you blessed. 

* xvi. 13-17. 


Now, suppose our Lord Jesus Christ should say to Protes- 
tants : " Tell Me, what is the consecrated Host ? " Some of 
them would answer: It is but a figure of Thy Body ; others, 
again would reply: It will become Thy Body in the mouth 
of the recipient ; whilst others still would respond otherwise. 
But were our Lord to ask every one of the two hundred 
millions of Catholics all over the world, all would at once 
answer like St. Peter: The consecrated Host is Thy own 
Body ; It is Christ, the Son of the living God, for the sim- 
ple reason that Thou hast made it, and therefore declared It 
to be Thy Body. And Jesus Christ then would answer what 
He said to St. Peter: Blessed are you, because it is not flesh 
and blood that has revealed it to you: it is not by your 
senses, that you know the consecrated Host to be really My 
Body, but by the gift of faith bestowed upon you by My 
heavenly Father. Most assuredly then, the heavenly Father 
has not revealed Himself to those who do not believe in 
His Son in the consecrated Host. 

In the beginning of the world, God promised to give 
Himself to us. But not contented with a promise which had 
reference only to eternity. He gave us even in this life His 
divine Son — another and yet Himself in the Institution of 
the Holy Eucharist. It is therefore in Holy Communion 
that Jesus is our beatitude begun. He is the Head of His 
church, of all the faithful on earth, who form His mystic 
body. Now where the head is, there also should be its body. 
But since we — the mystic body of Christ — cannot be as 3'et 
with Jesus Christ, in heaven, He, our Head vouchsafed to 
stay with us, His body, on earth, though in a manner in- 
visible to our eyes. 

Moreover, Jesus Christ is the Spouse of the Catholic 
Church; with her He is more inseparably united than man 
and wife can be. The bond of His union is the immense 
love of Jesus Christ for His Spouse. St. Paul holds up for 
imitation to married people this love of Jesus Christ for 
His Spouse. " Husbands," he writes in his Epistle to the 


Ephesians, " love your wives as Christ also loves the church 
and delivered Himself up for her." * 

JSTow all the faithful are members of this church ; they 
were cleansed from all defilement of sin in Holy Baptism. 
Hence it is that the love of Jesus Christ for a pure soul — a 
member ot His mystic body — infinitely exceeds that of a 
bridegroom for his bride. This exceedingly great love of 
Jesus Christ for His Spouse induced Him to stay with her 
to the consummation of the world. The reason, however, 
why our Divine Saviour stays with His Spouse on earth in u 
hidden manner, is because He is espoused to her in faith : 
His union with her being spiritual, not carnal, as was fore- 
told by the prophet Osee, " I will espouse thee to Me forever, 
and I will espouse thee to Me in mercy, in commiserations ; 
and I will espouse thee to me in faitli, and thou shalt know 
that I am the Lord." f 

Since our Lord then is espoused to the church, in faith, it 
was fitting that He should be with her in a hidden manner, 
in order that her children might find herein a good opportu- 
nity to exercise their faith and obtain in heaven the reward 
promised in the Gospel to those who have not seen, yet have 

Since the Church then is the Spouse of Jesus Christ, He 
feels bound in duty, as it were, to provide her with the 
necessary life-giving food, and to see to her spiritual welfare 
and prosperity. Now this He does especially by giving 
Himself as food and drink in the Blessed Eucharist to all 
the faithful of His church, thus clearly showing that He 
truly loves His Spouse, the Church, and supplies all her 
temporal and spiritual wants. 

God, so glorious and yet so intimately nnited with us, 
lifted so high above the heavens and yet stooping to the low- 
liness of Thy creatures, so immense and yet dwelling near 
us on our altars, so awful and yet so worthy of love ! Oh, 

(* Ephes. V. 25.) (f Chap. ii. 19.) 


for a Yoice loud enoiigli to reproacli tlie world with its blind- 
ness, coldness, and unbelief: to declare with power all that 
Thou art : to cover with confusion all those who neither 
believe in Thy wonderful promise nor in tliy wonderful gift ! 
Thou, Lord, givest me too much, in giving me Thyself, 
for I am unworthy of so much happiness. Yet wouldst Thou 
give me too little in giving me anything but Thyself; for 
everything Thou couldst give me without the gift of Thy- 
self, would be too little for the satisfaction of Thy love, and 
also insufficient to fill my heart. 

May Jesus in the Blessed Sacrement be praised forever. 



Our dear Saviour tells us in the Gospel that He ia the 
Good Shepherd. Jesus is indeed a good Shepherd. He knows 
His sheep in general and in particular. He instructs them 
by His word, He strengthens them by his grace, animates 
them by His spirit, and enriches them with His merits. He 
does not, like other shepherds, nourish Himself with their 
flesh, or clothe Himself with their fleece ; on the contrary. 
He gives them His flesh to eat and His blood to drink. He 
watches over His sheep with a special Providence ; He never 
abandons them; He defends and protects them against the 
foe who would devour them. When he prowls about the 
sheepfold and would enter, Jesus comes to their assistance to 
drive him off and save them. 

This Good Shepherd foresaw that Luther and other raven- 
ous wolves, would enter in and carry off many of His sheep : 
that they would kill them by preventing them from eating 
the " Bread of Life " — the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ 
in holy communion. It was Luther's own opinion tliat in 
no wise could he hurt the sheep of Jesus Christ more than 
by undermining their faith in the Eeal Presence. Jesus had 
foreseen this. So to prove Himself a Good Shepherd to 
His flock. He made use of a wonderful means to awaken their 
faith in the Blessed Sacrament. This means was the insti- 
tution of the Feast of Corpus Christi. 

I need not relate here the wonderful manner in which it 
was introduced into the Church in the thirteenth century. 
This may be read in the '' Blessed Eucharist, our greatest 



Treasure.'' I only wish here to call attention to the fact, 
that it was instituted by divine inspiration in order that the 
Catholic doctrine might be strengthened by the institution 
of this festival, at a time when the faith of the world was 
growing cold and heresies were rife. This feast is celebra- 
ted with all possible magnificence and pomp. The solemn 
procession of the Blessed Sacrament is the public recogni- 
tion by the Catholic world of the Real Presence of Jesus in 
the Blessed Sacrament; it is a reversal of the judgment that 
an nnbelievirig world would pass upon our Lord and a com- 
pensation for the outrages which it has inflicted on Him. 
As He was once in the most ignominious manner led as a 
malefactor tlirougli the streets of Jerusalem from Annas to 
Caiphas, from Caiphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, from 
one tribunal to another, on this day He is borne in triumph 
through the church and open streets, as the spotless Lamb 
and as man's Highest Good. 

As His sufferings had no other witnesses than envious 
and unworthy Jews, so now, on this day every knee bends 
in adoration before Him. x\s the executioner once led Him 
forth to death, so, in this procession, tlie great ones of the 
world mingle with the throng to do Him reverence. As 
then His ears resounded with the most scornful and out- 
rageous blasphemies, so now, on this great festival, the 
church greets Him with music and songs of praise. The 
crown of thorns that once pierced His brow is now ex- 
changed for the wreath of flowers around the remonstrance, 
while civil magistrates with their insignia and troops of 
heroes, with glittering arms and waving banners, replace the 
fierce Roman soldiers, who once kept watch around His dark 
and silent tomb. The Cross which Jesus bore with sorrow 
and sweat, up the rugged hill of Calvary, is, on this day of 
triumph, carried before all as the sign of victory. Jesus 
Himself, who was lifted up upon it, is now, in the Blessed 
Sacrament, raised aloft to impart His benediction to Hia 
kneeling and adoring people. 


It is tlins that on this memorable day faith triumphs, 
hope is enhanced, charity shines, piety exults, our temples 
re-echo Avith hymns of exultation, pure souls tremble with 
holy joy, the faith of the lukewarm is awakened, whilst in- 
fidelity and heresy are confounded. It cannot be doubted, 
therefore, that the institution of this solemn Feast of Cor- 
pus Ohristi, has ever since its first celebration been a most 
powerful means of awakening the faith in the Keal Pres- 

However, in spite of the efficacy of this means, it has not 
always produced the desired effect upon all the faithful. In 
the sixteenth century especially, many grew lukewarm and 
indifferent, even towards Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacra- 
ment. They treated their Good Shepherd in this divine 
mystery as a stranger. It is the lukewarm and indifferent 
Catholics who have always done the most harm in the 
Church; for they have lost all relish for God; they are de- 
prived of all consolation ; they wander more and more from 
the ways of Providence ; they sin without remorse or fear ; 
they fly from confession and communion ; they are sick, but 
unconscious of their ailing; wicked, but blind to their 
vices ; they are slaves and believe themselves free ; they 
abuse all remedies, reject every inspiration, are impervious to 
the impressions of grace. Hence it comes that the luke- 
warm dishonor virtue, cry down devotion, scandalize their 
neighbors, and become a burden to the Church. They offend 
against the Holy Ghost, afflict the sacred Heart of Jesus, 
and by their own stubbornness and sin, compel Him, in a 
manner, to spurn them, after which they hardly ever return, 
as that which has been vomited forth is not again eaten. 

To rid Him of these sheep and to prevent their commu- 
nicating their contagion to others; or, to rouse them from 
their fatal state of lethargy, and make them become better 
Christians, our divine Shepherd had recourse, as it were, to 
amputation. If one member of the body endangers the 
others, the physician, if he may, amputates it in order to 


saye the whole. Jesus Christ, our divine physician, often 
acts thus. Especially was this the case in the sixteenth 
century. He permitted Protesta,ntism, one of the greatest 
evils in the world, to arise. But as the Lord is Infinite Wis- 
dom itself, He knows how to draw good from evil. One 
good, fervent Catholic is dearer to His Heart than a thou- 
sand who are lukewarm and indiflferent. Protestantism 
was the instrument of amputation to separate the lukewarm 
and dead of the mystic body of Christ from the living mem- 
bers. The former followed Luther, the apostate-monk and 
great heresiarch of the sixteenth century. 

Protestantism has ever been a most bitter antagonist of 
the Church. It has denied and combated her most vital 
doctrines, especially that of the Real Presence. There must 
be scandals, a fatal, though divine warning ! There must be 
storms in nature to purify the air from dangerous elements. 
In like manner God permits storms — heresies to arise in 
His churcli on eartli, that the erroneous and impious doc- 
trines of lieretics may, by way of contrast, set forth in 
clearer light the true and holy doctrines of that Church. 
As is light in the midst of darkness, gold contrasted with 
lead, the sun among the planets, the wise among the foolish, 
— so is the Catholic Church amonsr non-Catholics. If two 
things of different natures, says the wise man, are brought 
into opposition, the eye perceives their difference at once. 
" Good is set against evil, and life against death; so also is 
the sinner against the just man. And so look upon all the 
works of the Most High. Two and two and one against 
another." * Christ then permits the storms of heresies to 
burst upon His church to bring forth into clearer light His 
divine doctrine and to remove dangerous elements from His 
mystic Body. In fighting heresies, the Church defines her 
own doctrines in clear terms, and sets forth solid arguments 
in confirmation. It is certain that the doctrine on the 

* Eccle. xxxiii. 


Real Presence was never so fiercely attacked by any heretic 
as by Luther and his companions. The consequence was, 
that ever since that time the priests of the Catholic Church 
have been obliged to defend this holy doctrine and uphold 
it by most convincing and undeniable arguments. It is thus 
that they increase their own faith in this mystery of love as 
well as that of the flock of Jesus Christ, and thus has our 
Lord drawn good from evil, thus has salvation come to His 
Church, — from the very enemies of our religion. 

In order the better to understand this, let us examine the 
false, absurd and blasphemous assertions of Protestants, 
and see how, by those very assertions, our faith in the Real 
Presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is the more 

Protestants assert that our Lord spoke only figuratively. 
Now I would ask them: Did not Jesus Christ foresee that 
men would dispute and quarrel about the meaning of His 
words ? Assuredly He did, for He is Infinite Wisdom. 
Did He not wisli to tell us the truth ? Undoubtedly He did, 
for He is Truth itself. Was He not able to tell us the tru th ? 
Most certainly He was, for He is almighty. Why then, if 
He wished to give us only a figure of His body, if He wished 
to give us bread and wine simply, did He not say so ? Why 
did He say : " This is My Body ? '' Why did He not rather 
say — " This represents My Body ? " There are in the Syro- 
Chaldaic, the language our Saviour spoke, at least forty-five 
words which mean, to signify, to represent. Why did He 
not use one of those words ? Why did He say — " This is?'' 
The opinion that our Lord spoke only figuratively at the 
last Supper is false, absurd and blasphemous. 

I would not wish for the world to ofiend any of my readers, 
but I must in conscience raise my voice against that lyiug 
and impious perversion of the blessed word of God, known 
as the figurative interpretation. To say that our Lord spoke 
only figuratively is absurd, for bread bears no resemblance 
to the human body, and consequently never was and never 


can be a figure of it. I defy anyone to show me a single 
expression, in any language, in which bread is taken as a 
figure or symbol of the human body. 

To say that our Saviour spoke figuratively is false, for our 
Lord does not say : This bread is My Body, but He says : 
*' This is." Now in Greek, the language in which the Apos- 
tles wrote, the denipn strati ve pronoun " This " is neuter and 
cannot agree with the word " bread," which is masculine ; 
but with the word •' body," which is neuter. It is the same 
as if our Saviour said : " My Body is this." Xow that which 
is our Lord's Body, cannot at the same time be a piece of 

Our divine Saviour came on earth to put an end to the 
figures of the Old Law and to give us instead their reality. 
The Paschal lamb was a figure of our Lord's passion and 
death. To say, therefore, that our Lord left us only bread 
and wine, is to assert that He substituted one figure for 
another. Moreover, the Paschal lamb was a very intelligi- 
ble figure of our Lord's death ; not so with bread and wine, 
which are always symbolical of feasting and joy. 

Indeed, to say that our Lord spoke figuratively is Uasplie- 
mous. For according to St. Luke, our Saviour said: "This 
is My Body, which is given for you ; " and according to St. 
Paul — "This is My Body, which is broken for you." Xow 
the words "' given for you," " broken for you," mean, given, 
broken for your redemption. So that to say that our 
Saviour gave us only a piece of bread, is to assert that a 
piece of bread is the cause of our redemption. This is still 
more clearly to be gathered fmm the words which our Saviour 
used in consecrating the clialice. " Take and drink ye all of 
tliis, for this is My blood, the blood of the Xew Testament, 
that shall be shed for many, for the remission of sins." 
Now mark well: it was that blood wliich our Saviour gave 
to the Apostles, and which they drank, that was to be shed 
for the remission of sins. If it was only wine, then a cup 
of wine was the cause of our Redemption. 


At the last Supper there are two very important circum- 
stances whicli should be particularly taken into considera- 
tion. The first is, that onr Saviour gave a commandment 
or laiu ; — " Do this," He said to the Apostles ; i. e., do what 
I have done. "Do this in remembrance of Me." In a law, 
the words must be always clear, precise, expressive, without 
metaphor, or figure of any kind, and must always be taken 
in their natural and literal meaning. Therefore, when our 
Lord Jesus Christ says : " This is My Bod}^' it must really 
be His body. Our Saviour made a law aud consequently 
He must have spoken clearly and precisely. Suppose that a 
lawgiver, instead of expressing his laws in clear and simple 
language, were to express them in figures and parables, would 
he not be misunderstood, and consequently disobeyed ? And 
yet there are men so rash and blasphemous as to assert, 
that when our Lord Jesus Christ commands us to eat His 
flesh, under pain of eternal damnation, in so important 
a commandment He speaks only in parables and figures. 

In the second place, our Lord made a will or Testament, 
" This chalice is the New Testament in My blood.* " Our 
Lord calls it the Keiu Testament, to distinguish it from the 
Old Testament, from the covenant He had formerly made 
with the Jewish people. On that- occasion, Moses by the 
commandment of God sprinkled the people with blood, say- 
ing : " This is the blood of the covenant." Now our Saviour 
makes a new covenant and a New Testament : " This is the 
blood of the New Testament." The blood wdiich Moses 
used in the first covenant was real blood, arid the blood 
whicli Jesus used in the new covenant at the last Supper, 
must also have been real blood. 

At this last Supper our Saviour made a testament, a will. 
In a testament, as in a law, the words mxust be clear, expres- 
sive, without metaphor of any kind, and must always be 
taken in their natural and literal meaning. A will or testa- 

* Luke xxii. 20. 


ment, is always writter. in the simplest and clearest language, 
for were tlie language ambiguous or obscure, it would easily 
give rise to lawsuits or quarrels. In every nation, the last 
will of a deceased person is held sacred. No one has the 
right to change it, or to reform it. Every word is respected. 
It would be a grievous crime to add to it any gloss or ex- 
planation. W^lien a will or testament is opened, after the 
death of the testator, all heirs stand around in silence. 
Every word is listened to with profound attention, and 
though the testator is stiff and cold in the grave, yet his last 
will is respected, his words are received without figure, with- 
out explanation, in their literal and obvious meaning. The 
last will of man is respected, the will of a man cold in the 
grave ; yet the last will and testament of the living God, the 
will and testament of Jesus Christ in heaven is contradicted ! 
Jesus Christ tells us in His last will and testament : " I be- 
queath to you My body and My blood." He bequeathed 
His legacy to us in the clearest and most formal manner; 
nevertheless there are men who dare tell us that Jesus 
Christ left us only the figure of His body and blood. 

Suppose that a relative or friend had in his will bequeathed 
to you in clear and expressive terms a house. Suppose that 
when you went to take possession of the house, the adminis- 
trator were to present you with a picture of it, assuring 
you that this was all the testator meant to give you 
in his will. Would you not think that either the adminis- 
trator or testator was a cheat, and wished to make a fool of 
you? And yet, great Jesus, Son of the living God! is it 
thus that wicked men wish to represent Thee ? Thou hast 
promised with a solemn oath to give us Thy body and blood 
in Thy testament, and wicked men dare to gainsay Thy liv- 
ing word and assert that Thou hast not left us Thy body 
and blood, that Thou hast left us only bread and wine. The 
last will of the lowest man on earth is respected, and the 
last will of the Son of God is falsified and contradicted. We 
know that it is a crime punishable by law to change or to 


insert a single word in the testament of any man, and shall 
it not be a crime, punishable by the God of heaven, to change 
the clear words of the testament of Jesus Christ ? 

The false and absurd grounds of Protestant tenets on this 
doctrine of faith are made still more apparent from what 
St. Paul teaches us on the Blessed Eucharist. The Apostles 
understood our Lord to have really given them His body 
and blood — to have given them the power to change bread 
and wine into His body and blood. In the first Epistle of St. 
Paul to the Corinthians, we find that St. Paul himself and all 
the Christians of his time really believed that Jesus Christ 
left us His body and blood. St. Paul asks the Corinthians : 
"The cup of benediction, which we bless, is it not the par- 
taking of the blood of Christ? And the bread which we 
break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord ? " 
He assures the Christians that our Lord Jesus Christ had 
appeared to him and instructed him concerning the doctrine 
of the Eucharist. He then relates the very words that our 
Lord used in consecrating the bread and wine at the last Sup- 
per. And after relating how our Lord gave us His body and 
blood, he concludes : " Therefore whosoever shall eat of this 
bread, or drink of this chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be 
guilty of the body and blood of the Lord: " i. e. guilty of the 
most grievous ofi'ence against the body and the blood of the 

If the Holy Eucharist be merely a piece of bread, how 
can it be eaten unworthily ? How can one become guilty 
of a grievous crime against the body and blood of Christ 
by eating it ? But it might be objected : The piece of bread is a 
figure of Christ's body, and it therefore is a crime to receive it 
unworthily. Let us take then a crucifix, a picture, or an im- 
age of Christ. Any one of them would be a better figure of 
Him than a piece of bread. And yet Protestants, the so- 
called reformers, dishonored and trampled on such images. 
But even granting, by impossibility, that a piece of bread be 
a figure of our Lord's body, how can the recipient of it be- 


come guilty of the body and blood of the Lord ? Moreover, 
St. Paul commands the Christians to prove themselves, to 
examine their conscience before ijeceiving the Holy Eucha- . 
rist, for he says — " He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, 
eateth and drinketh his own damnation, because he doth not 
discern the body of the Lord." * Now, if tlie Blessed 
Eucharist be only bread and wine, how can you discern there- 
in the body of the Lord ? How can we eat and drink our 
own damnation, by eating a little bread and wine ? How 
can we incur eternal torment for not discerning the body of 
Christ, where it does not exist ? 

But it may be objected, that to believe in transubstantia- 
tion is to go against reason, common sense, and the evidence 
of the senses. Are we then to set up our senses, our reason 
and common sense, as the infallible standard of our faith ? 
If so, how can we believe in God, God being a pure spirit 
imperceptible to the senses? How can we believe in the 
Blessed Trinity — for neither senses, reason, nor common 
sense can perceive how the three Divine Persons are entirely 
distinct, yet but one in essence? If the evidence of the 
senses be our only criterion of faith, then must we deny 
that there is such a thing as the grace of God, or that there 
is such a thing as a soul at all. Nay, eternity, hell and 
heaven must be denied as imperceptible to the senses, and 
St. Paul assures us that " no eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor 
heart conceived what heaven is." Can our senses perceive 
any difference between an unbaptized child and one that has 
been baptized ? Can they perceive the existence of original 
sin in the soul of a new born babe ? Will reason or common 
sense explain how it is that a child born in 1870 should be 
charged with the crime of Adam's disobedience committed 
nearly six thousand years ago ? This child could not have 
consented to the crime of Adam, as he was not then in ex- 
istence. Now it is against common sense, and against the 
laws of every civilized country, to charge one man with the 
' * 1 Cor. xi. 


guilt of another, whose accomplice he never was and never 
could have been. And yet you must believe in original sin 
or deny the necessity of baptism. 

But it is asked: How can bread and wine be changed into 
the body and blood of Christ ? The answer is very simple : 
by the almighty power of God. Transubstantiation in the 
Holy Eucharist is a stupendous miracle; but a certain kind 
of transubstantiation, or change of one substance into 
another, is going on continually in nature. We see it in the 
woods, in the grass, in the animals, in fact, in everything 
around us. When we take in food into our bodies that food 
is changed -into flesh and blood. Isow if bread and wine, 
by the operation of nature can become flesh, cannot God, by 
the power of His almighty word, change bread and wine into 
His flesh and blood? Transubstantiation, or the change of 
one substance into another, is nothing new with God. 
When He created man He performed an act of transubstan- 
tiation, for He changed the slime of the earth into the flesh, 
blood and bones of Adam, and this change was wrought by 
the word of God acting on matter. Again, God took a hard, 
bony rib from the side of Adam, which He changed into the 
flesh and blood of Eve. This change of one substance into 
another, has been going on continually in nature, ever since 
the beginning of the world. God has wished thereby to pre- 
pare us for the miraculous and. infinitely more stupendous 
change of substance which is wrought in the Holy Eucharist. 

But it may be said: God can change one substance into 
another ; but how can man do the like ? And the answer is, 
as God's instrument, when God gives him the power so to do. 
Moses changed a rod into a serpent and a serpent into a rod; 
he changed water into blood, and blood into water, by the 
power of the word of God. If a man in the Old Law 
changed water into blood by the power of the word of God, 
cannot a man in the New Law change wine into blood by 
the same power — the word of God ? Is the word of God less 
powerful now than it then was ? 


Take a piece of coal ; it is hard, heavy, and opaque. Throw 
it into the furnace of a gasometer and it becomes liquid. 
Examine it again in the gasometer and it becomes light as air, 
impalpable, transparent. Examine it in the tube, it is invi- 
sible ; look at it in the jet, it again becomes visible. We see 
therefore the same thing, the piece of coal, become visible and 
invisible, palpable and impalpable, heavy and light, light and 
darkness, opaque and transparent. Xow if a single piece of 
matter can possess such contradictory properties, is it so 
difficult to conceive how our Lord Jesus Christ can give His 
glorified Body any bulk or form of existence He pleases ? 

To admit the evidence of the seuses only is to deny every 
article of the Creed, every revealed truth ; nay, to deny and 
disown the father and mother who have borne us ; for to 
prove by the evidence of the senses alone who is our father 
or our mother is impossible. To reject the mystery of trans- 
substantiation, merely because one cannot understand it, or 
because the peculiar sect to which a person belongs rejects 
it, is about as reasonable as if a congregation of frogs were 
to deny the existence of algebra, astronomy, or photography, 
merely because some elders of the tribes would neither see 
nor feel, nor understand the subject. 

Are we to limit our belief to what we can understand? If 
so, then we can never make an act of faith, for faith is pre- 
cisely the belief in some truth that we do not yet see or un- 
derstand, but which we nevertheless firmly believe, simply 
because God has revealed it. Believing only what we can 
understand, we must deny the fact of creation, because no 
man can understand how all things were created out of 
nothing. It is impossible to believe the existence of any- 
thing, not even of one's own self, for it is impossible to un- 
derstand how one exists; we cannot understand even how a 
blade of grass grows. 

Man is progressive. His first state after the fall was tho 
patriarchal religion, the religion of nature. His second 
state was that of the Jews, a revelation of religion of figures, 


or types and veils ; as Manna, Paschal lamb and the rest. 
The third state is that of the Christians^ who possess God, 
hidden indeed but really present. Man's fourth state ia 
that of the Blessed in heaven, who possess and see God 
without veils or figures, face to face. To say that Christ 
is not present in reality, but only in figure, as He was 
with the Jews, is to put mankind back two thousand years. 
You can no more do this than you can cause the sun to 
turn back its course, or cause an old man to return to 
childhood. To require that Christ should manifest His 
Presence here on earth as He does to the Blessed in heaven, 
is to destroy the present state of time, to hasten the end of 
the world, to enter upon eternity. Christians here on earth 
hold a middle state between that of the Jews and that of 
the Blessed in heaven. Our Lord Jesus Christ came on 
earth to fulfil the law, to perfect it. In the Old Law God 
was really present in the midst of His chosen people. He 
was present with them in the desert, in the ark of the cove- 
nant, in the temple. And as the New Law is the fulfil- 
ment and perfection of the Old, God must still remain, 
really present on earth in the midst of His chosen people. 

This is Catholic belief. We believe most firmly that the 
Lord of heaven and earth — our dear Saviour and future 
Judge — dwells amongst us in the Blessed Sacrament on our 
altars. This was the belief and the doctrine of the Apostles, 
of all the Councils and Fathers of the Church. Por this doc- 
trine, hundreds of popes and bishops and priests fought, and 
laid down their lives, and most assuredly millions of Catholics 
are ready to do the same with cheerfulness, at any moment, 
should God require the sacrifice of their lives in confirma- 
tion of this doctrine. And why ? It is because Catholics 
are as infallibly certain and intimately convinced of this 
truth as they are of any other of their holy religion; they 
feel as certain of it as Marie Bernard Bauer, a Jewish convert, 
felt after his conversion to the Catholic faith in 18G5. 

Marie Bernard Bauer is the son of one of the wealtliiesfc 


Jewish families in Vienna. At an early age, the young Jew, 
fiery and enthusiastic, and gifted already with singular 
eloquence, threw himself into the ranks of the Eevolution, 
and became one of its most ardent emissaries. At eighteen, 
he was entrusted with important missions, and considered a 
rising Freemason. But during his travels he became ac- 
quainted v/ith a young Frenchman, a zealous Catholic, whose 
influence and friendship laid the foundations of his conver- 
sion. He visited his friends and his mother also, who by 
her example more even than by her exhortations contrib- 
uted to the work of grace begun in his soul by her son's 
solicitations. Bauer wore, at the request of these two, a 
medal of the Immaculate Conception. After being fully in- 
structed in the faith, he required nothing but grace to be- 
lieve. While at Lyons with several worldly acquaintances, 
he happened to be standing on a balcony, on the Feast of 
Corpus Christi ; the procession of the Blessed Sacrament 
was to pass below, and they, with cigars in their mouths, 
and mockery in their hearts, were watching for the pageant. 
No change came over the young Jew until the canopy under 
which the priest carried the Divine Host was close beneath 
the balcony. The change at that moment was lightning- 
like. Faith entered his heart, or rather — as he himself 
afterwards declared — a conviction of the real presence of our 
Lord in the Blessed Sacrament so absolute that it made 
itself felt throughout his whole being. 

It was by means of this light of faith, that he saw our 
Lord in the Blessed Sacrament more distinctly than if our 
Lord had appeared to him in some sensible manner. The 
same loioiulcdge, so to speak, returned to him many times 
since while consecrating at Mass, and he said he could not 
helieve merely, in a matter of which he was so blissfully and 
unerringly certain. As Jesus passed, Bauer threw himself on 
his knees and professed himself a Christian. 

It was in consequence of this most intimate conviction 
that he concluded one of his discourses in Paris, as follows : 


"And Thou, Lord Jesus, Who art the Truth ' that enlight- 
eneth every man that cometh into the world ' (John i.), let 
it not come to pass that one soul out of this great assem- 
blage should return this day from the foot of this pulpit to 
the common turmoil of the world without hearing within it- 
self the ineffable wound of a dawning conviction. And if, 
Lord! Thou requirest unto this end the sacrifice of a 
human life, let this day be my last on earth, and this hour 
the last of my mortal pilgrimage." — Catholic World, May, 



It was not enough for Protestants to deny the Eeal Pres- 
ence of our dear Lord in the Blessed Sacrament ; they com- 
mitted even the most abominable outrages on His Sacred 
Person in this mystery of love. In France particularly, the 
Calvinists entered the Catholic Churches, overturned the 
altars, trampled the Blessed Sacrament under their feet, 
drank healths from the consecrated chalices, smeared their 
shoes with holy oil, defiled the church vestments with or- 
dure, threw the books into the fire, and destroyed the stat- 
uary. They assaulted and massacred the Catholic clergy in 
the very discharge of their sacred functions, with cries of 
" kill the priests," " kill the monks." In France alone, the 
Calvinists destroyed 20,000 Catholic churches. They pil- 
laged and demolished monasteries and hospitals. The monks 
at Chartres were all murdered with the exception of one, 
who concealed himself; but as soon as discovered, he was 
buried alive. In Dauphiny alone they murdered 255 priests, 
112 monks and friars, and burnt 900 towns and villages. 

Those were trying times for the Catholics in other coun- 
tries as well as in France. Although the Bishops and priests 
did all in their power to strengthen their flocks in the faith, 
yet it required an extraordinary miracle to confirm the faith of 
many and confound the impiety of the heretics. This mir- 
acle was wrought by Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament 
at Laon in France on the eighth day of February, 1566. It 
occurred in presence of more than 150,000 people; in pres- 
ence of all the ecclesiastical and civil authorities of the city, 
of Protestants and Catholics alike. The account of this 
stupendous miracle I published last year. It is very inter- 


esting and instructive, and to it is added a plain treatise on 
spiritism. The title of the little volume is, " Triumph of 
the Blessed Sacrament, or History of JSTicola Aubry." It is 
indeed a remarkable fact that, as the devil made use of 
Luther, an apostate monk, to abolish the Mass and deny the 
Real Presence, in like manner God made use of His arch- 
enemy, the devil, to prove the Eeal Presence. He forced him 
publicly to profess his firm belief in it, to confound the 
heretics for their disbelief, and acknowledge himself van- 
quished by our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. For this 
13urpose God allowed a certain Mme. Xicola Aubry, an 
innocent person, to become possessed by Beelzebub and 
twenty-nine other evil spirits. The possession took place on 
the eighth of November, 1565, and lasted until the eighth of 
February, 1566. Her parents took her to Father de Motta, 
a pious priest of Vervins, in order that he might expel the 
demon by the exorcisms of the Church. Father de Motta 
had tried several times to expel the evil spirit by applying 
the sacred relics of the holy Cross, but he could not always 
succeed; Satan would not depart. At last, inspired by the 
Holy Ghost, he resolved to expel the devil by means of the 
Sacrament of our Lord's Body and Blood. Whilst Nicola 
was lying in this state of unnatural lethargy, Father de 
Motta placed the Blessed Sacrament upon her lips, and in- 
stantly the infernal spell was broken ; Nicola was restored 
to consciousness, and received Holy Communion with every 
mark of devotion. As soon as Nicola had received the Sa- 
cred Body of our Lord, her face became bright and beauti- 
ful as the face of an angel, and all who saw her were filled 
with joy and Avonder, and they blessed God from their 
inmost hearts. 

Nicola related that, during her trance, she saw herself 
surrounded by a crowd of horrid black men, who held glit- 
tering daggers in their hands, and threatened to kill her. 
She also beheld a number of wild grizzly monsters, who 
threatened to tear her to pieces. Flames of fire and brim- 


stone shot forth from their eyes and nostrils, and almost 
suffocated her. 

On the third of January, 155G, the Bishop arrived at Ver- 
vins, and began the exorcism in the church, in presence of 
an immense multitude. 

" What is thy name ? " asked the Bishop. 

"Beelzebub, prince of the devils, next to Lucifer," an- 
swered the evil spirit. 

" How many companions hast thou here at present ? " 

" There are nineteen of us now," answered Satan ; " to- 
morrow there will be twenty. But this is not yet all, for I 
see that I must call all hell to my assistance." 

" I command thee, in the name and by the power of 
God," said the Bishop, in a solemn voice, " to depart in- 
stantly with thy infernal companions ! " 

^•' Yes, we shall depart," replied the evil spirit, " but not 
noiv, and not here. My work is not yet done in this city." 

" Where goest thou when expelled by the power of the 
Real Presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament?" 
asked the Bishop. 

" You want to know where I go, do you ? Well ! last night 
I paid you a visit," answered Satan ; and then he related the 
very words the Bishop had said on hearing a noise in his 

Satan was, at last, expelled again, by means of the Blessed 
Sacrament. On leaving, he paralyzed the left arm and the 
right foot of Nicola, and also made her left arm longer than 
her right; and no power on earth could cure this strange 
infirmity, until some Aveeks after, when the devil was at last 
completely and irrevocably expelled. 

As the strange circumstances of Nicola's possession be- 
came known everywhere, several Calvinist preachers came 
with tlieir followers, to "expose this popish cheat," as they 
said. On their entrance, the devil saluted them mockingly, 
called them by name, and told them that they had come in 
obedience to Mm. One of the preachers took his Protestant 


prayer-book, and began to read it with a very solemn face. 
The devil laughed at him, and, putting on a most comical 
face, he said: '-Ho! ho! my good friend; do you intend to 
expel 7ne with your prayers and hymns ? Do you think that 
they will cause me any pain ? Don't you know that they 
are mine ? -/ helped to compose them ! " 

" I will expel thee in the name of God," said the preacher, 

" You ! " said the devil, mockingly. " You will 7iot expel 
me either in the name of God, or in the name of the devil. 
Did you ever hear, then, of one devil driving out another ? " 

"I am not a devil," said the preacher, angrily, "I am a 
servant of Christ." 

" A servant of Christ, indeed ! " said Satan, with a sneer. 
"What! I tell you you are worse than /am. /believe, and 
you do not want to believe. Do you suppose that you can 
expel me from the body of this miserable wretch ? Ha ! go 
first and expel all the devils that are in your own heart ! " 

The preacher took his leave, somewhat discomfited. On 
going away, he said, turning up the whites of his eyes, *"' Oh 
Lord, I pray thee, assist this poor creature ! " 

"And I pray Lucifer," cried the spirit, "that he may 
never leave you, but may always keep your firmly in his 
power, as he does now. Go about your business now. You 
are all mine, and I am your master." 

On the arrival of the priest, several of the Protestants 
went away — they had seen and heard more than they wanted. 
Others, however, remained, and great was their terror when 
they saw how the devil writhed and howled in agony, as soon 
as the Blessed Sacrament was brought near him. At last 
the evil spirit departed, leaving Nicola in a state of unnatural 
trance. While she was in this state, several of tlie preach- 
ers tried to open her eyes, but they found it impossible to do 
60. The priest tli^n placed the Blessed Sacrament on Nicola's 
lips, and instantly she was restored to consciousness. 

Kev. Father de Motta then turned to the astonished preach- 


ers, and said : " Go now, ye preachers of the new gospel ; 
go and relate everywhere what you have seen and heard. 
Do not deny auy longer that our Lord Jesus Christ is really 
and truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. 
Go now, and let not human respect hinder you from confess- 
ing the truth/' 

During the exorcisms of the following days, the devil was 
forced to confess that he was not to be expelled at Vervins, 
and that he had with him twenty-nine devils, among whom 
were three powerful demons : Cerberus, Astaroth, and Legio. 

On another occasion, the devil was hotly pressed by the 
priest, to tell the hour of his final departure. 

" At three o'clock in the afternoon," answered the three de- 
mons, Cerberus, Astaroth, and Legio. 

^•' On what day ? " asked the priest; but the demons would 
give no answer. 

Beelzebub then began to howl wildly, and curse the hour 
when he first entered into the body of that wretched creature. 

" Ah !" shrieked he, "if God would permit me, I would 
leave instantly; but I cannot. My task is not yet done." 

" Dost thou, then, not know the hour of thy final depar- 
ture ? " asked the priest. 

" Ah, yes ! but if j^ou promise that you will not take me 
to Liesse, I will leave instantly, and will not return until 
this day a year." 

" God forbid that I should make thee any such promise," 
said the priest ; " with the help of God, thou shalt leave this 
very instant;" and taking the Holy Eucharist in his hand, 
he compelled the evil spirits to depart. 

22d to 2Wi of January, 15G6. — The priests now resolved 
to take Nicola to the celebrated pilgrimage of our Lady at 
Liesse, especially since the devil seemed to fear the place so 
much. During the journey, the evil spirit opposed them in 
every possible way. At one time an accident happened; at 
another the horses stood still, and would not budge an inch. 
At other timos the horses would rear and plunge in the most 


frantic manner. Sometimes the devil uttered the most 
frightful sounds— at times they were as loud as a clap of 
thunder. At last, by means of pr^ayer and the exorcisms, 
and especially by the power of the Blessed Sacrament, all 
the obstacles of Satan were overcome, and the travelers 
arrived safely at Liesse. 

]^ext day Father de Motta began the exorcism in the 
church of Our Lady at Liesse, in presence of an immense 

" How many are you in the body of this poor creature ? '' 
asked the priest. 

" There are thirty of us," answered the evil spirit. 

The priest then sprinkled Nicola with holy water, and 
tlie devil spat upon it in contempt. 

" As servant of the living Grod," cried the priest, " I com- 
mand thee and thy associates to quit the body of this poor 

" No," answered Satan, in an impudent tone ; " twenty-six 
of my companions will depart, but as for me, I will not go." 

The priest then took the Blessed Sacrament in his hand, 
and showing it to the demon, he said: " I command thee, in 
the name of the living God, the great Emanuel Whom thou 
soest here present, and in Whom thou believest " 

" Ah, yes ! " shrieked the demon ; " I believe in Mm:' And 
the devil howled again as he made this confession, for it was 
wrung from him by the power of Almighty God. 

" I command thee, then, in His name," said the priest, 
*^ to quit this body instantly." 

At tliese words, and especially at the sight of the Blessed 
Sacrament, the devil suffered the most frightful torture. At 
one moment the body of Nicola was rolled up like a ball; 
then again she became fearfully swollen. At one time her 
face was unnaturally lengthened, then excessively widened, 
and sometimes it was as red as scarlet. Her eyes, at times 
protruded horribly, and then again sunk deeply into her 
skull. Her tongue hung down to her chin ; it was some- 


times black, sometimes red, and sometimes spotted, like a 

The priest still continued to urge and torture Satan. 
"Accursed spirit! " he cried, "I command thee in the name 
and by the Keal Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ here in 
the Blessed Sacrament, to depart instantly from the body of 
this poor creature." 

"Ah, yes!" cried Satan, howling wildly, "twenty-six of 
my companions shall leave this instant, for they are forced 
to do so.'^ 

The people in the church now began to pray with great 
fervor. Suddenly Nicola's limbs began to crack, as if every 
bone in her body were breaking, a pestilential vapor came 
forth from her mouth, and twenty-six devils departed from 
her, never more to return. 

Nicola then fell into an unnatural swoon, from which 
she was roused only by the Blessed Sacrament. On recover- 
ing her senses, and receiving Holy Communion, Nicola's 
face shone like the face of an angel. 

The priest still continued to urge the demon, and used 
every means to expel him. Satan grinned at him horribly, 
and shrieked at him in a rage. " Is it not enough for you 
to have expelled twenty-six of my companions ? That is 
honor enough for the woman of this house ! " By the 
"woman" Satan meant the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was 
especially honored in this place. 

"I tell you," the devil shrieked, " that even if you remain 
here till midnight, even if you stay here a hundred years, I 
will not leave at your bidding." 

"At whose bidding, then? " asked Father de Motta. 

"I will not leave unless commanded by the Bishop of 
Laon," answered the demon, angrily. 

That evening the priest gave orders that the church doors 
should be open next morning at five o'clock, so that the peo- 
ple could assemble early, and unite with him in prayer. 
During the night, the devil, who hates to see the people pray, 


stopped the clock in the church tower, as he afterwards con- 
fessed, so that the doors were not opened till an hour after 
the appointed time. 

Nicola was now taken to Pierrepont, where one of the de- 
mons, named Legio, was expelled bj means of the Blessed 
Sacrament. On leaving, a black smoke was seen issuing 
from Nicola's mouth, and the demon, in token of his de° 
parture, broke some tiles on the belfry. 

Here the Calvinists, urged on by the evil spirit, tried to 
kill Nicola and the good priest Avho accompanied her ; but 
a well-armed force came just in time, and dispersed these 
cowardly murderers. 

Nicola was now brought to the town of Laon. On her 
arrival there the people locked their doors; and no one 
wished to receive her into his house, for all feared that the 
devil might reveal their most secret sins. 

At last, after long and urgent entreaties, and especially 
after having placed a good sum of money in the hand of the 
inn-keeper, Nicola was permitted to stay over-night in .an 
inn not far from the church. 

Next morning Nicola was brought to the church. Scarcely 
had she quitted the house, when the devil again took posses- 
sion of her. 

The Bishop who was requested to exorcise Nicola, pre- 
pared himself for this terrible task by prayer and fasting, 
and other works of penance. 

On the arrival of Nicola in the church, the exorcism 

"How many are you in this body?" asked the Bishop. 

" There are three of us," answered the evil spirit 

*' What are your names ? " 

"Beelzebub, Cerberus, and Astaroth." 

" What has become of the others ? " asked the Bishop. 

" They have been expelled," answered Satan. 

" Who expelled them ? " 

"Ha!" cried the devil, gnashing his teeth, "it was ^^ 


whom you hold in your hand, there on the paten." The 
devil meant our dear Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. 

"What were the names of those who were expelled?" 
asked the Bishop. 

"What is that to you?" answered the devil, gruffly. 
'* They were my dogs, my slaves ; they have no name." 

"' Who is speaking now ? " asked the Bishop. 

" It is Beelzebub, the prince of devils." 

" Let the other two speak also." 

" They shall not," answered the proud spirit. 

The Bishop then, in a solemn voice, commanded Cerberus 
and Astaroth to speak. 

" You may talk till you crack your throat," answered Beel- 
zebub, "I tell you they shall not speak in my ])resence. 
They are my servants, my slaves ; I am their master. Did 
you ever see a slave speak in presence of his lord ? " 

" I will force them to speak," said the Bishop ; " they 
must obey God." 

" Very well ! They will obey God ; but I tell you they 
shall not speak. / am here for that. Go on, I will satisfy 

" When wilt tliou leave the body of this poor creature ? " 
demanded the Bishop. 

"Astaroth will leave next Sunday," answered the spirit. 

"Thou shalt leave this very instant." 

" No, I will not leave." 

The Bishop then held the Blessed Sacrament near the 
face of JSTicola. The demon writhed and howled in agony. 
" Ah, yes ! I will go, I will go ! " he shrieked, " but I shall 

Suddenly ISTicola became stiff and motionless as marble. 
The Bishop then touched her lips with the Blessed Sacra- 
ment, and in an instant she was fully restored to conscious- 
ness. She received Holy Communion, and her countenance 
now shone with a wondrous, supernatural beauty. 

Next day Nicola was brought again to the church, and 


tlie exorcism began as usual. The Bisliop sprinkled Xicola 
^vitli lioly water. 

^•Tiingli ! 3^ou filthy papist" shrieked the devil in a rage, 
^' aAvay with your salt water ! " 

He then grinned horribly, and spat upon the holy water. 
The Bishop now began to read the gospel of St. John, and 
tlie devil mocked and mimicked him all the while, and re- 
peated the very same words, sometimes before, sometimes after 
the Bishop, 

The Bishop then took the Blessed Sacrament in his hand, 
held it near the face of K'icola, and said : 

"I command thee in the name of the living God, and by 
the Eeal Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ here in the 
Sacrauient of the altar, to depart instantly from the body of 
this creature of God, and never more to return." 

"No! no !" shrieked the devil, '"I will not go. My hour 
is not yet come." 

" I command thee to depart. Go forth, impure, accursed 
spirit ! Go forth ! " and the Bishop held the Blessed Sacra- 
ment close to Nicola's face, 

" Stop ! sto}) ! " shrieked Satan ; " let me go ! I will de- 
part — but I shall return." And instantly Nicola fell into 
the most frightful convulsions. A black smoke was seen 
issuing from her mouth, and she fell again into a swoon. 

During her stay in Laon, Nicola was carefully examined 
by Catholic and Protestant physicians. Her left arm, which 
had been paralyzed by the devil, was found entirely without 
feeling. Tlie doctors cut into the arm Avith a sharp knife, 
they burnt it with fire, they drove pins and needles under 
the nails of the fingers, but Nicola felt no pain ; her arm 
was utterly insensible. Once, while Nicola was lying in a 
state of unnatural lethargy, the doctors gave her bread 
soaked in wine (it was Avhat the Protestants call their com- 
munion, or Lord's Supper), they rubbed her limbs briskly, 
they threw water in her face, they pierced her tongue till the 
blood flowed ; they tried every possible means to arouse her, 



but ill yaiii ! Nicola remained cold and motionless as mar- 
ble. At last the priest touched the lips of Xicola with the 
Blessed Sacrament, and instantly she was restored to con- 
sciousness, and began to praise God. 

The miracle was so clear, so palpable, that one of the doc- 
tors, who was a bigoted Calvinist, immediately renounced 
his errors, and became a Catholic. 

Several times, also, the Protestants touched Nicola's face 
with a host which was not consecrated, and w^hich, conse- 
quently, was only bread, but Satan was not in the least tor- 
mented by this. He only ridiculed their efforts. 

On the twenty-seventh of January, the Bishop, after hay- 
ing walked in solemn procession with the clergy and the 
faithful, began the exorcism in church, in presence of a vast 
multitude of Protestants and Catholics. 

" I command thee in the name of the living God," said the 
Bishop solemnly, "answer truthfully to all that I shall ask 

" Speak on, I will answer ; " replied the evil spirit. 

'' Who art thou that art now speaking ? " 

«It is myself." 

" What is thy name ? " 

" I have told you before. My name is Beelzebub." 

" Who are thy companions ? " 

"Astaroth and Cerberus." 

" When wilt thou depart from the body of this creature 
of God?" 

"Astaroth shall leave to-day. His hour is fixed, but I 
shall remain." 

"What sign will he give of his departure?" 

" He will break one of the windoAV-panes, and take a piece 
of it with him." 

*• Whither will he go ? " 

"He will go to my brave Calvinist, Captain Dandelot,who 
Avould gladly put you all to death if he had the men at his 


" Why do you keep possession of the body of this poor 
creature ? " 

" I do it to harden my Calvinists, or to convert them; and 
I swear by the Sacred Blood, that I shall yet drive them to 
the last extremity." 

The names of Beelzebub, Astaroth, and Cerberus were now 
written on pieces of paper. The Bishop burned them in the 
flame of a blessed candle, and said: "Oh, wicked spirits! 
accursed of God! I here burn these names as a sign of the 
eternal torments to which you have been condemned ; and 
you shall be tortured until you depart from this bod^v' At 
this the demon shrieked and writhed in fearful agony. Three 
distinct voices were clearly heard; they resembled the bel- 
lowing of an ox, the howling of a dog, and the shrill squeal- 
ing of swine. 

The Bishop now holds the Blessed Sacrament close to the 
face of Nicola. Suddenly a wild, unearthly yell rings through 
the air — a black, heavy smoke issues from the mouth of Ni- 
cola. The demon Astaroth is expelled forever. At the same 
instant the crash of breaking glass is heard; a window-pane 
is broken and carried away. Nicola again falls into a deadly 
swoon, and is restored to consciousness only by the Blessed 

During the exorcism which took place on the first of 
February the Bishop said : 

'*0h, accursed spirit!" since neither prayer, nor the 
holy gospels, neither the exorcisms of the Church, nor 
the holy relics, can compel thee to depart, I will now 
show thee thy Lord and Master, and by His power I com- 
mand thee." 

" What do you mean ? " shrieked Satan, gnashing his 
teeth. " Do you mean your white ?" 

(Here the devil used a very unbecoming expression for 
the Blessed Sacrament.) 

"How darest thou call our Blessed Lord by such a vile 
name ? " 


"Hal hill Fve tanglit my Ciilvinists to nickname Him 

'•' Why, then dost thou fear JIi/)i so much? AYhy dost 
thou fly in terror before Ilis face ? " 

"Ilal" shrieked the devil, " it is that' 7^06',' that ' 7ioc,' 
that forces me to flee." 

The devil here refers to the divine words of consecration 
by which the bread and wine are changed, in holy Mass, 
into the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The devil kept on talking quite aloud during the holy Mass. 

The moment of consecration came, and Satan Mas in- 
stantly struck dumb. Nicola was now seized Avith the most 
frightful convulsions. Fifteen strong men were holding her 
down ; and so great was the strength of the demon, tliat they 
were all draa^'cd with her aloft into the air. Xicola, her face 
turned away from the altar, remained suspended in space, 
over six feet above the platform, during the entire time of 
consecration. As soon as tlie consecration was over, she fell 
back heavily upon the platform. 

During the exorcism which took place after mass, the 
Bishop held the Blessed Sacrament in his hand, and said: 
''0 accursed spirit! arch-enemy of the ever Blessed God! 1 
command thee, by the precious Blood of Jesus Christ here 
l)resent, to depart from this poor woman ! Depart accursed, 
into the eA'erlasting flames of hi'U!" 

At these words, and especially at the sight of the Blessed 
Sacrament, the demon was so fearfully tormented, and the 
appearance of Nicola was so hideous and revolting, that the 
people turned away their eyes in horror. At last a heavy 
sigh was heard, and a cloud of black smoke issued from the 
mouth of Nicola. Cerberus was expelled, and, in sign of 
nis departure, he broke and carried away a pane of glass 
from one of the side-chapels. 

Again Nicola fell into a death-like swoon, and again she 
was brought to consciousness only by means of the Blessed 


During the exorcism which took place on the seventh clay 
of February, the Bishop said to Satan : " What sign wilt 
thou give of thy departure ? " 

"I will cure Xicohi's left arm, so that slie can use it as 
well as ever. Is not this a splendid miracle ? You will lind 
anotlier sign on the roof of the belfry." 

" What hast thou gained by taking possession of this 
body ? Many have been converted by witnessing the great 
power of the Blessed Sacrament. Depart, then ! every one 
hates and despises thee." 

" I know it," answered Satan. " Many have been con- 
verted ; but there are also many who remain hardened in 
their sins." 

" Tell me, then, wdiy hast thou taken possession of this 
honest and virtuous Catholic Avoman ?" 

" I have done so by, permission of God. I have taken pos- 
session of her on account of the sins of the people. I have 
done it to show my Calvinists that there are devils who can 
take possession of men whenever God permits it. I knoAV 
.they do not want to believe this ; but I will show them that 
I am the devil. I have taken possession of this creature in 
order to convert them, or to harden them ia their sins; and, 
by the Sacred Blood, I v/ ill ^jerformmj tixsk.^' 

This answer filled all Avho heard it with horror. " Yes," 
answered the Bishop, solemnly, " God desires to unite all 
men in the one holy faith. As there is but one God, so there 
can be but one true religion. A religion like that which 
the Protestants have invented, is but a hollow mockery. It 
must fall. The religion established by our Lord Jesus 
Christ is the only true one, which shall last forever; it shall 
increase. It is destined to unite all men within its sacred 
embrace, so that there shall be but one shecpfold and one 
Shepherd. - This Divine Shepherd is our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the invisiljle Head of the holy Eoman Catholic Church, 
whose visible Head is our lioly Father the Pope, successor of 
St. Peter." 


The devil was silent — he was put to shame before the 
entire multitude. He was expelled once more by means of 
the Blessed Sacrament. 

In the afternoon of the same day the devil began to 
prate and make merry daring the procession. " Ah ! ha ! " 
cried the devil, " you think that you can expel me in this 
way ? You have not tlie proper attendance of a Bishop. 
Where are the Dean and the Archdean? Where are the 
Royal Judges ? Where is the Chief Magistrate, who was 
frightened out of his wits that night, in the prison ? Where 
is the Procurator of the King? Where are his Attorneys 
and Counsellors ? Where is the Clerk of the Court ? " 
(The devil mentioned each of these by name.) "I will not 
depart until all are assembled. Were I to depart now, what 
proof could 3'ou give to the king of all that has happened ? 
Do you think that people will believe you so easily ? No ! 
no! There are many who would make objections. The 
testimony of these common country-people here will have 
but little weight. It is a torment to me that I must tell 
you what you have to do. I am forced to do it. Ha ! cursed be 
the hour in Avhich I first took possession of this vile wretch ! " 

" I find little pleasure in thy prating," answered the 
Bishop; "there are witnesses enough here. Those whom 
you have mentioned are not necessary. Depart, then ! give 
glory to God. Depart — go to the flames of hell ! " 

"Yes, I shall depart, but not to-day I know full well 
that I must depart. My sentence is passed ; I am compelled 
to leave ; but, before I do so, you must fast a little more. 
You are not lean enough yet." 

" I care not for thy jabbering," said the Bishop, " I shall 
expel thee by the power of God ; by the precious Blood of 
our Lord Jesus Christ." 

" Yes, I must yield to you," shrieked the demon wildly. 
" It tortures me that I must give you this honor. It is now 
twelve hundred years since a Bishop like you expelled the 
prince of devils." 


"Thou art a liar !" said the Bishop, solemnly. ^^ Every- 
day the holy Eomaii Catholic Church triumphs over thee 
and thy hellish spirits." 

"Thou liest thyself, my shell-pate!" answered Satan. 
"Poor, contemptible devils, nameless wretches, may have 
been expelled, but the prince of devils has not been expelled." 

The Bishop now burned the name of Beelzebub, but Satan 
only laughed at him, and said : " Oh, my shell-pate, you are 
burning only paper and ink ! " 

At this every one was astonished, as the burning of the 
demon's name had hitherto always caused him the most 
frightful tortures. 

"I see," said the Bishop, "that thou heedest neither the 
exorcisms nor the burning of thy name; I will, therefore, 
show thee thy Lord and Master." 

" Whom do you mean ? " shrieked the demon, in a fury 
"' Do you mean your white ? " 

Satan was at length expelled. On leaving, he cried out : 
" I depart, but I shall return again. My hour is not yet 

The next day, as Nicola was being- taken to the church, 
the demon instantly took possession of her. "Aha ! " cried 
he, in a mocking tone, "I am not gone away yet." Then 
he ridiculed all that had been done the day previous. Dur- 
ing the exorcism, the Bishop said : " Why dost thou not de- 
part ? The appointed day and hour have come." 

" I will not go, because you are not fasting, because you 
have not been to confession, because you have not assembled 
witnesses enough." 

The Bishop now took the Blessed Sacrament in his hand, 
and held it close to the face of the possessed woman. 

" A thousand million devils take you, wretched shell-pate ! 
Why do you torture me so horribly ? " 

At last, Satan was compelled to flee once more. 

The next morning, after the procession was ended, the holy 
sacrifice of the Mass was offered up, as usual. As soon as the 


possessed woman was broiiglit upon the platform, the devil 
looked around the church and said: "Ha! there are only pa- 
pists here ! The asirembly is not yet full. Where is the magis- 
trate Du Manclie, who was in such mortal terror, that night, 
in the prison ? Where is Bochet, the State's attorney ? Where 
is tlie Archdean ? I will not leave until all are present; 
for, by the Sacred Blood, I have good reasons for it." 

During holy Mass, a German Protestant, named Stephen 
Voske, happened to be in the church. Hearing his name called 
by the demon, he went up to the platform to speak to him. 
Yoske spoke in German, but the demon answered him in 

'*' Ha I you want me to speak German with you ; but I will 
not do it. Were I in your country, I would speak German 
better than you do. I can easily see that you were not 
brought up in Germany." (This was really the case.) 
" Here," said Satan "I speak only the language of the coun- 
try, so that every one can understand me. You may speak 
German ; I will answer you in my own language." 

They continued thus to talk together for about half an 
hour, one speaking German, and tlje other French. When 
the time for the consecration approached, Satan said to 
Voske : '•' Stop, now ! keep silence ! They are going to show 

the white . Ha ! it is my white . It is I who have 

nicknamed Him thus. I have taught all my servants and 
disciples to do the same." 

Suddenly, Satan was struck dumb. The possessed woman 
was raised over six feet into the air, and then fell back 
heavily upon the platform. The same scene Avas repeated at 
the Elevation of the Chalice. The demon, wild Avith rage, 
shrieked : " Ha ! Bishop, you shell-pate ! if I had you now I 
would make you suffer for this. You torture me horribly." 

(We must remark here, that the Bishop purposely pro- 
longed the time of consecration, in order to cause Satan 
greater torment.) 

As the Bishop, just before the Pater Noster, took the Sa- 


cred Host once more in his hand, and raised it with the cha- 
lice, the possessed woman was again whisked into the air, 
carrying with her tlie keepers, fifteen in number, at least six 
feet above the platform : and, after a wliile, she fell heavily 
back on the ground. 

At this sight, all present were filled with amazement and 
terror. The German Protestant fell on his knees : he burst 
into tears ; he was converted. 

"Ah!" cried he, "I now believe firmly that the devil 
really possesses this poor creature. I believe that it is really 
the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ which expels him. I 
believe firmly. I will no longer remain a Protestant." 

iVfter Mass, the exorcism began as nsual. As soon as the 
Bishop appeared on the platform, Satan cried, in a mocking 
tone : " Ah, ah ! my shell pate ! you made a good confession 
this morning to the dean. I saw you, but I could not un- 
derstand your words." 

" Now, at last," said the Bishop, '' thou must depart. Aw^ay 
with thee, evil spirit ! " 

"Yes," said Satan, "'it is true that I must depart, but not 
yet. I w^ill not go before the hour is come in which I first 
took possession of this wretched creature. Have patience, 
then; wait until three o'clock. Oh, accursed be that hour. 
Do not push on tlie clock. I know the hour well. My sen- 
tence is already passed." 

"' What sign wilt thou give of thy departure ? " asked tlie 

"jSTever mind I " answered Satan, sullenly; "you shall 
have signs enough. I will heal the left arm of this creature. 
She has not been able to use it these three months, because I 
possessed it. And you, my shell-pate ! you shall have your 
sign. I will strike such terror to your heart as you never 
felt before, and as you will not soon forget." 

"Where wert thou last night?" 

"I was in your palace," answered Satan, "I saw you right 
well. You got up last night to pray. It was about three 


o'cloct. I know that your prayers have helped ranch to 
expel me." 

Satan then turned to a gentleman present named Lancelot 
May, and publicly accused his brother Robert of some yery 
grievous sins, which he named. 

'•Yes," cried Satan in a rage, "I swear by the Sacred 
Blood 'that what I say is true, even though he is your 

He then turned to a woman, who stood near by, and said : 
" He ! Margaret, your husband Lancelot, lost two dollars last 
night. It was Nelly who won them." 

At this, Lancelot, who was himself present, hung his head 
in shame, and all present were greatly surprised. Satan 
continued thus for some time to reveal, the sins of those 
around him. At last the Bishop took the Sacred Host in 
his hand, and said : " In the name of the Adorable Trinity, 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost — in the name of the Sacred 
Body of Jesus Christ here present — I command thee, wicked 
spirit, to depart." 

"Wliat!" shrieked Satan, "you wish to expel me with 
your white ? " 

"Accursed spirit!" said the Bishop indignantly, "who 
has taught thee to blaspheme God thus ?" 

" It was I who taught it to my Calvinists, who are my 
obedient servants," answered Satan. 

"But it is the Sacred Body of thy Lord and Master; it is 
the Blessed Body of our Lord Jesus Christ. By His power 
thou shalt be expelled." 

" Yes, yes, it is true ! " shrieked the demon wildly ; " it is 
true. It is the Body of God. I must confess it, for I am 
forced to do so. Ha! it tortures me that I must confess 
this; but I must. I speak the truth only when I am forced 
to do it. The truth is not from me. It comes from my Lord 
and Master. I have entered this body by the permission of 

The Bishop now held the Blessed Sacrament close to the 


face of the possessed woman. The demon writhed in fearful 
agon}'. He tried in every way to escape from the presence 
of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. 

At length a black smoke was seen issuing from the mouth 
of ^N'icola. She fell into a swoon, and was restored again to 
consciousness only by means of the Blessed Sacrament. 

Sth of February. — During the procession, which took 
place in the afternoon of the same day, the devil said to the 
Bishop : " Oh Bishop, my shell-pate ! you have taken no 
dinner. You are sick and weary." And then he began to 
sing — ^' Oh, he has eaten nothing! I knew that you had to 
fast before you could drive me out of the body of this worth- 
less wretch." 

After the procession Nicola was again placed on the plat- 
form, where she was held by fifteen strong men. The Bishop 
and clergy then offered up a solemn prayer in Latin, in which 
they called the devil a spirit accursed. 

" Why do you use that word accursed 9 " asked the devil 

" Because," answered the Bishop, " thou hast offended God 
so grievously, that thou canst never hope for pardon. Thou 
art lost to all love and hope; thou hast nought but eternal 
damnation to expect. Thy sentence is passed forever." 

At these words Satan became silent, and turned away. 

The Bishop now began the last solemn adjuration. 
During the exorcism, the devil said several times to the 
Bishop : " Ah, you have taken no dinner to-day ! You are 
very weak." He then looked around, and said : " Ha, ha ! 
are you here, Attorney-General Bochet ? You were not here 
this morning! " 

He then blew out the blessed candle which stood near the 
Bishop, and said, with a mocking laugh, "Ha, ha! how 
stupid you are to burn candles in the broad da} light!" 

The Bishop read the gos^iels, prayers and exorcisms; he 
burned Beelzebub's name, showed him tlie relic of the holy 
cross, and solemnly commanded him to depart. 


The devil answered impudently, tliat he did not feel like 
going yet. 

''I shall not ask thee any longer,"' said the Bishop, "when 
thou intendest to leave; I will expel thee instantly by the 
power of the living God, and by the precious Body and Blood 
of Jesus Christ, Ilis beloved Son, here present in the Sacra- 
ment of the Altar.'' 

" Ha, yes!" shrieked the demon ; " I confess that the Son 
of God is here really and truly present. He is my Lord and 
Master. It tortures me to confess it, but I am forced to do 
so.'' Then he repeated several times, with a wild, uneartlily 
howl : " Yes, it is true. I must confess it. I am forced to 
leave, by the powder of God's Body here present. I must — I 
must depart. It torments me tliat I must go so soon, and 
that I must confess this truth. But this truth is not from 
me; it comes from my Lord and Master, who has sent me 
hither, and who commands and compels me to confess the 
truth publicly. I shall go, but I shall not go empty-handed. 
By the Sacred Blood, I will have my booty. I shall take 
along with me the head of the little bailiff of Virvins. Per- 
haps I could also take with me some of my Calvinists — body 
and soul — for they belong to me. H^ ! give me your head ! " 
cried he, turning to the Bishop; ^^ let me see whether I 
cannot carry it off? " 

" Xo, never ! " answ^ered the Bishop ; " thou shall depart, 
and thou shalt take nothing with thee. These men are bap- 
tized — thou canst not touch them." 

" Yes," cried Satan, in a mocking tone, •'• they are baptized ; 
but, after having renounced me in baptism, they gave them- 
selves up to me again. Therefore they are mine — they are 
surely mine I " 

^'I forbid thee, in the name of the living God," said the 
Bishop, "to hurt either them or any one here present." 

The Bishop then took tlie Blessed Sacrament in his hand, 
and, holding It on high, he said, with a solemn voice: "0 


thou wicked, nnclean spirit, Beelzebub ! thou arcli-enemy 
of the eternal God ! behold, here present, the precious Body 
and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Lord and Master ! 
I adjure thee, in the name and by the power of our Lord 
and Saviour Jesus Christ, true God and true man. Who is 
here present; I command thee to depart instantly and 
forever from this creature of God. Depart to the deepest 
depth of hell, there to be tormented forever. Go forth, 
unclean spirit, go forth — behold here thy Lord and Pias- 
ter ! " 

At these solemn words, and at the sight of our Sacra- 
mental Lord, the poor possessed woman writhed fearfully. 
Her limbs cracked as if every bone in her body were break- 
ing. The fifteen strong men wdio held her,, could scarcely 
keep her back. They staggered from side to side, they Were 
covered with j)erspiration. Satan tried to escape from the 
presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The mouth 
of Nicola was wide open, her tongue hung down below her 
chin, her face was shockingly swollen and distorted. Her 
color changed from yelloAV to green, and became even gray 
and blue, so that she no longer looked like a human being; 
it was rather the face of a hideous, incarnate demon. All 
present treml)led w^ith terror, especially when they heard the 
v\ild cry of tlie demon, which sounded like tlie loud roar of a 
wild bull. 

They fell on their knees, and with tears in their eyes began 
to cry out : "Jesus, have mercy! '^ 

The Bishop continued to urge Satan. At last the evil 
spirit departed, and Nicola fell back senseless into the arms 
of her keepers. She still, -however, remained shockingly dis- 
torted. In this state she was shown to the judges^ and to all 
the people present ; she was rolled up like a ball. The Bishop 
now fell on his knees, in order to give her the Blessed Sacra- 
ment as usuaL But see! suddenly the demon returns, wild 
with rage endeavors to seize the hand of tlie Bishop,, and 
tries even to grasp the Blessed Sacrament Itself. The Bishop 

86 A wo:n'derful manifestation 

starts back — Nicola is carried into the air, and the Bishop 
rises from his knees, trembling with terror and pale as 

The good Bishop takes courage again; he pursues the 
demon, holding the Blessed Sacrament in his hand. Satan 
endeavors to escape, and hurls the keepers to the ground. 

The people call upon God for aid. 

Satan departs once more with a noise which resembles a 
crash of thunder. 

Suddenly he returns again in a fury, and casts a look of 
rage on some Calvinists present, who stood the whole time 
with covered heads. 

" On your knees ! " cried the people ; *' uncover your 
heads ; kneel down in the presence of the precious Body and 
Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ." 

Scarcely had these words been uttered, when a wild cry 
was heard, '-'to arms! to arms!" In an instant all was in 

The Catholics thought that the Calvinists had come armed 
to churcli, in order to massacre them. The Calvinists, on 
the other hand, were filled with mortal terror. Soon this 
fear and confusion spread throughout the city. Every one 
was terrified, but no one could tell the real cause of such a 
sudden uproar. 

The Bishop remained calmly at his post. Still holding the 
Blessed Sacrament in his hand, he turned towards the people 
and said in a loud voice, " My friends, do not be disturbed. 
Kemain where you are. Here is the true Body of our Lord 
Jesus Christ ; He will assist us ; on your knees, and pray 
to God. I beg you, in the name of God, do not hurt one 

Scarcely had the Bishop uttered these words, when all was 
instantly calm again. The people fell on their knees, and 
prayed to God for the possessed woman. The Bishop still 
pursued and urged Satan, holding the Blessed Sacrament in 
bis hand, till at length the demon, overcome by the power 


of our Lord's Sacred Body, went forth amidst smolve, and 
lightning, and thunder. 

Thus was the demon at length expelled forever, on Friday 
afternoon, at three o'clock, the same day and hour on which 
our Lord triumphed over hell by His ever-blessed death. 

Nicola was now completely cured ; she could move her left 
arm with the greatest ease. She now fell on her knees, and 
thanked God, and the good Bishop, for all he had done for 

The people wept for joy, and sang hymns of praise and 
thanksgiving in honor of God, and of our dear Lord in the 
Blessed Sacrament. 

On all sides were heard the exclamations: "Oli, what a 
great miracle ! Oh, thank God that I witnessed it ! Who is 
there now that could doubt of the Real Presence of our 
Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar !" 

Many a Protestant present also said : " I believe now in 
the Presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament; I have 
seen it with my eyes ! I will remain a Calvinist no longer. 
Accursed be those who have hitlierto kept me in error ! Oh, 
now I can understand what a good thing is the holy sacri- 
fice of the Mass ! " 

A solemn Te Deum was intoned; the organ pealed forth, 
and the bells rung a merry chime. 

The whole city was filled with joy. 



The preceding chapter may lead the reader to think it 
strange that although Satan was repeatedly expelled by the 
Presence of onr Divine Saviour in the Sacred Host, never- 
theless, it appeared as if our Saviour was forced to yield to 
Satan, when he again took possession of Nicola's body. 
AVhy this straggle between onr Lord and Satan, since our 
divine Saviour is his Lord and Master ? 

It is true that our Lord is the Master of Satan; and yet 
^ve read in the Gospel ho^r He permitted the devil to touch 
Him and carry Him up to the pinnacle of the Temple and 
to the top of a higli mountain. On these occasions it must 
be remarked that He suffered Himself to be touched by the 
devil, onli/, when, and as long as He gave him permission so 
to do. As soon as our Lord said to him : " Begone, Satan," 
lie took to flight. 1\\ like manner did He permit Satan to 
take possession of Nicola's body, sometimes even for a con- 
siderable time, not only to sanctify this innocent woman, 
but also to confirm, by these repeated miracles, the Catliolics 
in their fiiith in His Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist, 
and to convert or confound the Protestants, who denied that 
Real Presence and committed so many shocking outrages on 
His Sacred Person. For this reason also, did our Lord force 
Satan to make a public profession of his faith in the Real 
Presence, not once only but on several occasions, and in sev- 
eral places, in presence of thousands of Catholics and Pro- 

Moreover, it is to be remarked, that Satan had no power 


over the soul of Xicola Aubry. He could n.ot take away her 
own free will. She retained her own consciousness, her own 
intellectnal and moral faculties unimpaired, and never con- 
founded herself with the evil spirit. She always retained fhe 
power of internal protest and struggle. She always exercised 
this power most effectually, never yielding to any of the evil 
intentions of the devil. She derived this pov/er from the 
Body of our Lord, which she received in Holy Commu- 

During His life the body of Jesus Christ had a peculiar 
healing, life-giving power. A virtue went forth from His 
body to heal all those that came near Him, and to expel 
demons from the possessed. He touched the blind and they 
saAv: He touched the deaf and they heard; He touched the 
dumb, and they spoke; He touched the sick, and they were 
healed; He touched the dead, and they were restored to life. 
Even before His passion and resurrection, before His body 
was glorified, Jesus made His body invisible, as we see in 
various parts of the Gospel.* 

The Nazarenes once tried to cast Him down a liill.f 
The Jews wished to stone Him, I but in vain : He walked 
on the waves of the sea. On Mount Thabor Jesus showed 
His body to His disciples, as it would have always appeared, 
had He not chosen to liide His glory. And tlien His face 
shone as the sun, and His garments were whiter than snow. 
After His resurrection, His body became glorified and as- 
sumed tlie qualities of a spirit. He could pass through a 
wall without breaking it, as a sunbeam j^^sses through 
glass. He passed tlirough the tomb, though it was sealed; 
He entered the supper room, though the windows and doors 
were barred. He became visible and invisible at will. He 
appeared under different forms. To St. Magdalen, He ap- 
peared as a gardener; to the disciples going to Enimaus, He 
api)eared as a stranger and traveler. Xow it is this wonder- 

- Luke iv., 30. \ John viii., 59. t •^'^li" ^■> 39- 


ful Body, this glorified Body, this life-giving, divine Body, 
this Body, possessing the qualities of a spirit, that Jesus 
Christ gives us when He says : " Eat My flesh, drink My 


By original sin — the sin of our first parents — man was in- 
jured in body and soul. After the fall, reason grew darkened, 
will weakened, the heart of man became more inclined to 
evil than to good. Now, as body and soul were both injured 
by sin, so there must "be a medicine for both the body and soul ; 
a heavenly medicine, which weakens our inclination to evil, 
enkindles in the heart the love of virtue, the love of God. 
This heavenly medicine for body and soul, is the sacred 
Body and Soul of Jesus Christ. It is His Flesh and Blood, 
united with His Soul and Divinity. By sin, our body has 
been doomed to death and corruption ; but by eating the 
Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ, the seed of immortality is 
implanted in it. Our flesh and blood mingling with the 
Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ, are fitted for a glorious re- 
surrection. Leaven or yeast, when mixed with dough, 
soon penetrates the entire mass and imparts new qualities to 
it. In like manner the glorified Body of Jesus Christ pene- 
trates through our entire being, and endows it with new 
qualities, the qualities of glory and immortality. Our divine 
Saviour Himself assures us of this, for He says: "He that 
eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me, and 
I in him. As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by 
the Father: so he that eateth Me, the same also shall live by 
Me, and I will raise him up in the last day." * 

There is an old proverb which tells us that "evil commu- 
nications corrupt good manners." The converse of it is 
true. Why is it, that association with the great and good im- 
proves our manners and our morals ? Intercourse or com- 
munion with a great and good man leaves us ever after diff- 
erent to what we were before. A virtue seems to have gone 

* John vi., 55, 57. 


forth from him and entered into our life. What is the ex- 
planation of this fact ? How happens it that we are benefited 
by intercourse with the good, and injured by intercourse with 
the bad. How is it that one man is able to influence 
another, whether for good or for evil ? What is the 
meaning of influence itself? Influence, — inflowing, flow- 
ing in — what is this but the fact that our life is the joint 
product of subject and object ? Man lives and can live only 
by communion with that which is not hinjself This must 
be said of every living dependent existence. Only God can 
live in, from, and by Himself alone, uninfluenced and un- 
aff'ected by anything distinguishable from His own Being. 
But man is not Grod, is not being in himself, is not complete 
being, and must find out of himself both his being and its 
completeness. He lives not in and from himself alone, but 
does and must live in and by the life of another. 

Cut off man from all communion with external nature and 
he dies, for he has no sustenance for his body, and must 
starve; cut him off from all communion with moral nature, 
and he dies — starves morally ; cut him off from all moral com- 
munion, with a life above his own, and he stagnates and can 
make no progress. All this everybody knows and concedes. 
Then to elevate man, to give him a higher and nobler life, you 
must give him a higher and nobler object, a higher and 
nobler life with which to commune. To elevate his subjec- 
tive life, you must elevate his objective life. From the object 
must flow into him a higher virtue — an elevating element. 

To illustrate this point: What is the good of each being? 
It is that which makes the being better and more perfect. 
It is clear that inferior beings cannot make superior ones 
better and more perfect. Now the soul, being immortal, is 
superior to all earthly or perishable things. These, then, 
cannot make the soul better and more perfect, but rather 
worse than she is ; for he who seeks what is worse than him- 
self, makes himself worse than he was before. Therefore, 
the good — the life of the soul — can be only that which is 


better and more excellent than the soul herself is. Xow God 
alone is this Good — He being Supreme Goodness Itself. He 
"who possesses God, may be said to possess the goodness of 
all other things ; for whatever goodness they possess they 
have from Gud. It follows, then, most clearly that the 
closer onr union is witli God, or the more intimate our rela- 
tion to Him is in this life, the more contentment of mind, 
and the greater happiness of sonl shall Ave enjoy. 

Communion between God and man is possible, for like 
communes with like. Man has in his own nature a likeness 
to God. The human soul is a likeness of God, and hence 
there is nothinsr that hinders intercommunion between God 
and the soul of man. Though God, as the object, is inde- 
pendent of the soul, and does not live by communion with it, 
yet the soul lives only by communion with God: as, in all 
cases, the subject lives only by communion with the object, 
and not reciprocally the object by communion with the sub- 
ject. By this communion the subject partakes of the object 
■ — the soul of man of the Divine nature. 

The soul of man, then, to live, to be strong and to remain 
enlightened, must be, and remain, in communion Avith Al- 
mighty God. The more intimate its communion with God, 
the greater will be its light, strength and ha}>piness. Xow, 
God Avihhing to establish this intimate union between the 
soul and Himself, Avishing to unite His divine nature to our 
human nature, took upon Himself human nature, and com- 
mands us to receiA'e His humanity, that we may become 
partakers of His divinity. His human nature. His human 
Flesh and Blood are, then, the means Avhich God has chosen 
from all eternity for the purpose of uniting us to Himself. 
By partaking of His human nature, by partaking of His 
sacred Flesh and Blood we become, as St. Peter says, partakers 
of the divine nature. "We bear about God Himself in ouj 
bodi'.'S, as St. Paul forcibly expresses it. 

This explains Avliy Nicola Aubry, after receiving the Body 
and Blood of Jesus Christ, became as terrible to Satan as a 


furious lion is to man, and why her face became bright and 
beautiful as the face of an angel. 

From the history of Nicola Anbry we learn, moreover, the 
implacable hatred and malice with which Satan studies to 
disturb our temporal happiness and to compass our eternal 
ruin. Yet it is certain that he can tempt and assail us only 
up to a certain degree; he can go only the length of his 
chain, that is, as far as God permits him. In the case before 
us, God permitted Satan to take possession of a body that 
was the temple of the Holy Ghost, and so frightful were the 
sufferings that he caused iSTicola to undergo, that the people 
turned away their eyes in horror. God gave this permission 
to Satan from wise motives — from motives that proceeded 
from his kindness for men. Alas ! what must be the power 
of Satan over those who live in mortal sin, who are his slaves, 
his obedient servants, wdio never receive Holy Communion, 
who even deny the Eeal Presence ! In our days the number 
of these is immense, and there can be no doubt that the 
power and influence of Satan over them will increase in pro- 
portion as they approach heathenism and iniidelity, and 
abandon the true religion. However, as long as they live in 
this world they experience the mercy of God in a certain 
degree, and Satan has no permission to exercise all his power 
and torment them as much as he desires. But let them 
leave this world in their state of unbelief and final impeni- 
tence, who shall be able to give us an adequate description 
of the sufferings that Satan will inflict upon them for mil- 
lions and millions of years — nay, for all eternity! For then 
it is that God, from motives of justice, gives Satan unlimited 
power to torment his victims as he pleases. Tlien it is Unit 
God uses the demons as the cruel executioners of His divine 
justice, and none of the damned will experience the severity 
of this justice, and the unspeakable cruelty of Satan more 
keenly than unbelievers and the falsifiers of the Avord of God. 
Let us be Avise, let us receive Holy Communion as often as 
possible, but let us receive it worthily, in order to maku sure 


of life everlasting. "Were the Blessed Virgin to pay us a 
visit ev3ry day, and converse with us familiarly for the space 
of half an hour, what a favor it would be ! And yet, it 
would he but a union of familiar intercourse with a creature 
— the holiest and highest of all pure creatures ; but when 
Jesus Christ comes into us in communion, we are united to 
a Man-God — our Lord enters into the powers of our soul 
according as we are disposed to receive Him; He unites 
really His Flesh to our flesh, and His Spirit to our spirit, 
although we know not how this union is brought about. It 
is wholly interior, and infinitely more perfect than all the 
favors that angels and saints, and the Mother of God herself, 
can ever show us. Communion is truly the beatitude of our 
life. A single one, did we but bring to it, the necessary 
dispositions, would fill us with more dehght and cause us 
greater transports of joy, than to see and converse with all 
the saints and angels together. 

If we do not experience the effects of this admirable union, 
it is only from our want of disposition. " If after Com- 
munion," says St. Bonaventure, " you do not feel any effect 
of the spiritual food you have eaten, it is a sign that your 
soul is either sick or dead. You have put fire into your 
bosom, and you do not feel its heat; you have put honey 
into your mouth and you do not taste its sweetness." 

Let us prepare ourselves for Holy Communion as well as we 
can, and then let us rest assured that our souls will be 
wonderfully changed and perfected. Our Lord will gradually 
remove all our weakness; He will encourage us and assist us 
to uproot our evil habits and passions ; He will quench in 
us the fire of concupiscence in proportion to the disposition 
we bring to the holy table and finally He will lead us up to life 
everlasting. "He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My 
blood hath life everlasting." Admirable words, the meaning 
of which, we shall only perfectly understand when we see 
them verified in heaven. 

Oh, what returns of gratitude and acknowledgment ought 


we then to make to our Lord for having contrived this 
expedient to abide with us to the end of time ! " Behold 
I am with you all days, even to the consummation 
of the world."* Should not our belief in His Eeal 
Presence in tlie Eucharist, enkindle in us the most ardent 
desires to visit and receive Him frequently, with the most 
profound humility, respect and veneration ? Should not 
this our belief, excite us to testify our love and esteem for 
Him, with all the affections of our souls, and to invite Heaven 
and Earth to join with us in proclaiming the excess of His 
goodness and mercy ? amiable Jesus, it is in this mystery 
of the Blessed Sacrament, that Thy charity has exerted itself 
in such a wonderful manner as to seem to cast forth all its 
flames. Praise, honour and glory forever to Thy goodness 
and mercy ! grant, I beseech Thee, that I may duly 
correspond with the designs of Thy mercy, and partake of 
this banquet of Thy boundless love with such dispositions 
as are pleasing to Thee, and necessary to qualify me for 
receiving Thy grace in so superabundant a measure, as to 
change me entirely into Thee, that I may thus be able to 
say with Thy great Apostle: ^'I live, now not I, but Christ 
liveth in me. "f 

* Matt. 28. t GJal. II. 20. 



^HAT lias been said in the preceding chapters is certainly 
sufficient to establish the most solemn truth of the Eeal 
Presence. But our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacra- 
ment has often been pleased to manifest His Real Presence 
in wonderful wa3^s. Even when Jesus was loaded with 
infamy and tortured with pain, when He had almost lost 
the semblance of man, He knew how to prove to the world 
His divinity ; it then that He made all nature speak 
and testify to His innocence. The earth shrouded itself 
with the dark pall of mourning; the rocks burst asunder; 
the sun veiled its face and even the very dead arose from 
their graves to bear witness to the divinity of the dying 
Jesus. ^' Xow the centurion and they that were with him 
watching, having seen tlie eardi quake and other things 
that were done, v\'ere sore afraid, saying: * Indeed this was 
the Son of God.'"* So when we look upon -the Sacred 
Host, it is true, we see there, no mark of His Majest}^ no 
token of His Sacred Pi'esence, no vestige of His perfections, 
not a single ray of His Divinity. Yet, for all that, Jesus 
does not lack the power and means to manifest Himself in 
tlie Sacred Host, as the Lord of heaven and earth and the 
Redeemer of the world. Our dear Saviour has indeed been 
pleased on hundreds of occasions to manifest His Real Pres- 
ence in the Blessed Sacrament in a most striking manner. 

There exist a great number of hosts which are called 
miraculous, because of the wonderful facts connected with 
them. The history of that of Augsburg, in Germany, is 

* Matt, xxvii. 54. 


one of the most celebrated and most authentic. In 1194: a 
certain woman went to receive holy communion, in the 
Church of the Holy Cross in Augsburg. Immediately after 
receiving, she took the Sacred Host and put it between two 
slices of wax and thus kept it for five years. During all 
that time she suflTered an agony of interior torments. To 
rid herself of her remorse of conscience she at length took 
the Blessed Sacrament to Father Berthold, a pious priest, the 
prior of the Convent of the Holy Cross, and declared to him 
her great crime and readiness to perform any kind of 
penance in expiation of it. The good priest consoled and 
encouraged the truly penitent woman to hope in the mercy 
of God. On taking the two pieces of wax apart, he beheld, 
instead of the species of bread, human flesh, and even the 
muscular fibres. When he tried to detach the wax from 
both sides of the Host, the better to contemplate the Blessed 
Sacrament, the Sacred Host split at once in two so as to 
remain, however, attached to the wax and united by the 
muscular fibres, Almost beside himself at this wonderful 
occurence he was at a loss as to whether he should keep it 
secret or make it public. After mature reflection he con- 
cluded to consult several men of discretion on the subject. 
He was advised to put the wax with the Host in a sealed 
box and keep it until the Bishop of Augsburg should have 
given his decision on the matter. 

On learning this miraculous event, IJdalskalk, then Bis- 
hop of Augsburg, was greatly amazed. He went immediately 
with his clergy and a large number of the laity to the 
Church of the Holy Cross and in solemn procession, carried 
the Sacred Host with the wax to his Cathedral. After the 
wax had been taken off they all were surprised at seeing the 
Host become three times thicker than it was before. From 
this time to the feast ' of St. John the Baptist the Sacred 
Host used to increase in thickness, especially during Mass, 
to such an extent that the wax came off by itself without 
anv human intervention. 



Bishop Udalskiilk, convinced of the truth of the miracle 
put the wax with the Blessed Sacrament, which kept the 
appearance of human flesh, in a crystal vase and carried it 
again in solemn procession to the Church of the Holy Cross, 
wiiere it has been preserved with the greatest reverence to 
the present day. Every year processions numbering from 
twenty to thirty thousand men have come to this church to 
adore our Lord in this miraculous Host. 

It would scarcely be expected that such an event should 
escape contradiction. In 1486 Leonard Stunz, a priest of 
the Cathedral, called the miracle in question. He ascended 
the pulpit several times and most vehemently inveighed 
against the devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, maintaining 
*•' ffiiat all that had been said about this Host was but a fiction 
and the story of an old devotee." The people felt highly in- 
dignant with him, whilst all unbelievers applauded what he 
had said. As soon as Frederick III, then Bishop of Augs- 
burg, heard of the scandal, he ordered this priest to leave 
the city, withdrew the Sacred Host from public veneration, 
and kept it under lock and key in a wooden box until it had 
been examined anew. Just about this time Henry Justitu- 
toris, the Papal Legate, came to Augsburg. The Bishop 
showed him the miraculous Host and related to him all that 
had happened. At the request of the Bishop, the Papal 
Legate examined the Sacred Host, after which he wvote a 
learned dissertation on the subject, showing that the Blessed 
Sacrament is still a Keal Sacrament, containing the Body of 
Our Lord, even though the species of bread should disappear 
arid instead human flesh and blood should become visible. 
Til is he wrote against Leonard Stunz, who had maintained 
that the Sacred Host should no longer be worshipped, since, 
instead of the appearance of bread, human flesh could be 
distinctly seen. 

The Legate and Bishop, then referred the matter to the 
learned professors of the celebrated Universities of Jngols- 
tadt and Erfurt, who unanimously declared that the Sacred 


Host in the Cliurcli of the Holy Cross m Aiigsbnrg -u-as the 
Blessed Sacrament, and should as such be venerated and 
adored. After this, the Bishop again examined the Sacred 
Host in presence of Lis clergy and other learned men. They 
distinctly saw human flesh as before, and as indeed it may 
"he seen to the present day. The result of this examination 
and the declaration of both Universities were forthwith an- 
nounced from the pulpit and the miraculous Host was again, 
to the great joy of the people, exposed on the altar for pub- 
lic veneration and adoration. From that time thousands of 
pilgrims flocked to the Church of the Holy Cross to worship 
Our Lord in the miraculous Host. The number of pious 
pilgrims, however, considerably increased in proportion as the 
extraordinary favors which Our Lord in the miraculous 
Host bestowed on the pious worshippers became more gene- 
rally known. I will here relate three of those extraordinary 
favors for the edification of the pious reader. 

In 1611, Mary Maximiliana, sister of William V., Duke of 
Bavaria, was taken sick with acute pain in her chest. The 
physicians had tried every remedy to procure her some relief, 
but in vain. One day the duke happened to speak to his 
sister of the great miracles wrought by Our Lord in the mi- 
raculous Host in the Church of the Holy Cross at Augs- 
burg. On hearing the account of these wonders, Mary 
Maximiliana conceived great confidence in Our I^rd in the 
Blessed Sacrament. She dismissed her physicians and caused 
herself to be carried from Munich to the Church of the 
Holy Cross in Augsburg, where she asked Our Lord in the 
miraculous Host to cure her. Her prayer was immediately 
granted. She rose up unaided by any one, perfectly cured. 
To show her gratitude to Our Lord, she had this miracle an- 
nounced in all the Catholic Churches of Bavaria, and re- 
quested the clergy and the people to join her in giving thanks 
to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament for her miraculous 

In 1620 Bartholomew Holzhauser, a great servant of GocI, 


was attacked by the pestilence which then raged in Augsburg. 
He had recourse to Our Lord in the miraculous Host and 
was delivered from the epidemic. 

In 1747 a poor man in Augsburg who had been dumb from 
his very infancy, and was known by all in the city, prayed 
several times to Our Lord in the wonderful Host to obtain 
his speech but apparently without being heard. One day, 
however, he prayed with unusual confidence and with tears in 
his eyes to obtain the same favor. This time his request 
was granted. Full of joy he ran home to make known the 
miracle Our Lord had wrought in him. 

After the Bishop had sufficiently convinced himself of the 
miraculous fact, he had a solemn Te Deum chanted, and all 
the bells of the churches rang out in thanksgiving. 

The miraculous Host has often been examined since, and 
every new examination furnished new proofs of the Eeal 
Presence. All the Bishops of Augsburg, to the present day, 
have venerated and adored Our Lord therein, thus forming 
a chain of the most trustworthy witnesses of the great truth. 
But the faithful too have been most anxious to pay their 
homage to Our Lord in this miraculous Host. Up to the 
present time their devotion to Him has not diminished in 
spite of all the impious clamors of infidelity. And oh ! how 
many prayers has not Our Lord there heard ! How many 
extraordinary favors has He not bestowed upon the pious 
pilgrims who went thither, and had recourse to Him in their 
necessities Avhether temporal or spiritual* 

If we pray then to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacra- 
ment and obtain the favors we ask, it is a clear proof that 
Jesus is there present, for no favor can come forth from a 
piece of bread. 

There are on record numberless favors granted by Jesus 
Christ to those who prayed to Him in the Blessed Sacrament. 
Cardinal de Noailles, Archbishop of Paris, relates in bis pas- 

* Ott's Eucharisticura. 


toral of August 10th, 1725, the following cure of Mme. Anne 
de la Fosse, which took place on the feast of Corpus Christi 
in 1725. This lady had been suffering for twenty years from 
an incurable issue of blood. So weak had she become, that 
she was no longer able to walk even with the aid of crutches ; 
nay, it very often happened that she fainted from sheer ex- 
haustion. Many a time she was compelled to leave her bed 
on account of acute pains in her side, and when out of bed 
she had to be carried from one place to another. Sixty most 
trustworthy witnesses testified to the fact that Anne de 
la Fosse was in the pitiable condition mentioned at the 
approach of the feast of Corpus Christi. It happened that 
about this very time she felt strongly inspired by Almighty 
God to beseech our Lord Jesus Christ to cure her at the 
moment Avhen the Blessed Sacrament would be carried by 
her house in the solemn procession of Corpus Christi. She 
was taken down and set before the door of her house, where 
she patiently waited and most fervently prayed until Our 
Lord was carried by. On being told, " Behold there is the 
Blessed Sacrament," she knelt down to adore, and, being too 
weak to remain in a kneeling posture, she threw herself on 
the ground and cried iu a loud voice, " Lord, if Thou wilt, 
Thou canst cure me, for I believe that in the Blessed Sacra- 
ment there is the same Lord present who one day entered 
triumphantly into Jerusalem ; forgive me my sins and I shall 
be cured." Then she tried to advance with the procession 
by dragging herself on her hands and knees, constantly cry- 
ing aloud, "My Lord Jesus Christ, if Thou wilt, Thou canst 
cure me." Many of the people were perfectly astonished at 
her behavior, whilst others took her for a drunken or crazy 
woman. So the people insisted on her retiring and keeping 
silence; but she would not be intimidated or silenced, but 
continued crawling after Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament 
saying, " Let me follow my Lord and my God." This great 
faith of hers could not go unrewarded. On a sudden she felt 
strength increasing in her limbs. She rose up, but fearing 


she might not be strong enough to walk to the church, she 
cried still louder than l)efore, ''Lord, let me enter Thy Tem- 
ple and I shall be cured." She now requested her two com- 
panions to allow her to walk without their assistance, and, to 
the great astonishment of all present, she walked unsup- 
ported to the parish church, Avhither the Blessed Sacrament 
was being carried. As soon as she entered the church, she 
felt perfectly cured of the issue of blood, and so strong as to 
walk about Avith ease. After spending a considerable time in 
tlianking, praising, and blessing our Lord Jesus Christ in the 
Holy Eucharist for the immense benefit He had bestowed 
upon her, she returned home accompanied by a great crowd 
of people. Many who had witnessed her intense suffering 
for years came now to behold the great miracle which Jesus 
Christ in the Blessed Sacrament had wrought upon her. To 
make sure that she was perfectly cured, they requested her 
to walk up and down in their presence, which she did with 
the greatest delight in order thus to give honor, and glory, 
and thanks to her Divine Benefactor in the Blessed Eucha- 
rist. Many non-Catholics even there were who praised God 
for this great miracle. One of them, who had often visited 
her when so very sick and who kneAV*in what a pitiable con- 
dition she had been, took a solemn oath testifying that this 
cure was the wonderful effect of God's power, and that, 
according to his opinion, there could be no miracle more 
authentic than this.* 

It will never be heard that God punished a man for 
turning into ridicule falsehood and error, idolatry and 
heresy, superstition and the like ; on the contrary, God takes 
pleasure in those who confound heresy, idolatry, superstition 
and all kinds of falsehood and error. But when tlie truths 
and the mysteries of our holy religion are attacked, con tra- 

* Le Bruu, " Explication des prieres et des ceremonies de la Messe," 
torn 3. For otlier examples see " Blessed Eucharist," p. 226, No. 22 ; 
p. 260-203, p. 213, No. 9. 


dieted, or turned into ridicule, God in many instances, has 
shown the greatest displeasure by inflicting terrible punish- 
ments on those Avho mockingly spoke of the sacred mysteries 
of our religion, and who tried to make others also hold them in 
contempt and derision. Every truth is from God. Therefore, 
to contradict truth, to deny it, to turn it into ridicule, is to 
contradict God Himself, who uttered it — to mock the Lord 
of Heaven and earth. ISTo wonder then, if we often hear of 
instances in w^hich the wn'ath of the Lord fell upon such 
enemies of the true religion. In these punisliments God 
gives us so many proofs to confirm that truth which is ridi- 
culed and attacked. There are on record most frightful 
punishments with which the Lord has visited those who de- 
nied and insulted His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. 

I will relate here some of those lamentable occurrences, 
May they be a salutary warning to the miserable men who 
scoff and sneer at holy mysteries. 

In the village of Edinghausen, situated not far from the 
town of Bielfield, in Rhenish Prussia, an impious blasphemer 
of religion took it into his head one day to turn the Holy 
Eucharist into derision. He sits down to table with some 
companions, not as infamous as he, although not much 
better. He takes some bread and wine and pronounced over 
it with mock solemnity the words of consecration: "This is 
my body ! This is my blood ! " After this sacrilegious parody 
he distributed them amongst his companions, saying to them 
wath an ironical smile, " Take ye all ! " When he had given 
some to all, and his turn came to take the bread and wine, 
he felt unwell, let his head fall on his chest and in a few 
seconds ceased to live. This took place on the 5th of Jan- 
uary, 1807. The wretch was buried outside the cemetery, on 
th e very feast of the Epiphany.* 

* Sclimid et Belet, Cat. Hist. II., 14G. See other examples of Divine 
chastisements in" Blessed Eucharist," p. 209 ; then p. 212, No. 5 ; p. 
213, No. 8; p. 214, No. 10 ; p. 218, No 12 ; p. 221, No. 15 ; p. 304, No 
2 ; and p. 182, 183. 


History informs us how the Emperor Frederic 11. per- 
secuted the holy Church of God. He accepted the services 
of the Saracens, the sworn enemies of the Christian religion. 
By fire and sword they laid waste the environs of Spoleto in 
Italy. They showed their hatred against the Catholic relig- 
ion, particularly by destroying churches and convents. 
AVhilst they were besieging the city of Assisium, they tried 
to plunder and sack the convent of St. Damian, in which 
St. Clare lived, and was abbess at the time. The holy vir- 
gin had no one to defend herself and her convent against 
these enemies of God and religion. So in her firm confi- 
dence in Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, she had 
herself carried, sick as she was, to the gates of the convent. 
In her hands she held the Blessed Sacrament, the God of 
armies. As soon as the Saracens beheld in her hands the 
God of Infinite Majesty and Holiness, they were seized with 
terror, they trembled in every limb, their weapons fell from 
their hands, they turned their backs and fled. Had an army 
in battle array stood before them, those fierce barbarians 
would have fought to the last; they would either have con- 
quered or left their bleeding corpses on the plain. But when 
the holy virgin, St. Clare, stood before them bearing in her 
hands the God of armies, that God, who rules the lightning 
and the thunder, they could not bear the sight of His awful 
Majesty and they fled in terror from the face of their Eternal 
Judge. St. Clare conquered, because Jesus, her divine 
Spouse, was with her ; and as her enemies fled in terror, the 
heavens opened, she heard the sweet voice of her heavenly 
Bridegroom : "Do not fear, it is I, I will always watch over 
thee." Now would it not be ridiculous to say that a large 
army was panic-stricken and took to flight in great confusion 
at the sight of a piece of bread ? It was not a piece of bread, 
but our Lord Himself Whom St. Clare held in her hands and 
Who at her prayer, and to reward her faith and confidence, 
struck terror into the enemies of His religion and made 
them raise the siege in spite of themselves. 


We read in the Gospel that our dear Saviour one day 
performed most wonderful things. When the chief priests 
and scribes saAV these wonders they were filled with indigna- 
tion. What excited their rage most was that the children 
cried aloud in the Temple, saying: " Hosanna to the Son of 
David!" (that is, to Jesus Christ). And they said to Our 
Lord : " Hearest thou what these say ? " And Jesus said to 
them: " Yea, have you never read; ' Out of the mouths of 
infants and of sucklings thou hast perfected praise.'"* 
What happened then, happens still. Many non-Catholics 
are filled with indignation when we speak to them of the 
wonders that Jesus wrought — when we speak of the institu- 
tion of the Mass, of the Keal Presence of Our Lord in the 
Blessed Sacrament. But Jesus knows how to inspire even 
little children to proclaim His Real Presence and confound 
the unbeliever. 

A Calvinist nobleman was once disputing about the Real 
Presence with the father of St. Jane Francis de Chantal; 
Frances was at that time only five years of age. Whilst the 
dispute was going on she advanced and said to the nobleman. 
"What, sir! do you not believe that Jesus Christ is really 
present in the Blessed Sacrament, and yet He has told us 
t\mt Re is present? You then make Him a liar. If you 
dared attack the honor of the King, my father would defend 
it at the risk of his life, and even at the cost of yours ; what 
have you then to expect from God for calling His Son a liar ? 
The Calvinist was greatly surprised at the child's zeal, and 
endeavored to appease his young adversary with presents, 
but full of love for her holy faith, she took his gifts and 
threw them into the fire, saying : " Thus shall all those burn 
in hell Avho do not believe the words of Jesus Clirist ! " 

A visitor to Bologna may see the tombstone of a child 
called Imelda. The history of the child is written on the 
tombstone. She died at the age of sevetif in the year 1393. 

♦ Matt. xxi. 15. 16. 


On Easter Sunday morning there were many children in 
the church, assembled to make their first communion. Lit- 
tle Imelda had begged hard to make her first communion, 
but the sisters justly thought that she was too young and too 
childish in her ways. They told her she must wait until she 
was older. So the child was obliged to stay far away from 
the altar, at the bottom of the church. She was alone in 
sadness and tears, because she could not receive Jesus AYhom 
she loved. But there was One watching her who measures 
not the years, but the love of souls. Jesus could not bear 
that the child should be lonesome and sorrowful, because 
she wished to receive Him and could not. The bell sounded 
for the communicants to approach the altar. The altar 
rails were filled with a long line of happy children. The 
priest was standing on the highest step, holding the Blessed 
Sacrament in his hand, saying — ^-'Behold the Lamb of God." 
At that moment a ray of dazzling light went forth from the 
Blessed Sacrament to the little Imelda, at the bottom of the 
church. Then the priest saw, with astonishment, that the 
Blessed Sacrament which he held in his hand the moment 
before, was no longer there ! He had seen the ray of light, 
reaching to Imelda, and now above her he beheld what 
seemed a star of light. Imelda's eyes were also lifted up, 
looking at the bright star that glittered in her beautiful 
eyes. She knew it was the light of Jesus Himself who had 
come to His dear child. The priest left the altar, following 
the bright path. The people made way for him, hushed in 
deep and solemn silence. He reached Imelda, and to his 
wonder saw the sacred Host, suspended in the air over the 
head of the child. With trembling hand he took the Blessed 
Sacrament and gave it to Imelda, who thus received her Jesus. 
A short time after the little girl was seen to lean on one side, 
with pale face, as though she were ill. The sisters gathered 
around her and took her in their arms thinking she had 
fainted. On her face there was an angelic smile, the arms 
were crossed over the breast, as though holding fast to the 


treasure she had received. The joy of the little child in re- 
ceiving Jesus had been too great to be able to part with Him 
again. The frail life went back to Him who sent it forth. 
The Master had need of her, and she went home. 

Xow to this miraculous occurrence apply the remarks 
which one day the saintly Cure of Ars made relative to a 
similar event. "Whilst catechising the people/' said- this 
holy priest, " two Protestant ministers came to me who did nofc^ 
believe in the Eeal Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed 
Eucharist. I said to them: *Do you think a piece of bread 
could detach itself and of its own accord place itself on the 
tongue of a person who came near to receive it ? ' They re- 
plied ' no/ ' Well then/ said I, ' it is not bread.' " The holy 
priest then related the following fact: "There was a man 
Avho had doubts about the Real Presence. He said what do 
we know about it ? It is not certain what consecration is, 
and what takes place at that time on the altar ? But this 
man wished to believe and prayed to the Blessed Virgin to 
obtain faith for him. Listen attentively to this. I do not 
say this happened somewhere, but that it happened to my- 
self. At the moment that this man came up to receive 
Holy Communion, the Sacred Host detached itself from my 
fingers, whilst I was yet some distance from the Communion 
rail, and placed itself on the tongue of the man." (Spirit 
of the Cure of Ars) St. Bonaventure and others received 
Holy Communion in the same miraculous manner.* 

Do you believe our Lord would employ the ministry of 
an angel or a saint, instead of a priest, to take without the 
least necessity a small particle of bread to one of His ser- 
vants ? 'No, you reply. Well then it was not bread but His 
Body that at His command was taken to St. Stanislaus by 
St. Barbara, to blessed Gerard Majella by the Arcliangel St. 
Michael, and to other saints by the Blessed Virgin. f 

* See Blessed Eucliarist. p, 82. p. 211. No. 4. 
fSeeBl. Euch.,p. 81. 


Do yon tliink that whilst Mass is being said the Angels 
would descend from heaven and surround the altar in the 
humblest attitude to adore and honor a piece of bread ? You 
answer, no. Then it is not bread, but the King of Heaven 
under the appearance of bread whom the angels come to 

Do you imagine that rays, of brilliant light could natu- 
j.-ally come forth from a little piece of bread, or that small 
particles of bread could raise themselves into the air and 
shine like stars, to the great astonishment of a multitude 
of people ? Certainly not. But our Lord can do so under 
the appearance of bread and allow some rays of His Heavenly 
glory to escape through the outward species of bread. 

In the monastery Philoxenes, situated in the Island of 
Cyprus, lived a poor man who wept incessantly day and 
night for several years. One day a celebrated religious, 
named John Mosch, having come with several others to visit 
this monastery, was greatly surprised at the sight of this 
singular monk. He was asksd to cease weeping and tell the 
cause of so extraordinary a grief. " Father," one said to him, 
"why do you weep so? Do you not know that it is God 
alone who is without sin?" "Ah! Father, you never found 
in the whole world a sinner like unto me; no, there is no 
crime to equal that which I had the misfortune to commit, 
and for which I will never cease asking pardon of God. 
Hear me and judge for yourselves. 

'^ While I was still in the world my wife and I had the 
misfortune to follow the heresy of the Severians. Eeturning 
home one da}^, I was surprised at my wife's absence; I in- 
quired and sought for her for some time. At last I learned 
that she was gone to the house of a neighbor who was a 
Catholic, that she had been converted, and that they were to 
receive Holy Communion together that same morning.- Full 
of rage at hearing this, tran to the neiglibor's house to pre- 

* Bl. Euch., p. 308, Xo. 10 11 ; p. 295, 29G, and p. 22, No. 13. 


vent it ; but it was too late, I arrived at the very moment 
when my wife was receiving Communion. Listening only to 
my impious rage, I threw myself upon her, seized her by the 
throat, and never let go my hold till she had thrown out the 
Sacred Host." Here the penitent monk stopped a moment 
overcome witli grief. 'At length he resumed, "The Holy 
Host fell into the mire, but to the great surprise of all who. 
witnessed this sacrilegious scene, it appeared all luminous and 
sencli7uj forth rays of hrilliant light. We prostrated to adore 
it. Two days after a devil appeared to me, as black as ari 
Ethiopian, who said to me only these words, ' We are both 
condemned to the same torment.' I was seriously frightened 
at my crime, gave up my heresy, became a Catholic and shut 
myself up in this monaster}^, where, as you see, I have noth- 
ing better to do than weep over my crime. Oh ! that I may 
obtain pardon from the mercy of God."* • 

Do you think a piece of bread could change itself into 
a beautiful living infant, or into the form of a living grown 
person? Certainly not. But Our Lord, under the appear- 
ance of bread, can so show Himself, and has frequently 
wrought such a miracle to prove His Real Presence. 

Tillemand of Bredembach f relates a wonderful fact that 
happened to the famous Wittikind, duke of the Saxons, one 
of the most barbarous nations of Germany, in the eighth 
century. " Whilst Wittikind was still a pagan, and waging 
an obstinate war against Charlemagne, emperor of the 
Franks, he was curious to know what was passing in the 
camp of the Christian soldiers. For that purpose he dis- 
guised himself as a pilgrim. It was just at the time of the 
festival of Easter, when the whole Frankish army was en- 
gaged in receiving the Paschal Communion. He entered the 
camp without being recognized, admired the ceremonies of 
the Holy Sacrince of the Mass, and assisted thereat with an 

* John Moscli, Pre-Spirituel, Chapt. xxx. See otlier examples 
•' Blessed Eucharist," p. 223, No. 23 ; p. 16 and 19. 
f Lib. I. collat. c. 1 ex Hist. Eccl. Alb. Crauzii, L. 2, c. 9. 


attention and a pious curiosity not to be expected from a 
barbarian and a ^oagan. What surprised him most was to 
see in the Host at consecration, and also in each Host the 
priest distributed to the soldiers at the time of communion, 
a child of wondrous beauty, all radiant Avith light. This 
child seemed to enter with extreme jOy the months of some, 
while He struggled not to enter that of others. At the same 
time Wittikind experienced a great interior joy which he 
never felt before. He knew not what all this meant. After 
the divine service, he placed himself among the beggars and 
asked an alms of the emperor as he passed. At the same 
moment an officer recognizing the duke, whispered to the 
emperor : ' Your majesty, this pilgrim is the duke of the 
Saxons.' Whereupon the emperor, ordering the duke to 
go with him, said: 'Why is it that you come among us 
in the disguise of a pilgrim.' Wittikind humbly asked par- 
don and excused himself, saying, that he did not come as a 
spy, but from a desire of knowing something of the divine 
service of the Christians. * What, then, did you see ? ' asked 
the emperor. ' Your majesty,' replied the duke, ' I saw such 
wonderful things as I never heard of, or witnessed before.' 
Then he related all he had seen and asked an explanation of 
the emperor. Charlemagne was perfectly amazed at the 
goodness of Our Lord who liad appeared in tlie Host to this 
pagan in the form of the Divine Infant, and said to him: 
* You have received from God a favor which He never 
granted to many of the saints.' He then instructed Witti- 
kind in our holy religion and induced him to embrace it, 
as also did all his subjects, which happened in the year 804." 

Do you believe that real blood could issue from a piece 
of bread as thin and small as a little Host ? You answer, no. 
But it can happen by the permission of Christ hidden in the 
Host. Whilst the French were preparing for war with Aus- 

* See other examples in " Bl. Euch.," p. lG-19 ; p. 24 ; p. 208, No. 1 
p. 215, No. 11 ; p. 313, No. 15. 


tria, there were seen during Mass several large drops of blood 
issuing from the consecrated Host in the parish church at 
Vrigne-aux-Bois near Sedan. This miracle was witnessed 
by many persons on the 7th of February, the 29th of April, 
the 8th and 15th of May, 1859. The last of these miraculous 
Hosts is still preserved in the new church of Vrigne-aux- 

There have been many holy persons who had a super- 
natural instinct by which they were sensible of the Presence 
of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, even when it was 
hidden and at a distance from them. They could distinguish 
a consecrated Host from one that was unconsecrated. 

Goerres in his celebrated work entitled " Christian Mysti- 
cism " notices this fact and thus prefaces the enumeration 
of the few cases which he cites : 

"In reference to the holiest of all things — the Sacrament 
of the Eucharist, we find that those saints who have suc- 
ceeded in raising themselves to the higher regions of spiri- 
tual life, were all endowed with the faculty of detecting the 
Presence of the Blessed Sacrament, even when it was hidden 
and at a considerable distance. 

"Blessed Margaret of the Blessed Sacrament, a Carmelite 
nun in France, had an extraordinary devotion to and love 
of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist even from her earliest 
childhood. Her sisters in religion had reason to believe that 
she could distinguish a consecrated host from an unconse- 
cratecl one. To find out for certain whether she enjoyed 
this extraordinary gift they gave her the following trial. 
Having locked the doors of the church, they lighted the 
candles on the altar, placed the remonstrance with an uncon- 
secrated host in it, and then all passed and knelt in adoration 
to Jesus Christ as He is in Heaven. But ^largaret, although 
she knew nothing of the sisters' intention, could not be de- 

* Les Hosties sanglantes de Vrigne-aux-Bois, Trois lettres de M. 
I'Abbe Jules Morel. See Bl. Eucli., p. 19, 21 ; p. 210, No. 3 ; p. 315 
No 17 ; p 314, No. 16. 


ceived. She passed by the altar with the sisters, but did not 
kneel down, nay, she passed by hastily without making even 
the least sign of reverence, although she had always been in 
the habit of kneeling down and kissing the floor out of love 
and reverence for Jesus Christ in the tabernacle. On being 
asked by some of the sisters why she did not prostrate her- 
self there to pray to Our Lord, she said : * It is because Our 
Lord Jesus Christ is not there,' and she hastened to the 
. Oratory where the Blessed Sacrament was kept. 

"The sisters gave her another trial for the same purpose. 
They knew that Margaret found great relief from her sufier- 
ings whilst she was in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, 
but they knew also that she could not tell whether she was 
in the church or elsewhere because she was blind, so they 
often took her before the Blessed Sacrament to procure her 
relief. Once, however, before taking her thither they carried 
her to various places, where the Blessed Eucharist was not 
kept, and then exhorted her to pray to Jesus Christ. But 
she answered in a plaintive tone : ' I do not find my Saviour 
here,' and addressing herself to Our Lord she said: ^My 
Lord, I do not find here Thy Divine Truth,^ after which 
she besought her sisters to carry her into the Presence of the 
Blessed Sacrament." * 

Our God is indeed a hidden God, as the Prophet Isaias 
calls Him ; and nowhere is He more hidden than in the 
Blessed Eucharist. But He is only a hidden God in this 
mystery to those who love Him not. To those who truly 
love Him, He makes Himself strongly felt in their hearts. 
The appearances under which He conceals Himself are suffi- 
ciently transparent to the eyes of the faithful soul to make 
her thrill with joy in His presence, and to plunge her into 
the contemplation of His infinite love for man, like the Sera- 
phim in the rays of His eternal splendor. Yes, in the mo- 

* Her life by P. Poesl, C, S. S. 11., see seven more instances in the 
"Blessed Sacrnment," p. 22 to 24. 


ment of holy Communion, the soul all inflamed with love for 
her Saviour, sees Him, feels Him and touches Him. " Such a 
soul touches Him," says St. Bernard, " with the fingers and 
with the embraces of love." She speaks to Him, listens to 
Him, answers Him and the Presence of the Lord in the heart 
causes something like the happiness of the elect. A certain 
convert to the faith used to say. " If I had not been convinced 
of the Eeal Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist by 
unanswerable proofs, as I have been, what I experience Avithin 
me at the foot of the holy altars and more especially in holy 
Communion would soon dissipate all my doubts." More may 
be read on tlie wonderful effects of holy Communion in " The 
Blessed Eucharist," Chapt. viii. — Our Lord says in the Gos- 
pel, that we cannot gather grapes from thorns, and figs from 
thistles, that is to say, there must be a certain proportion 
between effect and its cause. Now as the effects of Holy 
Communion are most admirable and divine in the worthy 
recipient, divine, also, must be the cause which produces 
them. It is evident that a little piece of bread cannot be 
such a cause. Holy Communion, therefore, or the sacred 
Host w^e receive, is the Creator of Heaven and earth. Who 
alone is capable by means of holy Communion of manifest- 
ing Himself to the soul in so wonderful a manner. 

" Yes," said a pious and learned missionary, '*' I have often 
been witness to the dispositions of numbers of Christians 
who approached the sacraments at the time of some festival 
or during a retreat. In giving them the holy Communion, 
in seeing their profound recollection, the piety, the heavenly 
joy depicted on their countenances, aware of the generous 
efforts of those souls to be reconciled to God, to free them- 
selves from their passions, to give to others what charity or 
justice demanded of them, to live in peace and faithfully 
perform all their duties, knowing the delicacy of their con- 
sciences and their anxiety to prepare themselves worthily to 
receive this divine Sacrament. — 'No, no! 'said I to myself 
with eyes bathed in tears, * none but a God could make such 


deep impressions on the soul, none but a God could thus ab- 
sorb our minds and make us forget all creatures ; none but 
a God could thus silence the most furious passions; none but 
a God could so change hearts, draw them to Him, and con- 
stitute their happiness here below ! ' I have often wished 
that our separated brethren, those who are enemies of the 
Eucharist, could be present at this spectacle of religion, they 
would soon be converted." 

It may excite surprise to learn that even irrational animals 
can teach us lessons of fiiith in the Real Presence of Our Lord 
in the Blessed Sacrament. But such is really the case. There 
are several instances on record which prove that the Divine 
Author of nature has been pleased sometimes so to direct the 
instinct of brutes that, by their behavior, they might con- 
found the pride and unbelief of heretics and infidels, or 
awaken the faith and devotion of lukewarm and indifferent 
Catholics. Holy Scripture tells us that one day God spoke to 
Balaam by means of his ass. '-'And the Lord opened the mouth 
of the ass, and she said : ' What have I done to thee ? ' " * 

A similar, but more wonderful, instance is found in the 
life of St. Anthony of Padua. As Almighty God by the 
Prophet Isaias, purposed the docility of the ox and the ass 
for a rebuke to the stubbornness of the children of Israel, so, 
in this instance. He made use of a brute beast to reprove 
the folly and rashness and impiety of those who reject the 
mystery of the Real Presence. 

In the time of St. Anth5ny of Padua tliere lived at 
Tolosa, in Spain, a very obstinate heretic, Bovillus by 
name, who denied the Real resence of Jesus Christ in 
the Blessed Sacrament. Although compelled by St. An- 
thony .to acknowledge in his heart the truth of the doc- 
trine Bovillus persisted obstinately in his heresy. At last 
he professed his willingness to believe provided he should 
gee a miracle wrought in proof of it. " What then do 

* Xumbers xxii, 12S. 


you desire?" asked St. Anthony, "I will keep my mule 
three days without food," said Bovillus, "afterwards I will 
bring him to you. On one side I will place food before the 
hungry animal, and on the other side you shall stand with 
the Blessed Sacrament. In case the mule leaves the food and 
goes to you, I will believe that Jesus Christ is truly and 
really present in the Blessed Sacrament." St. Anthony 
agreed to the proposal. On the day appointed a great con- 
course of people were assembled in the public squai'e to see 
the issue. The Saint, after having said Mass, took the 
Blessed Sacrament and carried it with him to the square. 
Then when the hungry animal had been brought near and 
food 20ut before him, St. Anthony holding in his hands the 
Blessed Sacrament, spoke thus : " In the name of my Creator, 
AYhom I am not worthy to hold in my hands, I command 
thee to draAV near and prostrate thyself before thy God, to 
give due honor to Him, that the*heretics may learn from 
thee how they ought to worship their God in the Blessed 
Sacrament." And behold! no sooner had St. Anthony 
uttered these words than the mule left his food, went before 
the Blessed Sacrament, and bowed his head to the ground as 
if to adore It. At this sight Bovillus and his whole family 
together with many other heretics were converted and pro- 
fessed their faith in the Eeal Presence. Some time after he 
built a church in honor of St. Peter, and his grand children, 
inheritors of his zeu,l for God's glory, also built a church where 
they caused this miracle to be sculptured upon the wall oi 
the archway, in order thus to show their gratitude to God 
for the gift of faith and to perpetuate the memory of His 
Goodness and Power for centuries to come.* 

Maximilian L, Emperor of Germany, sometimes called 
the " Last Knight,'' for his chivalrous character, was in his 
youth remarkable for high courage and love of adventure, 
which at times led him to feats of rash daring. 

♦ See other examples in " Blessed Eucharist/' p. 224, No. 20 and 21. 


Among the many lands over wliicli he ruled, none was so 
dear to him as the mountainous Tyrol; partly from tlie sim- 
ple and loving loyalty of the hardy race of shepherds and 
mountaineers who dwelt there, partly also because hunting 
among the Tyrolese Alps was one of his chief pleasures. 

On Easter Monday, in the year 1493, the young emperor, 
who was staying in the neighborhood of Innspruck, rose 
before dawn for a day's chamois hunting. He took with him 
a few courtiers and some experienced hunters. 

At sunrise tliey were already high up on the mountain 
pastures, which are the favorite haunts of the chamois; the 
valleys beneath them were still covered by a . sea of white 
mist, while the golden rays of morning shone from an 
unclouded sky on the snowy peaks and ridges above them. 

Maximilian fixed a longing gaze on the rocky summits, 
which stood out clear and sharp against the blue heavens. 
He felt the power of the fresh mountain air and the sub- 
lime scenery, and it filled him with the spirit of enterprise 
and daring. 

'' I wisli," said he, " that I could gain to-day some spot 
wiiere the foot of man has never trod before, and where no 
man should be able to follow; a spot amid the homes of the 
chamois and the eagle; where the busy hum of men should 
be lost to my ear, and all the crowded earth should lie 
beneath my feet; where even the thunder clouds should 
mutter fiir below me, while I stood in eternal sunshine! 
That would be a fit spot for the tlirone of an emperor ! " 

The courtiers replied that his majesty had but to wush 
and it would be fulfilled — to such a renowned hunter and 
intrepid mountaineer what could be impossible ? 

At this moment, one of the huntsmen gave notice that he 
had sighted some chamois ; the whole party, guided-by him, 
cautiously approached a rocky point, behind which the 
animals were grazing. On this point of rock stood a single 
chamois, its graceful head raised, as if to watch. Long 
before they were within shot range, they heard it utter the 


peculiar piping cry by which the chamois gives notice of 
danger to its fellows, and then off it bounded with flying 
leaps toward the rocky solitude above. Maximilian on its 
track, had soon distanced his attendants. To be a good 
chamois hunter, a firm foot and a steady head are required, 
for these beautiful little animals lead their pursuer into 
their own peculiar domain, the rocky wastes just below the 
regions of perpetual snow, and there they climb and spring 
with wonderful agility, and if they cannot escape, it is said 
that they will leap over a precipice and be dashed to pieces, 
rather than fall into the power of man. 

Maximilian had all the qualities necessary for this adven- 
turous chase and was generally most successful in it. Now 
he reached the brink of a chasm, which the chamois had 
passed; black yawned the abyss at his feet, while beyond, the 
rocks rose steep and forbidding, with but one little spot where 
a man could find footing. One moment he paused, then with 
a light spring gained the other side while a shout, half of 
admiration, half of terror, burst from his astonished suite. 

" That Avas a royal leap ! Who follows ? " cried Maximi- 
lian, with an exulting laugh. Then he sped onward, 
intensely enjoying the excitement of the chase. 

For a moment he lost the chamois from view, then it 
appeared again, its form standing out against the sky, on 
one of those rocky ridges that have been compared to the 
backbone of a fish, but are perhaps more like the upper edge 
of a steep gable roof To gain this ridge it was needful to 
climb an almost perpendicular precipice ; but Maximilian, 
nothing daunted, followed on, driving small iron holdfasts 
into the rock in places where he could gain no footing, and 
holding on by the hook, at the upper end of his iron-pointed 
Alp-stick. At last, he seized a projecting piece of rock with 
his hand, hoping to swing himself up by it, but the stone 
did not bear his weight, it loosened and fell, and the em- 
peror fell with it. 

Breathless and stunned, it was some minutes before he 


recoTered consciousness after the fall. When he came to 
himself, he found that he had received no injury, except a 
few bruises, and his first thought was that he was most lucky 
to have escaped so well. Then he began to look about him. 
lie had fallen into a sort of crevice, or hollow in the rocks; 
on one side they arose above him as a high wall which it wa3 
impossible to scale ; on the other they were hardly higher 
than his head, so that on this side he had no difficulty in 
getting out of the hollow. 

" Lucky again," thought Maximilian; but as he emerged 
from the crevice and rose to his feet, he remained motion- 
less in awe-struck consternation. He stood on a narrow 
ledge, a space hardly wide enough for two men abreast, and 
beneath him, sheer doAvn to a depth of many hundred feet 
sank a perpendicular wall of rock. He knew the place ; it 
was called St. Martin's Wall, from the neighboring chapel 
of St. Martin ; and tlie valley below it, which was now con- 
cealed from his view by white rolling vapors, was the Valley 
of Zierlein. 

Above him rose the " wall," so straight and smooth, that 
it was utterly hopeless to think of scaling it. The only spot 
within sight, where a man could find footing, was the 
narrow shelf on which he stood. The ledge itself extended 
but a few feet on either side, and then ceased abruptly. 

In vain Max gazed around for some way to escape. 

Xo handsbreadth was there to which to cling; no hold for 
foot or hand of the most expert climber — beneath, a sea of 
cloMd; above, a sea of air. 

Suddenly he was startled by a whir and a rush of great 
wings in his face ; — it was a mountain eagle which had 
swooped past him, and the wind of whose flight was so strong 
that it had nearly thrown him off his balance. He recol- 
lected that he had heard how these eagles try to drive any 
large prey, too heavy to be seized in their talons, to the edge 
of a precipice and so, by suddenly whirling round, they may 
dash it over the brink; and how they had tried this man- 


CBuvre more than once on hunters whom they found in 
critical and helpless positions. And then his wish of the 
morning occurred to him. How literally and exactly it had 
been fulfilled ! And how little could the Emperor exult 
in his lofty and airy throne! He merely felt with a shudder 
his own exceeding littleness in the face of the great realities 
of ]^ature and Nature's God. 

Beneath, in the yalley of Zierlein, a shepherd was watching 
his flocks. As the sun rose higher and drew the mists off 
which clung around the foot of St. Martin's Wall, he noticed 
a dark speck moving on the face of the rock. He observed 
it narrowly. 

'' It is a man ! " he cried ; " what witchcraft has brought 
him there ? " 

And he ran to tell the wonder to the inhabitants of the 
valley. Soon a little crowd was collected and stood gazing 
up at St. Martin's Wall. 

"God be with him!" was the compassionate exclamation 
of all. " He can never leave that spot alive — he must perish 
miserably of hunger ! " 

Just then a party of horsemen galloped along the valley, 
and rode up to the crowd, which was increasing every 
moment. It was the Emperor's suite, Avho, giving up all 
hope of following his perilous course, had gone back to 
where they had left their horses in the morning, had ridden 
around, hoping to meet their master on the other side of the 

*' Has the Emperor passed this way ? " one of them called 
out. " He climbed up so far among the rocks that we lost 
sight of him." 

The shepherd cast a terrified look at the wall, and, point- 
ing upward, said: 

"That must be he up yonder. God have mercy upon 

The Emperor's attendants gazed at the figure, and at each 
other in horror. One of them had a speaking-trumpet with 


him snch as mountaineers sometimes use for shouting among 
the hills. He raised it to his month, and cried at the pitch 
of his Yoice : 

" If it is the Emperor who stands there, we pray him to 
cast down a stone." 

There was a breathless hush of suspense now among the 
crowd, and down came the stone, crashing into the roof of 
a cottage at the foot of the rock. 

A loud cry of lamentation broke from the people and was 
echoed on every side among the mountains. For they loved 
their young Emperor for the winning charm of his manner, 
for his frank and kindly ways, and his especial fondness for 
their country. 

The sound of the wail reached Max's ears, and looking 
down, he could see the crowd of people, appearing from the 
giddy height like an army of ants — a black patch on the 
bright green of the valley. The sound and sight raised his 
hopes ; he had completely given up all thouglit of delivering 
himself by his own exertions, but he still thought help from 
others might be possible. And now that his situation was 
discovered, the people he knew would do whatever lay in 
the power of man for his deliverance. So he kept up his 
courage and waited patiently and hopefully. It was so hard 
to believe that he, standing there in the bright sunshine, 
full of youthful health and strength, was a dying man, and 
never would leave that spot alive. 

Higher and higher rose the sun. It was midday now, 
and the reflected heat from the rocky wall was well nigh too 
great to bear. The stones beneath his feet became hot as a 
furnace, and the sunbeams smote fiercely on his head. Ex- 
hausted by hunger and thirst, by heat and weariness, he sank 
down on the scorching rock. The furious headache and diz- 
ziness which came over him made him think that he was 
about to become insensible. He longed for some certainty 
as to his fate before consciousness had forsaken him, and, 
following a sudden thought, he drew from his pocket a small 


parcliment book, tore out a blank leaf and wrote on it with 
a pencil, then tied the parchment to a stone with some gold 
ribbon he happened to have with him, and let the stone fall 
down into the valley as he had done the first. What he had 
written was the question, '^ Whether any human help was 
possible ? '' He waited long and patiently for the answer ; 
but no sound reached his ear but the hoarse cry of the eagle. 
A second and a third time he repeated the message, lest the 
first should not have been observed — still there was a silence, 
though the crowd in the valley had been increasing all day ; 
and now a vast assembly — the inhabitants of Zierlein and all 
the district round — had gathered at the foot of the fatal 
throne which the emperor had desired for himself. 

Terrible indeed — who can tell how terrible — were those 
hours of suspense to Max. Many deep and heart-searching 
thoughts visited him — thoughts of remorse for many sins, 
of self-reproach for the great responsibilities unfaithfully 

The day wore on ; the sun was fast sinking toward the 
west, and Max could no longer resist the conviction that 
there was no help possible, that all hope must be over for 
him. It seemed, as soon as he had faced this certainty, that 
a calm resignation, a high courage and resolve, took posses- 
sion of his soul. If he was to die, he would die as became a 
king and a Christian — if this world were vanishing from 
him, he would lay firm hold of the next. 

Again he tore a leaf from his book, and wrote on it. There 
was no more gold ribbon to bind it to the stone, so he took 
the chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece — what value had 
it for a dying man ? — and from that high and airy grave he 
threw the stone down among the living. 

It was found, like the others before it. None had answered 
these, because no one was to be found willing to be a mes- 
senger of death to the much-loved Emperor. The man who 
found the stone read the letter aloud to the assembled crowd, 
for the Emperor's messages were addressed to all Tyrol. 



And this was tlie last message : 

" Oh, Tyrol, my last warm thanks to thee for thy love 
'"which has so long been faithful to me. 

I " In my pride and boastfulness I tempted God, and my 
life is now the penalty. I know that no help is possible. 
God's will be done — His will is jnst and right. 
I *• Yet, one thing, good friends, you can do for me, and I 
will be thankful to you even in death. Send a messenger 
to Zierlein immediately for the Holy Sacrament, for which 
my soul thirsts. And when the priest is standing by the 
river, let it be announced to me by a shot, and let another 
shot tell me when I am to receive the blessing. And when 
I pray, you unite your prayers with mine to the great Helper 
in time of need, that He may strengthen me to endure the 
pains of a lingering death. 

j " Farewell, my Tyrol, Max." 

I The reader's voice often faltered as he read this letter 
amid the cries and sobs of the multitude, 
i Off sped the messenger to Zierlein, and in all haste came 
the priest. 

! Max heard the shot, and, looking down, could see the white 
robe of the priest standing by the river, which looked like a 
little silver tliread to him. He threw himself on liis knees, 
in all penitence and submission, praying that he might be a 
spiritual partaker of Christ, though he could not receive in 
body the signs of salvation. Then the second shot rang on 
the air, and through the speaking-trumpet came the w^ords 
of the blessing : 

" May God's blessing be upon thee in thy great need — 
the blessing of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, 
Whom heaven and earth praise for ever." 

The Emperor felt a deep peace filling his heart as the 
words of blessing were wafted to his ear. 

The sun had by this time sunk behind the mountain range 
beyond the valley of Zierlein ; but a rosy blusb still lingered 
on the snowy summits, and the western sky glowed in crim 


son and gold. Beneath, in tlie deep pnrple shade of the val- 
ley, the people all knelt and the emperor could hear the faint 
murmnr which told him that they were praying for him. 

Touched by their sympathy, he continued kneeling in 
prayer for the welfare of his subjects. 

It was quite dark now, and one by one the stars came forth 
on the deep blue sky, till at last all the heavenly host stood 
in glittering array. The sublime peace of those silent eter- 
nal fires stole into Max's heart, and drew his thoughts and 
desires heavenward to eternal Love and eternal Rest. So he 
knelt on, wrapped in prayer and in lofty and holy thoughts. 

Suddenly a bright gleam flashed on his eyes, and a figure 
in a flicker, and a dazzle of light stood before him. No wonder 
that in his present mood his spirits raised above earthly 
things, this vision should seem to him more than human. 

" Lord Emperor," it spoke, ^-'follow me quickly — the way 
is far and the torch is burning out." 

Hardly knowing whether he was still in the worlds of 
mortals or not. Max asked : 

"Who art thou?" 

" A messenger sent to save the Emperor " 

Max rose ; as he gazed it seemed to him that the vision 
assumed the form of a bright-haired, bare-footed peasant 
youth holding a torch in his hand. 

"How didst thou find thy way to the cliff? " he asked. 

" I lAow the mountains well, and every path in them." 

"Has heaven sent thee to me?" asked Max, still feeling 
as if he were in dream-world. 

" Truly it is God's will to deliver thee by my hand," was 
the simple answer. 

The youth now turned and slid down into the hollow out 
of which Max had climbed that morning, then glided through 
a crevice in the rock behind, which the emperor had failed 
to detect. Stooping low, he with difficulty squeezed through 
the narrow chink, and saw the torch flickering below him, 
down a steep, rugged fissure which led into the heart of the 


rock. Leaping and sliding he followed on, and, the torch 
moved rapidly before him, its red light gleaming on metallic 
ores, and glittering on rock Qrystals. Sometimes a low 
thundering sound was heard as of underground waterfalls, 
sometimes water dripping from the rocky roof made the torch 
hiss and sputter. Downward they went, miles and miles 
downward, till at last the ravine opened into a long, low, 
nearly flat-bottomed cavern, at the end of which the torch 
and bearer vanished. But at the place where he had disap- 
peared there was a glimmer of pale light. Max groped his 
way to it, and drew a long breath as he found himself again 
in the open air, with the silent stars above him and the soft 
grass beneath his feet. He soon perceived that he was in 
the valley of Zierlein, and afar off he heard the confused 
noise of an assembled multitude. He followed the sound, 
but was forced to rest more than once from extreme weak- 
ness and weariness, before he reached the foot of St. Martin's 
Wall, and saw priest and people still kneeling in prayer for 
him. Deeply moved, he stepped into their midst and cried: 

"Praise the Lord with me, my people. See he has de- 
livered me." 

The Emperor was never able to discover who had been the 
instrument of his wondrous rescue. A report soon spread 
among the people that an angel had saved him. When this 
rumor reached the emperor's ears, he said : 

"Yes, truly, it was an angel, my guardian angel, ^^\o has 
many a time come to my help — he is called in German 
< The People's Loyal Love.'" 

Indeed, we may firmly believe that it was an angel of the 
Lord, that saved the Emperor's life. This great monarch 
had made a solemn profession of his faith in the Eeal Pres- 
ence. He made it in the midst of the greatest danger, he 
made it at a moment which he and his people thought was 
his last ; he made it in writing and threw it down to his 
faithful subjects. Ah! how much has he not edified the 
whole world by this lively faith of his in the Real Presence. 


Sucli a faith could not go unrewarded. As our Lord one 
day marvelled at the faith of the centurion, and said to those 
that followed him: "Amen I say to you, I have not found so 
great faith in Israel," so must He have been exceedingly 
pleased with the great faith of Maximilian when He saw how 
the Emperor requested the priest through his people to carry 
the Blessed Sacrament as near to him as possible. Indeed, I 
believe that our Lord then said to His angels : " Do you see 
the great faith of this Emperor in My Real Presence ? Let us 
do to him as he has believed. When visible among men on 
earth, I restored many sick people to health because they 
believed Me to be their Saviour, so let us also now save 
the Emperor's life for the sake of his faith in My Real Presence, 
a faith which is still greater than that of the Centurion." 
Then the Lord commanded one of his angels to conduct the 
Emperor safe back to his people, as He one day delivered His 
great servant Daniel from the lion's den, and St. Peter and 
Paul out of prison. 

Such, then, are many of the wonderful manifestations of the 
Real Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacra- 
ment. To this grand truth more than to any other do the 
words of .the Gospel apply, " And the apostles went forth and 
preached everywhere, the Lord working withal, and confirm- 
ing the word with signs that followed." * Not one of the 
truths preached by the Apostles has been confirmed by more 
striking miracles than that of the Real Presence. "VVe can 
say in truth with St. John the Evangelist : " Many other 
signs also did Jesus (in confirmation of the Real Presence) in 
the sight of His disciples (and even of multitudes of people) 
which are not written in this book. But these are written 
that you may believe that Jesus Christ the Son of God (is 
present in the Holy Eucharist) and that believing you may 
have life in His name."f 

Now after all that has been said, we may in truth apply to 
all unbelievers and heretics what the great Prophet Isaias 

* Mark xvi., 20. f Jolin xx., 30-31. 


said of the Jgavs : '^ Hear, ye heayeus, and give ear, 
earth, for the Lord hath spoken. I have brought up chil- 
dren and exalted them, hut they have despised me. The ox 
knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib, but mv 
people hath not known nor understood me."* The ox ana 
the ass know their master and his voice and follow it, but 
the unbeliever, less docile than an irrational animal, turns his 
back^upon Jesus Christ and disbelieves or misinterprets His 
sacred word. For " an understanding at once inexperienced 
and indocile," says St. Cyril of Alexandria, " utterly scoffs 
away in its disbelief and rejects as false whatever is beyond 
and exceeds its comprehension ; out of untutored ignorance 
it proceeds to the last degree of pride. For to be unwilling 
to yield to others and think no one above us, how can this 
be anything but the last degree of pride?*' On looking 
into the nature of the matter before us, we shall find that the 
Jews, and with them all heretics, fell into this disorder, for 
they ought to have received without hesitation, the words of 
that divine Saviour whose power and irresistible autliority 
over all things had already, on many occasions, excited their 
wonder, and they ought to have gladly inquired about what 
was hard to be understood, and begged to be instructed in 
those things which seemed to create in their minds a diffi- 
culty. " Further, that word Uo2U is uttered by the Jews 
without any sense in connection with God, as though they 
knew not that such a word is clearly full of nothing but 
blasphemy. For it is His to be able to do all things without 
an effort. But being carnal, as St. Paul says, they received 
not the things of the spirit of God ; but His mystery, though 
full of wisdom, seemed to them foolishness. We ought 
therefore to derive advantage from this and from tlie falls of 
others regulate our own conduct, to have uninquiring faith 
in the divine mysteries and not say liotu when anything is 
said, for it is a Jewish word, and is therefore the source of 
the greatest punishments. For to dishonor by our unbelief 

* Chapt. I. 2, 8. 


that God Who is the Creator of all things is to be guilty of 
a grievous crime. 

" Since then there lie before us, for a viaticum of immor- 
tality, those gifts of the Lord which surpass all language, 
come all ye who feed daintily on things ineffable, ye sharers 
of the Heavenly invitation, and speedily clothed with the 
nuptial robe of sincere faith, let us hasten together to the 
mystic supper. Awful is w^hat is said ; awful what is done ; 
the fattest calf is sacrificed, the Lamb of God that taketh 
away the sins of the world is slain ! The Father is gladdened ; 
the Son is willingly sacrificed, not to-day by God's enemies, 
but by Himself, that He may show that the saving passion 
was voluntary. 

"The giver of great gifts is ready, the divine gifts lie 
open to view ; the mystic table is fairly set forth ; the life- 
giving chalice is mingled ; the King of Glory sends His in- 
vitation. The Son of God receives us ; the incarnate Word 
of God invites us ; the hypostatic wisdom of God the Father, 
that built for itself a temple not made with hands, distrib- 
utes its body as bread and bestows its life-giving blood as 
wine. Fearful mystery ! Oh, inefi'able dispensation! Oh, 
humility incomprehensible ! Oh, goodness unsearchable! 
The Creator sets Himself before the work of His hands to 
be partaken of; the Self-existent gives Himself to mortals 
for food and drink. * Come eat my bread,* is His invitation, 
and drinh the luine luliich I have mingled for you ! ' I have 
prepared myself for food ; I have mingled myself as drink 
for those that desire me. Eat me, who am life, and you shall 
live for this is my desire ; eat life that never fails. For this 
did I come that you may have life, and may have it more 

Oh my God ! may I always be one of those little ones to 
whom Thou revealest Thy mysteries whilst Thou hidest 
them from the wise and prudent of the world ! 

* T. iv. Com. in Joaun, in loco. 1. iv. see also T. iv. Frag. lib. 7 and 
8. and 1. xi. and xii. and T. v. Par. ii- Horn, in Myst. loenam. 



If it is reasonable and natural for a man to make an offer, 
ing as a token of esteem to those whom he loves and regards 
in this world, how much more reasonable and natural is it 
for him to make an offering to his best and dearest friend — 
to God his Creator. 

It is, therefore, no matter for surprise to find that from 
the yery beginning of the world, men were accustomed to 
make offerings to the Being to whom they felt bound to ren- 
der supreme honor— the honor of adoration. Reason alone 
convinced man of the necessity and propriety of expressing 
by some external form his obligation of dependence on God. 
Especially was this the case after the fall. Our first parents, 
Adam and Eve, acknowledged their guilt before God with 
great sorrow and confusion. They knew that they deserved 
death, even hell itself. Their grief was so overwhelming 
that they were ready to sacrifice their lives at once in expia- 
tion of their sin and in reparation for the insult they had 
offered to Almighty God by their disobedience. 

But God gave them to understand that any multitude of 
penances and good works together with the sacrifice of their 
lives would not suffice to cancel their deep debt. So He 
consoled them by the promise of a Redeemer who would 
live and die in perfect submission to His holy will in order 
to blot out their sin, who by His obedience would honor Him 
far more than He had been or could be dishonored by them 
or by tlieir children. 

This promise was a great consolation to our first parents, 
it gave them hope, and with hope the resolve to live up to 
God's holv will for the remainder of their life, with the idea 


of, by so doing, obtaining forgiveness and life everlasting 
through the merits of the Eedeemer to come. Thus were 
our first parents disposed towards God. They heartily re- 
pented of their sins, and earnestly strove for the rest of their 
life to render that honor and homage to Almighty God which 
were due to Him as the Supreme Lord and Master of the 
Universe. They understood perfectly that they were bound 
in conscience to spend their life in serving God most faith- 
fully, nay that God was worthy even to be honored by the 
sacrifice of their life, especially after they had offended Him 
so grievously. But at the same time they understood that 
it was not God's will that they should destroy their own life 
by way of rendering Him due honor and homage. They 
knew that God wished them and their descendants always 
to bear in mind that He was worthy of all homage and that 
they were under obligation to render it to Him, and that 
their salvation depended on their firm hope in the merits of 
the Redeemer to come. 

Notwithstanding these good dispositions of our first 
parents, they had become much inclined to evil. Their will 
was considerably weakened in consequence of their sin ; they 
were very apt to forget themselves, break their holy resolu- 
tions, even so far as to neglect their most sacred and essen- 
tial duties towards their most benevolent and merciful Crea- 
tor. God knew all this. And it cannot be doubted that, in 
order to strengthen our first parents in the good sentiments 
of their heart, He gave them a positive command to offer 
Him sacrifice, that is to say, such external acts of divine 
worship as would appropriately express the sentiments of 
their heart. He therefore instructed them to substitute for 
the sacrifice of their life the offering of other sensible objects ; 
to destroy or otherwise change the same, in order to declare 
and acknowledge by this destruction or change of sensible 
things that He was the Supreme Lord of the Universe, the 
Sovereign Master of life and death ; that were He to require 
it they would be willing even to sacrifice their own life in 


order thus to render Him an honor and liomage of wliicli 
He alone was worthy and well deserving. 
' God gave them also to nnderstand that these sacrifices 
were to remind them of the Eedeemer to come and of the 
sacrifice which he w^oiild make in expiation of their sin: 
that these sacrifices of theirs as figures of the sacrifice of 
their Redeemer to come would be pleasing to Him if made 
with the proper dispositions of the heart. Besides, it is most 
probable that it was not natural reason, but rather God Him- 
self, Who dictated that particular species of oblation which 
has been in use amongst nations, animal sacrifice. For al- 
though the sense of guilt which has weighed upon all men ever 
since the fall of Adam would naturally have suggested to 
them the necessity of some expiatory offering whenever they 
were about to approach God, yet we cannot see why they 
should have chosen to sacrifice an animal for that purpose. 
On the contrary, the ofi'ering to God of the life of a harm- 
less creature in expiation of the sins of men, considered 
apart from Divine Revelation would seem- to be even absurd. 
It is, therefore, most probable that God Himself instituted 
animal sacrifice in the beginning of the world, to foreshadow 
the meritorious sacrifice of the Redeemer, and to give man 
a means of acknowledging his guilt and dej^endence on His 
Divine Majesty. 

Domestic animals have been generally chosen for sacri- 
fice for two reasons chiefly : first, because they stood in the 
nearest relation to man, and consequently were the most 
fitting substitutes to bear a penalty wliich he had incurred; 
and secondly, because by their gentleness and innocence they 
served to represent the meek ££nd spotless Lamb of God. 

It is thus by the teaching of Gcd Almighty Himself, in 
the first instance, or by an impression madei by Him on the 
hearts of men from the beginning that we -can adequately 
explain and easily account for the fact that all nations have 
agreed not only upon the propriety of making oblations to 
the Being to whom they give supreme honor, but also even 


in the end for which and in the manner in which those 
obhitions should be made. In all the sacrifices, sacred as 
well as profane, the sensible and visible thing offered was 
invariably destroyed or changed. Animals were slain, other 
sensible objects were burned or poured out, such as wine, 
oil, a ad the like. It never happened that the simple obla- 
tion of a thing went by the name of sacrifice in the strict 
theological sense. The character or essence of sacrifice was 
always held to consist in the destruction, or change of the 
thing offered, as without this destruction, or change, it 
seemed that man did not fittingly express his interior ac- 
knowledgment that God was the Supreme Lord of the Uni- 
verse, the Sovereign Master of life and death, and, as such, 
worthy even of being honored by the sacrifice of man's life, 
were He to require it. Such acknowledgment alone could ade- 
quately express the principal object and meaning of sacrifice. 

It is easy to understand then, how it never came to pass 
that sacrifices were offered to any one except God, they having 
always been considered the highest act of worship, an act 
which could not be rendered to any creature. If history 
informs us that in some instances sacrifices Avere offered to 
creatures, it informs ns al^o that those very creatures were 
worshipped as gods, or deities, never as mere human beings. 

To this prime intention which men had in offering sacrifice 
were added others. Sacrifices were also intended to obtain 
favors from God, to thank Him for particular graces received, 
or as propitiatory after having offended Him. Even from the 
beginning of the world sacrifices were offered to Almighty 
God for such intentions. Holy Scripture, the most ancient 
of all histories, tells us that Cain and Abel offered sacrifice 
to God soon after the fall of our first parents: Cain the fruits 
of the earth, and Abel the firstlings of his flock.* 

As soon as Noah had quitted the ark after the deluge ho 
erected an altar and offered " whole burnt offerings to God." f 

*Gen. iv. 3. 
f Gen. viii. 20. 


The great patriarch Job offered up a holocaust every day 
for his chiklren.* 

Abraham sacrificed a ram in place of his son. 

Melchisedech, King of Salem and priest of the Most 
High, offered up a sacrifice of bread and wine.f 

Again Holy Scripture tells us that Jethro, the father-in- 
law of Moses, was priest of Madian I and that Putiphar, the 
Egyptian father-in-law of Joseph, was priest of Heliopolis,§ 
and that Putiphar offered holocausts and sacrifices to God.|| 

We find also in the book of Numbers that Balaam, a priest 
of Mesopotamia, offered up sacrifice to God. In fact, all the 
ancient Eg3"ptians, the Greeks and Komans, even the Amer- 
ican Indians had their sacrifices. Travel where we will 
over the wide world, oi)en the pages of history, and look 
into the past, and we shall find that never yet was there a 
nation having a form of religion, that did not at the same 
time offer up some kind of sacrifice. Sacrifice, religion, 
and divine worship have ever been regarded as one and the 
same. In fact, sacrifice is so essential that there can be no 
religion without it. To imagine a religion without sacrifice 
is simply impossible. Sacrifice, therefore, was even under 
the Law of Nature, and among the patriarchs, from the 
beginning of the world, the essential form of religion. Such 
sacrifices, if offered with the proper dispositions of the heart, 
were agreeable to the Almighty, as we may gather from Holy 
Scripture telling us that, " the Lord had respect to the offer- 
ings of Abel." ^ The precise manner in which God mani- 
fested His pleasure in the offerings of Abel is not known. 
It is believed by many grave authors that He sent fire from 
heaven to consume them, as he did on other occasions in 
after ages. From the very fact that God showed His pleasure 
in such sacrifices, we are naturally led to believe that He 

*Jobi. 5. fGen. iv. 18. 

^Exod. iii. 1. § Gen. xli. 45. I Gen. xviii. 12. 

^ Gen« iv. 4, 


Himself taught men, eyen from tlie beginning, to worship 
Him in this manner.* 

However, this original revelation concerning sacrifice, 
traces of which are found among all nations, became, like 
many other revelations, very much corrupted in the course 
of time. Supposing that that which they loved and prized 
the most would be the most acceptable offering to God, at 
last men came to sacrifice their fellow-men, nay, even their 
own children. Of course, such sacrifices were in the highest 
degree hateful in the sight of God. 

In order, therefore, to teach men hoAv to worship Him 
properly, the Lord chose a particular people to whom He 
gave express and minute directions about the sacrifices that 
they were to offer. 

This particular people was the Jewish nation. Out of 
this nation God chose a particular family — that of Aaron — 
who were to offer Him sacrifices. These sacrifices ordained 
by God were of various kinds. They were offerings of adora- 
tion, offerings of impetration, sin-offerings, and thanksgiving 
offerings. In some the victim w^as only partially, in others 
entirely, consumed by fire : these latter were called holo- 
causts — whole-burnt offerings. It was God Himself who 
prescribed most minutely all the rites and ceremonies to be 
observed in that most solemn act of public worship. God 
Himself commanded that a lamb should be sacrificed every 
morning and every evening. On Saturday — the Sabbath — 
as also on all great festivals, more abundant sacrifices were 
offered. Sacrifice was not only the essential worship of the 
entire nation — of God's chosen people — it was also the essen- 
tial worship of each individual. Whenever an Israelite com- 
mitted a sin he was bound by the law of God to confess that 
Bin and to offer sacrifice. The sinner led to the priest the 
animal destined for sacrifice. He then laid his hand 
upon the head of the victim, in order to acknowledge before 
God that this innocent animal was intended to bear his sins 
and to die in his place. 

♦ ''CaJu aivi Abe)," eajp St Athanaeia?, "learned from their father Aclam 


The animal was then slain b}' the priest, and its blood was 
poured round about tlie altar. This kind of sacrifice was 
thus offered up not only to atone for sin, but also to obtain 
favors from God, or to thank Him for favors received. As 
sacrifice was instituted by God Himself in the very begin- 
ning of the world for the most sacred ends, it was never to 
cease so long as human beings remained on earth. This 
continual, daily sacrifice, ordained by God Himself, was kept 
up until the coming of the Redeemer. As long as the tem- 
ple remained, the fire on the altar was never suffered to go 
out, the blood of victims never ceased to flow, the smoke of 
sacrifices went up continually to God. 

religion and the rite of sacritice ; " that ip, Adam taught his sons the way in which 
it pleased God that men should wors^liip Him. Abel observed those instructions, 
whilst Cain neglected them. Hence the difference between the two brothers. Cain's 
faith was not a living, practical faith, based on the divine tradition from Adam ; it 
was but a sort of speculative faith. That he did in a certain way acknowledge God 
and His dominion as Creator, is clear, from the fact of his offering sacrifice. But 
there is nothing in his sacrifice to show that he looked upon himself as a sinner, as 
condemned to death, as having need of a victim that shall take his place before God 
and be immolated for him. What he oSers is compatible with the state of an innocent 
man— the fruits of the earth, signs of gratitude, proofs that he looked on God as the 
Author of temporal goods. But there is nothing in Cain's sacrifice which relates to 
the Mediator, nothing gives one the idea of it, nothing helps towards the remem- 
brance of it. He did not offer the victim appointed by God— a victim which was of 
ench a nature as to shadow forth the true Ytctim for the sins of the world. "He 
sinned," says St. Clement, " in the choice of his offering." He was not a true 
worshiper in his heart. This is the reason why "the lord had no respect to Cain 
and his offerings." 

But Abel's faith, on the contrary, was lively and practical. He offered the pre- 
scribed victim in sacrifice— the first born of his flock and the fattest. He oft'ored it 
in the prescribed manner, by the shedding of blood, and with the proper inientioa 
and disposition of heart, by worshiping God in trustful obedience to His directions, 
and in firm hope in His promises. There was in his sacrifice an outward character, 
typifying the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. The shedding of blood was entirely 
a religious act ; it was a " crying unto God," an appeal to God of the most solemn 
kind, pointing forward, by its expiatory character, to the great shedding of blood on 
the Cross, and pleading the great Atonement and anticipating its etfccts. Hence it 
is tiiat St. Paul says, it was '• by faith that Abel offered to God a sacrifice exceeding 
that of Cain, by which he obtained a testimony that he was just, God giving testi- 
mony to his gilts." Heb. xi. 4. 



After our first parents had repented of their sin, God 
like a good father forgave them, and promised to send a 
Redeemer who should destroy sin and restore man to his 
lost inheritance. This Redeemer was to be the Blessed Son 
of God Himself As has already been remarked, to keep 
before the mind of man the continual remembrance of his 
sinfulness, — in consequence cff which he was deserving . of 
death, — and especially to keep alive the remembrance of the 
promised Redeemer, God instituted bloody sacrifice. The 
sacrifice of corn and wine and the like, is a sacrifice which 
an innocent sinless creature might offer to his Creator, but 
a bloody sacrifice is the only befitting offering of a sinful 
creature to his offended God. I 

The victim which was slain and whose blood was poured 
out and body consumed, represented the sinner himself; and 
by this sacrifice the sinner publicly acknowledged that by 
his sins he deserved death, and that, were God to treat him 
with strict justice, he should even suffer eternally. More- 
over, by this sacrifice man publicly and solemnly testified to 
his faith in the promises of God and his firm hope in the 
future Redeemer. 

But the sacrifices of the Old Law were all institutions of 
a temporary nature ; they were to last for a time, but to give 
way to a more perfect one that was to succeed them, as the 
imperfect light of the stars and the moon fades away and 
disappears before the full blaze of the sun. They were 
emblems, figures, and representations of that undefiled obla- 
tion, which Christians were to possess. From this indeed 
they derived all their merit, and to this, of course, they were 


destined to yield when it appeared. They were good in 
themselves, hecause appointed by God, and though imperfect, 
proportioned to the state of man at that time, and to the 
degree of knowledge which he then possessed. They served 
to prepare him for the better things which should be revealed 
in the new dispensation. 

Our divine Saviour came on earth not to destroy the law 
of Sacrifice, but to fulfill it, to make it perfect; whatever was 
essential in the Old Law, in the Jewish religion, remained 
essential also in the Xew Law, the Christian religion. Sac- 
rifice, then, which was the very essence of the Jewish religion, 
remained also the essence of the Christian religion. Our 
Blessed Saviour indeed substituted a more perfect victim for 
the victims offered up in the Old Law — for sheep, oxen, lambs 
and the like. Our reason tells us that all the blood of sheep 
and oxen, that ever was shed, could not of itself blot out the 
sins of free, intelligent man, Tor it is impossible,*' says St. 
Paul, " that sin should be taken away Avith the blood of 
oxen and goats."* The blood of sinless animals could atone 
for sin only in as far as it was ordained by God, and repre- 
sented the precious blood of the promised Redeemer. 

As soon, then, as the Kedeemer — the true victim — came and 
shed His precious blood for our sins, the types and images 
were set aside, because they . were no longer pleasing to 
Almighty God, as St. Paul assures us in his epistle to the 
Hebrews : " Wherefore when he entered the world, thou 
wouldst not have sacrifice and oblation, but thou hast 
fitted a body to me. The sacrifice of propitiation for sins is 
no longer pleasing to thee; then said I: behold I come, 
according as it is written of me in the beginning of the 
book, that I may do thy will, My God ! "f Grod gave a 
body to His only Son that He might do the will of His 
Father, by offering Himself in sacrifice upon the cross for us; 
and immediately all the ancient sacrifices — the types and 

* Heb. X. 4. 
f Heb. X. 5v 

OF THE i^EW LAW. 137 

figures of the sacrifice of the cross — ceased to be pleasing to 
God and disappeared. 

Onr Lord Jesus Christ did not abolish priesthood and 
sacrifice, but He substituted a more exalted priesthood and 
a more perfect sacrifice for those of the Old Law. The 
various prophets foretold in the clearest terms that the 
Jewish people would one day be rejected on account of their 
sins, and that the heathens would be chosen in their place. 
The prophets foretold also that the Jewish sacrifices would 
cease, and that a more pure and perfect victim would be 
ofi'ered instead. In the prophecy of Isaias, God says, " of 
those of My people that shall be saved," — i. e. the Apostles— 
" I shall send some to the heathens, and I will take men 
from the heathens and make them priests and Levites." * 
God says again in the prophecy of Malachy, where He speaks 
of the Jews : " I have no pleasure in you, and I will not re- 
ceive a gift from your hand. For from the rising to the 
setting of the sun My name is great among the heathens, and 
in every place there is a sacrifice, and there is offered to My 
name a clean oblation." t 

This prophecy contains several very important facts. In the 
first place, it is declared that the Jewish sacrifices would be 
rejected. *^ I shall receive no gift from your hand " saith the 
Lord of Hosts. In the second place it is declared that another 
sacrifice would be substituted for the Jewish sacrifices. " In 
every place there is a sacrifice offered to My name." Again, it 
is declared that this new sacrifice is to be more perfect than the 
old, for God calls it " a clean oblation, a pure sacrifice," and 
finally it is declared that this pure sacrifice shall be offered 
up in every part of the world, " from the rising to the setting 
of the sun." Now on looking around we find every circum- 
stance of this remarkable prophecy literally fulfilled. The 
Jewish sacrifices have ceased ; the Jev/ish people are scattered 
all over the earth: they have no country, no nation, no 

* Cliap. 46. 

f Malachy i. 10,11. 


priesthood, no altar, no sacrifice. The second part of the 
prophecy also is fiilfille:!. At the Last Supper, our Lord 
Jesus Christ, the promised Redeemer, instituted a new and 
pure and perfect sacrifice — that of His Sacred Body and 
Blood, which He substituted for the typical sacrifices of the 
Old Law. And now this adorable and perfect sacrifice of 
our Lord's Body and Blood is offered up all .over the world, 
at every hour of the day and every part of the night, "from 
the rising to the setting of the sun." 

There existed before the coming of the Redeemer two 
distinct kinds of sacrifice— the bloody, or the sacrifice of 
animals, and the unbloody, or the sacrifice of bread and wine, 
of the fruits of the earth. These two kinds of sacrifice were 
offered up even in the very beginning of the world, for Abel 
sacrificed a lamb and Cain ofi'ered to God the fruits of the 
earth. There were not only two distinct kinds of sacrifice 
but also tv/o distinct classes of the priesthood. The one was 
the priesthood of Aaron, who offered the blood of animals ; 
the other the priesthood of Melchisedech, who offered bread 
and wine. 

In His own divine person our Blessed Saviour united both 
these classes of the priesthood. He offered up bread and 
wine at tlie Last Supper according to the rite of Melchise- 
dech, and on tiie following day He offered up Himself in a 
bloody manner, as the victim of our sins, according to the 
rite of Aaron. 

Thus did He also unite the two kinds of sacrifice of the 
Old Law in the one adorable sacrifice of His Body and Blood, 
which He offered up under the appearance of bread and 

On the eve of His passion, after our divine Saviour had 
washed His disciple's feet. He ordered a table to be prepared 
80 as to resemble an altar, and to be covered with a rich and 
beautiful cloth. On this table they laid a plate and a cup 
like a chalice, to contain the wine requisite for the designs 
of the Lord, Who had prepared and foreseen everything by 

OF THE ]S-EW LAW. 139 

His infinite wisdom. When seated at tlie table and snr- 
ronnded by His Apostles, He asked first for nnleavened 
bread, which He laid npon a plate, then for pure wine, which, 
mingled with a small quantity of water. He poured into the 
chalice. After praying for a long time. He took the bread 
into His hands, and offered a prayer internally to the Eternal 
Father, begging that, in virtue of the words He was about 
to pronounce, the Sacrament He was going to institute might 
be perpetuated in His church throughout all ages. With 
great majesty He raised His eyes towards heaven, that is to- 
wards the two divine persons, He pronounced over the bread 
and Avine the words of consecration, by which they were 
changed into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our 
divine Eedeemer. 

The body of Jesus Christ was then in the host and His 
blood in the chalice. The consecration of the chalice being 
made immediately after that of the host, is a lively represen- 
tation of the efifnsion of the blood of Jesus Christ upon the 
cross, and His deatli or the separation of His soul and body 
which followed this effusion of blood. Our Lord then depos- 
ited the holy Victim upon the table, placing it there in the 
state of a sacrifice, and offering it to His Father in a mystic 
and unbloody manner. To complete the sacrifice by a kind 
of mystic death, — the loss of His sacramental life — He par- 
took of it Himself, and then commanded the Apostles to 
partake of it also, accompanying the precious treasure with 
an imperative injunction, which, at the same time that it 
commanded them to do as He had done, conferred upon 
them the sacerdotal dignity required for the due discharge 
of such an ordinance. They began to exercise this sacerdo- 
tal dignity at the moment they communicated each other at 
the command of our Lord. At the closing of this stupen- 
dous ceremony they chanted their thanksgiving in a holy can- 
ticle.* And thus was Muss, the sacrifice of the Xew 

* Math. xxvi. 


Law, that is, its essential parts, — consecration and commu- 
nion, — instituted by our holy Eedeemer. 

In the Holocaust, which was the most perfect of all sacri- 
fices, besides the victim being slain or immolated, it was also 
totally consumed upon the altar. Therefore it was neces- 
sary in this perfect sacrifice of the New Law, which includes 
every perfection of former sacrifices, that there should be a 
similar consummation, which is nowhere found but in the 
Communion. It is this act, therefore, which completes the 
sacrifice, makes it perfect in all its parts, and leaves nothing 
more to be desired. Hence, according to the best theolo- 
gians of the church, the essence of this Eucharistic sacrifice 
which our divine Saviour thus offered to His Father consisted 
in producing by the words of consecration the holy victim 
— His sacred body under the two species — and in the oblation 
which He made of it to His Father, and the same words of 
consecration which produced the sacrifice served also to 
make the oblation thereof. But as the bloody sacrifice which 
Jesus Christ offered for us upon the cross to His Eternal 
Father was entirely accomplished at the same instant that 
our Saviour rendered up His spirit ; so the Eucharistic sacri- 
fice, which is a true representation of that of the cross and 
is in effect the same, is only consummated by communion, in 
which our Lord undergoes a kind of mystic death by losing 
His sacramental life. It was then our divine Saviour Him- 
self who first offered up the sacrifice of the New Law — the 
sacrifice of His Body and Blood, which Catholics call the 
holy sacrifice of the mass. The first mass then that ever 
was celebrated on earth was offered up by our Lord Jesus 
Christ Himself at the Last Supper. Hence St. Gregory of 
Nyssa in the fourth century says : " By a method of sacrifice 
ineffable and invisible to men. He (Jesus Christ) offered 
Himself an oblation and a sacrifice for us, being at the 
same time both the priest and that Lamb of God that taketh 
away the sins of the world. When was this? AVhen He 
made His own body eatable, and His blood diinkable to 


those who were with Him. He, therefore, who gave His 
body for food to His disciples, manifestly demonstrates that, 
under the appearance (figure) of the Lamb, the sacrifice was 
perfectly made. When, therefore, He gave His disciples 
His body to be eaten, and His blood to be drunk, that body 
was already sacrificed inefi'ably and invisibly according as 
Was well pleasing to His power who had the economy of that 
mystery. Wherefore he will not err from the truth, who, 
from that time, dates the period from which the sacrifice 
was offered unto God by the great High Priest, who sacri- 
ficed ineffably and invisibly the Lamb of His own Self, for 
the common sinfulness. For it was evening when that 
sacred body was eaten." * 

At that very time the Apostles were empowered and com- 
manded to celebrate Mass. The words of Jesus were too 
distinct and explicit not to be intelligible. " Do this for a 
commemoration of me." Our Saviour meant to be thus 
understood. As I took bread and brake, and gave to you, 
saying, this is My body ; and really and substantially made 
it, by My heavenly power, what I said it was. My body, 
which is given for you ; and as I, having taken the chalice, 
giving thanks, gave to you, saying, this is My blood; and 
really and substantially made it what I then declared it was, 
My blood, which shall be shed for many; and thus offered 
to My heaveuly Father, in a mystic and unbloody manner, 
that same victim. My own very body and blood, which is to 
be immolated on the cross in a visible and bloody manner ; 
go do you take bread, and blessing it, make it My body ; and 
taking wine, bless it, and make it My blood ; and thus con- 
tinually present to heaven in an unbloody manner, not a 
different, but the self-same sacrifice which shall be offered up 
in a bloody manner once upon the cross : — Do this for a com- 
memoration of me, for as often as you shall eat this bread, 
and drink this chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord 

* T. iii. In Christ. Resurrect. Orat. i. p. 389 


until He come. In obedience to Our Lord, the Apostles 
offered up the holy sacrifice of the Mass. We observe them 
most exact in exercising that marvellous prerogative, with 
which He had invested them, of doing what He Himself 
had done in their presence, a prerogative which He bestowed 
upon them when he said : " Do this for a commemoration of 
Me." This we can see cleai-ly from the Acts of the Apostles,* 
where St. Luke informs us that as the Apostles were minis- 
tering, that is to say as they were sacrificing to the Lord, the 
Holy Ghost said to them : '•' Separate me Saul and Barnabas." 
The same sacrifice which the Evangelist distinguishes by the 
term " ministration," Ave Catholics, at the present day, call 
the "Mass." St. Matthew, the Apostle, as history informs 
us, was pierced with a lance, whilst celebrating the holy 
sacrifice of the Mass. 

The tyrant Aegeas said to St. Andrew, the Apostle, " You 
may say those things to those who believe in you ; but unless 
you obey me, so as to offer sacrifice to the all-powerful gods, 
I will command you to be beaten with rods, and fastened on 
that same cross which you praise." The Apostle answered, 
" To the Almighty God I offer up a living sacrifice, not in- 
cense-smoke, not flesh of bellowing bulls, not blood of goats; 
but I offer daily to God on the altar of the cross a spotless 
lamb, whose flesh after the believer has eaten, and drunk its 
blood, the lamb that was sacrificed remains entire and liv- 
ing." Aegeas said, " How can this be ? " Holy Andrew 
answered. " If thou wishest to know how this can be, take 
upon tliee the character of a disciple, that thou mayest 
learn that which thou inqiiirest after." Aegeas said, "I will 
seek the cause of this from thee by torments." Holy Andrew 
said, "I wonder that thou, a sensible man, shouldst have 
fallen into so great a folly, as to think that thou canst by 
torments make known to thyself the divine sacrifice. Thou 
hast heard the mystery of the sacrifice; if thou wilt believe 

♦ xiii. 2. 

OF THE i^EW LAW. 143 

tiiat the Christ, the Son of God, He who was crucified by 
the Jews, is true God, I will discover to thee in what way 
the Lamb liveth which, after haying been sacrificed and 
eaten, remains still entire and spotless in His kingdom." 
Aegeas said, " And how does a lamb remain in a kingdom, 
whereas it is slaughtered, and, as you say, is eaten by all tho 
people?" Holy Andrew said, "If thou wilt believe with 
thy whole heart, thou mayest learn, but, if thou wilt not be- 
lieve, thou wilt not be able to attain to the perfection of the 
truth." * 

The Fathers of the Church, the successors of the Apos 
ties, speak in the plainest terms of the Holy Sacrifice of the 
Mass. In consequence of the terror of the times, and the 
malice of the enemies of Christianity, the early Christians 
were obliged to meet in private to celebrate the divine mys- 
teries of the Eucharist and the Sacrifice of the Mass. This 
privacy caused a report to be circuhited that the Christians 
were child-murderers, cannibals, and partakers of human 
flesh. So St, Justin, who lived in the second century, 
defended his brethren in the faith, by describing their faith 
as well as the ceremonies which took place. 

"On the day called * Sunday,'" he writes, "there is an 
assembly in one place of all who live in the cities or country, 
and the Acts of the x^postles, or the writings of the prophets, 
are read as long as circumstances permit. Then when the 
reader has ceased, the one who presides delivers a discourse, 
in which he reminds and exhorts to the imitation of the 
good things. We then all rise together and pray. Our 
prayers being finished, we embrace one another with the kiss 
of peace. Then to him who presides over the brethren is 
presented bread and wine tempered with water; having 
received which, he gives glory to the Father of all things in 
the name of the Son and the Holy Ghost, and returns thanks 
in many prayers. These offices being duly performed, the 

» Galland, t. i. p. 157. 


whole assembly, in acclamation, answers, Amen. Then the 
ministers, whom we call deacons, distribnte to each one 
present a portion of the blessed bread and wine. Some is 
also taken to the absent. This food we call Encharist, of 
which they alone are allowed to partake who believe in the 
doctrines taught by us and have been regenerated by water 
for the remission of sin, and who live as Christ ordained. 
Nor do we take these gifts as common bread and common • 
drink, but as Jesns Christ our Saviour, made man by the 
word of God, took flesh and blood for our salvation ; in the 
same manner we have been taught that the food which has 
been blessed by the prayer of the words which He spoke, is 
changed into the flesh and blood of that Jesus incarnate, 
and it is thus that we are nourished by His flesh and blood. 
The Apostles in the commentaries written by them, which 
are called gospels, have declared that Jesus so commanded 
when, taking bread, having given thanks. He said : ' Do this 
in commemoration of me ; This is my body' In like manner 
taking the cup, and giving thanks. He said : * This is my 
blood:' and that He distributed both to them only." * 

St. Cyprian, in the third century, calls the Mass " an ever- 
lasting sacrifice." St. Augustine, in the fourth century, 
declares it to be, "A true and august sacrifice, and that it 
has supplanted all former sacrifices."! " Old things," he 
says, *' have passed away, and new things have been made in 
Christ, in such a way that altar has yielded to altar, bread 
to bread, lamb to lamb, blood to blood."J; 

St. Ambrose writes in his letter§ to the Emperor Theodo- 
sius as follows : " When other emperors gain a victory they 
order triumphal arches, or other trophies of their triumph 
to be prepared : but your highness prepares a victim unto 
God, desires oblation, and thanksgiving to be celebrated unto 
the Lord by his priests. Therefore though I am unworthy 

* Apo. i. n. 65, 67. \ De Civit. Dei, xx. 

X Ep. XXX vi. ad Casulanum. § Ep. 61, n. 4, 5. 

OF THE iN'EW LAW. 145 

and unequal to so great an office, yet do I acquaint you with 
what I have done. I carried the letter of your friendliness 
with me to the altar ; I placed it on the altar, I held it in 
my hand that your faith might speak by my voice, and the 
letter of Augustus might perform the function of a sacer- 
dotal oblation." 

" Jesus Christ,^^ says St. John Chrysostom, in the fifth 
century, " has ordained a sacred rite and changed the sacri- 
fice, and instead of the slaughter of animals, has commanded 
Himself to be offered up." * 

" What then ? Do not we offer up daily ? We offer indeed 
making a commemoration of His death, and this oblation is 
one, not many. How one and not many ? Because it was 
offered once, as was that which was offered in the Holy of 
Holies. This is a type of that, and that of this. For we 
always offer up the same ; not in sooth to-day one lamb, and 
another to-morrow, but always the same thing, so that the 
sacrifice is one. According to this reasoning, as He is offered 
up in many places, are there also many Christs? By no 
means, but one Christ everywhere ; both here entire, and 
there entire, — one body. Wherefore as He that is offered 
up in many places is one body, not many bodies, so also is 
the sacrifice one. Our High Priest is He that offered up 
that sacrifice which cleanses us ; that same sacrifice do we 
offer up now — that which was then offered — that sacrifice 
which cannot be consumed. This takes place for a commemo- 
ration of that which then took place. ' For this do ye i?i 
remembrance of me.' Not a different sacrifice, as did the high 
priest of those Jewish days, but the same do we always cele- 
brate, or rather we make a commemoration of a sacrifice.^f 

" The oblation which has place this day, and that which 
was celebrated yesterday, and that which takes place day 
after day, is like to, and the same as that which took place 

* J. X. Horn. 24, in 1 Cor. 
f J. xii. Horn. 17. in Ep. ad Heb. n. 3, p. 241. 



on that Sabbath day, and in nothing was that more venerable 
than this, nor this less valuable than that, but one and the 
same, equally awful and saving." * 

" Many divine pastors and teachers of the Church," writes 
St. Proclus, '^ who have succeeded the holy Apostles, have 
left in writing, and delivered to the Church, the exposition 
of the mystic liturgy. Of these the first and most celebrated 
are, Blessed Clement, the disciple and successor of the Prince 
of the Apostles — the Apostles themselves dictating to him. 
After Our Saviour was taken up into heaven, the Apostles, 
before being scattered over the whole world, being together 
in oneness of mind, passed whole days in prayer, and having 
found the mystic sacrifice of the Lord's body a great con- 
solation, they sang Mass at very great length, for they con- 
sidered this, and teaching, preferable to .anything else. With 
very great gladness and joy were they instant in this divine 
sacrifice, ever bearing in mind the Lord's word, which says, 
* This is my iody, and do this in memory of me:' and, * He 
that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, abide th in me 
and I in him.' For this cause, too, Avith a contrite heart, 
they sang many prayers, earnestly imploring the divine aid: 
yea, they also accustomed those who had been recently bap- 
tized to the things of the dispensation of grace, teaching 
them to leave aside those which were before that dispen- 
sation of grace, as being but shadows of that grace. 
Through these prayers, therefore, they expected the coming of 
the Holy Ghost, that by His own divine presence He might 
make and render the bread that lay there for a sacrifice, and the 
wine mixed with water, that very same body and blood of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, which is no less done even to this day, and 
will be done even unto the consummation of the world." \ 

Thus, what the holy Church teaches on this sublime 
subject, is clear, viz.: "Because under the former Testa- 

* J. i. Or. iii. Contus. Jud. n. 4, p. 745. 
f Tract. De Tradit. Divinae Missae, p. 680, t. ix. Gallandii, 


iiient," as the Apostle St. Paul testifies, "on account of the 
weakness of the Levitical priesthood, there was no consumma- 
tion or perfection, it was necessary — God the Father so 
ordaining it — that another priest, according to the order of 
Melchisedech, should arise — our Lord Jesus Christ — who 
might be able to consummate, and to lead to what is perfect 
all that were to be sanctified. Wherefore this our Lord and 
God, although He was about, hy means of His death, to offer 
Himself once to God the Father on the altar of the cross, 
that on it He might operate an eternal redemption ; yet be- 
cause by death His priesthood was not to be extinct, He, at 
the last supper — the same night on which He was betrayed — 
that He might, as the nature of man requires, leave to His 
spouse the Church a yisible sacrifice, by which the bloody 
sacrifice, once to be completed on the cross, might be repre- 
sented, and its memory might continue to the end of the 
world, and its salutary virtue be applied to the remission 
of the sins which we daily commit, declaring himself consti- 
tuted a priest forever according to the order of Melchis- 
edech, He offered to His Father His body and blood, under 
the species of bread and wine; and under the symbol of 
these things. He delivered His body and blood to His Apos- 
tles, whom He then appointed the priests of the New Testa- 
ment ; and to them and to their successors in the priesthood 
He gave a command to offer by these words : * Do this in 
commemoration of me.'* So the Catholic Church has 
always understood and taught. This is the clean oblation, 
which the Lord by Malachias foretold would be offered in 
every place to His name, which would he great amongst the 
Gentiles. This, in fine, is that oblation which was prefigured 
by the various typical sacrifices, during the period of nature 
and the law, in as much as it comprises whatever good things 
they signified, as being the consiimmation and perfection of 
them all."t 

* Luke xxii. f Council Trid., Sess. 22, c. i. 


Ifc is related in tbe life of St. John a Facundo, 0. S. A., that 
he was unusually long in saying Mass, so that no one liked 
to serve it. The Father Prior told him that he should try 
not to be longer in saying Mass than the other fathers of the 
conyent. The holy priest tried to obey, but finding obedi- 
ence in this point so extremely difficult, he begged his prior 
to permit him to say Mass in the same manner as before. 
After hearing his reasons, the prior most willingly granted 
this permission. With Father John's leave, he told these 
reasons to the fathers of the convent. "Believe me," said 
the prior to them, "Father John's Mass lasts so long because 
God bestows on him the grace of seeing the mysteries of the 
holy sacrifice, which are so sublime that no human mind can 
understand them. Of these mysteries he told me things so 
wonderful that I was overwhelmed with holy awe and almost 
beside myself Believe me, Jesus Christ shows Himself to 
this father in a most wonderful manner, converses with him 
most sweetly, and sends forth upon him from His sacred 
wounds a heavenly light and splendor so refreshing for both 
body and soul that he might live without any nourishment. 
Father John sees also the body of Christ in its heavenly 
glory and beauty shining like a most brilliant sun. Xow, 
considering how great and how unspeakably sublime the 
graces and favors are which men derive from saying Mass, 
or from hearing it, I have firmly resolved never to omit say- 
ing or hearing Mass, and I will exhort others to do the 
same." * 

Although we do not see with our eyes the stupendous 
wonders that take place in Mass, yet let us believe them 
most firmly, nay even more firmly than if we could see them 
with our eyes, in order that we may belong to the number 
of those of whom Our Lord has said, " Blessed are they that 
have not seen and have believed." \ 

* Henschen, in Act. Sanct., ad xii, diem Junii. 
f St. John XX. 29. 



A MOST solid argument to proye the holy sacrifice of the 
Mass is taken from the use of altars in the Catholic Church. 
St. Paul expressly declares in his epistle to the Hebrews* 
that " We have an altar whereof they (the Jews) may not 
eat, who serve the tabernacle." Now an altar always implies 
a sacrifice, since it is used for no other purpose. 

The use of altars for the purpose of religion, is coeval with 
the preservation of the human race by Noah ; and from times 
of the remotest antiquity, the greatest respect has been ever 
exhibited for the place which had been more especially set 
apart for the worship of the Supreme Being as well as for 
the altar which was erected there. 

That a particular ceremonial, accompanied by an especial 
form of prayer, has been invariably followed at their respec- 
tive dedications, seems indubitable. Every one will imme- 
diately remember not only the solicitude with which Noah, 
on issuing from the ark, immediately hastened to erect an 
altar for sacrifice,! but also the injunctions delivered by 
Almighty God to Jacob that he should make to him an altar 
at Bethel. J: Moses, too, was thus commanded by the Lord: 
" Seven days shalt thou expiate the altar and sanctify it, and 
it shall be most holy," § and in the book of Numbers || we 
find enumerated the many splendid presents which were 
offered by the princes of Israel on the occasion of the solemn 
consecration of the tabernacle, in the dedication and anoint- 
ing of the altar. The excellence and holiness with which 

* Chap. xiii. 10. f C^en. viii. 20. X Q^"- ^^^^'- 1- 

§ Exod. xxix. 37 | Numb. \ii. 84. 


the altar of the New Testament is invested, are asserted by 
St. Paul, Avho admonishes the Hebrews* in the words above 
quoted, '•' We (Christians) have an altar whereof they have 
no power to eat who serve the tabernacle/' To claim our 
religious respect for the temple of God, and to assure us of 
the hallowed nature of its altar, the same Apostle contrasts 
the table of the Lord, upon which the Eucharistic Sacrifice 
had been offered, with the table of devils, or the altars upon 
which meats had been presented in sacrifice to idols ; f and 
after assuring the Corinthians that they could not be par- 
takers of the table of the Lord and of the table of devils, he 
interrogates them in a manner which involves a severe rep- 
rimand on the slightest irreverence displayed towards either 
altar or temple. " What, have you not houses to eat and 
drink in ? Or despise ye the Church of God ? " ]; 

On consulting the various monuments of antiquity, it will 
be found that throughout the Christian world, from the 
apostolic era np to the present moment, the same idea has 
prevailed, that the temples of the Christian faith were erected 
for no other purpose than to offer up therein the sacrifice of 
the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and that the table on 
which this offering Avas made became a true, a hallowed 
altar, wiiile the spot on which it stood was regarded as a 
consecrated sanctuary, shut off from the footstep of even the 
holiest laymen — the Holy of Holies of the New Testament, 
sacred from the tread of any other than the priest of God 
and His ministers duly appointed. 

To confirm his exhortations to the Philadelphians con- 
cerning their unity of faith, their harmony of preaching and 
their participation in the same Eucharist, the apostolic father 
St. Ignatius gives this reason : "The flesh of our Lord Jesus 
Christ is one, and His blood is one, which was poured out 
for us ; one bread is broken for all, and one chalice is dis- 
tributed to all : in every church there is but one allar, and 

* Heb. xiii. 10. f 1 Cor. x. 19. J 1 Cor. xi, 22. 


one bishop, with the company of elders and deacons, my 
fellow-servants. " 

Tertullian, in his book on prayer, combats the scruples 
which began to disturb many who thought that on fasting- 
days it was better not to be present at the celebration of the 
Eucharistic Sacrifice, lest, by participating of the Body and 
Blood of Christ — for the custom of those times was that each 
one who assisted at Mass should also receive the Blessed 
Sacrament — they should thus violate the precept of fasting. 
He asks such persons, if the participation of the Eucharist, 
instead of superinducing a breach of duty towards God, will 
not rather draw the communicant closer to him ? " Will 
not," he goes on to observe, "your fasting be more solemn 
if you stand before the altar of God ? By receiving the body 
of the Lord, and reserving it, both duties will be fulfilled; 
the participation of the sacrifice, and the discharge of your 
obligation. " 

St. Optatus Milevitanus thus exclaims : " What is so sac- 
rilegious as to break down, to erase, to remove God's altars 
upon which you yourselves have once sacrificed ? AVhat is 
the altar but the seat of the Body and Blood of Christ? " 
St. Ambrose, speaking of the martyrs SS. Gervasius and 
Protasius, whose relics he had recently translated to his new 
Church, exultingly exclaims : " Let those triumphant suf- 
ferers succeed to the place where Christ is the victim. But 
He who sufi*ered for all men is upon the altar, they who have 
been redeemed by His passion are under the altar." 

The eloquent Bishop of Constantinople observes that " tlie 
altar which we now use is admirable on account of the victim 
which is deposited upon it. . . This wonderful altar, by its 
nature, is indeed of stone, but it becomes holy after it has 
received the body of Christ." "Thou boldest," continues 
St. Chrysostom, " the altar in veneration, because it sustains 
Christ's body." "Who," inquires St. Augustine, "who 
amongst the faithful ever heard a priest, standing at the 
altar^ though it was erected to the honor and worship of 


God over tlie lioly body of a martyr, say in the prayers : I 
offer sacrifice to thee, Peter, or to thee, Paul ? " 

That for the first three centuries the altar was more gen- 
erally, though not always, of wood, is evident from a variety 
of testimonies. Tradition has handed down the altar in the 
form of a wooden table, upon which St. Peter, as it is said, 
was accustomed to offer up the Eucharistic sacrifice of the 
Mass, in the house of the patrician Pudens, at Rome, where 
it is still preserved with much respect in the Church of St. 
Prudentiana. From the earliest times, however, it is certain 
that it was customary to celebrate Mass in the Catacombs 
upon the tombs of the Apostles and martyrs, not only at 
Eome, but throughout the Church of Christ. The slab of 
marble which covered the sepulchre was made to serve as the 
altar-table, and the low-browed arched recess that spanned 
it, merely left sufiBcient space for the priest to perform the 
sacred Eucharistic mysteries. When the altar, as occasionally 
happened, was not the tomb of a martyr, it resembled a 
quadrangular table supported in the centre by a single 
column, or upheld at its extremities by two, or at its angles 
by four low columns. For almost fourteen centuries it has 
been a universal custom to have that part of the altar on 
which the Eucharist is consecrated, of stone or marble. 

Judging from the piety of the primitive Christians, who 
never performed any action without hallowing it by prayer, 
or some religious ceremony, it is more than probable that 
from the apostolic times no altar was ever used for offering 
up the holy sacrifice of the Mass, without having been pre- 
viously consecrated by a special solemn rite peculiar to that 
holy purpose, and it is no ill-founded presumption to sup- 
pose that the pastors of the Church, in the dedication of 
their temples and altars, copied the example of the saints of 
old, who were directed by heaven itself to consecrate the 
altar and to dedicate the temple erected to the Deity, by a 
particular and splendid ceremonial. We have the most 
authentic documents to prove the use of such a rite at the 


conimencement of the fourth century. The ceremony of 
dedication, which must, in times of j)ersecution, necessarily 
have been performed in priyacy, began to be celebrated with 
much public magnificence during the tranquil reign of Con- 
stantine. It was then a gratifying spectacle, as the ecclesi- 
astical historian, Eusebius, informs us, "to witness how the 
ceremony of consecration and dedication of the recently 
erected churches was solemnized in every city." After de- 
scribing the dedication of the Church of Jerusalem, the 
same writer relates how it concluded by the mystical service 
or offering of the unbloody sacrifice to God. St. Gregory 
Nyssenus, who was born in 330, observes : " This holy altar 
at which we assist is constructed of stone, which by nature 
is common and nothing different from other flags of stone 
with which the walls of our houses are encrusted, and our 
pavements ornamented. But because it is consecrated and 
dedicated to the worship of God, and has received a benedic- 
tion, it is a holy table, an immaculate altar, which is no 
longer to be touched by all, but by priests only, and even 
by them with veneration." 

St. Ambrose has left us a prayer which he employed in 
the dedication of the churches and altars erected by him. 
" Lord ! " devoutly prayed the holy Bishop of Milan, " I 
now beseech Thee to look down as daily high-j)riest upon this 
Thy house ; upon these altars which are this day dedicated ; 
upon these spiritual stones, in each one of which a sensible 
temple is consecrated unto Thee ; and in Thy divine mercy 
receive Thy servants' prayers that are poured out to Thee in 
this place. Let every sacri*fice Avhich is offered up in this 
temple, with an entire and pious sedulousness, be unta Thee 
as an odor of sanctification." 

Not only did the Church bear, in mind the divine com 
mand issued to Moses, of celebrating the dedication of the 
altar, but she also remembered that the holy table was more 
particularly consecrated to the purposes of religious worship, 
by being anointed with rich and precious unguents. In the 


book of Genesis we read that the patriarch Jacob, awaking 
out of his sleep, exclaimed concerning the spot on which he 
had been taking his repose: "How terrible is this place* 
This is no other but the house of God, and the gate of 
heaven. And Jacob arising in the morning, took the stone 
which he had laid under his head, and he set it up for a 
title, pouring oil upon the top of it." Moses was thus di- 
rected by Almighty God : " Thou shalt make the holy oil of 
unction, an ointment compounded after the art of the per- 
fumer. And therewith thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of 
the testimony, and the ark of the testament. And the table 
with the vessels thereof, and the candlestick and furniture 
thereof, and the altars of incense. And thou shalt sanctify 
all, and they shall be most holy ; " * a command which the 
Jewish lawgiver carefully complied with, as we find recorded 
in the book of Numbers : " In the day that Moses had fin- 
ished the tabernacle, and set it up, and had anointed and 
sanctified it, with all its vessels, the altar likewise, and all 
the vessels thereof." f The Church conceived that the an- 
ointing of her altars was an emblematical ceremony which 
she could appropriately borrow from the Old Law. 

Whenever an altar is consecrated, some small portion, at 
least, of the relics of saints is invariably enclosed in it. This 
universal and established usage has descended from a ven- 
erable antiquity. From the earliest periods of the Church 
it was usual to employ the tomb of a martyr for the purpose 
of the altar. Not only did this custom call to the remem- 
brance of the faithful the brethren whose souls are described 
by St. John a*s reposing under the mystic altar of heaven, 
but it furnished them with an admonition of their duty of 
laying down their lives like the martyrs, if required, in the 
profession of the faith of Him who was crucified for their 

Anciently, as now, the table of the altar was overspread 

* Exodus XXX. 25. f Numb. vii. 1, 


with linen clotlis. The linen cloths are directed to be blessed 
and consecrated, as they are to serve for enfolding the Body 
and Blood of Jesus Christ': "Deign, Lord," says the 
prayer, "to sanctify, bless, and consecrate these linen cloths 
for the use of Thy altar, to cover and envelop the Body and 
Blood of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ." 

The altar may be likened, at the same time, to the sepul- 
chre and to the throne of Jesus ; so the linen cloths which 
cover it are considered to represent both the shroud that 
enveloped His blessed Body and the mantle of His glory. 

That the ancient fathers of the Church, whether Greek or 
Latin, were unanimous in exhibiting much religious reverence 
towards the altar, and in requiring the faithful to regard it 
with similar respect, is evident from those unequivocal 
epithets indicative of honor and of sanctity, under which 
they designate it in their writings and discourses. The 
sacred, the divine table ; the holy, the most holy altar ; the 
altar of Christ ; the table of the Lord, are the common ap- 
pellations under which they mention it. Nor did this rever- 
ence consist in words alone ; it was unceasingly manifested 
by other proofs of homage. 

On entering a church, Latins, Greeks, and Orientals, have 
from time immemorial been accustomed to bow towards 
the altar. We still continue to show this token of our 
homage to the sacred table. That not only the threshold 
and door-posts of the Church were reverenced by the pros- 
trations and embraces of the pious, but that similar honors 
were also paid to the altar, is evident from the testimony 
of ancient writers. St. Ambrose particularly mentions the 
joy which animated the soldiers as they entered his church 
at Milan, and crowded round the altar, kissing it devoutly 
as they published the news that the emperor had revoked 
his edict for surrendering the churches in that city to the 
Arians; and St. Athanasius bore witness to the devotion of 
many whom he beheld going to the altar, embracing it with 
fear mingled with joy. 


On perusing the foregoing remarks, the most superficial 
observer cannot haye failed to notice the similarity in the 
language employed and the uniformity of ideas exhibited by 
all antiquity with reference to the altar. It is a matter of 
fact that forces itself npon every one's attention, that from 
the apostolic era up to the present moment, the pastors of 
the Church. have invariably spoken of the sacred table, how- 
ever incidentally they may have happened to refer to it, as 
the altar of the living God, the holy, the sacred, the tre- 
mendous altar, upou which there is offered up a true, a real 
sacrifice: the victim of which sacrifice they have unani- 
mously proclaimed to be' the Son^of God — Christ Jesus — 
whose same Body and whose same Blood, once immolated in 
a bloody manner on the Cross, are now daily, nay, hourly, 
sacrificed in an unbloody manner on our altars, and after- 
wards partaken of both by the sacrificing priest and the 
attendant people. Not only do we hear such a doctrine in- 
sisted o# as a necessary and universally accredited article of 
faith, and that, too, in expressions free from the faintest 
shade of ambiguity, and by the teachers of the Christian 
religion dwelling in regions widely separated from each other, 
and flourishing at epochs with the lapse cJf centuries divid- 
ing them; not only do we witness the entire body of the 
faithful assenting to such a tenet, and echoing it back, but 
we everywhere behold the profound and well-defined im- 
pression with which this belief has stamped the entire Church 
of Christ, pastors as well as laymen. From the birth of 
Christianity this belief has not only extended its influence 
to the arrangement of every Liturgy, and the construction 
of the house of God, has determined the distribution of its 
parts and the style of its ornaments, but insinuated itself 
into the civil institutions of so many nations. If we take 
the trouble to peruse and collate the ancient Liturgies, we 
shall immediately discover that each of their respective 
authors had no other object in view, while arranging them, 
than to draw^ up a rite or ceremony for offering up sacrifice ; 


for in all these yenerable documents of primitive belief, 
without one solitary exception, the correlative terms oi 
victim, sacrifice, priest, and altar, are invariably found. If 
we search amongst the earliest monuments of Christianity, 
in every nation, whether those monuments consist of edifices 
dedicated to tlie worship of the Deity, still standing,* or 
whether they be descriptions of splendid temples now 
dwindled into dust, and known only by an enumeration of 
their beauties and magnificence recorded in the writings of 
the ancients ; everywhere shall we behold an altar for sac- 
rifice, occupying the principal and most conspicuous situa- 
tion, and regarded by all as an object of peculiar respect, 
the immediate boundary of which was considered so hallowed 
on account of the sacrifice of Christ Jesus there, that to 
desecrate it was a heinous crime. At its threshold not only 
the demon-sisters. Hatred and Revenge and Persecution, but 
Justice herself, glowing with lawful indignation, would 
reverently pause, nor dare go forward and drag the object 
of her pursuit from the horns of that altar where he sought 
refuge. We shall see, too, that it was profound devotion 
towards the Victim ofiered there, that stimulated the piety 

* So indissolubly associated in the minds of the inhabitants of Eng- 
land, Ireland, Germany, France, Holland, etc., were the ideas of altar 
and sacrifice, that, on the breaking out of the great heresy, at the 
commencement of the sixteenth century, the patrons of the new belief 
soon began to encounter the difficulty of eradicating the old doctrine 
of the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass, as long as the sacred table 
upon which it used to be offered was permitted to continue standing. 
Their innovating zeal was, therefore, immediately employed in over- 
turning every altar which could be discovered, in cathedral, humble 
parish church, or private oratory, and such was the searching diligence 
with which they perpetrated the annihilation of the altars of the most 
High God, tliat but few of the many thousands which once stood iu 
England can now be pointed out to satisfy the cravings of the anti- 
quarian, the scholar, or the architect. How much the turbulence of 
the religious innovators in the sixteenth century resembled the out- 
rages committed in the fourth by the Donatists and Ariaus, who 
burned and overturned the altars of the Catholics ! 


of the faithful to spread the richest carpets around it, to 
hang the most gorgeous veils on every side of it ; to pile 
chalices of gold and precious stones upon it; to render it, in 
fine, as glorious as possible. Having ascertained the use of 
altars and the sense of the Church upou this article of doc- 
trine through such a variety of testimonies, the sincere 
Christian will recognize the Mass to be a true and real sac- 

* Ur. Rock's Sacra Hierurgia. 



The loye of our dear Saviour for His Heavenly Father and 
for men was so great that, had it been necessary, He would have 
been willing to remain on the Cross till the end of the world. 

But since it was neither necessary nor becoming the 
sacred Person of our Lord to remain so long in so ignomin- 
ious a condition, He instituted the holy Sacrifice, of the 
Mass, in order thus to be ever in a state of sacrifice, to renew 
His Passion, apply more effectually to our souls its all- 
sufficient merits, and to manifest His most wonderful love 
for us. His creatures. 

The prophet David foretold that the Redeemer of the 
world was to be a priest forever, " according to the order of 
Melchisedech." Melchisedech was, as the holy Scripture 
assures us, a priest of the Most High. Our Lord Jesus 
Christ, therefore, must also be a priest. Melchisedech 
offered up bread and wine. Our Lord Jesus Christ did the 
same at the Last Supper. He then changed the bread and 
wine into His Body and Blood, and offered up His Body 
and Blood under the appearance of bread and wine, not 
*'of"the order of Melchisedech, but "according to" the 
order of Melchisedech. 

The Royal Prophet says that Jesus Christ is a priest for- 
ever. Therefore He must offer up sacrifice forever. For a 
priest means not merely one who prays, but one who offers 
Bacrifice. The angels and saints pray for us in Heaven, but 
they are not called priests, because they do not offer sacrifice. 
Now, our Saviour offered Himself but once as a sacrifice on 
the Cross. But, as His priesthood lasts forever. He must 
offer sacrifice forever. The only sacrifice which our Saviour 


offers np forever, and which continues forever, is the Sac- 
rifice of His Body and Blood in the Mass. 

In the holy sacrifice of the Mass our Lord Jesus Christ is 
the true High Priest who really, though invisibly, offers the 
Sacrifice ; the priests of the Catholic Church are only His 
visible agents, His ministers. 

Sacrifice is the most perfect form of worship; it is the 
very essence of religion ; therefore, it must be found in the 
religion which alone is true religion — the Christian. 

Sacrifice was offered up every day in the Jewish religion ; 
therefore, it must be offered up every day in the Christian 
religion also, since the latter is perfect. 

The Christian religion, then, must have a daily and per- 
petual sacrifice; otherwise it would be inferior even in a 
great essential to the Jewish religion. But the Christian 
rehgion \^ perfect ; it is a divine religion; it must, there- 
fore, have a perfect sacrifice, a divine sacrifice, and one that 
must last forever. 

On earth there is no perfect and divine sacrifice save that 
of the Divine Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
which is in reality offered up every day in the Holy Sacri- 
fice of the Mass. 

While our divine Saviour was hanging on the Cross on 
Good Friday, He performed every act of worship of which 
the human soul is capable. He prayed. He loved God, He 
praised Him, He gave thanks. He made acts of resignation, 
in a word, He offered to God perfect worship. 

In the Holy Mass, the very same worship is offered to God. 
The Victim offered on Calvary was the living Bo3y and 
Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Sacrifice 
of the Mass, the Victim is also the living Body and Blood 
of tlie same, our Lord Jesus. 

The Priest that offered the Sacrifice on Calvary was our 
Lord Jesus Clirist Himself: in the Holy Sacrifice of the 
Mass the same Priest- offers the same Sacrifice. 

On Calvary Jesus Christ was really and visibly present ; 


on the altar, during Holy Mass, Jesus, tliougli invisible, is 
also truly present. 

On the Cross our Saviour died a painful and bloody death ; 
but in the Holy Mass He dies only in appearance, or, as it 
is called, a mystical death. 

In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Body and Blood of 
our Lord Jesus Christ are not dead ; no, it is the living 
Body, the living, warm heart's Blood — the living rational 
soul of Jesus, united to his Divinity, that we offer to God. 

This is what renders the Mass a "reasonable service," 
as St. Paul expresses it, a spiritual Sacrifice; this is what 
gives it infinite value, and makes it the highest worship we 
can ever offer to God. 

" In this divine Sacrifice of the Mass," says the Council 
of Trent, " the same Christ is contained and is immolated 
in an unbloody manner. Who on the altar of the Cross 
offered Himself once in a bloody manner. It is one and the 
same Victim, the same Christ offering Himself by the min- 
istry of the priest. Who then offered Himself on the Cross ; 
the manner alone of offering being different." * 

The Sacrifice of the Mass, then, is the very same in all 
essentials as the Sacrifice of the Cross. It differs from it 
only in appearance. 

It is true that by the bloody Sacrifice of Himself upon 
the Cross, our Blessed Eedeemer fully atoned for all the 
sins of men, past, present, and to come. 

It is true that the price He paid on the Cross for our sal- 
vation is of infinite value, and that nothing can be added to 
that value. It is true also, that only through His merits 
does the way of pardon lie open to us; and that all the 
graces we have or can have, are due to that precious blood- 
shedding. But the question is, how are these merits of our 
Saviour to be applied to our souls, so that we may profit by 
them ? The mere fact of His death does not save all, other- 

. xxii. c. 2. 


wise all men would be saved, no matter who they are, or 
how they live, or how they die. 

We believe that the merits of Jesus Christ must be im- 
parted to us, so that they may be a healing and health-giv- 
ing medicine to our souls. They must be applied to the 
soul so as really to cleanse and transform her into a true 
copy of Christ crucified. 

To illustrate our point : In a city there is a large reser- 
voir always filled with pure, fresh water, which is a great 
blessing to the inhabitants. The quantity of water is more 
than sufficient to supply the wants of every one. But for 
one who is in great need of water, what does it avail to 
know that an immense reservoir is there, if he cannot get at 
it ? If a person wishes to get water, he must either go 
to the reservoir, or the water must be conveyed thence to 
him by some means. 

It is just so with the graces of redemption, which our 
Blessed Saviour merited for us by His death. They form 
an infinite — an inexhaustible fountain open to all. But the 
pure water of this fountain must be applied to our souls, else 
we shall perish. And for this reason our Lord Jesus Christ 
not only merited these graces for us, but established also 
certain channels, whereby these graces are communicated to 
us, which channels are the Sacraments, and the Holy Sacri- 
fice of the Mass. 

The Scripture tells us that after God had created the 
world. He rested from His labors.* Nevertheless, our Di- 
vine Saviour assures us that He and His heavenly Father 
are "working continually.'' f And, indeed, if we look 
around us, we shall see that the work of creation is being 
constantly renewed. Year after year, the living breath of 
Spring brings a new face to the earth. The trees and plants 
and flowers bud and bloom again. Every shrub, every ani- 
mal, every human being that is brought forth into the 

* Gen. t St. John. 


world is a new creation. The very work of preservation is 
an unbroken continuance of the divine creative act. The 
entire visible world is but an image of the invisible spirit- 
ual world. The work of Redemption is a second and more 
perfect creation. And just as God continually renews the 
work of creation, so also does He continually renew the di- 
vine work of. the Redemption. This unbroken renewal of 
the work of the Redemption is wrought in the Sacraments, 
and especially in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

It is not with our Redeemer as with some great man who 
lived and suffered eighteen hundred years ago, and of whom 
nothing remains but an historical remembrance. Jesus is 
ever living on the altars of His Church, and the Church is 
His living figure. It is through her ministers that He man- 
ifests Himself, and works through all ages ; through them 
that He perpetually repeats and uninterruptedly continues 
His atoning and redeeming acts. In. the announcement of 
His word He is the abiding Teacher : in Baptism He per- 
petually receives the children of men into His communion ; 
in the tribunal of Penance He pardons the contrite sinner; 
in Confirmation He strengthens the growing youth with the 
power of His Spirit ; in Matrimony He breathes into the 
bridegroom and the bride a higher conception of the nuptial 
relations. In Extreme Unction He consoles the dying ; and 
in Holy Orders He institutes the organs whereby He works 
all this with an activity that never wearies, whereby, espe- 
cially. He offers the commemorative unbloody Sacrifice of 
His Body and Blood, thus to apply to us more effectually 
the all-sufficient merits of the Cross. Christ on the Cross 
is, as it were, an object strange to us; there He is the uni- 
versal Victim. But Christ in the Mass is our property, our 
Victim ; He is there offered up for every individual amongst 
us ; especially so, if we partake of the Sacrifice by receiving 
Holy Communion. 

It is, therefore, evident that the Sacrifice of the Mass, by 
keeping the Oblation of Christ on the Cross, or rather Hia 


•whole ministrj and sufferings continnally present, pre-sup- 
poses the same, and in its whole pnrport maintains the same. 
Far from obliterating, it stamps them all the more vividly 
on the minds of men; and instead of supplying the bloody 
Sacrifice of the Cross with heterogeneous elements, it brings 
that Sacrifice in its true integrity and original vitality to 
bear the most individual application and appropriation 
throughout all ages. 

It is the same undivided Victim, the same High Priest, 
Who on Mount Calvary and on our altars offers Himself up 
an atoning Sacrifice for the sins of men. The consecrated 
Host at Mass is in Itself all that there is of most august 
in heaven and on earth, for it is our Blessed Eedeemer Him- 
self. All His divine perfections. His graces, merits, virtues, 
all that He is and all that He has, are mine when I receive 
Him in the Blessed Sacrament. 

When I eat the living divine Victim, come down from 
heaven, Jesus is mine, all mine ; His divinity as well as His 
humanity, His wisdom, power, mercy — all His adorable per- 
fections are mine, since He offers them for my happiness. 
If we knew how to listen to Him every time He comes into 
our souls under the Holy Species, the words that He spake 
to the blind man on the way, would fall on our ears : " What 
wijt thou that I should do unto thee?" *'When I became 
incarnate in the womb of Mary, and when I died upon the 
cr#ss, it was for all men ; but, at this moment, it is to thee 
that I give myself:" " what wilt thou that I sliould do unto 

It is chiefly this mystery that establishes between Jesus 
and the soul wliich has been nourished by His Body that 
ineffable union of grace and life, compared by our Saviour 
to that which makes one His Father and Himself: *' I and 
the Father are one ; as I live by the Father, so he that eateth 
me, the same also shall live by Me ; " life will flow from My 
Heart into his. Then can he say, in a manner, what I say 
to My Father: All that is Thine is mine 


After receiving our Lord in Communion, we can say with 
a just pride : Lord, I am no more unworthy of the regards 
of Thy majesty. God, consider the face of Thy Christ : 
lovest Thou not to behold in me Him in Whom Thou art 
well-pleased ? Does not justice please Thee ? Behold, theu, 
what justice, what sanctity burns in my soul united to the 
Soul of Jesus Christ! I complain no more, Beauty ancient 
and always new, of not loving Thee as much as Thou shouldst 
be loved, since, at this moment, I love Thee with the Heart 
of Thy Son; I complain no longer of being destitute of. 
merits, for now Thou beholdest me clothed with the merits 
of Jesus ! 

Ear are we then from believing that anything is wanting to 
the Sacrifice of the Cross. We deem this sacrifice so fully suffi- 
cient and so perfect that, whatever is afterwards added, has 
been instituted to celebrate its memory and to apply its virtue. 

We acknowledge that all the merits of the Redemption of 
mankind are derived from the death of the Son of God. 
When, therefore, in the celebration of the Divine Mysteries, 
we say, '^ We oflTer to Thee this Holy Victim," we do not 
mean by this oblation to make, or to present to God a oieio 
payment of the price of our salvation, but to offer to Him 
in our behalf the merits of Jesus Christ present, and that 
infinite price which He once paid for us upon the cross. 

How unjustly and foolishly, then, do Protestants reproach 
us with obscuring the Sacrifice of the Cross by our daily 
Sacrifice of the Mass ! Would it not be absurd to say that 
to desire baptism, and to place one's confidence in water, in- 
stead of in the blood of the Redeemer, would be a disparage 
ment to the merits of Christ ? Kow, it is just as foolish to 
say that we, by our daily Sacrifice of the Mass obscure the 
glory of the Sacrifice of the Cross, and detract from its 
dignity; since we, by this very means only participate in it, 
and far from derogating from it, the Mass only brings it 
nearer to us, and renews and extends its efiects in us in a 
wonderful manner. 


Hence it is that our Lord once said to St. Mechtildis: "At 
the moment of consecration, I come down first in humility 
so deep that there is no one at Mass, no matter how vile and 
despicable he may be, towards whom I do not humbly incline 
and approach if he desires me to do so and prays for it ; 
secondly, I come down with patience so great that I suffer 
even my worst enemies to be present, and grant them the 
full pardon of all their sins if they wish to be reconciled with 
Me ; thirdly, I come with love so immense that no one of 
those present can be so hardened that I do not soften his 
heart and enkindle it with My love, if he wishes Me to do so ; 
fourthly, I come with liberality so inconceivable, that none 
of those present can be so poor that I may not enrich him 
abundantly ; fifthly, I come with food so sweet, that no one, 
however hungry he may be, may not be refreshed and fully 
satiated by Me ; sixthly, I come with so great a light and 
splendor, that no heart, however blinded, may not be enlight- 
ened and purified by my presence ; seventhly, I come with 
so great a sanctity, and treasures of grace so wonderful, that 
no one, however inert and indevout lie may be, may not be 
roused from this state of sloth and indevotion." * 

Our Divine Saviour, it is true, left all the splendors of 
Heaven. He became man in order that He, Who is life it- 
self, might die to save us. He endured all the fury and 
barbarity of His enemies ; He was torn, bleeding, abandoned 
by all on an infamous gibbet. Assuredly, this was too much, 
but it was not enough for His love to us. Hence it is that 
we behold Him in the Mass — this same God, again become a 
victim, giving Himself to us in perpetual sacrifice, in order 
thereby to apply forever to the souls of men the merits of 
His life and death. What can we say — what can we do 
while contemplating these prodigies, save to humble our- 
selves with the angels, in endless adoration, thanksgiving 
and love ! 

* Lib. iii. Rev. vi. 28. 




Mei^" are accustomed to erect monuments to commemorate 
extraordinary events, achievements, victories, and the like. 
The works of God, however, infinitely surpass those of men 
in greatness, power, and wisdom. What, then, more natural 
than to read in the Holy Scripture that God instituted the 
Sabbath day and solemn feasts to recall to the Jews the re- 
membrance of His benefits ; that for this same purpose He 
also had placed in the ark of the covenant the Tables of the 
Law and a vase of manna ; that He left imprinted on the 
shore traces of the chariots of the Egyptians whom He had 
drowned in the Red Sea ; that He commanded Joshua to 
take twelve stones from the bed of the Jordan over which 
he and his army had passed, in order that these things might 
be, as it were, monuments of what He had done for them.. 
But what are all the wondrous works which God performed 
in favor of the Jews in comparison with the stupendous 
prodigies which the Son of God performed on earth for thirty- 
three years and a half! What more natural than that He 
should have left to His followers a perpetual memorial of 
all His prodigies ? 

Boleslaus, King of Poland, used to wear around his neck 
a golden medal with the features of his father stamped upon 
it. When about to undertake an important work he would 
take the medal in his hand, gaze at it with tearful eyes, and 
say : " dearly beloved father, may I never do anything 
unworthy of thy royal name ! " Thus, by means of a medal, 
did this king try to remember the blessings and example of 
his father. But our Lord Jesus Christ did not wish to be 


borne in memory by a medal or anything of sucli a nature. 
He wished to stay with us Himself in person, in order 
that His own Presence might constantly recall to our mind 
all that He had done for us. He instituted tlie holy Sac- 
rifice of the Mass, not only to apply to our souls more effec- 
tually the all-sufficient merits of the sacrifice of the Cross, 
but to be a perpetual memorial of all that He has done and 
suffered for us and a sure pledge of His undying love for our 

It is now over eighteen hundred years since our Blessed 
Saviour died for us upon the cross. Our Lord knew well 
that men are apt to forget favors, especially those which are 
long past. What a contrast between " Hosanna to the Son 
of David : Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the 
Lord. Hosanna in the highest," and " Away with this man. 
Crucify Him!" What a contrast between spreading their 
garments in the way before Him and stripping Him of His 
garments, casting lots for them, and putting on Him the 
scarlet cloak of mockery I What a contrast between cutting 
branches of palm trees and strewing them where He passed, 
and platting a crown of thorns and putting it upon His 
head and a reed in His right hand, bending the knee before 
Him in mockery, and saying, '- Hail, King of the Jews ! " 
Wliat a contrast between " King of Israel" and " We liave 
no king but Caesar ! " 

Our dear Saviour knew this fickleness and instability of 
the human mind and heart. So He instituted the holy sac- 
rifice of the Mass, wherein the sacrifice of the cross is daily 
renewed, in order thus to remind us continually of His suf- 
ferings and death. " Do this," said He to the Apostles, " in 
remembrance of me." Just as if He had said ; " I am about 
to accomplish the work of your Redemption ; I then will 
return to my Father, Who is in heaven. Now I wish you 
never to forget Me and all that I have done for you. To 
make sure of this, I have instituted the sacrifice of the Mass 
as the only sacrifice of the New Testament, as the sacrifice 


in which are contained all the mysteries of My life and pas- 
sion and death." St. Thomas of Aqnin says : " In this sac- 
rifice we have an abridgment of all His wonders, and a 
standing monument of all His prodigies." 

And, indeed, in this marvel of the altar we find concen- 
trated all tlie wonders displayed in the life of our Blessed 
Redeemer, all the sublime mysteries which He wrought for 
our salvation. In the Eucharistic sacrifice Jesus works 
l^rodigies like the sublimest mysteries and the most stupen- 
dous works of His Father and Himself. 

To understand this better we must remember that our 
Divine Redeemer came into the world as a great High Priest 
to consecrate it by His Presence and to offer to His Eternal 
Father, in the great temple of the universe, a sacrifice worthy 
of the majesty of the Godhead. But as the whole earth 
could produce no victim worthy of God's sovereign majesty, 
He Himself became the Priest and the Victim by assuming 
human nature. His whole life on earth is one great act of 
sacrifice, one mighty action undertaken out of love for ns. 
He commenced tliis great act of sacrifice interiorly at the 
first moment of His Incarnation, and exteriorly at His birth, 
appearing amongst us in human form to be immolated for 
the expiation of the sins of men, and the consequent repa- 
ration of His Father's glory, thus to consummate the great 
work of our Redemption. This mighty act of sacrifice con- 
sists, indeed, of various parts, yet of such a nature that no 
one is by itself, strictly speaking, the sacrifice. Every indi- 
vidual act of our Divine Redeemer forms but an integral 
part of His great worfc of the Redemption, and this work 
Avas to be only accomplished by the sacrifice of His life upon 
the cross. Hence, when on the point of dying, our Lord 
cried out in a loud voice, " It is consummated." He knew 
that He had accomplished all the prophecies and realized all 
the figures concerning Him from the beginning of tlie world : 
He knew that He had perfectly fulfilled all the designs of 
His Eternal Father in His regard ; tliat He had achieved 



the Eedemption of the human race by fully satisfying His 
Father's justice on the one hand, while on the other lie had 
merited for men all necessary graces, " becoming to all that 
obey Him the cause of eternal salvation." * 

He knew that He had secured those two great objects at 
the price of His own life. Not content with giving us all 
else, He concluded His career of suffering and love by the 
sacrifice even of Himself, and then indeed all was consum' 
mated; all that even He could do was accomplished. 

As it was the will of the heavenly Father that His Son 
should assume human nature, be born, suffer and die to 
cancel our sins and satisfy the Divine Justice, so it was the 
will of God that the sacrifice of His Son should be constantly 
renewed to the end of the world. To accomplish this will 
of His heavenly Father Our Lord instituted the sacrifice of 
the Mass in such a manner that He is present there and 
offers Himself for us to His heavenly Father Avith all that 
He had done and suffered from the moment of His Incarna- 
tion to that of His death upon the cross. 

The whole life of Our Holy Eedeemer was but one great 
act of sacrifice. It took Him thirty-three years and a half to 
consummate it, whilst at Mass it takes but a few minutes to 
renew and consummate the whole of the great work of our 

Hence the Holy Mass is the solemn celebration of all the 
blessings imparted to mankind by God in Jesus Christ. In 
it the past becomes the present; all that Christ has merited 
for us, and whereby He has so merited it, is henceforth never 
separated from His Person ; He is present as that which He 
absolutely is, and in the whole extent of His actions, as the 
Eeal Victim. 

In holy ^lass therefore is present our Saviour incarnate 
for us, born for us, dead for our salvation, risen for our jus- 
tification, ascended to heaven as our eternal hope. Mass, 

* Heb. v. 9. 


then, is the renewal of His Incarnation, of His birth, of His 
hidden and public life, of His passion and death, of His 
glory; it is the living representation of the infinite love and 
compassion of God towards us, which He has revealed and 
still reveals daily in the delivering up of His only begotten 
Son. Mass is the worship most Christian, most pious, most 
sublime, most real; a worship wherein God is adored in 
spirit and in truth. The firm, unwavering faith that Christ 
before our eyes offers Himself up for us to His eternal Father 
cannot but produce most admirable effects, piercing into the 
inmost mind, heart, and will of man — far below the deepest 
roots of evil, so that sin in its germ should be plucked from 
the will, and the faithful soul be unable to refuse consecra- 
ting her Avhole life to God. When we see Him manifest 
His love. His benevolence, His devotedness to us, when we 
see Him even staymg among us full of grace and truth, we 
cannot help rejoicing greatly in the excess of His conde- 
scending compassion, and expressing in hymns of praise and 
thanksgiving our pious emotions, so far as the divinely en- 
raptured soul of man can express them. "But take from 
the Church,'^ says Abbot Rupertus, " the daily sacrifice of our 
Saviour and see how well He then might say, ' of what utility 
is my Blood ! ' For were this sacrifice to cease, which now 
everywhere keeps alive His memory, all charity would grow 
cold, faith would be silent, hope would become. languid, and 
into silence would lapse that great cry of His Blood for 

"We ought then to desire neither to see nor to admire any- 
thing on earth save the sacrifice of the holy Mass. Were 
God Himself capable of admiring anything He would admire 
nothing but this mystery and that of the Incarnation. Faith, 
supplying the defect of our senses, ought to make us remain 
as rapt with astonishment, as transported with love and joy 
at the sight of this divine mystery, as if what our Lord con- 
ceals — that splendor of beauty, majesty and glory, which 
are the delight of the beloved; those treasures, those riches, 


and those infinite perfections whicli are tlie admiration of 
the angels ; that perfume of His glorious Body which regales 
all Paradise — were clearly manifested to us. To priests es- 
pecially, this mystery, whose ministers they are, ought to be 
as much as possible the breath they inhale ; they ought hardly 
to think of anything else. '^ Do this in commemoration of 
Me." Such is the last will of the Divine Victim. He asks 
but one thing, that having died for us; we shonld fondly 
cherish the memory of this ineffable benefit, particularly in 
approaching the altar. Jesus would Himself be our inheri- 
tance, our treasure, our patrimony, and for this purpose He 
leaves us His Body and Blood by His last testament. tes- 
tament of love ! inexhaustible treasure ! divine patri- 
mony ! wonderful memorial of the prodigies of the Lord ! 
be thou the principal object of all my thoughts and desires, 
the only treasure of my heart ! 



Let us picture to our minds that little house of Nazareth 
and the room in which Mary is praying, all alone, at the 
time of the Annunciation of the Incarnation of the Son of 
God. We gaze on her in silence: we think of her purity, 
her lowliness, of the graces which adorn her soul and make 
her a living temple of God. Suddenly there steals through 
the open casement a ray of soft light ; it shines around this 
sweet Virgin, growing brighter and brighter the longer it 
shines. She raises her head and sees standing before her the 
beautiful form of one of God's angels. His silvery voice 
breaks the solemn stillness. He announces the glad tidings 
that she is to be the mother of God : " The Holy Ghost 
shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High 
shall overshadow thee ; and, therefore, the Holy which 
shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." The 
Blessed Virgin having thus learned that she was to become 
the Mother of the Son of God by the omnipotent power of 
the Holy Ghost, bowed to the divine decree and said : 
" Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum " — '' Be it done to me 
according to thy word." * 

No sooner had she uttered those words than the Holy 
Ghost formed of her purest blood a perfectly organized 
body: the sacred soul of Jesus Christ was at the same 
moment created and united to that body, and the Divine 
Word Himself with both body and soul, in unity of person, 
so that God became man, and man was made God : " Et Ver- 
bum caro factus est " — " And the Word was made flesh." 

* Luke, chap. i. 


The Iloly Churcli is struck with awe at the contemplation 
of this great mystery : " I considered Thy works and was 
afraid." * If God had created a thousand other worlds, a 
thousand times greater and more beautiful than the present, 
it is certain that this work would be infinitely less grand 
than the Incarnation of the Word : " He hath showed might 
in His arm." It required all the omnipotence and infinite 
wisdom of God to execute the great work of the Incarnation, 
in order to unite human nature to a Divine Person, and that 
a Divine Person should so humble Himself as to take upon 
Him human nature. Thus God became man and nmn became 
God: and hence the Divinity of the Word being united to 
the soul and body of Jesus Christ, all the actions of this 
Man-God became divine ; His pra3'ers were divine, His suf- 
fering divine, His infant criee divine, His tears divine. His 
steps divine. His members divine. His very blood divine, 
which became, as it were, a fountain of health to wash out 
all our sins, a sacrifice of infinite value to appease the justice 
of the Father, who was justly offended with men. 

Thousands and millions, the patriarchs and prophets, for 
ages and ages had sighed and prayed and yearned for this 
great work of God. And now, while this awful m}stery — 
this stupendous miracle is being accomplished, the whole 
world around sleeps in unconsciousness. 

Surely such a scene would make a deep impression on 
those who witnessed it in reality. The heart would natu- 
rally incline to love and honor God for sending His dearly 
beloved Son to become man and suffer and die for man's 

Now turn for a moment to the Catholic altar. The holy 
Sacrifice of the Mass is being offered up. The bell lias given 
the signal that the most solemn and awful moment of con- 
secration is at hand. As yet there is only bread in the hand 
of the priest, and wine in the chalice before him. To wor- 

* Resp. iii., Nocturn ii., in Fest. 


ship these lifeless elements would be the grossest idolatry. 
But suddenly, amid the silence of the breathless multitude, 
the priest utters the divine life-giving words of consecration ; 
and that which was bread and wine, is bread and wine no 
longer, but the true Body and Blood of our Lord Himself. 
It is that same Body that was born of the Blessed Virgin 
Mary, that died for us upon the cross, that was raised again 
to life, and that even now sits at the right hand of God the 
Father. In a hundred thousand Masses that may be said 
throughout the extent of the whole Church in the space of 
one hour, God works this miracle at the moment in which 
the priest finishes the words of consecration ; so that in all 
these Masses the Blood and Body of our Saviour are present, 
and whether the consecration takes place in one spot or 
another. He is always the same. 

Now in this mystery the power of the creation appears as 
much as in the mystery of the Incarnation. In the Incarnation 
the Son of God employed His omnipotence to make Himself 
man ; but in the Mass the Son of God employs His omnipo- 
tence to change bread and wine into His Body and Blood. 
In the Incarnation the Son of God leaves, as it were, the 
bosom of His Father, descends from the height of His glory 
into the womb of a Virgin, and conceals His Divinity in 
taking human nature. But in the Mass He conceals His 
Divinity and Humanity under the forms of bread and wine, 
in order that we may eat Him. He is the same in a thousand 
hosts, as in one. Were a thousand millions to receive Him, 
all would receive Him whole and entire. He does -what He 
pleases with His Body, putting it in this sacramental state 
and concealing it under the species, miraculously sustained 
by a continual miracle. In the Incarnation, God has 
received man into His bosom by uniting human nature to 
the Divine Word, and in the Mass He wishes man to receive 
Him into his heart. Man is united to God by the astound- 
ing miracle of the Incarnation. God and Man unite them- 
selves to all of us bv the prodigies wrought in the Mass ; in 


the former, the commimication and union is made with one 
individual nature — the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, 
personally united to the divine AVord; but in the latter, a 
union is expected with all those who receive His Body and 
His Blood. He becomes the same thing with them, not in- 
deed by a hypostatical and personal union, but outside of 
that, by tlie most intimate possible. " He who eats My 
flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him." 
What can be more admirable than this ? The holy Catholic 
Church, contemplating the unutterable privilege of the Bles- 
sed Mother of God, cries out in admiration : " blessed is 
tlie womb of the A^irgin Mary, that bore the Son of the 
Eternal God." But we can say with even more justice: " 
blessed, thrice blessed, are the hands of the priest into which 
the Eternal Son of God descends every day from heaven ; 
blessed are those hands which bare, which handle, which 
sacrifice the ever-blessed Son of God! " The Son of God de- 
scended but once into the chaste womb of the Virgin Mary, 
but He descends every day into the hands of the priest. 

"0 venerable and sacred dignity of priests," exclaims St. 
Augustine, " in whose hands, as in the womb of the Virgin, 
the Son of God is incarnate every day. stupendous mys» 
tery which God the Father and the Son and the Holy 
Ghost perform through the priest in so wonderful a manner."* 
<• Should any one ask," says St. John Damescene, " how the 
bread is changed into the Body of Christ ? I answer : the 
Holy Ghost overshadows the priest and operates through 
him that- which He operated in the sacred womb of Mary."f 
" Indeed," says St. Bonaventure, "the miracle which God 
works in descending daily from heaven upon our altars, is 
jflst as great as was that which He wrought when He came 
down from heaven to assume our human nature." | Hence 
Thomas a Kempis "was right in saying, " As often as thou 

* Sermo de digitate Sacerdotum. f Lib. ii, c. 14 

X Tom. vii. instit. Novit. p. 1 c. 11. 

THE Iiq"CARNATIOi^. 177 

gayest or liearest Mass, it ought to seem to thee as great, new, 
and delightful, as if Christ that same day, first descending 
into the Virgin's womb, had been made man."* Five 
words of her humility brought the Eternal Word into her 
sacred womb. Five words of the power of the priest brings 
the same Eternal Word on our altar. If the consent which 
Mary gaye was the conditional cause of the mystery of the 
Incarnation, the action of the priest speaking in the name 
and in the all-powerful virtue of Jesus Christ, is the efficient 
cause of Transubstantiation — of the change of the bread 
and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ — the New In- 
carnation, which is but an extension of the first. And what 
Mary did but once the priest does every day, while she gave 
to the Son of God a life of suffering, which ended by the 
torment on the cross, the priest renders Him present in his 
own hands, in -a state immortal and impassible. "Ah! 
where are we ? " exclaims St. John Chrysostom ; " heaven has 
nothing, absolutely nothing more than earth ; the earth has 
become a new heaven. Go up to the gates of heaven, or 
rather go up to the highest heaven ; look attentively, and I 
will afterward show you on our altar that which struck you 
more than anything else in Paradise. For, as in palaces, it 
is not the gildings and tapestries we look at, but at the king 
seated on his throne, so I will not pause in heaven to point 
to you the angels, and the archangels, but the Lord who is 
the King of the angels, and the archangels, and you have 
Him upon the earth. It is indeed the same infinite God, 
the same all-powerful Creator of worlds, the same loving 
Redeemer, who only desires to be Emmanuel, or God with 
us, but a hidden God only, a God humbled through love, a 
Lamb full of divine meekness, a victim of propitiation for 
our sins." 

How awful is that moment of consecration ! On a sud- 
den all is hushed, and men seem to fear to breathe. We 

* Lib. iv. c. 2. 


live for an instant in another world, among a crowd of 
blessed spirits silent and devont, speechless, allowing to 
escape from tlieir hearts only the thought of prayer ; copious 
tears flow down the cheeks at the thrilling sweetness of 
Jesus in the blessed hands of the priest. Christ, how im- 
pressive, how blessed a moment is this ! Truly, thy house 
of prayer is the earthly heaven in which Thou dwellest ! 
The air of Paradise does fan Thy house, and angels minis- 
ter all. These all are kneeling, with hands crossed upon 
their breasts, and eyes raised to the altar, as telling God, — 
I care for nought but Thee. 

The Eternal Word keeps silence. There was the silence 
of Christ in the womb of His blessed Mother, the silence of 
Christ upon the Cross, and here is the silence of Christ in 
the Eucharist, as profound as that in the bosom of His 
Father. How awful is this silence of the Son of God in the 
blessed Sacrament. There under the sacramental elements, 
the Eternal Word dwells in silence till the end of the world. 
But He speaks to faithful souls in a manner that they know 
of, and the faithful worshippers see Him in the light of faith, 
and kneeling prostrate, praying in every posture of humble 
adoration, witness the tears, the smiting of the breast, the 
inimitable, the inconceivable expression of hearts impressed 
with a sense of the Real Presence. 

The feasts of secular luxury last but for a short season. 
In our churches there is an eternal festivity, for nothing 
that passes away or that has a shadow of change is celebra- 
ted there. Eternal is the festivity of the Incarnation, in 
which we escape from our own mutability by beholding and 
receiving Him who is immutable. 

Unlike all that belongs to the world, Mass is never altered 
by age from what it was found to be at first. It is like a 
treasury in which all the true joys of men are preserved. 
No one wearies of it as he grows old, but, on the contrary, 
the human heart loves and venerates it, if possible, each day 
more and more ; for while it restores to the mind of man all 

THE Il\rCARifATIO>^. 179 

the bloom and fragrance of the devotion of his early years, 
all that gave joy to his youth, it joresents to it in prospect 
the fullness of joy and pleasure for evermore. At the altar 
the Catholic beholds and possesses whatever has rejoiced his 
sonl in life; he sees the star whose radiance has guided him 
safely through all the gusts and tides of the world's muta- 
bility. There he hears I know not what sweet song in the 
ears of the heart, provided the world does not disturb it. 
This unearthly sound soothes the ear of him who considers 
the wonders of God in the redemption of the faithful, in the 
stupendous miracle of the Incarnation, renewed and extend- 
ed in the holy sacrifice of the Mass. 

Hail! sacred tabernacles, where Thou, Lord, dost de- 
scend at the voice of a mortal ! Hail mysterious altar, where 
faith comes to receive its immortal food. Oh ! I love thy 
temple ; it is an island of peace in the ocean of the world, 
a beacon of immortality ! Thou art near to hear us. Is there 
a tongue equal to the ecstasy of the heart ? "Whatever my 
lips may articulate, this blood which circulates, this bosom 
which breathes in Thee, this heart which beats and expands, 
these bathed eyes, this silence, — all pray in me. So swell 
the waves at the rising of the King of day, so revolve the 
stars mute with reverence and love, and Thou comprehend- 
est their silent hymn. Ah ! Lord, in like manner compre- 
hend me ; hear what I pronounce not; silence is the high- 
est voice of a heart that is overj^owered with thy glory. 

O happy Church ! truly in Thee is a hidden God, an infi- 
nite treasure, a copious redemption, an everlasting safety. 
Human eye sees not, nor can any finite intelligence penetrate 
that ineffable mysterious presence of heaven's great Lord, 
the mighty foe to ill. " O Salutaris Hostia quae coeli pandis 
ostium !" Wondrous things are related of Thee, to whom 
nothing is impossible, who canst in mercy or in judgment 
do all things in heaven and on earth ! Let^ weak and frail 
man prepare himself then before he enters the church. Let 
him think of the majesty there veiled, and presume not of 


himself, bnt seek pardon with holy fear like the publican, 
that with Lazarus he may deserve in the country to come 
to find eternal rest. Let weak and frail man come here 
snppliantly to adore the Sacrament of Christ, not to discuss 
high things, or wish to penetrate diflSculties, but to bow 
down to secret things in humble veneration, and to abandon 
God's mysteries to God. For truth deceives no man 
Almighty God can do all things. 




Previous to the coming of our Redeemer, the whole un- 
happy race of mankind groaned in misery upon this earth ; 
all were children of wrath, nor was there one who could ap- 
pease a God righteously indignant at their sins. Man, 
being finite and nothing but a miserable creature, was un- 
able by any punishment whatever to atone for the injury 
offered to an infinite majesty; there was need of another 
God to satisfy the Divine justice. But such a God did not 
exist. On the other hand, the person offended could not 
make satisfaction to Himself; so that ours was a desperate 

But, " Be comforted, be comforted. My people," says the 
Lord through the prophet Isaias ; " for her evil is come to 
an end : " * God Himself has found a way to save mankind. 
He has decreed that His only begotten Son is to be our Re- 
deemer, for whose coming the Just of the Old Law sighed. 
This was He for whom Abraham desired, and the patriarchs 
and prophets longed to look upon. " Rain down, heavens, 
and send us the Just one to appease the wrath of that God, 
Whom we ourselves cannot appease, because we are all sin- 
ners. Hasten and show us, God of mercies, that greatest 
mercy which Thou hast already promised us, namely, onr 
Saviour." Such were the longing aspirations and exclama- 
tions of the Saints. Nevertheless, for the space of 4000 
years they had not the happy lot to see the Messias born. 

* Is. xii. 1. 


But at last came the hapi^y time — " When God sent His 
Son 'that He might redeem them that were under the law." 
This happy time is called in Holy Scripture ^^ fulness of time,^' 
on account of the fullness of grace which the Son of God 
came to communicate to men by the redemption of the 

]S"o sooner, then, was the soul of Jesus Christ created, 
than it was united to His little Body in the womb of Mary ; 
in the same instant it was also hypostatically united to the 
Divine Word, and so enlightened thereby with the light of 
glory, so overwhelmed with reverence, so inflamed with love, 
at the first view of the Divine Essence imparted to it at its 
creation, that it then offered itself to do and to suffer all 
that was necessary for the glory of the Godhead, and for the 
expiation of the sins of men. He knew that all the sacrifi- 
ces of goats and bulls offered to God in times past, had not 
been able to satisfy for the sins of men ; He knew that all 
these sacrifices were less than nothing before that great 
Being, Who could be worthily honored only by the homage 
of a God, and adequately worshipped only by the sacrifice of 
the life of God. Then it was, as St. Paul assures us, that 
our Blessed Eedeemer exclaimed : "Father, sacrifice and ob- 
lation Thou wouldst not but a body Thou hast fitted to me 
—Then said I, Behold I come, to do Thy will." * " My 
Father," said Jesus, " all the victims hitherto offered to Thee 
have not sufficed, nor could they suffice to satisfy Thy Jus- 
tice ; but Thou hast given Me this passible body, in order 
that by shedding My blood I might appease Thee and save 
men : Behold, I come ; here I am ready, I accept every thing, 
I submit Myself absolutely to Thy will." 

The Eternal Father then intimated to His Son that He 
wished Him to die for the redemption of the world. At that 
game moment He presented to the view of His Son the en- 
tire tableau, so to say, of the sufferings He would have to 

* Heb. X. 5. 


endure, even unto death, in order to redeem mankind. He 
brought before Him the scourges, and Jesus presented to 
them His flesh; He brought before Him the thorns, and 
Jesus presented to them His head. He brought before Him 
the blows, and Jesus presented to them His cheeks ; He 
brought before Him the nails, and Jesus presented to them 
His hands and His feet; He brought before Him the cross, 
and Jesus offered His life; He brought before Him all the 
labors, contempt, and poverty that were to be His portion 
through life, in Bethlehem, as well as in Egypt and Naza- 
reth : all the sufferings and ignOminy of His passion., all the 
weariness, the sadness, the agonies, and the abandonment in. 
which He was to end His life upon Calvary, and Jesus em- 
braced them all. Thus is it true that, even from His earliest 
infancy, our Blessed Redeemer every moment of His life 
suffered a continual martyrdom, which was as continual a 
sacrifice offered by Him for us to His Eternal Father. 

No sacrifice was ever so acceptable to God as the one then 
made to Him by His dear Son, Who from His infancy even 
became a victim and a priest. If all men and angels to- 
gether had offered their lives in oblation, it could not have 
been so dear to God as was this of Jesus Christ, because in 
this offering alone, the Eternal Father received infinite honor 
and infinite satisfaction. 

Our Redeemer offered Himself voluntarily to His Father 
to satisfy for our sins. "He was offered, because it was His 
own will." * And His Father loaded Him with all crimes. 
" He has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." f And thus 
behold 'the Divine Word, innocent, most pure and holy, be- 
hold Him even from His infancy charged with all the blas- 
phemies, the sacrileges, and the crimes of men, because He 
had bound Himself to satisfy the Divine Justice. So that 
Jesus charged Himself with as many evils as there have 
ever been, or ever shall be, mortal sins committed by all 

* U. ]. 7. t Is. liii. 6. 


Onr Lord once showed to St. Catherine of Sienna the hid- 
eousness of one venial sin, and such was the dread and sor- 
row of the saint, that she fell senseless to the ground. 
"What then must have been the sufferings of the Infant 
Jesus when, on His entrance into the world, He saw before 
Him the immense array of all the crimes of men for which 
He was to make atonement! Any one of our sins afflicted 
His soul more than crucifixion and death afflicted His body. 
He revealed to one of His servants that, from the commence- 
ment of His life. He suffered continually ; and so much did 
He suffer for each of our sins, that if He had had as many 
lives as there are men. He would as many times have died 
of sorrow, had not God preserved His life that He might 
suffer more.* Hence St. Thomas Aquinas was right to say 
that "this sorrow which Jesus Christ felt at the knowledge 
of the injury done to His Father, and of the evil that sin 
would occasion to the souls that He loved, surpassed the 
sorrows of all the contrite sinners that ever existed ; even 
of those who died of pure sorrow ; because no sinner ever 
loved God and his own soul so much as Jesus loved His 
Father and our souls." 

What a martyrdom must not the loving Heart of Jesus 
have constantly endured in looking upon all the sins of 
men! "He beheld every single fault." Even whilst He 
was in the womb of Mary every particular sin passed in re- 
view before Him, and each immeasurably afflicted Him. 

But this is not all that Jesus Christ suffered in the womb 
of His Mother. Other infants, it is true, are in the same 
state ; but they do not feel the miseries of it, because they 
do not know them. But Jesus knew them well, because 
from the first moment of His life He had the perfect use of 
reason. He had His senses, but He could not use them; 
He had His eyes, but He could not see ; He had His tongue, 
but He could not speak ; He had His hands, but He could 

» Psalter B. Alani, p. 11, c. 12. 


not stretch tliem out; He had His feet, but He could not 
walk ; so that for nine months He had to remain in that 
state like a dead man shut up in a tomb. " I am become as 
a man without help, free among the dead/' He was free, 
because He had of His own free will made Himself a pris- 
oner of love in this prison ; but love deprived Him of lib- 
erty, and bound Him there so fast in chains that He could 
not move. **' Free among the dead ! " . 

" Oh, great patience of our Saviour ! " said St. Ambrose, 
while he considered the sufferings of Jesus in the womb of 
Mary. " Behold the state to which the Son of God reduces 
Himself for the love of men ; He deprives Himself of His 
liberty and puts Himself in chains, to deliver us from the 
chains of hell. Oh, holy faith ! If f^iith did not assure us 
of it, who would believe that a God of infinite majesty 
should abase Himself so far as to become a little infant, and 
shut Himself up in the womb of a Virgin, to suffer therein 
inconceivable pains for the sake of ungrateful man ? " 

Now let us turn to our altars. The Son of God annihilated 
Himself in the Incarnation, in tlie sacred womb of His 
Virgin Mother, but He has gone still farther in the holy 
sacrifice of the Mass. In the womb of His Mother He was 
a tiny, helpless infant. But on our altars He has surren- 
dered even the appearance of a reasonable creature. There, 
too, He has eyes, but He cannot see ; He has ears, but He 
cannot hear ; He has a tongue, but He cannot speak ; He 
has feet and hands, but cannot act, cannot move. He is 
living, and yet He is as if dead. The Eternal Word is mute, 
is divested of all the splendors of His divinity. He is en- 
closed in a little host, and even in each particle of the Host ; 
He is imprisoned in the species of bread and wine, for these 
sacred species are only the covering which veils the Body of 
our Saviour ; the womb, as it were, of His Virgin Mother. 

There are three sorts of prisoners: criminals, debtors, and 
prisoners of war. Divine love has reduced the Incarnate 
Word to be a threefold prisoner in the sacred Host. He is, 


as it were, a criminal, although innocence itself, having 
become the victim of sinners that He may satisfy the justice 
of His Father, and restore them to grace. He is a prisoner 
for debt, having taken upon Him our sins, He was obliged 
to discharge their penalty, which He did from the first mo- 
ment of His life, and continues to do in every Mass. He is 
a prisoner of war. Love has vanquished and reduced Him 
to this state. Love encloses His immensity in a point, His 
eternity in a moment. His immortality. His wisdom and 
omnipotence in the species of bread and wine. wonder- 
ful prison ! devoted captive, who, to satisfy His beneficence, 
by a miracle of power and of love, whilst ascending into 
heaven, there to manifest His glory, remains at the same 
time on earth to dwell with and in us, by a Presence as real 
and true as it is secret and invisible. 

Behold our Saviour twice the victim of charity, twice 
within a narrow prison, twice bound with the chains of love. 
And this narrow prison of His choice is multiplied in a 
thousand places at once. 

Why does He choose to remain in this state of abasement 
and captivity ? It is to offer to His Father for our sins all 
the acts of adoration, of love, and of prayer, which He made 
in the womb of His Mother, Avhich served as His oratory for 
nine months: to present anew to the Divine Majesty, in our 
behalf, all the sufferings and pains which, during that time, 
He had endured to free us from hell. He. is made a victim 
for our sins, in order that forgiveness through His merits 
might of right belong to us. There Jesus Christ is the 
" Prince of Peace," not of vengeance on poor sinners, but of 
mercy, constituting Himself the Mediator between God and 
sinners. If we cannot of ourselves make due atonement to 
the justice of God, at least the Eternal Father knows not 
how to disregard the cries and prayers and s^.iferings of the 
Divine Infant Saviour. 

A knight, named Don Alfonso Albuquerque, made a sea- 
voyage once. A violent tempest arose, and his vessel was 


driven amongst the rocks. He had ah'eady given himself 
up for lost, when he saw near him a little babe crying bit- 
terly. He took him in his arms, lifted him towards heaven, 
and said : '' Though I myself am unworthy to be heard, give 
ear, at least, to the cries of this innocent child, and save us." 
Immediately the storm subsided, and they were saved. It is 
for sinners to do the like. We have offended Almighty God. 
Already has sentence of everlasting death been passed upon 
us. Divine Justice requires satisfaction, and rightly so. 
What have we to do ? To despair ? God forbid ! Let us 
go to Mass and offer up to God this Infant, Who is His own 
Son, and let us address Him with confidence. Lord, if we 
cannot of ourselves render Thee satisfaction for our offences 
against Thee, behold this Child on the altar. He is there 
to offer atonement for us, and to beseech Thy mercy in our 
behalf. Although we are undeserving of pardon, the suf- 
ferings and pains of this Thy guiltless Son have merited 
pardon for us, and He offers Thee His prayers to win it for 
us. Yes, says Jesus Christ to every one of us from the 
altar, after consecration, take Me, offer Me for thyself to the 
Eternal Father, and so shalt thou escape death and be in 
safety. Behold Me, descended from heaven, in all the ami- 
ability and with all the merits of My Infancy, behold Me, 
made your own on the altar. 

If, then, we desire a cure for our wounded soul. He is our 
physician at Mass; if we are weak and infirm, and would be 
healed, behold, Jesus Christ heals us by His Blood ; if we 
are troubled with the impure flames of worldly affections, 
behold the fountain to refresh us with His consolations. 
Do we fear the death of sin, He is our life. Do we wish for 
heaven. He is the way and the Good Shepherd. Let us then 
often be with Him at Mass in this world, and He will be 
with us forever in the next. 



Previous to the birth of our Lord, the Roman em- 
peror had pubhshed an edict commanding all Roman sub- 
jects to go and be enrolled in their native country. So 
Joseph departed with his spouse Mary to have their names 
enrolled in Bethlehem. As soon as they arrived there, the 
time for Mary's delivery was at hand, and Joseph went about 
the town looking for a lodging. But being poor, they were 
driven away by every one, even from the inn where the 
other poor had been received. So they went away from the 
town in the night, and having found a cave, Mary entered. 
But Joseph said to her : *• My spouse, how can you pass the 
night in this damp cold place ? Do you not see that this is 
a stable for animals ? " But Mary answered : " O my Joseph, 
it is nevertheless true that this cave is the royal palace in 
which the Son of God chooses to be born." And the hour 
of the birth being come, whilst Joseph was rapt in ecstasy, 
and the holy Virgin was kneeling in prayer, all at once she 
saw the cave illumined by a brilliant light, and casting 
her eyes upon the ground, beheld there the Son of God 
already born: a tender infant, weeping and trembling with 
cold ; and thus she first adored Him as her God. Then she 
placed Him in her bosom, wrapped Him in the poor swad- 
dling-clothes which she had with her, and finally laid Him 
on a little straw in the manger. 

The birth of Jesus Christ caused a universal joy to the 
whole w^orld. The angels came down from heaven and in- 
toned the glad anthem, "Glory be to God in the highest ; 
and on earth peace to men of good will." They communi- 


cated their joy to the good sheplierds by announcing to 
them the advent of their long expected Redeemer. " Be- 
hold," said the angel to them, " I bring you good tidings of 
great joy that shall be to all people, for this day is born to 
you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David." 
And the shepherds being filled with joy rose up in haste, 
saying one to another, '• Let us go over to Bethlehem and 
see this word which has come to pass." Then the archangel 
St. Gabriel went to the just souls detained in Limbo to 
announce to them also the good tidings; and those souls 
rejoiced exceedingly because now heaven was soon to be 
opened to them by the Redeemer. 

Entering that stable, and contemplating the Divine In- 
fant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, 
we behold in Him, with the eye of faith, the God of Infinite 
Majesty, Whose throne is the highest heaven, Whose ser- 
vants are the angels. Although stretched in an humble, 
comfortless crib. He dwells nevertheless in the bosom of the 
Father ; although He utters no word. He is still the Word 
and Wisdom of God. He is clothed in poor and scanty 
raiment, yet is He the splendor of eternah light, whence all 
His creatures derive their brightness and their beauty. He 
subjects Himself to the suff'erings of infancy, and is at the 
same time the joy and beatitude of angels. He requires the 
nourishment of ordinary babes, although on His liberal hand 
every creature in the universe depends for needful suste- 
nance. He cannot move without being carried in some one's 
arms although He gives motion to the heavens. 

Here we behold the sacrifice He ofi'ered to the offended 
God, interiorly, by sublime acts of adoration, love and ac- 
ceptance of death: exteriorly, by His submission to cor- 
poral suffering, cold, poverty and privation of every descrip- 

While St. Peter of Alcantara was one day meditating upon 
these prodigies of God's mercy, so inflamed was he with 
divine love that, in a state of ecstasy he was borne a con- 

190 "' MASS, THE REis-EWAL OF 

siderable space throiigli tlie air to tlie foot of the Blessed 
Sacrament. And the noble Pan la, as she saw from afiir the 
city that gave birth to the Saviour of the world, could not 
help exclaiming : "Hail! hail! Bethlehem; hail to thee so 
worthy of thy name (house of bread), since it was on thee 
that the True Bread from heaven deigned to descend for 
us." And in the ardent transports of her faith, her lips gave 
utterance to the most tender accents of admiration, grati- 
tude, and love. 

If the mere sight of the place where Jesus was born is 
capable of inflaming faithful souls with divine love ; if the 
meditation on all that our Infant Saviour suffered in the 
stable of Bethlehem can make hearts overflow with a torrent 
of holy joy, what should be the delight of our souls at the 
consideration of the far more wondrous prodigies that take 
place in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass ! There our Saviour 
is born every day in the hands of the priest, by the words of 
consecration. The Church is His birthplace, the altar is 
His crib. St. Bernard has well remarked that when the 
Church reads the martyrology for Christmas day, she uses 
the present instead of the past tense. At other times she 
mentions, for instance, the birth of St. John the Baptist, 
which took place at such a time, or the death of St. Peter, 
who suffered martyrdom on such a day, but the birth of our 
Lord and Saviour is proclaimed as taking place noiu. " Jesus 
Christus nascitur in Bethlehem. Juda.^' Jesus Christ is 
born in Bethlehem of Juda. Why this difference of phrase ? 
Because He is every day really and truly born in the holy 
Sacrifice of the Mass. 

Could we only see all the Catholics in the world, two 
hundred millions in number, assembled in one large church 
to hear Mass, and at the solemn moment of consecration, 
behold the prostrate multitude striking their breasts and 
adoring our Lord, while the priest elevates the Sacred Host 
and the blessed chalice, the sight would be a greater incen- 
tive to compel man to adore Him, in sacramental presence, 


than was offered to those who saw the Infant of Bethlehem 
and Jesus of Nazareth in the sorrows and the hnmiliation 
and passion of His humanity. " For when you see/' says 
St. John Chrysostom, " the Lord slain and lying there, and 
the priest standing by the sacrifice, and praying over it, 
when you see all present reddened with that precious blood, 
do you still think that you are amongst men, and standing 
upon earth ; will you not be at once translated to heaven, 
and casting forth from your soul every carnal thought, gaze 
around you on the things that are in heaven, with a naked 
soul and a pure mind ? Oh, the marvel ! Oh, the love of 
God towards man ! He that sitteth on high with the 
Father, is held, at that hour, in the hands of all, and He 
gives Himself to those that desire to embrace and receive 
Him.^' At that solemn moment, the angels descend from 
heaven to tell us: "Behold we bring you good tidings of 
great joy, that shall be to all tlie people ; " for this day — at 
this very moment of consecration — is born anew your Sa- 

Alph. Rodriguez, S. J., in his book, " Practice of Christian 
Perfection," * relates the following : " A holy man was one 
day at Mass, which was being said by a priest who was 
rather worldly. What was his surprise, at the moment of 
Communion, to see a charming child, surrounded by lumi- 
nous rays, reposing on the paten in place of tlie species of 
bread ! He was more astoi^ished afterwards, for he saw that 
when the priest went to take Communion, the child turned 
away his head, struggling with his hands and feet, as if to 
prevent the priest from receiving him into his mouth. The 
same saint had several other times the same vision, which 
gave him much thought. One day this priest was convers- 
ing Avith him and confessed that as often as he received the 
body of our Lord at Mass he had great trouble in taking it, 
and knew not how that could come. The servant of God 

* Eighth Treatise, cliap. 13. 


was very glad of this confidence; lie took occasion to tell the 
priest what he had himself seen, and advised him to make a 
thorougli examination of his conscience, a good confession, 
and change his life. Touched by this kind admonition, and 
the warning he had received, the priest applied himself to 
become more edifying. Some time after, the holy man who 
had warned him, when assisting again at Mass, perceived the 
same child between the hands of the priest, at the time of 
Holy Communion, but saw him enter now into his mouth 
and his heart joyfully and eagerly, which proved the sincer- 
ity of his conversion." 

All this is in accordance with what other great saints have 
seen or said on this subject. " At the time of consecration," 
says St. John Chrysostom, "angels too stand by the priest, 
the whole order of heavenly powers cries aloud, and the space 
around the altar is filled in honor of Him Who liveth there. 
And this is indeed sufiiciently made credible from the very 
things then celebrated. I once heard a person narrate that 
an old man — an admirable person and one accustomed to 
see revelations — told him that he had, on a certain occasion, 
such a vision as this vouchsafed him ; and that, at this very 
time of the sacrifice, he saw of a sudden a multitude of an- 
gels — as far as was possible for him — clothed in shining 
robes, encompassing the altar, and bowing down, even as one 
may see soldiers standing in the presence of their king. And 
I believe it." 

"That marvellous priest, St. John Chrysostom," relates 
St. Nilus of this saint, "that luminary of the great Church 
of Byzantium, yea rather of the whole world, being keen- 
sighted, often saw the house of the Lord not deprived or left 
for an hour even by the guardianship of angels, and this es- 
pecially during the time of the divine and unbloody sacri- 
fice, a circumstance which he, filled with awe and gladness, 
narrated privately to his spiritual friends. For, he says, 
* when the priest begins to make the holy oblation, many of 
the blessed powers suddenly descend from heaven clothed in 


white robes, with their feet bare, with their eyes intent, but 
with their faces cast down ; moying round the altar with 
reverence, and quietness, and silence, they stand around until 
the completion of the dread mystery; then scattering them- 
selves through the venerable house of God, each of them here 
and there co-operating, aiding, and giving strength to the 
bishops and priests and to all the deacons present, who are 
administering the Body and the precious Blood.' These 
things do I write, that knowing the fearful nature of the 
divine liturgy, you be neither careless yourselves, heedless 
of the divine fear, nor suffer others to talk or whisper during 
the oblation." * 

We read in the life of St. Oswald, bishop, that an angel 
used to assist him at Mass, and make all the necessary 
answers. Once on Easter Sunday, Pope Gregory I. cele- 
brated Mass in the Church of St. Maria Maggiore, and when 
he said the words " Pax domini sit semper vobiscum," an 
angel of the Lord answered in a loud voice, " Et cum spiritii 
tuo." Eor this reason when the Pope celebrates Mass on' 
that day, in that church, and says, " Pax domini sit semper 
vobiscum," no answer is made.f 

No place on the earth is dearer to devout Christians than 
a church where the sacrifice of the Mass is daily celebrated. 
In the mere remembrance of the divine mysteries, they find 
an assistance in the great combat of life. " Alas ! if I could 
go into a church," I hear one exclaim, " if I could be where 
our Lord is lifted u]d, and appears to the congregation in 
sacramental presence — then in that blessed moment, I should 
die of rapture ! " In this mystic Jerusalem the prophecy is 
already in great measure fulfilled — ^'God wipes away all 
tears from the eyes of men, and there is no more death, nor 
any more grief, nor lamentation, nor sorrow, for the former 
things have passed away ; and He Who sitteth upon the 

* Lib. II., Epist. 294, p. 266. 
f Life, by John the Deacon. 


throne lias accomplished His word and hath made all things 
new. The heart-rending sorrows of the poor, and the 
mighty woes of the rich, which the poor cannot conceive, 
are alike here forgotten." " O what grace has our Lord granted 
me," cried a poor recluse to one who was compassionating 
her condition : "I might be sick, and I am well ; I might be 
living far away in pagan lands, and I am born here a Chris- 
tian, in the neighborhood of beautiful churches and holy 
priests; I might be blind and deaf but I hear the peal of 
bells, and every morning my Saviour in Mass speaks to my 
heart in words of love in the Mass. I am dead, and I live 
only for grace, for the chants of the church, and for the 
holy Mass. Ah ! my dear friend ! when I enter the house of 
the Lord, every doubt, every earthly disquietude vanishes 
immediately. The smoke of the incense, the voice of the 
priest, which rises from the altar wdien I prostrate myself, 
awaken in my heart an impassioned fervor. The burning 
tapers remind me by their secret flame, of the secret of the 
world, and of creation, and a thrilling emotion spreads over 
my whole body when I think of the mysteries of which these 
are the signs. I meditate and I pray. The Creator and Sa- 
viour moves me with interior and ineffable words, which are 
heard at the bottom of my soul. I feel within me a love 
above all love — a happiness — a heavenly breath — and then 
the bell tingles and the mysteries of the Incarnation and 
birth of our Lord are renewed : a shuddering runs through 
my veins and through the marrow of my bones, for I feel 
that I am a Christian ; that the Incarnate Saviour is near 
me, and that He looks upon me with love." 

" Devout persons," says St. Bonaventure, " experience some- 
times such a charm of sensible pleasure during Mass that they 
seem as if embalmed in the agreeable perfume which sur- 
rounds them, and melted in the sweetness of heavenly har- 
mony. Perchance this is the grace of God to encourage the 
jjnperfect in their commencement of a holy life, or it is the ful- 
ness of spiritual perfection, which, by reason of the union of 


the soul with the body is communicated to the senses; or 
perhaps even it is a favor bestowed upon the body, that as it 
has been partaker of sorrow and mortification with the 
soul, it may now also share in its joy ; for as the body labors 
with the soul, and both have their sufferings, there may be 
justice in imparting even to the body some consolation in 
the present as well as in the future life/' 

Numberless are the wretched men possessing lofty souls 
tortured by the feeling of isolation, and af&icted with un- 
utterable anguish at the thought of remaining forever un- 
known. They thirst for society, for communion with con- 
genial intellects. What society then can be found so amiable, 
so inspiring, so fall of consolation, and of all remedies for 
human misery, as that of the angels and the faithful in the 
house of God, at the time of Mass ? They wish to be en- 
treated, and that their presence may be sought after, but 
what more noble invitation, or more worthy of all acceptance 
can they receive than that of our dear Saviour on the altar: 
" Come to Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I 
will refresh you." * 

Obey this loving invitation of our Lord, go to Mass, bow 
down and adore your Saviour, the heavenly King — the King 
of eternal glory, and according to your faith, will He have 
mercy on you. Are you tempted with unholy thoughts? 
You will be freed from them. 

Are you a child of sorrow, wounded by the stern strokes 
of a calamitous life? You will be comforted. 

Are you discouraged at the difficulties of your position — 
do you hunger and thirst after justice ? You will be 
strengthened and refreshed. Mark and obey the prophetic 
invitation: "All ye that thirst, come to the waters, make 
haste, buy and eat." f Trust the experience of men who, 
long, like you, have trod the common ways of life, and who 
assure you that it will be so, that you will be filled with 

»Mat. xi. 28. f leai Iv. 1. 


blessings, filled with joy ; that from the martyrdom of a de- 
ceitful world, you will come to this peace. Yes, it is so ; 
we may well say it who have received the mercy of the 
Lord during the attendance at Mass, in the presence of 
assisting angels. 



Tit the foregoing chapter I have expressed in a few words 
most sublime and consoling truths. I conld wish I had it 
in my power to impress those truths upon the hearts of all 
men in indelible characters. Father Alvarez, S. J., tells us 
not to believe we have made much progress in the love of 
God so long as we have not constantly before our eyes the 
life and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed it is our 
duty to form ourselves upon the divine model which our 
Heavenly Father has given us in His well beloved Son, 
Jesus Christ. "We can therefore have no better intention 
in all our actions than to perform them, because our Di- 
vine Saviour has shown us the example, that is, to prac- 
tise virtues because our Father has practised them. But 
to do this well, we must often consider them with great 
attention and make our mind dwell upon them with delight; 
for a child who loves his Father endeavors to acquire a con- 
formity of dispositions and inclinations with his, to imitate 
Him in all His actions. Great indeed are the fruits, and 
wonderful are the effects produced in the soul by the fre- 
quent consideration of the mysteries of our Lord's life. This 
consideration is best calculated to produce in our hearts 
pious affections and fervent petitions for all the graces neces- 
sary for our salvation and sanctification, and to form reso- 
lutions to avoid some particular fault and to practise some 
particular acts of virtue ; and this leads infallibly to the ref- 
ormation of life. It is for this reason that in the opinion 
of the Fathers of the Church the mysteries of the passion 
and death of our Lord are the most useful subjects of medi- 


tation ; for seldom, they say, does it happen that we do not 
profit by the consideration of the actions of our Lord. Now 
it is only natural that the fittest time for the consideration 
of the mysteries of our Lord's life is at the time of Mass, for 
then, as was shown in the preceding chapter, are these mys- 
teries renewed in our presence in a most wonderful manner. 
Let us consider how it is done. 

Let us enter once more in spirit into the humble dwelling 
of Nazareth. There we see our Lord leading, to all appear- 
ances, an ordinary existence as the son of a poor mechanic 
up to the mature age of thirty. The principal thing re- 
corded of Him by the Evangelists for the long space of 
thirty years, is that He was subject to holy Mary and St. 
Joseph. So the Son of God, the Sovereign Lord of heaven 
and earth, obeys Mary and Joseph, who, though eminently 
holy, were immeasurably inferior as creatures to Him, their 
Creator and their God. He assists them in the lowliest 
offices, submitting to work in a poor carpenter's shop, and 
to help in the care of a very humble household; to saw 
wood, sweep the house, prepare the food, and the like. But 
with what promptitude and alacrity, with what perfection and 
exactitude, above all, with what interior resignation to the 
will of God did He discharge the lowest and meanest offices 
as willingly as He would have undertaken the most devoted 
and honorable functions ? Thus, in the poor home of Naz- 
areth, Jesus was a living victim, perpetually immolated to 
the glory, and consumed with the love of His Father. His 
exterior occupations never for a moment interrupting His 
interior dispositions of self-sacrifice. He ofiered to His 
Father a perpetual sacrifice of His Body and Soul, and in 
obedience to His Father's will passed thirty years in obscurity, 
employed in occupations which, to human reason, seem un- 
worthy of His dignity as the world's Messiah. wonder ! 
inestimable grace, to see a God serving as a boy, to behold 
a God sweeping the house ! to see Him working and sweat- 
ing to plane a piece of wood ! to behold a God conversing 


visibly with men, to hear Him speak, to see Him work mir- 
acles, to behold resplendent in His countenance the features 
of divine Majesty, its benignity and sweetness ; to receive 
Him under one's roof, to give Him food to eat, to talk fa- 
miliarly with Him — this was a happiness which might have 
excited the jealousy of angels. How often have we not longed 
to see Jesus face to face in the innocent beauty of His 
childhood, as He appeared to the shepherds of Bethlehem ! 
How often have we not wished to see Him in the bloom of 
boyhood, as He swept the cottage-floor and drew water for 
His Mother, or as He confounded the vain wisdom of the 
Doctors in the Temple ! Who is there that has not wished 
to see Him in the vigor of manhood, as He walked on 
the Sea of G-alilee, or ascended the mountain to teach the 
eager crowds that followed Him, thirsting for the word of 
life ! AYho would not wish to have seen our dear and com- 
passionate Redeemer as He stood beside that tomb in Beth- 
any and wept, while with the Almighty voice of a God He 
commanded the dead Lazarus to arise and come forth ! 

How often have we not yearned to look upon Him on that 
blessed farewell night when He instituted the sacrifice of 
the New Covenant, and left us His virgin flesh to be our 
food and His loving heart's blood to be our drink! How 
often have we not wished to stand beneath Him, whilst He 
hung on the cross for onr sins, that we might gather every 
drop of His precious blood, and hear from His own lips those 
loving words: "Son, behold thy mother!" How great 
would be our joy could we have seen our Lord Jesus as He 
arose from the sealed tomb triumphant over death and hell, 
and, finally, could we have seen Him as He ascended to His 
throne of majesty in heaven ! Truly, on that day, as the 
prophet had foretold, the moon did shine as the sun, and the 
sun shone with sevenfold brightness, like the brightness of 
seven days ! " Blessed are the eyes," said our Saviour to His 
disciples, " that see the things which you see, and blessed 
are the ears that hear the things you hear, for amen, I say 


to you, many prophets, aud just men, and kings, have de- 
sh'ed to see the things that you see and liave not seen them, 
and to hear the things that you hear, and have not heard 
them." * 

If our Lord Himself then calls His disciples blessed for 
having seen and heard Him, it seems natural for us to wish 
for the same happiness and blessedness. But let us not 
deceive ourselves. It is true, our dear Saviour calls His 
disciples more happy than the just men of the Old Law, but 
He does not call them more blessed than those who were to 
live after Him under the Kew Law. On the contrary, of 
tliese He says: "Blessed are they who have not seen Me, 
but have most firmly believed in Me." Indeed, the Eeal 
Presence of our Lord in the holy Eucharist is far more ad- 
vantageous to us than His sensible Presence was to the 
Jews. The Jews possessed Him only in one place. If He 
was at Jerusalem, He was not at ]N"azareth ; and even if seen 
in the Temple at Jerusalem, He was not to be seen in any 
other part of the city. But as He is born anew, as He renews 
His whole life in the Mass, we possess Him everywhere at 
the same time in all our churches. 

The Jews possessed Him only at certain times for a few 
days, for a few hours. The whole time He spent with them 
did not exceed thirty-four full years, while for thirty of those 
vears he was unknown to almost all the world. In the 
Blessed Eucharist we possess Him every hour, day and night, 
and for how many centuries ? Add to those that are past 
the centuries yet to come. 

The Jews beheld our Lord only outwardly with their 
bodily eyes, and generally without advantage to themselves. 
But we behold with the eyes of the spirit His body, His 
blood. His soul. His divinity, and we never thus behold Him 
without the merit of acts of faith, adoration, and other 
virtues with which His Presence inspires us. 

* Matt. xiii. 16, 17 ; Luke x. 24. 


To the Jews our Lord did not show Himself except in a 
natural state, but we have Him on our altars in a state of 
pure grace, which it is as little possible to reckon up as it 
is to count the stars of heaven, the leaves on the trees, or 
the grains of sand on the sea-shore. 

The Jews possessed our Lord only by means of the senses. 
But w^e possess Him in the Mass in a manner much more 
intimate, which is above sense ! He comes into us. He 
unites His body and His soul to our body and our soul. 
But if our senses have no part in this possessiou, far from 
losing anything thereby it is exactly this that constitutes 
the merit of our faith. 

Of all those who beheld our Lord, and who listened to 
Him while He conversed visibly with men, how many were 
there who joined themselves to Him ? A very small num- 
ber; there were not more than five hundred disciples when 
He ascended into heaven. Compare this little troop with 
the countless multitudes who adore Him in the Blessed 
Sacrament, and who, by faith in this mystery, instead of His 
corporal and sensible Presence, find His body and blood 
present under the species of bread and wine, and by concom- 
itance, as theologians say. His soul and His divinity together 
with the treasures of all the possessions of grace and glory. 

In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in the mystery of the 
Eucharist, our Lord remembers His alliance, contracted 
with uS by the Incarnation and Redemption. He renews 
the mystery of the Incarnation in every faithful soul by 
Holy Communion, for it is by Communion that He unites 
Himself, and restores to us that same nature which he 
vouchsafed to take of us; but with this advantage, that hav- 
ing taken it in its abasement and misery, He gives it back 
to us wonderfully elevated and united to God, in order to 
unite us also to Him, and to exalt us to the highest degree 
of greatness and glory to which it is possible for fallen man 
to rise. Who can say what our Lord operates by means of 
Communion in a pure soul ? God only knows. The very 


soul in wliicli these marvels are wrought is not conscious of 
them. A soul well disposed receives in a single Communion 
a fervor greater beyond comparison than all that flows from 
all the visions and revelations, which all the saints together 
have ever had. 

By communion we are united immediately to the body 
and blood of Jesus Christ, and by means of His body and 
blood to His soul and His divinity. His body becomes 
blended with our body. His blood with our blood. His soul 
is joined to our soul; whence there results in us an acci- 
dental change, which makes us like unto our Lord, our body 
participating in the divine qualities of His body and our 
soul in the graces of His soul according as He is pleased to 
communicate Himself to us, and according to the disposi- 
tion in which we receive Him. Thus, His imagination stays 
and regulates our imagination. His understanding enlight- 
ens our understanding, His v/ill invigorates our will. His 
appetite moderates our appetite, and extinguishes therein 
the fire of concupiscence; His senses purify our senses. He 
roots up our evil dispositions, He destroys the seeds of sin ; 
He mortifies our humors, and disposes everything in such a 
manner that the practice of virtue becomes easy to us. 

This it is that was represented to a certain devout person, 
who, as Platus relates, once beheld in one of his commu- 
nions the body of our Lord in the act of uniting Himself 
to him, His eyes, His arms, and each of His sacred members 
mingling witli His own as one piece of melted wax mixes 
with another. 

In the Mass the body of our Lord is tlie only sacrifice of 
the New LaAV. There He is our living victim before the 
eyes of His Father, appeasing His anger and satisfying His 
justice, communicating the life of grace and the seed of the 
life of glory to those who receive Him worthily. So that 
we ought to picture Him to ourselves upon our altars, as 
continually offering to God the sacrifice of His life and 
death for the very same ends for which He offered it on 


Calvary, the sacrifice of the altar being the renewal of that 
of the cross. Is not this then an advantage that far exceeds 
the visible Presence of Jesus Clirist among the Jews, a Presence 
from which, because of their evil dispositions, they derived 
so little fruits ? Did the Jews, who beheld our Lord heal- 
ing the sick and raising the dead, possess anything like 
this? The Apostles and disciples of our Lord themselves, 
before the institution of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, did 
not enjoy so great a privilege. 

After all this, how does it happen that we are so little 
affected by this admirable Sacrifice of the holy Mass ? How 
can we love anything on earth besides ? How can we think 
more frequently of anything else ? In the light of faith we 
behold the marvels it contains — the body and blood of 
Jesus Christ, the Majesty of a God, and the most astonish- 
ing excess of His love for men. And yet we have scarcely 
any other feelings at His Presence than those which the 
senses and the imagination give us ! We are destitute of de- 
votion ; tepid and dull in regard to our Lord, so that at 
times He scarcely produces more effect by His Presence in 
the souls of a whole Christian congregation than on the walls 
of the Church in which He dwells. We suffer incalculable 
losses from failing to recognize the treasures we possess in 
holy Mass and in holy Communion ; our stupidity in this 
respect is most deplorable. Generally speaking, we find 
ourselves after Mass and Communion as we were before, and 
after so many Masses and Communions we continue just 
the same, just as tepid, just as little mortified, just as imper- 
fect as at the beginning ; we attach our hearts to trifles, we 
place our happiness in them, we fill our mind with them. A 
wretched little attachment will deprive us of the marvellous 
effects which holy Communion and the celebration or devout 
hearing of Mass would operate in us were we well disposed. 

This disposition consists chiefly in purity of heart, peace 
and tranquillity of soul, in noting and repressing the rebel- 
lion and resistance of our mind and will against grace, in 


discovering our illusions, our errors, our blindness, the depth 
of our malice, and in correcting all those disorders. "When 
we have done this, we shall experience a hunger and 
thirst for holy Mass and Communion, we shall taste its sweet- 
ness, and it will produce in us from day to day a fresh 
increase of spiritual life. 

In old days, it was a fayorite devotion with Christians to 
visit the sacred spots in the Holy Land where our Lord 
lived and moved in the flesh, working out our salvation.. 
Let ours be to abide with our Lord in the Mass. If pious 
Christians travelled so far, and faced so many dangers merely 
to see the country in which our Lord lived, in which He 
walked, and suffered death ; if we regard it as a great favor 
to possess a little splinter of the wood of the cross ; if the 
crib wherein He was laid, the river in which He was baptized, 
the garden where He prayed, the praetorium where He was 
judged, the pillar to which He was bound, the thorns with 
which He was crowned, the wood to which He was nailed, 
the rock in which He was buried, the mount where He as- 
cended into heaven, are objects of such great veneration 
among Christians because of the relation they once bore with 
our Lord, with what ardor ought we not now to go to church, 
to hear Mass, to find there what is far more admirable — our 
Lord Himself in person. 

Padbert, and also Paschasius relate that when St. Plegil 
said Mass, this holy priest used to see Jesus Christ in the 
consecrated Host, under the form of a beautiful child, 
stretching out his arms as if to embrace him. Let us go to Mass 
if possible every day of our lives ; let us go to be embraced by 
the holy Infant Jesus — embraced in faith, hope and sweet 
charity. One day He will throw off His disguise and appear 
in His heavenly might and splendor. How happy will those 
then be who have endeavored often to assist at the Sacred 
Mysteries of Mass! They will not be confounded, but will 
" stand before Him with great constancy." They will " see 
His face '*' and rejoice for evermore. 



From the beginning of the world, God has never ceased 
to perform mh-acles for the benefit of men, miracles so great 
that they will be the admiration of all nations to the end of 
time. But of all the wonders he has wrought two stand 
forth pre-eminent. So surprising does the prophet Isaiag 
find them that he calls them the inventions of God: "Make 
known to the people," says he, '*the inventions of God."* 
Indeed, it would seem that both in the one and the other, 
God has been careful, as it were, to study the manner in 
which He might best communicate and manifest Himself 
to us. The first of these wonders is the Incarnation, wherein 
the Word of tlie Father unites Itself to our nature, by a 
union so intimate that God and man become one and the 
same person. The secrets of this union will always remain 
incomprehensible to human reason, and known to God only; 
and so firm and indissoluble is it that, as St. Denis says, 
"what ir has once joined, never has been, nor ever can be, 
separated." "Love," says this saint, "is a unitive virtue, 
Avhich transforms the lover into the one beloved object, 
and of the two makes but one." jSTow, what no love in the 
world ever did, the love of God has done for man. It never 
happened in the world that of the lover and of the object 
beloved, love efiectually made but one and the same thing. 
This was a marvel that seemed reserved for heaven, where 
the Father and the Son are indeed truly one. So great, how- 
ever, was the love of God for man that God united Himself 
to him in such a manner as to make God and man one and 

* xii. 4. 


the same person ; so that God is truly man and man truly 
God, and all that is truly proper to man, may be truly and 
properly said of God Himself. In a word, He whom men 
beheld speaking, walking, acting and suffering, was truly 
God, at the same time that He was truly clothed with human 
nature, and performing human actions. "Who ever heard 
of any such thing as this ? And who ever saw any thing 
like unto it ? " * A God to be wrapped in swaddling clothes ! 
A God to weep ! A God to become weary and feeble ! A 
God "to suffer! Lord! did not the royal prophet say: 
" That Thou hast made the highest heaven Thy refuge, 
where no evil shall come to Thee ; and no scourge shall ap- 
proach Thy tabernacle"?! And yet the whips, nails, and 
thorns have overtaken Thee, and fastened Thee to the cross. 
What is farther from God than this ? " It is an admirable 
work that proceeded from Him," says the prophet Isaias : I 
a work which the Lord performed so as to lead up to one, 
in some manner, still greater, that should be the memorial 
of all His wonderful works. 

This work is the institution of the Holy Sacrifice of the 
Mass— a work that exceeds the thoughts of man, and even 
those of the angels themselves, being to them a cause of per- 
petual admiration. Our Saviour would mark by the gran- 
deur of His gift how far His love for "His own surpassed all 
the affection which had been manifested in the gifts which 
had preceded His great Presence. What was the tree of life 
to this ? the manna to this ? the waters of the rock in the 
desert to this ? the brazen serpent to this ? What are all the 
prophets and patriarchs, ever dreamt of, compared with this ? 
There is no nation so blest as we that have our Crod so near 
us ! " The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is indeed an unfath- 
omable abyss of the most astounding prodigies. 

The first of these prodigies is that as soon as the priest 

* Isaias, Ixvi. 8. \ Ps. 90, 9, IC 

I xxviii. 31. 

god's WOi?-DROUS WORKS. 307 

has pronounced the words of consecration over the host and 
•tlie wine in the chalice, the Eeal Body and Biood of Our 
Lord Jesus Christ are present upon the altar. His Body is 
present under the appearance of bread, and His Blood under 
the appearance of wine. 

The second miracle is that after the words of consecration 
there remains neither bread nor wine, though the contrary 
appears to our senses. "When Jacob wished to obtain of his 
father Isaac the blessing which was designed for Esau, he 
covered his hands with the skin of a kid that he might the 
better resemble his brother. " It is indeed the voice of 
Jacob," said the holy old patriarch, *' but they are the hands 
of Esau."* The same happens here — that which we touch 
with our hands, that which is exposed to our senses, appears 
to be bread and wine ; but the voice and the word of faith 
assure us of the contrary, and faith must supply the defects 
of our weak senses. 

Nor is there reason to be so much astonished at this ; for 
is it not something far more wonderful that God should 
have made Himself man without ceasing to be God, than 
that bread, ceasing to be bread, should be changed into 
flesh ? The same divine power whereby the Son of God be- 
came man, here changed bread and wine into His Body and 

The third prodigy that happens in this change is not 
brought about as in natural things, wherein, when one thing 
is changed into another, there always remains something* of 
the thing that is changed; for example, when earth is 
changed into gold or silver, or water into crystal, the matter 
or substance always remains the same; there is no change 
beyond one of form. Thus, for instance, you can make the 
form of a lion out of a piece of wax or clay, but the wax or 
clay remains. But here, after the consecration, there re- 
mains in the host nothing of the substance of bread, or in 

*Gen. xxvii. 23. 


the clialice, of the substance of wine, but all the substance 
of bread is changed into the Body of Jesus Clirist, and all 
the substance of wine into His Blood. The Church prop- 
erly calls this entire change — transubstantiation — {. e., the 
changing of one substance into another. 

There remains, therefore, in the Blessed Sacrament noth- 
ing of the substance of bread and wine; there remains only 
the color, smell, taste, and other accidents, and this is called 
the Sacramental species. 

The fourth miracle that takes place in the Blessed Sacra- 
ment, is that the sacramental species or appearance remains 
without subject or substance. It is the property of such 
accidents to be inseparably attached to their substance. It 
is certain, for instance, that whiteness cannot subsist with- 
out being attached to some substance, and the same is to be 
said of taste and smell. But here, according to an order 
altogether above the order of nature, the accidents of bread 
and wine are miraculously sustained, without being united 
to anything, because nothing of the substance of bread and 
wine is any longer there to sustain them; and the Body and 
Blood of Jesus Christ, which take the place of bread and 
wine, cannot be the subject of these accidents, i. e., of color, 
taste, smell, and the like. As the manna, which was the 
shadow and figure of this most wonderful sacrament, had 
the taste of all sorts of things, and yet was none of those 
things of which it had the taste, so this heavenly manna has 
the color, taste, and smell of bread and wine, yet is neither 
the one nor the other, so that by a continued miracle, God 
sustains these accidents by themselves. 

The fifth prodigy is that not only the Body of Jesus Christ 
is under the appearance of bread and wine, but that Jesus 
Christ, true God and true man, is entire there, such as He 
is in heaven. So that the Blood of Jesus Christ, His sacred 
8oul and His divinity, are conjointly with His body in the 
host under the species of bread ; and His Body, His soul, 
and His divinity are also conjointly with His Blood in the 


chalice under the appearance of wine. But as divines ob- 
serye, all these things are not in the Eucharist after the 
same manner. For some are there by yirtue of the words 
of consecration, and others by way of concomitance. Those 
that are there by virtue of the words of consecration, are 
those which are expressed by the same words ; hence there 
is only the Body of Jesus Christ in the host, and in the 
chalice only His Blood, because the words of consecration 
properly produce only what they signify, and they signify 
nothing else than : " This is my body, this is my blood." 

The things that are in the Eucharist by way of concomi- 
tance, are those which are necessarily joined or united to 
that which is expressed by the words of consecration. For 
when divers things are necessarily joined together, it is 
necessary that where the one is, there the other should be 
also, ^ow at present the Body of Jesus Christ is not sepa- 
rated from His Blood, but is united with it as well as with 
His soul and divinity ; therefore His Blood, His soul, and 
His divinity are also in the host with the Body. In like 
manner His Blood is not at present separated from His 
Body, but united with it and with His soul and His divinity ; 
hence His body and soul and divinity are likewise in the 

In order the better to understand this, divines say that, 
had St. Peter or any other of the Apostles consecrated during 
the three days that our Lord remained in the sepulchre, the 
soul of Jesus Christ would not have been' in the host, because 
His soul was then in Limbo, and was not united with Hia 
Body ; so that then there would have been in the host only 
the dead Body of our Lord, such as it was in the sepulchre, 
united, however, to the divinity from which it was insepa- 

In like manner, when Jesus Christ Himself had conse- 
crated at His Last Supper, He was in the Eucharist true 
God and true man, but passible and mortal as He was at 
that time. Since His resurrection from the dead, however, 


He is in the Blessed Sacrament, sncTi as He is noTv in heaven 
— glorious, impassible, immortal. 

The sixth prodigy wrought in the Blessed Sacrament is, 
that Jesus Christ is not only whole and entire in each host, 
whole and entire in the chalice, but He is also whole and 
entire in each particle of the host as He is whole and entire 
in the least species of wine. This is a truth which we read 
in the Gospel. For at the Last Supper Jesus Christ did not 
consecrate separately each piece of bread with which He 
communicated His Apostles ; He only consecrated at once 
such a quantity of bread as was necessary to communicate 
all of them after it was divided. The Gospel, speaking of 
the consecration of the chalice, expressly takes notice that 
Jesus Christ gave it to His Apostles, saying to them : " Take 
and divide it amongst you," * so that every Apostle receiv- 
ing a portion of the consecrated bread and wine, received 
our Lord whole and entire under each species., it is a great miracle that when the priest breaks 
the host or divides the chalice, it is not Christ Who is bro- 
ken or divided. He always remaining as He does whole and 
entire in each part how little soever it may be ; it is the spe- 
cies or appearance of bread and wine which is broken or di- 

This is what the Church teaches us in the hymn of the 
Blessed Sacrament, "He who receives the body of Christ 
does not bruise it, does not break it, does not divide it ; he 
receives it whole and entire, he makes no division of it ; he 
makes only a separation of the signs and accidents." " il- 
lusion of the senses," exclaims St. Jerome; "the accidents 
with which Thou appearest to our senses to be clothed, are 
broken, but Thou, Lord, remainest whole and entire. It 
seems to our senses that we chew Thee between our teeth, 
but we never do so to Thee. Thou remainest always whole 
and entire without any division, without any corruption, in 

* Luke xxii. 17. 

god's wo:n'Drous works. 211 

even the least particle." * Who can conceive the power mani- 
fested in the august sacrament in such a variety of ways ! 
Thousands of places holding the sacred Body at the same 
time ; God in one host the same as in a million; God in a 
million of hearts each moment, and two millions, and ten, 
and a hundred ! God consoling and inspiring, and gently 
leading all these millions of hearts by various ways, all 
equally wonderful, and all at the same time. "Whole and 
perfect under each morsel, as whole and perfect under a 
large mass, when once the mass has been divided; so that 
like the manna of which no more than a certain measure 
remained, no matter how much a person might have collected, 
the Christian has as much under the smallest particle as if 
the largest quantity were accumulated : — he has Christ the 
Lord. On thousands of altars, from the rising to the setting 
of the sun, and with perpetuity divine, day and night, all 
over the universe, offered up each instant and still in the 
glory of heaven ! Hearing millions upon millions of prayers, 
and granting millions upon millions of petitions at the same 
time, of characters millions of times varying, through the 
length and breadth of the earth and of all time, and all for 
us ! Doing what He pleases with His Body, putting it as 
He does in this sacramental state and concealing it under 
the species of bread and wine- miraculously detached from 
their subject, but also at the same time sustained by a con- 
tinued miracle ! 

Well may we exclaim here with the psalmist, " Who shall 
declare the power of the Lord ? " f ^^^ shall set forth all 
the wonders of His works ? The Blessed Eucharist is truly 
the memorial of His wonderful works ! 

This power, this majesty, this all comprehending mystery, 
tells us in the midst of life's storms to " fear not ! " in the 
midst of temptations, " I am here ! " In the midst of doubts, 
diflBculties, hesitations and depressions which surround His 

* 4. Apud Euseb. f Pg. cv. 2. 


children, this memorial of power points to the altar saying, 
**' I am with Thee all days even to the consnmmation of the 

I will leave my children nothing to desire, Our dear Lord 
at the grand moment thought, I will leave all riches, all dig- 
nities, all felicity at their command. I will so accommodate 
the blessing to their capacity and their will, that their own 
desire shall regulate the number and the amount of the gifts. 
Neither shall they be limited in number, quality, or kind: 
they shall compreliend all things. They shall be all poured 
into the bosom of my beloved, for I will give gifts to men. And 
they shall have power of sending the wealth which I bestow 
to the remotest parts of the earth, to heaven and to purga- 
tory. For them that wealth shall be sent all around the 
world, and pass even the confines of eternity. My children 
shall rule a royal priesthood, so that nothing shall draw them 
away from me, and we shall be one. And well we know 
how truly efficacious that same Presence has been. In 
dangers omniscient; in conflict omnipotent, it has 
been the real Emanuel through all the history of the 

*' All good shall come together with me to her." Our one- 
ness and affection shall grow from never-ceasing communion. 
I will await her day and night. All I am, that she Ciin de- 
sire or command, she may. For herself, for her friends, her 
cares, her needs, — for all she can employ me. She may offer 
me every day, she may command the repetition of my sacri- 
fice on Calvary and make me the representative of her claims 
for anything that is not evil. She may offer up the blood, 
speaking better than that of Abel, and make the infinite ran- 
som become ever repeated for her sins, and to attune her 
graces, until her soul becomes luminous with celestial light, 
and more powerful than embattled legions with the energy 
and arms of virtue. Nay, she may make that sacrifice her 
own for the far away, the erring, the unhappy, and the inse- 
cure. She may compass the whole world in her wishes, and 

god's WONDEOUS W0RK3. 213 

have these wishes realized, and may even carry her power 
beyond the grave, and help the souls who are dear to her, 
and who suffer in the fire of Purgatory. 

May Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, all powerful and 
all wonderful, be praised for ever I 



After our Sayionr had fulfilled tlie office of teacher, He 
entered upon that of Priest and Victim ; and as He had 
given us the treasure of His doctrine in pointing out the way 
of salvation, in like manner He wished to give us that of His 
blood to open the gate of heaven. St. Paulinus says : " He 
is Himself the Victim of His Priesthood, His life is the Vic- 
tim of tlie world, and the Priest who immolates is His own 
love." Although Christ's love for us was the principal cause 
of the sacrifice of the Cross, yet the envy and hatred of His 
enemies and executioners had a share in it ; but in the Mass 
it is love alone that does all. 

In the Old Law it was God Himself who prescribed the 
sacred rites for the offering of sacrifices. It was very fatigu- 
ing to the priest to perform the whole of them. But how 
hard were the rites which the Heavenly Father prescribed 
for His Son when He was about to offer up His life in sacri- 
fice for the atonement for our sins, and for the reparation of 
His honor and glory ! 

The simple narration of the frightful scenes of suffering 
through which our Saviour, the Lamb of God and the Victim 
of the Divine Vengeance, had to pass from the moment 
when He went forth with His Apostles to the Garden of 
Olives, until He expired upon the Cross, cannot fail to leave 
a most wholesome impression on the heart, and enable us 
the better to understand the value and dignity of the Mass, 
which is principally the commemoration of the Passion and 
Death of our dear Saviour. Let us accompany our Lord as 
He leaves His loving followers, and proceeds, unattended, to a 


solitary spot a little distance from them. There we behold 
Him voluntarily abandoning His sacred soul to the terrible 
impressions of excessive terror and oppressive sadness, and 
in His overwhelming anguish having recourse to prayer as 
His only refuge. We behold Him there prostrate on the 
earth, whence with profound respect and perfect resignation 
He sends up to heaven the piteous cry : " My Father, if it be 
possible, let this chalice pass from Me. Nevertheless, not as 
I will, but as Thou wilt." * It is thus that He expresses 
His voluntary acceptance of death. He had, no doubt, con- 
sented at the first moment of His Incarnation to die for us, 
but it pleased Him to ratify that consent in the solitude of 
the Garden of Olives, and to oblige the inferior part of His 
soul to concur in the great act of submission, notwithstand- 
ing all its natural repugnances. Eepresenting to Himself 
His approaching death, with all its accompanying circum- 
stances of horror, He permitted the inferior portion of His 
human nature to oppose the noble sacrifice, and to supplicate 
the Eternal Father, that the chalice might, if possible, pass 
away untasted ; the superior part immediately manifesting 
its unshaken conformity to the divine decree by adding, "yet 
not My will, but Thine be done.'^ 

Amidst the conflict between the inferior portion, which 
shrunk from the dreadful death awaiting Him, and the 
superior part, which desired it for the reparation of God's 
glory and honor, an angel came from heaven to encourage 
the agonized Eedeemer, representing to Him with profound 
respect the glory which would redound to His Father, and 
the blessings which would accrue to men from His all-saving 
sacrifice on the Cross. And then Jesus, passing once again 
in review each separate torment that awaited Him, accepted 
them all with most profound and reverential submission to 
the will of His Almighty Father, sapng : " Yes, Father, I 
consent to be seized and bound as a malefactor, struck, 

* Matt. xxvi. 39. 


scourged, crowned witli thorns, and crucified, since so it lias 
seemed good in Thy sight." So ardent and so impetuous 
was the love which accompanied this act of acceptance that 
it reacted physically on His frame. The blood which terror 
had congealed around His heart, rushed through His veins, 
and forced its way through the pores of His sacred flesh, 
pouring itself out freely even before the barbarous execu- 
tioners had bidden it to flow. Then, rising from His couch 
of agony, the generous Saviour of men entered bravely on 
the arena of His Passion by delivering Himself up of His own 
accord to the soldiers who had come to seize and bind Him. 

The soldiers, who had witnessed or heard of Christ's mir- 
acles, thinking Him a magician, feared lest He should escape 
from their hands; therefore, they bound strongly His sides, 
arms, and neck with two long ropes and a heavy chain 
wiiich had been used to open and close the prison-gate. At 
the end of this chain were manacles, wherewith they fas- 
tened His hands behind. 

After binding Him thus cruelly, they set out from Mount 
Olivet with great noise and tumult, some dragging Him 
forward, others backward, so that He was cast violently to 
the ground. They vented their rage by inflicting blows on 
His face, head, and body. They tore His garments, plucked 
His beard, dragged Him by the hair, and forced the points 
of their sticks into His sides, struck Him on His shoulders, 
and dragged Him from one side of the street to the other. 
The Lord fell many times, striking His face against the 
ground with great pain, having His hands chained behind 
His back. His divine face becoming covered with wounds. 

Thus they arrived in the city, uttering cries and execra- 
tions, as if they had arrested the chief of malefactors. The 
people rushed to the windows and doors with lights ; they 
loaded our Blessed Lord with insults, injuries, and oppro- 
brium, calling Him a false prophet, a deceiver, a wicked 
man, a robber, and a perverter of the people. They con- 
ducted Him to the tribunal of Annas. It was there that 

OF Christ's PASsioir. 217 

Jesus received on His virginal face tliat cruel blow from the 
ungrateful barbarous hand of the servant whose ear He had 
miraculously restored in the garden of Gethsemane. So 
cruel was this blow that it broke all His teeth, and caused 
the blood to flow profusely from His eyes, nose, and mouth. 

Sometime after midnight it was decided by the council 
that while they would retire to rest, Jesus should be thrown, 
bound as He was, into a dungeon, used for great robbers 
and murderers, so obscure that scarcely a ray of light could 
penetrate its darkness, and so loathsome as to be insupport- 
able. Thither they dragged the Son of God by the cords 
and chains with which they had bound Him in the garden. 
There they chained Him in such a manner that He could 
neither lie nor sit. In going out they left one of their num- 
ber on guard. 

After the infuriated and intoxicated rabble had taken 
some refreshment, being excited by the devil, they hastened 
to the prison, where they unbound Jesus from the rock to 
which He was fastened, and placed Him in the middle of 
the apartment. They would fain have forced Him to speak 
and work some miracles; but the Incarnate Wisdom an- 
swered them not. They renewed their insults and outrages, 
and blindfolded Him with filthy rags. Striking Him vio- 
lently, on the neck and face, they cried out in derision: 
*' Prophesy who it is that struck Thee." 

At dawn of day, the priests and scribes assembled to- 
gether, and the Divine Lamb was again led before them. 
It was a sight most worthy of compassion, to behold that 
innocent Victim with His face all bruised, disfigured, and 
defiled, without a merciful hand to wipe it, for His own were 
bound. Seeing Him in such a deplorable condition, even 
His enemies were startled. They again designedly asked 
Him whether He were the Son of God, and on His replying 
that He was, they cried out that He was worthy of death, 
and sent Him to Pilate, the Roman Proconsul — for whom 
all capital cases were reserved. 



When tlie Jews arrived at the house of Pilate, he, althongli 
a Pagan, had regard to the ceremonial law, which forbade 
them to enter the pragtorium; therefore he came out to in- 
terrogate the pretended criminal. 

Finding that Jesus had been born in the jurisdiction of 
Herod, he sent Him to Herod. It is impossible to relate all 
that Jesus had to undergo from His enemies in this journey 
from Pilate to Herod, for they were continually excited by 
Lucifer to further oi'itrages, in the hope that they might be 
able to learn if He were truly the Messiah. Herod had our 
Lord clothed in the robe of mockery, and then reconducted 
to Pilate. In this painful journey it happened many times 
that, by the pressure of the crowd, and the violence of those 
who dragged Him, Jesus was thrown upon the ground. His 
veins were opened by the fall and by the blows He received, 
for He could not rise because His hands were chained be- 

He was taken back to Pilate, wdio, seeing His innocence, 
and the envy and hatred of the Jews, tried to deliver Him. 
But finding that all his endeavors failed, he thought to 
have Him scourged, in the hope that the Jews miglit think 
such punishment sufficient, and allow Him to go free. 

For the scourging they chose six young men remarkable 
for their strength and barbarous cruelty. They led Jesus 
into the court, where there was a pillar, and removed the 
handcuffs, chains, and cords. They tore off His garments, 
leaving Him almost entirely naked. 

So tightly w^as He bound to the pillar, that the cords 
entered into the flesh, and His divine hands became much 
swollen. Afterwards they began to scourge Him, two at a 
time, with a cruelty of Avhich mere human ferocity was not 
capable, but Lucifer had entered into the hearts of the exe- 
cutioners. The first two scourged the innocent Jesus with 
large twisted cords, exerting their utmost violence and 
greatest fury upon Him. The first blow that fell upon His 
delicate body inflicted large livid bruises, which swelled to a 


frighifiil extent, and seemed as if tlie blood was abont to 
burst from them. 

When these cruel men were exhausted from fatigue, they 
were succeeded by the second two, who, using heavy leather 
thongs, broke the flesh of the bruises inflicted by the first, 
so that the precious blood not only covered the body of 
Jesus, but also saturated the garments of the sacrilegious 
murderers, and fell upon the ground. 

When exhausted, they were succeeded by a third party, 
who used as their instruments of torture the sinews of beasts, 
which were very hard and dry, resembling dried twigs. 
Their blows being repeated over the wounds inflicted by the 
first and second executioners, caused Jesus the most intense 
agony. But as His body was become one entire wound, they 
could no longer inflict new wounds; their blows therefore, 
falling on His sacred flesh, tore out pieces, which fell to the 
ground, and in many places left the bones exposed to sight. 
Not content with this, they satiated their cruelty by striking 
Him on the face, hands, and feet, and sparing no part of His 
body. So bruised, torn, and disfigured was the countenance 
of the Lord, as to be no longer recognizable. 

But anxious to see Him die on the Cross, the Jews un- 
bound Jesus from the pillar, and He sank to the ground 
bathed in His blood. They ordered Him to put on His 
garments, but one of the wicked wretches had hidden His 
seamless robe ; therefore, while He remained there naked, 
they reviled and mocked Him. Some of them, going to 
Pilate, said, that as Jesus pretended to be the King of the 
Jews, it would be but just to crown Him with thorns. 
Having obtained His permission, they took Jesus, threw 
over His shoulders an old purple cloak, placed in His hand 
a reed for a sceptre, and violently pressed on His divine 
head the crown of thorns. 

This crown was made of very long and sharp thorns, 
which, being pressed on, many penetrated the bones of the 
head, others came out at His ears and eyes. 


After this ignominious and cruel ceremony, they adored 
as mock King Him, who, by nature and every title, was the 
King of kings, the Lord of lords. The soldiers set Him in 
their midst, and in presence of the priests and Pharisees 
loaded Him with injuries and blasphemies, while some, 
bending the knee before Him, cried out in mockery : " Hail, 
King of the Jews." Others struck Him violently on the 
face; others, taking the reed, struck Him on the head; 
others, again, defiled His countenance with spittle, while all 
conspired to load Him with injuries and blasphemies. 

When sentence of death had been pronounced against 
Jesus of Nazareth, the soldiers drew Him aside, tore off the 
robe of mockery, and vested Him in His own tunic, that He 
might be the better known, and on His head they again 
pressed the thorny crown. The city was thronged with 
strangers who had come to celebrate the Pasch, and the 
streets leading to Pilate's house were filled, as all desired to 
know what was transpiring. 

"When Jesus was dragged into the midst of the crowd, a 
confused murmur arose amongst them, but nothing could 
be plainly heard save the insolent expressions of joy and 
blasphemy of the priests and Pharisees. 

In presence of an immense crowd the executioners i^re- 
sented the Cross to Jesus, and laid it on His shoulders, all 
torn and covered with wounds, and that He might be able 
to carry it, they untied His hands, but did not remove the 
other bonds. They put a chain around His neck and bound 
His body with long cords ; with one they dragged Him for- 
ward, with another backward. The Cross was of very heavy 
wood and fifteen feet in length. 

The herald advanced first with sound of trumpet to pub- 
lish the sentence; then followed the noisy and clamorous 
multitude, the executioners and soldiers uttering railleries, 
taunts, laughter, and cries of opprobrium ; and thus in tu- 
multuous disorder they traversed the streets of Jerusalem, 
from the palace of Pilate to Mount Calvary. 

OF Christ's PASSioiy-. 321 

Our Lord continued His sorrowful way amid a thousand 
injuries. Many times He fell to the earth because they 
dragged Him this way and that, and because He was loaded 
with the heavy weight of the Cross. In those falls He re- 
ceived new and numerous wounds, which caused Him great 
pain, particularly those in His knees, and the load of the 
Cross made a deep wound on the shoulders. By dragging 
Him violently, they frequently struck His head against the 
Cross, and each blow forced the thorns deeper in, causing 
Him intenser suffering still. 

The soldiers, seeing Jesus so weak and faint, and fearing 
that He would die on the way to Calvary, forced Simon of 
Cyrene to come to His aid ; and at length the new Isaac ar- 
rived at the mount of sacrifice, spent with fatigue, faint 
from pain, and covered with blood. 

All the sorrows of the Redeemer were renewed when His 
seamless robe, which clung to all His wounds, was violently 
torn from His body. They dragged it over His head, with- 
out removing the crown of thorns, and by this violence 
pulled it off with His garment, thus renewing all the wounds 
of His sacred head. Then they again fastened and pressed 
on the crown of thorns. 

"While the executioners were preparing to crucify Him, He 
prayed to the Eternal Father for the whole race of men, and 
for those about to crucify Him. They threw Him violently 
down upon the Cross, while He, raising His eyes to heaven, 
extended His arms and placed His right hand upon the 
hole. He offered Himself anew to the Eternal Father, and 
then they fostened His all-powerful hand with a large, 
pointed nail, which burst the veins and tore the sinews. 
The left hand could not reach the second hole on account 
of the contraction of the sinews, and also because they had 
purposely made the hole at too great a distance. Therefore 
they took the chain which had been fastened around His 
neck, and fastening it to the manacle of His wrist, stretched 
the arm and nailed it. The blood burst forth and 


flowed abundantly, causing incredible suffering to oui 

Attaching tlie chain to His feet they bound them to- 
gether, one upon the other, and dragging them with great 
violence, nailed them with a third nail, larger and stronger 
than the other two. The Sacred Body was thus nailed on 
the Cross, but in such a state that all the bones might be 
counted, for they were entirely dislocated and dragged out 
of i^lace. Those of the breast, shoulders, and limbs, were 
entirely disjointed by the cruel violence of the executioners. 

After having nailed our Lord to the Cross, those monsters 
of cruelty began to fear that the nails would be loosened and 
the body fall to the ground ; therefore they determined 
to prevent it. Eaising the Cross, they turned it over in such 
a manner that our Saviour lay upon His face on the ground, 
and whilst He was in this position, they clinched the nails. 
At the sight of this new excess of bai-barity the beholders 
shuddered, and many of the crowd, being excited, raised a 

After the nails had been clinched, they raised the Cross, 
and let it fall into the hole in which it was to stand. Then 
those cruel wretches supported the body with their lances, 
making deep wounds under the arms, and thrusting the 
pomts into the flesli, whilst the others planted the Cross. 
At this painful sight the cries of the people were redoubled, 
and a still greater tumult was raised. The JeAvs blasphemed 
Him, the devout compassionated Him, and strangers were 
overwhelmed with astonishment. Many dared not look at 
Him for the horror that they felt. The sacred blood was 
gushing forth from the new wounds, and from those that 
Avere reopened. 

The priests and Pharisees wagged their heads in mockery, 
and throwing dirt and stones at Him, cried out, " Thou who 
canst destroy the temple of God and in three days rebuild it, 
save Thyself" The thieves also insulted Him, saying. "If 
Thou art the Son of God, save Thyself and us." 

OF Christ's passion". 223 

Then the earth shook, the sun was eclipsed, the moon 
darkened, and the elements were thrown into disorder, the 
mountains burst asunder, the veil of the temjDle was rent, 
tlie graves opened and the dead arose. The executioners de- 
parted, groaning and contrite, because Jesus, in His agony, 
liad, with excessive charity, offered the prayer, " Father, for- 
give them, for they know not what they do." 

One of the thieves, called Dismas, hearing these words, 
was interiorly enlightened and filled with sorrow for his sins; 
he begged pardon of our Lord and received more than he 
asked, for our Saviour promised him, that on that very day 
he should be with Him in Paradise. 

Jesus, being ready to give up His Spirit, reflects on all the 
labors, humiliations, opprobriums, and torments which Di- 
vine Justice had ordained Him to suffer in expiation of our 
crimes; and commencing from the moment of His entrance 
into the world until this in which He is going forth from it. 
He finds that the work of Redemption is consummated. He 
reflects on the work His Father had given Him. He con- 
siders all the actions of His life, with all the charges that 
had been committed to Him. He looks upon that of Media- 
tor, Redeemer, Doctor, Legislator, Sovereign, Pontiff, Guide 
to eternity, and finds that all is consummated. He has 
preached the Gospel, and traced a model of every virtue. 
All is consummated. 

He reflects on all the benefits He desired to confer on 
mankind in the course of His life, and finds He has spared 
nothing in his favor. "It is consummated." His blood. 
His strength. His merits are exhausted ; He has not reserved 
a single moment of His life which He has not given us. 
Already a mortal paleness overspreads His countenance. His 
body grows cold. His eyes close, His lips fade ; yet one sigli, 
and His soul goes forth and descends into Limbo. He lan- 
guishes. He dies, He is dead ! All is consummated ! 



In the preceding chapter, we have seen how the great sac 
rifice of atonement was accomplished. Let ns now see how 
it is daily commemorated and renewed upon onr altars, in 
the holy sacrifice of the Mass. Our divine Savionr wished 
that Mass should be, in a particular manner, the commemo- 
ration of His Passion and Death. His Passion and Death 
constituted the solemn crowning act of the great work of 
our Redemption. By this act was Avrought our Redemption, 
and in it all the other a;Cts of our Saviours life were solemn- 
ly stamped by the seal of sacrifice. Onr dear Lord, there- 
fore, wished that this last act of His life should stand 
out forever before our minds in the most vivid manner. 
He wished the all-redeeming sacrifice of Mount Calvary to 
be offered daily until the end of the world, that its oblation 
should not be restricted to one particular period, nor to one 
particular place. He wished that in every land and clime, at 
every liour, from the rising of the sun to its going down, on 
every Catholic altar within the globe's circumference. His 
precious blood should mystically flow. His all-sufficient ex- 
piation should be renewed, and His all-pure holocaust should 
be consumed. This He Himself expressed most emphatically 
to be His will. After He had ordained His Apostles Priests of 
the Xew Law, and empowered and commanded them and their 
lawful successors in the ministry to consecrate and offer up the 
Blessed Eucharist for a perpetual commemoration of His Pas- 
sion, and a grateful remembrance of His Death ; He added 
these remarkable words," Do this in remembrance of Me ; " 
that is, as St. Paul explains it, " to show forth the Death of 


the Lord till His second coming at the end of the world." * 
Such is the last will of our dear Saviour ; He asks but one 
thing, that having suffered and died for ns, we should fond- 
ly cherish the memory of this ineffable benefit, especially by 
the means of the holy Mass. It was for this purpose par- 
ticularly that He made a separate consecration of the 

He might have instituted this holy sacrifice of the Mass, 
by offering Himself under the appearance of bread alone, 
saying, " This is My body and My blood," and the bread 
would have been changed into His body and His blood. But 
in this manner His Death would not have been so vividly 
represented as it is by the separate consecration of the chalice 
of wine into His blood, representing the separation of His 
blood from Hie body, by which separation His Death was 
caused. Thus does our Saviour perform in each Mass another 
most astounding miracle, to place before our soul in a most 
vivid manner His cruel Death upon the Cross, that we may 
be reminded thereby of His love manifested in His suffer- 
ings and Death, and excited to love and serve Him with 
more fervor, lest we be guilty of an ingratitude similar to 
that of the Jews, " who forgot the God who had saved them." f 
" The sacrifice of the Mass " therefore, says the Council of 
Trent, *' is the same as that which heretofore was offered 
upon the Cross ; it is the same victim, for He who offered 
Himself then, is the same who daily offers Himself by the 
hands of the priest ; it is only the manner of offering which 
is different." And the difference consists in this, — that the 
sacrifice of the Cross was a bloody one ; for then Jesus 
Christ was passible and mortal ; and what is now daily of- 
fered upon our altars is unbloody; because " Jesus Christ 
being raised from death, can die no more, and death has 
now no more power or dominion over Him." I " Now the 
Saviour of the world," says the Council, " having offered 

♦ 1 Cor. xi. 26. f Pa. cv. 21. | 9. 


Himself a sacrifice for us upon the Cross, was not content 
that this sacrifice should end there ; but because He was a 
priest forever. He ordained that this sacrifice should forever 
continue in the Church as a most real and lively representa- 
tion and renewal of His Passion and Death." 

On the altar our Saviour Jesus Christ is really exhibited 
to His Eternal Father under the two separate species, with- 
out any visible sign of life, motion, or action, and under the 
figure and appearance of death, as if He were really dead, 
according to what was shown to St. John in the Apocalypse, 
when he said, " I saw a Lamb standing as it were slain," or 
under the appearance of being slain. It is true, Jesus, im- 
mortal and impassible as He is, can sufi'er and die no more ; 
yet, as regards the effects to us, it is as if He really did 
bleed, agonize, and expire again each time He is immolated 
on the altar. His suff'erings are not renewed in themselves ; 
but in their fruits they are renewed for us, and applied to 
each soul separately and individually. What the sacrifice 
of Calvary did for the whole human race, one Mass can do 
for the one who assists at it with the requisite dispositions, 
who approaches the altar with humility, contrition, and 
sincere renunciation of sin. The blood which flowed on 
the Cross to ransom the world, will flow on the soul of such 
an one to wash away its defilements, to heal its wounds, to 
enhance its beaut}^, and strengthen its weakness; for "The 
sacrifice of the Mass," says St. John Chrysostom, "being 
but the application and repetition of the sacrifice of the 
Cross, is as efficacious as the sacrifice of Calvary for the 
good and salvation of men." * Hence the magnificent con- 
sequence drawn by this holy father of the Church: "A 
Mass is equivalent to the sacrifice of the Cross."! '* Since, 
therefore," he continues, " we are about to behold Him who 
was nailed to the Cross, Him who as a lamb was slain and sac- 

* In Cap. vi. Isaias. 

f Apud Discip. Serm. 48. 

OF Christ's passiox. 227 

rificed, let ns approacli with trembling, and niiicli reverence 
and piety. Know you not how angels stood by the sepul- 
chre which held not His body, stood by the empty tomb ? 
Now we are going to stand, not at an empty tomb, but at 
the yery table (altar) which holds that Lamb, and shall we 
approach tumultuously and disorderly? What dost thou, 
O man ? When the priest stands before the altar with his 
hands stretched out toward heaven, invoking that Holy 
Spirit to come and to touch the things that lie to open 
view; when thou beholdest the Lamb slain and consum- 
mated, is that the time that thou introducest tumult, con- 
fusion, contention, and wrangling ? 

"Tell me why art thou hurried ? for whose sake art thou 
in haste, beholding as thou dost the Lamb slain ? For even 
if thou wert to gaze upon that sacrifice during the whole 
night, is that a thing of wliich to grow weary ? Eeflect 
what that is which lies before thee, and for what purpose it 
is lying there. 

*' He was slain for thee, and though thou beholdest Him 
slain, yet thou abandonest Him. Where the body is, there 
are also the eagles. Bnt we approach not as eagles, but as 
dogs ; such is our effrontery. Eeflect what that is which is 
poured ont. It is blood, that very blood which blotted out 
the handwriting of our sins; that blood which cleansed thy 
soul, which washed away its stain, which triumphed over 
principalities and powers." * 

" None of those things, therefore, that take place in this 
sanctuary, is from man. Though it be man that stands at 
this sacred table, and offers up this tremendous sacrifice, 
yet is it God that operates through him. Wherefore attend 
not to his nature that is visible to thee, but rather fix thy 
mind on what is invisible."! 

Were we only as enlightened in regard to the holy Mass 

* Colos. ii. 15 ; T. ii. De Coemeterio et de cruce, n. 3, p. 473. 
f T. ii. Horn. i. de Sanct. Peutec. n. 4, p. 548. 


as St. John Clirysostom and other saints ; were our faith 
only as lively as theirs, assuredly, we should then see at a 
glance how Mass is, by excellence, the commemoration of the 
Passion and Death of our Lord ; that to assist at it is to be 
ou Mount Calvary with Mary, the blessed Mother of our 
Saviour, with St. John, and St. Mary Magdalen, witness- 
ing the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. 
It was for this very reason that the hearts of the saints, 
whilst at Mass, overflowed with sentiments of compassion 
for our Lord; of gratitude and love for His infinite charity, 
and of sorrow and contrition for their own sins. 

In the life of St. William, Archbishop of Bourges, we are 
told that whilst celebrating Mass, this holy prelate was 
touched with deep, heartfelt sorrow for his sins — a sorrow 
that made him shed torrents of indescribably sweet tears. 
He used to say, "If I consider during the Mass that Jesus 
Christ ofiers Himself upon the altar as a victim to His 
Father, I feel as deeply penetrated with sorrow as if I saw 
Him with my own eyes hanging upon the Cross, and shed- 
ding His sacred blood for my sins." 

St. Ignatius of Loyola was obliged to allow a day to inter- 
vene between his offering of the holy mysteries, which arose 
from the force of the impressions produced upon him each 
time he said Mass. From the extreme consolation which he 
experienced in the heavenly moment in which he possessed 
his God at Mass, he shed torrents of tears, a circumstance 
which drew the following remark one day from a man who 
witnessed it, and who assuredly knew but little of the gift of 
God: "That priest must be a great sinner; he does noth- 
ing but weep when he says Mass and receives Communion." 

The life of St. Coleta, of the Order of St. Clare, was always 
holy and innocent from her very infancy. God bestowed 
upon her most extraordinai-y favors. Yet, when at Mass, she 
used to shed abundant tears over her sins. She often went 
to confession before Mass, in order to assist at the holy sacri- 
fice with greater purity of conscience. 


Some of the saints, when at Mass, imagined that they 
applied their mouths, as it were, to the precious wound of 
our. Saviour's side, drank His blood, and participated in all 
the graces He had gained for us by the merits of His suffer- 
ings and Death. Others, at the time of Mass, represented to 
themselves our Saviour crucified, and planting His Cross in 
their hearts, as it was upon Mount Calvar}^, and casting 
themselves at the foot thereof, they gathered up with their 
lips all those drops of blood that fell from it. Now, these 
are not only holy thoughts, such as a meditation furnishes, 
but they are real truths taught by faith, for Mass is a real 
commemoration of the sufferings and death of our Lord, as 
is clearly signified by the words of our Saviour, "Take and 
drink ye all of this, for this is the chalice of My blood of the 
new and eternal Testament, which shall be shed for you, and 
for many, to the remission of sins." 

Since it is Jesus Christ Himself who tells us that the 
Sacrifice of the Mass is the solemn commemoration of His 
Passion and Death, since the same truth is asserted by St. 
Paul the Apostle, and since this doctrine has been taught 
and firmly believed by the Catholic Church from the begin- 
ning, we need no particular miracles to confirm us in this 
belief. However, our dear Lord, in His goodness, has often 
been pleased to manifest Himself in the Mass as if in a state 
of suffering, bleeding and dying, in order to encourage the 
just in their resolution to serve Him faithfully, and the 
wicked in endeavoring to lead a better life. 

Caesarius of Heisterbach, who protests in his book that he 
has written nothing which he did not see himself, or hear 
from such witnesses as would be willing to die rather than 
tell a lie, relates that in his convent there lived a certain 
pious priest, named Godschalk, a native of Wolmenstein, who 
one day said Mass with an extraordinary devotion, and shed 
many tears at the same time. The cause of his tears and 
unusual devotion was because after consecration he beheld 
in his hands the Lifant Jesus instead of the sacred Host; 


he took it and kissed it, and experienced an unspeakable joy. 
After a little while, our Lord again assumed the form of the 
Host, and the j^riest finished Mass with unusual devotion. 
Soon after he fell dangerously ill. Before he died he re- 
vealed the wonderful vision to the superior of the convent, 
who related it to a certain parish priest, named Adolph of 
Deiseren. On hearing it, this priest was struck with great 
amazement and exclaimed with a deep sigh, " Why is it that 
God shows these wonderful things to His saints, who, with- 
out them, are perfect in faith ? Why does He not show 
these things to me and other poor sinners, who are so easily 
inclined to doubt the truth of this sacrament?" One day 
Father Adolph took the sacred Host at Mass to divide it in 
two, when he beheld the Infant Jesus looking at him with a 
most gracious smile : but soon after the Divine Infant appeared 
in the state in which He was when hanging on the Cross, 
inclining His head as if about to die. At this touching sight 
Father Adolph commenced to shed bitter tears; he could 
hardly breathe, and almost fainted away. He beheld our 
Lord in a dying condition for a considerable time, and felt 
extremely perplexed, not knowing wiiat to do. The people, 
too, were at a loss what to think of the priest, being so long 
in saying Mass and shedding so many tears. At last our 
dear Saviour assumed again the form of the Host, to enable 
him to finish Mass. After Mass he ascended the pulpit and 
related to those who were in the church the wonderful things 
he had seen on the altar. Now, when he tried to explain to 
them the dying condition in which he had seen our Lord, 
he felt so much overcome by the emotions of his heart that 
he could not utter a word; he did nothing but sob and 
weep. He left the pulpit and spent several days in shedding 
tears of repentance and in meditating upon the Passion and 
Death of our Lord. From that time he commenced to lead 
a retired and truly penitential life.* 

* Lib. de illust, miraculis et liistoriis. 


The holy Mass may also be called a commemoration of the • 
Passion and Death of our Lord, because He constantly re- 
ceives, in this august sacrament, insults similar to those 
which He had to undergo in the course of His Passion, and 
which He bears in the same manner in which He bore those 
that He suffered from Maundy Thursday until He expired 
on the Cross. Jesus, the Eternal Son of God, is mocked, not 
only by the most insolent of men — by the dregs of the 
people, in the house of Caiphas, and by the vile soldiery at 
the tribunal of Pilate; but also by Herod in his palace, by the 
scribes and priests upon Mount Calvary, in order that it 
might be believed that contempt was due Him, since the 
little and the great, the ignorant and the learned, the civil 
and the ecclesiastical powers united to insult His majesty, 
His sanctity, and His dignity. They blindfolded Him and 
gave Him blows, and yet He was silent ; they beat Him with 
rods, and they tore out His hair, and He was silent; they 
spat in His face and insulted Him in a thousand other ways, 
and He was silent ; He is treated as a mock-king and as a 
fool ; He is chained like a ferocious beast, and cast into the 
mire like a vile slave; and He is silent. Ob, prodigy of hu- 
mility and patience ! 

Similar insults have been offered to our dear Saviour in 
the holy Sacrifice of the Mass — in His sacrament of love, for 
more than eighteen hundred years, and will be offered to 
Him to the end of the world. He has been insulted by bad, 
unworthy priests, who have treated Him more shamefully 
than Judas did; He has been insulted by thousands of un- 
worthy communicants, who have forced Him to enter their 
hearts, which were the abode of the devil ; He has been 
insulted thousands of times by Jews and heretics, who have 
taken the sacred Hosts and thrown them into the foulest 
places or have treated them in the most shocking manner; 
and our dear Lord is silent and bears all these insults with 
the greatest patience. Although His sacred Body in its 
glorified state, is no longer capable of suffering, yet His 


Heart is not less sensitive to the injuries and ignominies it 

Among the miraculous Hosts preserved in different 
churches is that of St. Jean-en-Greve at Paris, the history 
of wliich is most authentic. 

A poor woman, who had need of money, borrowed a small 
sum from a Jewish usurer, giving him in pledge all she 
had best in clothes and linen. The feast of Easter approach- 
ing, she entreated him to lend her, at least for that great 
day, what she had pawned him. " I will willingly do so," 
said he, " and I will even release you from the whole sum I 
lent you, if you promise to bring me the Host you will re- 
ceive in Communion." The desire of having her clothes 
again, and not being obliged to repay the sum borrowed, 
proved a temptation which the unhappy woman could not 
resist. She promised to bring him the Host, and kept her 
promise. On the morrow she went to her parish church, 
and after receiving the sacred Host into her mouth, she 
hastened to take it out again, wrapped it in a handkerchief, 
and brought it to the wretched Jew to whom she had prom- 
ised it. It was for the purpose of gratifying his hatred 
against our Lord that this man wanted to have a Host : ho 
treated it with the greatest indignity, and Jesus Christ con- 
stantly showed him how sensible He was to the outrages 
offered Him. The Jew first put the Host upon the table, 
and struck it repeatedly with a penknife ; blood imme- 
diately flowed from it in abundance, which caused the man's 
wife and children to shudder with horror. He nailed it to 
a wall and brutally struck it ; then he pierced it with a 
lance, to renew, if possible, the frightful torments of our 
Lord's Passion. The Host shed blood anew, as though to 
prove to the execrable wretch that it was not merely mate- 
rial bread. He threw it into the fire, and it was seen flying 
here and there without receiving any injury. The infernal 
rage that animated the Jew led him to throw it into a pot 
of boiling water; the water took the color of blood, and the 


Host then appeared yisibly under the form of Christ cruci- 
fied. This sight so terrified the deicide that he went to hide 
himself in a dark corner of his house. But it was not lono^ 
before his crime was discovered, and the discovery came 
about this wise : 

One of his children, seeing people going to church, cried 
out simply : " Do • not go to church any more to seek your 
God ; don't you know my father killed him ? " A woman 
hearing what the child said, entered the house under the 
pretext of asking for some fire, and she saw the Host, which 
w^as still under the form'of Jesus on the Cross; but it soon 
resumed its former shape, and came to repose in the little 
vessel which the woman had in her hand. All amazed, she 
carried her treasure religiously to the church of St. Jean-en- 
Greve. Information was given to the magistrate. The 
Jew, nowise sorry for his fault, was condemned to be burned 
alive; but his wife, his children, and many other Jews were 

The house wherein our Lord showed that He is really in 
the Blessed Sacrament was changed into a church, and in 
course of time it was served by Carmelite monks. The re- 
ligious who inhabited it were charged with repairing, by a 
perpetual adoration, the outrages offered to Jesus Christ in 
the sacrament of His love. This sad event took place in 

It is thus that the holy sacrifice of the Mass brings to our 
mind the Passion and Death of our Lord in the most im- 
pressive manner ; it reminds us constantly of the cause of 
His unheard-of sufferings and cruel Death. "We see, indeed, 
the sad effect of sin everywhere ; but nowhere does it appear 
more fearfully than on Mount Calvary, and upon our altars 
during the holy sacrifice of Mass. Jesus suffered and died 
because we had sinned. To love sin, therefore, to continue 
to commit it, is to renew the Passion and Death of Jesus 

* Lassausse, Exampl. du Cat. de TEinpire, 498. 


Clirist. As often as a mortal sin is committed, Jesus is cru- 
cified anew. The ever-blessed Son of God became man to 
take away the sins of the world. All the actions and all the 
sufferings of Jesus Christ were directed to this one end — 
to destroy sin. This was the object of all His thoughts, all 
His words, all His actions. This was the object of all His 
hardships, His labors. His life, and His death. AVhosoever 
then commits a mortal sin, destroys, as far as in him lies, all 
the efforts and labors of Jesus Christ ; he brings to naught 
the work of redemption. By his actions, if not by his words, 
lie says clearly : Clirist came on earth to destroy sin, and I, 
in spite of Christ, will cause sin to exist anew. Jesus in 
His Passion wished to honor His heavenly Father, and I, 
by my sins, will renew the Passion of Jesus Christ and dis- 
honor God the Father. 

By His death, Christ closed the gates of hell, but I, by 
my sins, will open them once more. Christ has opened 
heaven to me by His blood, but I, by my sins, will cause the 
gate of heaven to be closed against me. 

Yes, whoever sins opposes Jesus Christ, and in his own 
person renders useless all His labors, His life, and His death. 
As often as we sin, we trample under foot the Son of God, 
we despise and dishonor the precious blood of Jesus Christ, 
we renew His bitter Passion and Death : we crucify Jesus 
anew. This is no mere figure of speech; it is the simple 
truth. In the first place, that for which Jesus was crucified 
is done — a mortal sin is committed. Our divine Saviour has 
taken upon Himself to atone for all our sins, and had His 
Death on Mount Calvary not been sufficient to atone fur all 
the sins of the world. He would have to die anew each time 
that a mortal sin is committed. In the second place, as 
often as such a sin is committed, a crime is done which is 
more hateful and dishonorable to Jesus then were all the out- 
rages of His Passion. 

For, rather than be offended by a mortal sin. He would 
prefer to be scourged, to be crowned with thorns, to be 


mocked, and to be nailed to the Cross. By every mortal sin, 
then, Jesus is crucified anew in the heart of the sinner. 
Therein He feels again the scourges, the crown of thorns, 
tlie insults and the Cross. The Jews and the Jewish execu- 
tioners were indeed cruel, hard-hearted, but yet they were 
not aware that He whom they crucified was the King of 
Glory, the ever-blessed Son of God; but the sinning Chris- 
tian knows well that Jesus is the Son of God. 

The executioners crucified Jesus but once ; but we crucify 
Him as often as we sin. When the Jews saw that Jesus was 
dead, they were filled with remorse for their crime, and went 
away striking their breasts, and imploring God's mercy ; 
but when we sin, we feel no sorrow, we sometimes glory in 
the wicked deed, and boast of it to others, as a noble exploit. 
The Jews and executioners of Jesus Christ indeed commit- 
ted a heinous crime, for they were guilty of the murder of 
a God; but yet they accomplished thereby the loving designs 
of Providence, for Jesus was to die that the world might be 
saved ; and amidst all the torments of His bitter Passion, 
He was consoled by the thought, that by His Death He 
honored His heavenly Father, closed the gates of hell, 
opened those of heaven, and saved those immortal souls 
which were so dear to His heart. But when we crucify 
Jesus by mortal sin, we open to ourselves the gates of hell, 
close the gates of heaven, pollute the precious blood of 
Jesus Christ, horrify the angels, and dishonor the Holy 
Trinity. So that mortal sin is a greater evil even than that 
of the Jews and the executioners of Jesus Christ. They 
were not Christians and friends of our dear Saviour, but 
His enemies ; while we are Christians, friends, disciples of 

Indeed, when an infidel sins, he deserves that a hell of 
torments should be created for him. On the day of judg- 
ment the unbelievers shall be judged by the voice of their 
conscience, by that law of nature which is inscribed in the 
heart of every human being; but Christians shall be judged 


by the very presence of Jesus Christ Himself. "Behold 
Me," He will say to them, " I am that God in whom you be- 
lieved ; I am that God whom you have outraged and cruci- 
fied by your sins. Behold My hands and My feet, it is I." 

Can there be any one who would have the madness to 
commit another mortal sin, knowing that Jesus became an 
object of horror to atone for these sins ? Whenever we are 
tempted hereafter to commit sin, let us call to mind all that 
Jesus has done and suffered. Behold Him nailed to the 
Cross, see the streams of blood that flow from His hands and 
His feet and His blessed side. Behold His sacred head 
crowned with thorns. Gaze on His Godlike face, all livid 
with blows and defiled with spittle. Behold His virginal 
body, all mangled and bleeding. Look upon our good Lord 
loaded with contempt, while His blessed soul is weighed 
down with sadness. Consider all the sufferings that God 
has endured to atone for our sins, and then, if we have the 
heart, let us commit another mortal sin. When one has 
had the happiness of being baptized and well instructed 
in the Christian religion, he should, by right, never more 
offend Almighty God. There were saints, nay, even poor 
savages, who so lived. A pious missionary, whose name I 
have forgotten, was traversing the wildest regions of 
Xorth America to win souls for Christ ; he stopped at the 
principal villages, and often found there savages whom 
grace brought to him from a considerable distance. He in- 
structed and baptized those whom he thought well disposed, 
and then went on his way to other places. A savage one 
day presented himself to him, whose fervor appeared to be 
something extraordinary; as soon as he was well instructed 
in the mysteries of our holy religion, the missionary admin- 
istered baptism to him,*and also gave him Holy Communion, 
which this good Indian received with the most lively trans- 
ports of love and gratitude. 

The missionary then went off on other apostolic excursions. 
A year after he returned to the place where dwelt this Indian 

OF Christ's passioj^. 237 

convert. As soon as the latter was aware of the missionary's 
arrival, lie ran to throw himself at his feet and bathed them 
with his tears; he knew not how to express the joy he felt 
in seeing again him who had begotten him to Jesiis Christ. 
He soon entreated the Father to grant him once more the 
happiness he had made him enjoy the year before. 

" Of what happiness do you speak ? " asked the missionary. 
"Ah! my Father, do you not know? the happiness of re- 
ceiving within me the Body of my God!" "Willingly, ray 
child, but first you must go to confession. Have you ex- 
amined your conscience well ? " " Father, I examined it 
every day, as you charged me to do last year." '^ In that 
case, kneel down, and declare to me the faults you may have 
fallen into since your baptism ? " " What faults. Father? " 
" Why, the grievous faults you feel you have wilfully com- 
mitted against the commandments of God and the Church." 
" Grievous faults," answers the savage all amazed ; " can any 
one offend God after they are baptized, and especially after 
having received Communion ? Are there anywhere Christians 
capable of such ingratitude? " Sajdng these words he burst 
into tears, and the missionary, on his side, wept too, blessing 
God for having prepared for Himself even in the forests of 
America such worshippers, who may, indeed, be called wor- 
shippers in spirit and in truth.* 

If we often consider that Mass is the solemn commemora- 
tion and renewal of the sufferings and Death of Jesus Christ 
upon the Cross, we shall, if possible, be present every day at 
this holy sacrifice, where the most precious blood of Jesus 
Christ falls upon the soul like a light dew, refreshing and 
reviving all that is drooping toward the earth. We shall see 
at Mass nothing but heaven ; our virtue will take deep root ; 
and the odor of a holy life will diffuse itself over our being 
like that of flowers in spring. All weak though we be, the 
corruption of sin shall not touch us, who have been pene- 

* Dubussi Nouv. Mois de Marie, 135. 


trated by the strength, and the sweetness of the incorruptible 
Blood of Jesus Christ at Mass. " The statues of sovereigns 
have often served as asylums to men who flew for refuge 
to them ; not because they were made of brass, but because 
they represented the persons of princes. In like manner, the 
blood of the lamb saved the Israelites, not because it was 
blood, but because it prefigured the blood of the Saviour, 
and announced His coming. Now, then, if the enemy per- 
ceives not the blood of the typical lamb on our doors, but 
the blood of the true Lamb shining on the souls of the faith- 
ful, he will depart farther from us. Eor if the angel of de- 
struction passed by where he saw the figure, how much more 
terrified will not the enemy be at beholding the reality." * 

* St. John Clirysostom. 



Our divine Saviour remained in Limbo with the holy 
fathers from "Friday night until Sunday morning, before 
dawn, when He came forth from the sepulchre accompa- 
nied by holy angels and the souls of the just whom He had 
redeemed. A great number of the angels kept guard over 
the holy sepulchre. Some gathered the drops of divine 
blood and the pieces of sacred flesh torn by the blows, as also 
everything which related to the integrity of the most holy 
Humanity. The souls of the holy fathers, on arriving, be- 
held at first this divine body covered with wounds and dis- 
figured by the outrages and cruelty of the Jews; then the 
angels reverently replaced the sacred relics which they had 
gathered together, and at the same instant the most holy soul 
of the Redeemer reunited itself to the divine body and com 
municated to it life immortal and glorious. 

In the time of His Passion, our divine Saviour had lost 
the four principal privileges that man may possess. His 
executioners deprived Him of His clothes, leaving Him in 
extreme poverty; they deprived Him of all honor by loading 
Him with the most outrageous contempt; they dej)rived 
Him of His health by inflicting upon Him most frightful 
torments; they deprived Him of His most precious life by 
inflicting on Him a most cruel death. But in arising from 
the tomb, He regained all these privileges, added to and 
multiplied beyond measure. He who before was poor and 
indigent became the Lord of the Universe. He who but 
three days before was a " worm of the earth, the opprobrium 
of men, the outcast of the people," is now crowned with glory 


and honor, and. seated at the right hand of the Most High. 
He Avho was before *• a man of sorroAvs and acquainted with 
infirmity, in whom there was no sound part, from the crown 
of His head to the sole of His foot,*' recovered His vigor, be- 
coming victorious over hell and sin. He changes His 
weakness into power and strength, and the ignominy of His 
Passion into honor and glory. His body thenceforth shines 
resplendent for all eternity, endowed with the four qualities 
of glorified bodies. His countenance is more brilliant than 
the noon-day sun. He has overthrown in the Eed Sea of 
His Blood " the horse and the rider," that is, the flesh, the 
world, and the demon. 

blessed day of the resurrection, that restores to us the 
divine Lamb — the Victim for our sins, whom love had im- 
molated on the altar of the Cross! In His resurrection 
Jesus Christ restores to us with advantage the gift of the 
holy sacrifice of Mass. His resurrection is a re-establish- 
ment of this adorable mystery in its fullness and perfection. 
Previous to the Passion He gave His sacred body mortal 
and passible ; after His resurrection He gives It immortal 
and impassible, such as He is now, seated in Heaven at the 
right hand of His Father. Not content with having em- 
ployed His mortal life in laboring for our salvation, He 
would also in the excess of His charity employ therein His 
glorified life, and join eternity to time for the work of our 
sanctification. For this reason Mass is also the commemo- 
ration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

When we considered Mass as the commemoration of the 
Passion and Death of our Lord, our attention was fixed on 
the real immolation of the Lamb ; we looked upon the altar 
as a new Calvary, and our devotion was centred upon the 
divine Victim slain for our ransom. But when we come to 
consider Mass as the commemoration of the Resurrection of 
Jesus Christ, the divine Lamb presents Himself to us in 
another aspect ; He is living. He is resplendent with glory, 
He is the Conqueror, although He still deigns to be immo- 

cheist's resurrection^. 241 

jated. Wherefore the priest commemorating the Eesurrec- 
tion of Jesus Christ, together with His Passion, on breaking 
the Host puts one part into the chalice, denoting thereby the 
reunion of the body and the blood of Christ on the day of 
His rising from the tomb. "Where, my brethren," says 
St. Augustine, "would the Saviour be known after His 
Resurrection, save in the breaking of bread ? Be assured, 
we enjoy the same blessing; we break the sacramental bread 
and therein recognize our Lord ; consequently, whoever is 
faithful, whoever bears not in vain the name of a Christian, 
let him be consoled in the breaking of bread. Jesus Christ, 
though seated at the right hand of the Father, is neverthe- 
less present on the altar under the mystic species." For 
although the sacrifice of the Mass is in effect the same as 
that of the Cross, and Jesus Christ is on the altar in a state 
of mystic death ; yet we commemorate therein the mystery 
of the Eesurrection, because His sacred body is there also 
gloriously resuscitated. Hence it is that the Church in her 
chants of the Paschal time during Mass is untiring in her 
alleluias; she affectionately kisses her Saviour's wounds, 
which now dart forth rays of dazzling brightness. Her altar 
is the throne of the Risen God ; she approaches it without 
fear, for the divine Conqueror of death, though so resplen- 
dent in His glory, is more loving and affable than ever. For 
this reason, during a considerable portion of the Paschal 
time, the Mass is celebrated in commemoration of the great 
mysteries which were accomplished at this season of the 
Liturgical year. 

The Holy Mass, then, considered as the commemoration 
of the Resurrection of our Lord, reminds us in a special 
manner of a Victim, who is gloriously risen from the dead, 
and yet is still immolated in a real though unbloody man- 
ner; it brings to our minds a joyous banquet — the banquet 
of the Pasch, to which the Lamb of God invites us in order 
to give us to eat of His glorified body. Each church be- 
comes a cenacle where Jesus celebrates the Pasch with His 



disciples. The holy table is no longer the feast of a chosen 
few; the guests come in in crowds, and the house is filled. 
Now is the great figure of the Old Law changed into a 
reality. "At this table of the great King, the new Pasch 
of the New Law puts an end to the ancient Passover. The 
new excludes the old, reality puts the shadow to flight ; 
light expels night." We are the children of promise; 
we have not denied Christ, as did the Jews ; but we ac- 
knowledged Him to be our King, whilst His faithless peo- 
ple were dragging Him to execution. He in return has in- 
vited us to His Pasch, and there makes Himself our Host 
and our food. At this table is likewise fulfilled the pro- 
phetic symbol of the ancient Paschal Lamb. For fifteen 
hundred years, it was the figurative lamb ; the true Lamb 
has now reigned over eighteen hundred years, and this is 
tlie Lamb whom the holy Mass produces in all the efificacy 
of His sacrifice, and in all the magnificence of His glory. 
We should, therefore, be present at this great act of the 
Christian religion, especially in the Paschal time, with ex- 
treme joy of soul; for it is here that we have in all its reality 
the same Jesus who so gloriously rose again from the dead 
to die no more. We should unite with His holy Mother, 
Mary, with the Magdalen, and with His disciples in their 
sentiments of joy. They had the immense happiness of see- 
ing and conversing with Him for forty days after His Res- 
urrection. But our happiness is not less great. Jesus 
Christ has shown Himself in the Holy Eucharist oftener 
than He showed Himself to His Apostles and the pious 
women during those forty days. To them He appeared re- 
peatedly to confirm their faith, and to prepare them for the 
persecutions that awaited them. With what charity did He 
not appear to St. Thomas the Apostle, who said he would 
not believe in the Resurrection of our Lord, unless he 
should see in our Saviour's hands the print of the nails, and 
put his finger into the place of the nails, and his hand into 
His side ? 

chkist's eesuerectiox. 243 

The incredulity of St. Thomas is inexcusable ; he neither 
believed the prediction of his divine Master, nor the testi- 
mony of St. Peter, who had seen our Lord after His Resur- 
rection. His presumption was extreme : for he preferred his 
own judgment to that of all the Apostles, whom he accused 
of simplicity. He is ungrateful to his Lord and Master for 
the graces he received, and the dignity to which he had been 
elevated. He has the temerity to prescribe laws to his Sov- 
ereign and his God; and were he not wanting in reverence 
and respect, the very thought of putting his hands in the 
sacred wounds of our Saviour would cause him to tremble 
with awe. IN'evertheless, Jesus, with inconceivable meekness 
bears with the infidelity of His disciple, and prepares a sov- 
ereign remedy for his incredulity and the fortifying of our 
faith. In His unparalleled charity, our divine Saviour seeks 
out the faithless one. " He enters, the doors being shut." 
His custom is to knock at the door of the heart and await 
its opening. "I stand at the door and knock ; if any man 
open to Me I will enter." But here He performs a miracle. 
" He enters, the doors being shut.'' To heal the incredulity 
of His disciples. He displays an act of that omnipotence 
which all creatures unresistingly obey. He shows him His 
wounds. " Put in thy finger hither, and see My hands, and 
bring hither thy hand and put it into My side." St. Thomas 
knew not that his Lord and his God was present when he 
said : "Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, 
and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my 
hand into His side, I will not believe." Now he discovers 
that nothing can be concealed from the infinite wisdom of 
his Master, who, with a charity commensurate with that 
wisdom, sweetly invites the disciple to touch those sacred 
wounds, whence issues the light of faith to illuminate, as 
previously rushed the blood to redeem the human race. The 
charity of the Apostle is rekindled on touching the sacred 
wounds of his divine Master, who saved him from the dangers 
of the abyss into which he had ftillen, by showing His hands 


and His side, the view of which raised him up, even to that 
admirable confession of the Divinity, "My Lord and my 

Oh, what joy to this Apostle ! With what ardent gratitude 
is his soul replenished in return for so singular a grace! 
Happy saint ! how great the favor to put your hand into that 
heart of mercy, that side, the source of salvation, in which 
we are saved from the wrath of God, find healing for all our 
spiritual maladies, are engendered to grace, and elevated to 
eternal glory. 

Alas ! how many times has not our dear Lord in the Holy 
Eucharist treated men with the same charity and condescen- 
sion. In this divine mystery He has appeared not only to 
infidels and heretics to convince them of His Presence and 
make them believe in it, but He has also frequently appeared 
to many of those of His priests who were faithless, like St. 

In the year 1263, during the Pontificate of Urban IY.> 
occurred a very striking miracle at Volsia, a town near the 
city of Kome. A certain priest, having pronounced the 
words of consecration over the bread at Mass, had a temjita- 
tion against faith, the devil suggesting to him to doubt how 
Jesus Christ could be present in the Host, when he could 
see nothing of Him. He consented to the temptation, but 
nevertheless continued saying Mass. At the elevation of the 
sacred Host, behold ! he and all the people who were present, 
saw blood flowing abundantly from the Host down upon the 
altar. Some cried out: "0 sacred Blood! wlxat does this 
mean ? divine Blood ! who is the cause of Tby being 
shed ? " Others prayed: " sacred Blood, come down upon 
our souls and purify them from the stains of sin." Others 
beat their breasts, and shed tears of repentance for their sins. 
When Mass was over the people all rushed to the sacristy in 
order to learn from the priest what had happened during 
his Mass. He showed them the corporal all stained with the 
sacred Blood, and when they beheld it they fell upon their 

Christ's resurrectio^t. 245 

knees imploring the divine mercy. The miracle became 
known all over the country, and many persons hastened to 
Volsia to see the miracnlous corporal. Pope Urban IV. 
sent for the priest, who went to Eome, confessed his sin and 
showed the corporal. On beholding it, the Pope, the Car- 
dinals, and all the clergy knelt down, adored the blood, and 
kissed the corporal. The Pope had a church built in Volsia 
in honor of the sacred blood, and ordered the corporal to be 
carried in solemn procession on the anniversary of the day 
on which the miracle occurred.* 

Although we never witnessed such a touching spectacle, 
yet our sentiments when at Mass should be those of St. 
Thomas, after he had seen our Lord with his own eyes ; we 
should exclaim with him, " My Lord and my God," I be- 
lieve that Thou art here present, though hidden under the 
sacramental veil; I renounce my own judgment and the 
testimony of my own senses. Thou art my God and my 
Saviour; alas! what have I done? I have sinned against 
Thee, my Lord and my God. I am unworthy to approach 
Tliee. divine Lamb, that takest away the sins of the world, 
I conjure Thee by Thy sacred wounds, the only refuge of the 
sinner, to grant me mercy. My Lord and My God, grant that 
I may repeat these sweet words during my life, at the hour 
of my death, and in the unfading glory of eternity. My Lord 
and my God, dart forth from Thy sacred wounds a ray of 
light and love, to penetrate and transpierce my heart even 
to its inmost recesses. Enlighten my mind, inflame my will, 
that all the powers and affections of my soul may be conse- 
crated with an eternal devotion to Thee, My Lord and my 

* Platina's Life of Urban IV. 



After His Eesurrection, our Lord appeared to His disci- 
ples not only to confirm them in their faith, but also in 
order to inspire them with an unbounded confidence in His 
goodness and divine protection. He still continues to do 
the same in the holy sacrifice of the Mass. The following 
examples are a powerful confirmation of this consoling 

In his Pastoral letter of June 22, 1823, The Right Rev. 
Dr. Doyle, of Kildare, Ireland, writes as follows : " We an- 
nounce to you, dearest brethren, with great joy, a splendid 
miracle which the Almighty God has wrought even in our 
days, at the present time, and in the midst of ourselves. "We 
announce it to you with a heart filled with gratitude to 
heaven, that you may unite with us in thanksgiving to ' the 
Father of mercies and the God of all consolation,' Who con- 
soles us in every tribulation, and Who has even consoled us 
by restoring, miraculously, Miss Mary Lalor, to the perfect 
use of speech, of which for six years and five months she 
had been totally deprived ! " Here the Right Rev. Bishop 
refers to the letter of the Very Rev. N. O'Connor, Rector of 
the Parish of Maryborough. This letter gives a detailed ac- 
count of the miracle as it occurred. It reads as follows : 

"Maryborough, June 11, 1823. 

" My Lord :— In comj^liance with your request I send 
you a statement of the facts relative to Miss Lalor, which I 
have heard from others and witnessed myself. 


" I am now in the house where she was deprived of her 
speech. She is at present in the eighteenth year of her age ; 
and as she is connected with most of the respectable Catholic 
families in this county, and has had frequent intercourse 
with them, her privation of speech during six years and five 
months is established beyond contradiction. Her hearing 
and understanding remained unimpaired, and she carried a 
tablet and pencil to write what she could not communicate 
by signs. 

'- Medical aid was tried by Dr. Ferris, of Athy, and Sur- 
geon Smith, of Mountrath, but without effect. The latter 
gentleman (as a similar case never occurred in the course of 
his practice) resolved to have it submitted to the most emi- 
nent physicians in Dublin, eight of whom were consulted, 
and the result was, that no hopes could be entertained for 
her recovery. This decision was imparted by Dr. Smith to 
her father, apart from Mrs. and Miss Lalor, all which cir- 
cumstances the Doctor recollected on the 14th instant, when 
he saw Miss Lalor and heard her case to be miraculous. 

" You, my Lord, are already aware that, according to your 
directions, written to me on the 1st of June, I waited on Mr. 
Lalor and communicated to him and to his family all that 
you desired. They observed it with exactness ; and on the 
morning of the 10th instant. Miss Lalor having confessed to 
me by signs, and disposed herself for receiving the Holy Com- 
munion, I read to her again from Your Lordship's letter the 
directions of the Prince De Hohenlohe, namely, that she 
should excite within her a sincere repentance, and a firm 
resolution of obeying God's commandments, a lively faith, 
and an unbounded confidence in His mercy, an entire con- 
formity to His holy will, and a disinterested love of Him. 

" I had previously requested the clergy of this district to 
offer up for Miss Lalor the holy sacrifice of Mass, at twelve 
minutes before eight o'clock in the morning of the 10th, 
keeping the matter a secret from most others, as you had 
recommended ; however, as it transpired somewhat, a con- 


siderable number collected in the chapel, when my two co- 
adjutors, with myself, began Mass at the hour appointed. I 
offered the holy sacrifice in the name of the Church. I be- 
sought the Lord to overlook my own un worthiness and 
regard only Jesus Christ, the Great High Priest and Victim 
Who offers Himself in the Mass to His Eternal Father, for 
the living and the dead. I implored the Mother of God, all 
the angels and saints, and particularly Saint John Nepo- 
mucene. I administered the Sacrament to the young lady, 
at the usual time, when instantly she heard, as it Avere, a 
voice distinctly saying to her, ' Mary, you are well ' — when 
instantly she exclaimed, '0 Lord, am //' and, over- 
whelmed with devotion, fell prostrate on her face. She con- 
tinued in this posture for a considerable time, whilst I 
hastened to conclude the Mass ; but was interrupted in my 
thanksgiving immediately after by the mother of the child 
l)ressing her to speak. 

" When at length she w^as satisfied in pouring out her heart 
to the Lord, she took her mother by the hand, and said to 
her, ' Dear mother,' upon which Mrs. Lalor called the clerk 
and sent for me, as I had retired to avoid the interruption, 
and on coming w^here the young lady was, I found her speak- 
ing in an agreeable, clear, and distinct voice, such as neither 
she nor her mother could recognize as her own. 

"As she returned home in the afternoon, the doors and 
windows in the street through which she passed were 
crowded wdth persons gazing with wonder at this monument 
of the goodness and power of Almighty God. 

"Thus, my Lord, in obedience to your commands, I have 
given you a simple statement of facts, without adding to or 
distorting w^hat I have seen and heard, the truth of which 
their very notoriety places beyond all doubt, and which num- 
berless witnesses as well as myself could attest by the most 
solemn appeal to heaven. I cannot forbear remarking to 
Your Lordship how our Lord confirms now the doctrine of 
His Church and His own Presence upon our altars, by the 


same miracles to wliicli He referred the disciples of John, 
saying : ^ Go, tell John the dumb speak/ etc. ; as a proof that 
He was the Son of God who came to save the world. 
" I remain, Your Lordship's dutiful and 
affectionate servant in Christ, 

*' To THE Right Rey. Dr. Doyle, 

'•Old Derrig, Carlo w." 

" Now here is exhibited a prodigy," continued the Right 
Rev. Bishop, "which is only different in kind, but not infe- 
rior in magnitude to the raising of the dead to life. He 
who at the gate of Naim put His hand to the bier, and 
raised the widow's son to life, and gave him to his mother, 
here spoke to the heart of a faithful servant, loosed the 
tongue which infirmity had paralyzed, and restored a happy 
daughter to the embraces of her parent. We ourselves have 
participated in their joy, on conversing as we have lately 
done with this favored child of heaven. 

" Exult then, dearly beloved brethren, and rejoice that 
Almighty God has thus visited you His people, reanimating 
your faith, enlivening your hope, and exalting your charity, 
consoling your sorrows, relieving your distress, and healing 
your infirmities, preparing in your sight a table against all 
who afflict you, and urging, by these manifestations of His 
power and goodness, to rely upon His providence, * Whereas 
He has care of you ! ' " 

The Most Rev. Dr. Murray, in his Pastoral Letter, dated 
Dublin, August 15th, 1823, writes as follows : 

" Beloved Brethren- ii^- Christ Jesus :— A delightful 
duty has devolved upon us ; it is * to reveal and to confess 
the works of God ! ' * With a heart at once struck with awe, 
and inflamed with gratitude to the ' God of all consolation,' 
we proclaim to you a new and wonderful manifestation of 

* Job xii. 7, 


His goodness whicli we have just liad tlie happiness to wit- 
ness. Mary Stuart, of the Convent of St. Joseph, Ranelagh, 
has through the extraordinary interposition of that Omnip- 
otent Being, who ' killeth and maketli alive,' * been restored 
instantaneously to health, from a state of grievous and hope- 
less infirmity, for the relief of which all the resources of hu- 
man skill had been expended in vain. The account of this 
wonderful cure reached us officially, on the 2d instant, in a 
letter from Mrs. Mary Catherine Meade, Prioress of St. 
Joseph's Convent, under date of the preceding evening. 
This communication stated in substance that one of the re- 
ligious sisters of that community, byname Mary Stuart, had 
been afl&icted with sickness for four years and about seven 
months ; that during that period she had frequent attacks of 
paralysis, each of Avhich seemed to threaten her with immediate 
dissolution ; that the most powerful remedies had been ap- 
plied, without producing any other than partial and tempo- 
rary relief; that for several months past she had been con- 
fined to her bed, wholly deprived of the power of assisti ng 
herself, or of moving out of the position in which she was 
laid; that when moved by her attendants, how gently soever, 
she not only suffered much pain, but was also liable to con- 
siderable danger and to a temporary loss of speech; -and 
that for the last five weeks she had entirely lost the power 
of articulation ; that up to the morning of the 1st instant, 
she continued in this deplorable state, without any symptom 
of amendment, and apparently beyond the reach of human 
aid ; that on a certain hour that morning, as had been set- 
tled by previous arrangement, she united her devotions (as 
did also her numerous friends) with the holy sacrifice of the 
Mass, which was to be ofi'ered by Alexander Prince Hohen- 
lohe, in the hopes of obtaining immediately from God that 
relief which no human means could afford; that with this 
view, she received, though with much difiiculty, the divine 

* 1 Kings ii. 6. 

Christ's HESUiiRECTiois'. 251 

Communion, at the Mass whicli was celebrated at the same 
hour in her chamber, for her recovery ; that Mass being end- 
ed, she instantly felt a power of movement, a capability of 
speech ; that she exclaimed * Holy, holy, holy. Lord God of 
Hosts ! ' raised herself without assistance, to offer, on bended 
knees, the tribute of her gratitude to heaven ; called for 
her attire, left that bed to which she had been for so many 
months as it were fastened, and walked to the convent 
chapel with a firm step^ and there, in the presence of the 
community and congregation, joined her sisters in the solemn 
thanksgiving which was offered up to Grod, for this wonder- 
ful and manifest interposition of His goodness. 

'' What may be the views of God in the recent prodigies, 
which are now the admiration of Europe, and one of 
which has just occurred under our own eyes, it is not for us 
to determine. We may, however, safely conjecture, that this 
gracious God has some object beyond the mere addition of a 
few miserable years to the life of a favored individual. When 
our Blessed Kedeemer raised His friend Lazarus from the 
grave. He did so to publish * the glory of God.' * He did 
so to confirm the faith of His disciples. ' Lazarus,' says He, 
* is dead, and I am glad for your sake that I was not there, 
that you may believe.' \ Since, then, the same Blessed Re- 
deemer now makes the unbloody sacrifice of His body and 
blood the visible means of calling back to life and health 
the victim that was ready to descend into the grave, is it 
unreasonable to suppose that He does so, in His mercy, for 
some general and exalted purpose ? To awake, for instance, 
our slumbering piety, and animate the faithful throughout 
the Church to fly with more confidence, more reverence, 
more love, to those holy altars, on which the living Victim 
of salvation is working such wonders ! " 

In the yeUr 1824, on the 25th of January, another mirac- 
ulous cure was obtained during Mass in the case of Mary 

* John xi. 40. f John xi. 15. 


Dorizon, which caused a great sensation in the diocese of 
Manx, m Prance, where it took place. Mary Dorizon, a 
poor woman, then forty-three years old, who was much re- 
spected for her virtues, was subject from the age of seven- 
teen to a nervous disorder of a very extraordinary nature, 
and all the remedies administered to her proved unavailing. 
In the year mentioned, particularly, her disorder assumed an 
alarming character. She had daily convulsions, which ren- 
dered her person quite deformed ; ulcers, swelling of the 
legs, and other maladies. It occurred to her friends to write 
to the Prince Hohenlohe on her behalf. The prince — as be- 
fore — directed them to perform certain devotions, and on 
Sunday, the 25tli of January, two Masses were offered up 
for her intentions. She fainted during both; but at the 
moment of the Elevation at the second, she recovered her 
senses, and exclaimed, '* Thanks be to our dear Lord! give 
me my clothes." She rose without assistance and remained 
long enough on her knees to prepare herself for Holy Com- 
munion, which she received a little before nine o'clock. In 
short, her cure was so complete that the patient, incapable 
hitherto of moving a step, repaired alone to church, and as- 
sisted at High Muss, to the great astonishment of the spec- 
tators. Since that time she walks and works. Her person 
has become straight, her wounds have closed, and her dis- 
eases have disappeared. 

On the 10th of February, in the year 1825, another mirac- 
ulous cure was obtained in the case of Sister Elizabeth Bea- 
trice Myers, of the Visitation Convent in Georgetown, D. C. 
According to the directions of Prince Hohenlohe the sisters 
began a no vena on the 1st of February for this sister, for 
whom the skill of physicians gave them no hopes of relief. 
Thursday, the 10th inst., at three o'clock in the morning, 
corresponding to the time at which the prince must Jiave 
said Mass in Germany, the spiritual father of the sisters 
carried the Blessed Sacrament to the sick sister, and after 
giving her the Holy Communion, and saying a short prayer, 


he retirea. The Mother Superior and five other sisters 
were kneeling in the room joining in prayer with their sick 
sister who had received. Just as they thonglit of withdraw- 
ing to rest, leaving the success to God, Sister Beatrice called 
out " Mother ! " The Mother Superior immediately went 
to her, and the sister, clasping her by the hand, said, 
*' Mother, I think I am cured. Lord Jesus, may Thy name 
be glorified for ever ! " — and made several other moving as- 
pirations, inviting all to help her to thank God. Soon after 
she begged leave to go into the chapel, where, falling on her 
knees, she remained some moments in prayer, whilst the 
Mother Superior and other sisters who had followed her 
prostrated in thanksgiving and praise.* 

St. Gregory the Great relates f that the holy Pope Agape- 
tus, on his journey through Greece, cured a man who was 
lame and dumb, by saying Mass for him. 

Now all these persons miraculously cured by our Lord in 
the Blessed Eucharist could truly say with the infirm man in 
the Gospel, " Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, 
to put me into the pond." X For several years they had 
implored the aid of man without finding one to contribute 
to their relief. How little can we expect from creatures, and 
how long may we languish vainly awaiting their succor! 
What impotence, ignorance, and want of good-will, do we 
discover in them ! In our greatest necessities they abandon 
us: Jesus alone remains constant. Let us, therefore, apply 
to ourselves and choose as our device these words of the 
paralytic : " I have no man ! " That is, I desire not the 
favor or friendship of man. Jesus Christ alone in the holy 
Sacrifice of the Mass can satisfy my desires. He alone is 
necessary to my soul, that it may be enlightened with His 
knowledge : to my will, that it may be inflamed with His 

* See a full report of the evidence in regard to all these facts, by 
Dr. England, Bishop of Charleston, in the third volume of his works, 
p. 393. f Dial. 1. 5, c. 3. t Jo^n v. 7. 


love: to my faculties, thcat they may be governed by His 
justice: to my. passions, that they may be subdued by His 
power : to my senses, that they may be purified and subjected 
to the spirit. " I have no man." That is, I desire no par- 
ticular friendship prejudicial to fraternal charity. To the 
God-Man alone, present in the Holy Eucharist, I would 
attach myself, and be occupied only wdth Him Who is sin- 
gularly great, good, and amiable. I wish not to live in the 
heart of any creature, I only desire a place in that of my 
Saviour in the Blessed Sacrament, Who is the universal 
fi'iend given by the Father to men ; Who has died for all, and 
makes Himself all to all in this great mystery ; Who is the 
sovereign good of all. Therefore, one may appropriate to 
himself the words : my Jesus and my all ! " I have no man !" 
I am satisfied to be unacquainted with creatures, provided 
that I be not ignorant of my Lord Jesus in the holy Sacrifice 
of the Mass, that I may love Him with my whole heart, may 
constantly have recourse to Him in all my temporal and 
spiritual wants, and thus be and remain His in time and 



The institution of the lioly Sacrifice of the Mass may be 
regarded as the crowning act of mercy and love in the life 
of our dear Saviour. It perpetuated all the benefits which 
He brought into the world, particularly that of giving us 
the example of virtue. It may be said, that by the institu- 
tion of the Mass our Lord fulfilled the prophecy that in the 
kingdom of grace all the children of the new covenant would 
be " taught of the Lord." Here He is Himself the present 
and ever-active teacher, and only those who open all the fac- 
ulties of their souls to His voice, can know what a Master 
He is. 

Instruction, reading, priesthood, and holy rite, were His 
servants and messengers of old; and they are so still. But 
not satisfied to see " those the Father has given Him " in- 
structed by His representatives only, He wished to stay with 
them to tlie end of the world, and teach them in person. 
" They will respect My Son," said the Father, as of old. " I 
will be with them," said Jesus, in the Holy Eucharist to 
teach them lessons of sublime virtue — lessons of poverty, of 
humility, of obedience, the love of God and of their neighbor. 

The poverty w^hich surrounded the human life of our Lord 
lasted thirty-three years, but to convince mankind of the 
grandeur and holiness of this virtue, and to attract us freely 
to love it, as He did, Jesus Christ remains among us still in 
the state of poverty in the Holy Eucharist. It is voluntary 
poverty, chosen out of love — absolute poverty, depriving 
Himself of everything, even the appearance of existence. He 
does not so much as retain His liberty of action. It is a state 


of permanent poverty without interruption — generous pov- 
erty. He gives all that He has in giving Himself. His 
open heart, His pierced hands, can no longer hold back any 
grace. It is the same to Him whether He be in a city or 
in a village ; He dwells as cheerfully in a ciborium of copper, 
as in one of silver or of gold, fn heaven He has a royal 
retinue ; but on earth, who keeps Him company ? "I am 
a man," He says, "who sees his poverty." 

We, too, see the poverty of Jesus ; but oh ! how slow are 
we to imitate it ! Our affections are fixed on fine dwellings, 
good fare, soft garments, splendid retinue. We dislike to 
feel the want of anything, or to sufier the slightest inconve- 
nience, just as though the Son of God had said, " Blessed are 
the rich, but not the poor ; blessed are those that laugh, but 
not those that weep." 

The example of our Lord's humility, in the holy Sacrifice 
of the Mass, is as conspicuous as His poverty. " Learn of 
Me, because I am meek and humble of heart," points to the 
altar as the great class-room wherein to learn. The God of 
heaven and earth so belittles Himself for man, under the ap- 
pearance of bread, day and night a prisoner of love ! while 
man, who has nothing, is so proud and so elate! The God 
of heaven reposes under the thatch, or is carried along the 
road by sinful men, while Christians, who say they adore 
Him, look only for marks of distinction. The God of heaven 
and earth remains silent in his lowliness, oftentimes the 
subject of mockery and outrage, oftentimes neglected and 
made to serve as a kind of witness against Himself, when 
hypocrisy kneels before Plim to gain the name of devotion ; 
yet men are dissatisfied at a correction, a small slight, a 
trivial injury, or a shade of misrepresentation. Oh ! who 
can go thither and come away proud ? Who can go thither 
and not come away humble ? Who can go thither and not 
come away penitent? Who can go thither and not come 
away good ? 

Again, when our Lord lived upon earth He was "obedient 


unto death, even to the death of the cross," * says St. Paul 
the Apostle. It was in obedience to His heavenly Father 
that the Son of God became man ; it was in obedience that 
His blessed Mother conceived Him. He was born while 
obeying an earthly monarch ; He lived under obedience to 
His parents, and died out of obedience to His heavenly 
Father and His unjust judges. Although he now reigns iu 
heaven, yet is He ever ready to obey man. In the holy Sacri- 
fice of the Mass, He becomes obedient unto the consumma- 
tion of the world. He renders immediate, universal obedi- 
ence to every priest who pronounces the words of consecra- 
tion, a free and voluntary obedience, which exposes His 
adorable Person to the outrages of perverse men ; an entire 
obedience, without reference to the virtue of the priest. 
During so many centuries, no interruption has ever occurred 
to this humble subordination, which, because of His love to 
us, is more dear to Him than His glory. 

Jesus Christ has solemnly pledged Himself to continue 
this great subjection of Himself, to console our exile by filling 
up the void that separates earth from heaven, to which He 
ascended again after His resurrection. Out of love for us He 
prefers His obedience upon the altar to the exercise of His 
sovereign power. 

Do we obey in this manner ? Do we obey all our supe- 
riors without exception ? Do we obey blindly, at all times, 
in all things, always showing that we are humble servants 
of the Lord, ready to follow the commands of our superiors? 

We know that the glorified body of our Lord is no longer 
capable of sufiering ; yet the love of sufi*ering, which ever 
consumed the heart of Jesus, is in no wise diminished. His 
divine Person is still sensible to every insult that is ofiered 
to Him. Oh! who can enumerate the outrages heaped upon 
Jesus in this Sacrament of love ! How many affronts does 
He not daily receive from atheists, heretics, superstitious 

* Phil. ii. 8. 


persons, and particularly from bad Catholics! Think of the 
crimes, the sins of irreverence that are committed in His 
churches, in His own divine Presence. Think of all the bad 
and sacrilegious communions that are made ! Jesus ! what 
admirable lessons of patience dost Thou not daily teach us 
in this divine sacrifice ! But how little do we profit by 
them ! We are so passionate, so impatient, so unwilling to 
suff^er anything from God or man ! We can bear nothing 
from our superiors, equals or inferiors. We are burdens to 
ourselves, yet wish that all should bear with us ! 

Most admirable also, is the example of mortification which 
our dear Lord sets us upon the altar. His whole life was a 
continual mortification. Although He is now forever happy 
in heaven, yet He has found a means to teach us by His own 
example, even to the end of the world, how to mortify our 
senses, our will, and our judgment. He mortifies His judg- 
ment by suffering Himself to be disposed of according to 
the good pleasure of His priests, ro be carried withersoever 
they will, to be used for good or bad purposes, just as though 
He were utterly blind and helpless. He mortifies His will in 
bearing the numberless indignities that are ofi"ered to His 
holiness, to His majesty, and to His other divine perfections. 
He mortifies His senses by remaining present in tlie Sacred 
Host as if He were dead. He mortifies His tongue by pre- 
serving ever a profound silence; He mortifies His whole 
body by keeping it concealed under the lifeless appearances 
of bread and wine, by remaining days and nights upon our 
altars as in a prison of love. O my soul ! addicted as thou 
art to sensual pleasures, wl}at union can there be between 
thee and the mortified and crucified body of Jesus Christ ! 
The holy sacrifice reminds tliee of His Passion and thou 
holdest sufferings iu horror; His life under the sacramental 
veil is entirely spiritual and thine is entirely sensual ! 

In the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Jesus teaches us also how 
we ought to love God. H we love God truly, we will do His 
will in all things, we will keep His commandments, we will 


suffer much for Him and sacrifice ourselves to His honor. 
This is what Jesus teaches us on our altars. He sacrifices 
Himself daily, nay hourly, for the honor of His Father and for 
the good of men. He has thus found out a means of renewing 
His death in a mystical manner, at all times and in all places. 
All men should offer themselves to God, in order to acknow- 
ledge their dependence upon Him, to tliank Him for His num- 
berless benefits, to ask new blessings from Him, and to atone 
for their sins. Jesus Christ as the head of the human race 
has taken upon Himself this obligation, and daily offers 
Himself to pay homage to God for all men, to give thanks 
to God for all the graces they have received from Him, to 
make satisfaction to His justice, so often offended by their 
grievous crimes, and to obtain for them all the graces neces- 
sary for soul and body. wretch tliat I am ! A God takes 
u])on Himself my sins : He lays down His life to deliver me 
from death, and He bears for love of me a thousand insults 
while I in return despise and offend Him, I only provoke 
His anger more and more ; I am unwilling to suffer the least 
thing for Him, and thus I render His Passion and Death 
fruitless to me. What ingratitude ! what hardness of heart I 
what cruelty and injustice ! 

One of the objects of the Incarnation was to reunite men 
in the bonds of charity which had been severed by sin. Jesus 
Christ made charity an express commandment ; He calls it 
His only commandment; He declares that it is the true mark 
of His religion. 

It was especially by His example that Ho taught us this 
divine virtue through the course of His whole life. There 
are two marks by which love is known. They are the fruits 
of true and solid love : — first, to labor : second, to suffer for 
the beloved object. Jesus labored for our souls as no one 
ever did or ever will ; and He suffered as only a God-man 
can suffer in order to wun our love. 0, what a life was His, 
especially during the three years of His public ministry I 
The life of the most hard-working missionary that ever 


lived, is but a faint shadow of His unwearied labor. By 
dawn of day He is in the Temple. The gathering crowds 
find Him there, but they know not that He has had a jour- 
ney already. He has been upon the Mount of Olives pray- 
ing all alone among the peaceful trees. His whole day has 
been already mapped out. He has foreseen the souls to 
whom He is to do good, the afflicted whom He is to comfort, 
the people whom He is to meet in the hot streets and the 
public places, and the gracious words He is to speak to 
them all. And when He quits Jerusalem and goes up into 
Galilee, or passes through Samaria, there are wearisome 
journies on foot, over hill and dale, on the dusty highway, 
or in the savage wilderness. Whenever He comes to 
the habitations of men, on the village-green, or in the little 
hamlet hid among the mountains. He preaches. He has 
no time for rest, not a moment that He can call His own. 
Weary and hungry and footsore. He sits down beside a well. 
A woman comes from the neighboring town to draw water, 
and Jesus opens His parched lips and speaks to her of the 
delicious spring of living water, which He Avill give to all 
that ask for it. 

This poor woman feels in her heart a great desire to drink 
of this water, and Jesus gives her to drink of tlie living 
fountain of grace, and she is converted. Again, He walks 
by the sea-shore, and the rude crowd press upon Him and 
almost thrust Him into the waves. At last. He is compelled 
to embark in one of the boats near Him, and the bark of St. 
Peter becomes His pulpit. One would think that night at 
least would bring Him rest; but no! He lias no house of 
His own. He has no place whereon to lay His head. He is 
often tired — so tired that even in the daytime He throws 
Himself on the deck of a fishing-boat, and there, on that 
hard couch, falls asleep. His nights are often spent on the 
mountain side. There, kneeling on the cold ground, with 
the damp dews wetting His garments and steeping His hair. 
He prays for His poor erring creatures. Nicodemus comes 


to Him and finds Him np and watching, for He is ever fore- 
most to meet those that seek Him. And even when He 
sleeps, His heart ivatches and loves and thinks of those im- 
mortal souls for whom He is to die. 

It is thus that our Lord gave us the example of charity 
and zeal for the salvation of our fellow-men ; and this ex- 
ample of charity, more than any other virtue. He continues 
to give us in a most striking manner in the holy Sacrifice of 
the Mass, which is but the perpetuation of that wonderful 
charity that culminated in the sacrifice of the Cross. It 
was to preserve that charity that He left us His Body and 
His Blood under the appearance of bread and wine, in order 
that partaking of one bread, we also may be one body and 
one soul. And the more to ensure the practice of charity 
among men. He has made our natural desire for happiness 
the motive for loving one another. He has commanded us 
to partake of His Body and Blood under pain of eternal 
damnation ; and the indispensable condition to our receiving; 
this heavenly food is charity. While other shepherds clothe 
themselves with the wool of their flocks, and feed on their 
flesh, Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, strips Himself in 
order to clothe us. He even gives us His flesh and blood 
for our food ; and when a devout soul, transported at a 
favor so divine, asks how she may repay so great a benefit, 
He replies : " Do good to your fellow men, and I will hold 
you discharged of all your debts to me." Does it seem hard 
to you, He says, to love your neighbor? Consider, then, how 
much I have loved you. Does it seem hard to you to give 
and to forgive ? Then think whether you are ever required 
to give anything so precious as the food which I give you. 
Think whether you have ever to suffer as many afi'ronts as I 
have suff*ered for your sake in this sacrament of love ! Is the 
disciple greater than his master, or the servant above his 
lord ? Go, then, and do to others what I have done to you ; 
"Whatsoever you do to them, I will count as done to Me." 
Be charitable to all with that constancy and perseverance 


with which I have stayed with you in spite of the deep in- 
gratitude and numberless outrages that have been, and still 
continue to be, heaped upon my sacred Person in the mys- 
tery of Love. These are the silent lessons that our Saviour 
teaches us in the holy Eucharist. How sublime, how elo- 
quent, how impressive are they to the faithful heart! 
Jesus, Thou hast conquered. "We give pur hearts to Thee, 
that Thou maj'est fill them with the spirit of humility, pov- 
erty, obedience, mortification, and self-sacrifice. Thou, 
the Well- Beloved of the Father, who earnest on earth and 
dwellest in our Tabernacles in order to impart to men Thy 
divine spirit of charity, take from us all selfishness and 
hardness of heart, and teach us how to love one another. 



The God who created us — that God on whom we depend 
for every moment of our existence — is a God of infinite 
majesty and glory. 

Look around upon the heavens and the earth, how sub- 
lime an idea do they convey of their Almighty Architect! 
What a stupendous mass is the ponderous globe upon which 
we stand ; yet God poises it with one finger ! How vast the 
abyss of its waters ; yet He measures it, as the Scripture 
says, in the palm of His hand ! How awful U the roar of the 
thunder ; it is but the feeble echo of His voice ! How ter- 
rific the glare of the lightning ; it is only a faint scintillation 
of His brightness! All that we see around us, the vast 
luminaries that roll above us, the earth which we inhabit, 
with its endless diversity of animals and productions, with 
man, the lord and master of the whole, once were not. The 
Almighty spoke one word, and instantly we leaped into 
being, and we are ! How the soul and all her faculties sink 
into insignificance before this idea of her Creator, God. 
How s[\e longs to honor and glorify Him who is the centre 
of glory, towards whom tend all the works of the Creator. 
Yes, glory and honor essentially appertain to God. All that 
is in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, according to St. 
John, sing in concert the praises of one God, in three per- 
sons : and every creature which is in heaven, on earth, and 
under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are 
in them; I heard all saying: "To Him that sitteth on the 
throne, and to the Lamb, "benediction and honor, and glory, 
and power, forever and ever." * 

* Apoc. V. 13. 


The eternal occupation of the Blessed is to chant the sacred 
Canticle " Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord God of hosts ! " * 

Their Allehiias, their hymns of gladness, are ascending 
before the throne of God forever and ever. In purgatory, in 
a special manner, is exemplified their profound esteem and 
homage to Almighty God, from the intense desire of the 
sufierers to enjoy Him. 

Even hell itself glorifies the Lord, for the reprobate are 
constrained, in deploring their eternal loss of all the benefits 
of nature, grace and glory, to offer a reparation of honor to 
the power of the Father, the author of nature ; to the wisdom 
of the Son, whose grace .they have despised, and to the good- 
ness of the Holy Ghost, whose saving inspirations they have 
criminally rejected. 

Amongst all creatures, man is under special obligations to 
glorify and honor Almighty God. Man is the master-piece 
of the creation, a resplendent image of the three divine Per- 
sons. God has redeemed man preferably to the angels. In 
baptism he is consecrated to the Father, to the Son, and to 
the Holy Ghost by an inviolable character impressed on his 
soul. Man, therefore, is under the strictest obligation to 
honor God in the best manner possible ! To comply with 
this obligation as far as in man lies, many holy kings, em- 
perors, and lords had churches and monasteries erected where 
the name of the Lord might be honored and praised day 
and night. 

Now, we cannot honor God better than by sacrifice ; for 
sacrifice is that part of religious worship, whose special ob- 
ject is the honor of God. It is in this, particularly, that it 
differs from other religious and virtuous acts. It is true, we 
honor God by every act of devotion and virtue, by every 
good work that we do to please Him. Yet the honor which 
we render God by acts of devotion and good works, does 
not proceed from the nature of such acts and works, but 

* Isaias, vi. 3. 


rather from the intention with which we perform them. 
But the peculiar virtue of sacrifice consists in its having for 
the principal object the honor of God. In all other religious 
exercises, we strive for the most part to benefit ourselves 
rather than render honor to God. If we pray, it is to obtain 
the grace of God; if we repent of our sins and confess 
tliem, it is in order to become reconciled to God ; if we go 
to receive communion, it is to unite ourselves more intimate- 
ly with God: if we perform other good works, it is to in- 
crease our merits and receive a greater reward in heaven. 
But our chief intention in assisting at a sacrifice, in order 
to correspond to the end for which sacrifice was instituted, 
is, and must be, to render due homage to Almighty God. It 
is He alone who may be honored by sacrifice. Almost any 
other token of honor, respect, or reverence that is rendered 
to God, may also be, and often is exhibited to men, at least 
exteriorly. The title, " His Majesty," may be applied both to 
God and man. The title, " His Holiness," is applicable not 
only to the Lord of heaven and earth, but is also applied 
to His Vicar on earth — the Pope. We kneel down before 
God, and we light candles and lamps in His honor. The 
same may be done, and is often done, to honor bishops, kings, 
and emperors. We bow down profoundly before the Lord 
God, and the same is done before great lords of this world ; 
nay, even before our equals, if necessary. 

Holy Scripture tells us, that when Abraham wished to buy 
of tll% children of Heth a burying place for Sara, his de- 
ceased wife, " he rose up and bowed down to the people of 
the land, to wit, the children of Heth : " * In the same 
manner the patriarch Jacob honored his brother Esau, 
whose indignation he had incurred. When about to meet 
him, " he went forward, and bowed down with his face to 
the ground, seven times, until his brother came near.f 
When Abigail came to King David, " she bowed herself 

* Genesis xxiii. 7. f lb, xxxiii. 3. 



down with her face to the earth.* Men often bow down 
even more profoundly to their equals than to God. 

Many of the tokens of deep respect and yeneration, 
which it was customary to manifest only to the Divinity, 
have, in course of time, come to be manifested to such 
men as common opinion held in high esteem and vener- 
ation. But never did it happen that any nation offered 
sacrifice to a man. If instances to the contrary occur in 
history, it is because that man was believed to be a god. 
St. Paul, the Apostle, healed in Lystra a man who had 
been a cripple from his childhood. When the people saw 
this great miracle, they wished to offer sacrifice to him and 
Barnabas, his companion, because they took them for gods, 
who had come among them in human shape. " The people 
lifted up their voice, saying: The gods are come down to us 
in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; 
and Paul, Mercury." f But after the Apostles had persuaded 
them that they were no gods, but men like the rest, the peo- 
ple desisted. The honor rendered by sacrifice belongs, then, 
essentially and solely to God. This honor, as already has 
been seen, He demanded from the beginning of the world, 
but more strictly under the Mosaic Law. He prescribed that 
every day, morning and evening, the priest should offer a 
lamb for a continual burnt-offering, besides additional sacri- 
fices on the Sabbath, the Xew-Moon, at the Feast of the 
Unleavened Bread, and at the Feast of the First-fruits. | 

In the seventh month, for several days together, besides the 
daily sacrifice, there were to be extraordinary additional 
sacrifices, so that on the fifteenth day of the month the 
priest was to offer thirteen bullocks, two rams, and four- 
teen lambs; and in the seven days, from the fifteenth to the 
twenty-first, seventy bullocks, fifteen rams, and ninty-eight 

*1 Kings XXV. 41. f Acts xiv. 10. X Numbers xxvi. 11. 
§ Numbers xxix. 


Every woman, after childbirth, was to bring a lamb for a 
burnt-offering, and a pigeon or a tnrtle-dove for a sin-offer- 
ing, or two young pigeons for the two offerings.* 

Anyone cured of leprosy was to bring a burnt-offering, 
and a sin-offeriiig.f 

In the case of " every burnt-offering, which any man shall 
offer,'' whether bullock, or sheep, or goat, or turtle-doves, the 
priests, Aaron's sons, were to sprinkle the blood upon the 
altar, and put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order 
on the fire, and lay the parts, the head and the fat, in order 
upon the wood, and the priest was thus to burn all on the 
altar, to be a burnt-sacrifice.]; 

So in the case of a meat-offering, peace-offering, sin-offer- 
ing, or trespass-offering, the priest had special duties assigned 
to him for the manner of making the offering.§ 

Now, if we Christians had to offer to God the same kind 
of sacrifices as the Jews offered to the Lord, if we had oxen, 
and sheep, and other animals slain and consumed by fire in sa- 
crifice, it would be for us a holy religious act of divine worship 
to assist at such sacrifices — an act, by which we would greatly 
honor and please Almighty God, for we should make thereby 
a public profession of our faith in the supreme dominion of 
Almighty God over all creatures, who, as He made us out of 
nothing, could again destroy, or change us as He pleased. 
It would, at the same time, be a profession of our total sub- 
jection to Him, and our readiness to be treated by Hira in 
whatever manner He pleased. Yet, however great might be 
the honor which we should thus render to God, it would fall 
far below the honor and homage due to Him. We usually 
honor men according to their rank and acquirements. We 
honor a man of learning, for instance, more than an ignor- 
ant rustic ; a saint more than a sinner; a prince more than 
a peasant; a priest more than a layman. Now, God, being 

* Levit. xii, f lb. xiv. J lb. 1. 

^ lb. ii., iii., iv. and v. 


infinite in all His perfections, deserves an honor and rever- 
ence corresponding to His Greatness. 

Only an infinite honor is adapted to an infinite Being; 
nothing limited is becoming a Being without limits. Where, 
then, in the whole range of created nature, shall we find a 
being that is capable of ofiering a homage such as this ? 
Angels and men, principalities and powers, all creatures ar6 
before Him a despicable nothing, and homage, great as it 
may appear to us, can have nothing comparable to His 
Greatness. "Behold the nations are as a drop of water, and 
are counted as the smallest grain of the balance .... They 
are before Him as if they had no being at all, and are 
counted to Him as nothing and vanity." He alone, as Holy 
Scripture says, is " Blessed and Mighty, the King of kings 
and the Lord of lords; who alone has Immortality, and 
inhabiteth Light inaccessible; whom no man hath seen 
nor can see; to whom be honor and sacrifice everlast- 

How shall we be able to render to God the honor he de- 
serves? Already wq have seen that sacrifice is the mode by 
which we acknowledge the supreme sovereignty of God ; but 
where shall we find a sacrifice pure and precious enough to 
oe ofiered to His Majesty? It is plain that we, finite crea- 
tures, have nothing of ourselves great enough to offer Him; 
even the sacrifice of our lives would be an inadequate hom- 
age. " What, then, shall we offer to the Lord that is worthy ? 
Wherewith shall we kneel before the High God ? " * How 
shall we acquit ourselves of our obligation to honor the Lord 
in a worthy manner, we who are under greater obligations 
to do so, than those who lived before Christ ? 

It is certain that, by all the sacrifices of the old Law, God 
could not be honored in a manner worthy of Him. The 
priests themselves, who off*ered the sacrifices, were all sinful 
or imperfect men ; the victims off'ered were oxen, sheep, 
turtle-doves, and the like ; the manner of off'ering consisted 
* Miclieas vi. 6. 


in slaying those victims and consuming them by fire. What 
fitting proportion was there between sucli sacrifices and the 
supreme Majesty of God? None whatever. No wonder, 
then, to read in holy Scripture that on many occasions God 
expressed His displeasure at these sacrifices, and even rejected 
them. Any homage- coming from a finite creature, necessa- 
rily partakes of the imperfection of its origin; it is essen- 
tially limited. Presented to the Almighty, it may serve in 
some sense to beautify and adorn the creature that presents 
it, but it cannot reflect any real glory on Him, who dwelleth 
in light inaccessible. Creatures may shine with a borrowed 
splendor; they may, like the stars of night, receive a foreign, 
an extraneous brightness; God, to be really and adequately 
glorified, can be glorified by no other than Himself. A God 
can .be truly glorified only by a God. 

This glorification has literally come to pass. Almighty 
God has given us a Man -God to sujoply our deficiency in 
adoring and honoring the Blessed Trinity, thus enabling us 
to discharge to the full a debt which would otherwise have 
remained eternally unpaid. 

Jesus Christ came into this world to repair the fault of 
our first parents. He came to render infinitely more honor 
to His Father, than that of which the sins of all men had 
deprived Him. This honor He paid His Father by every 
action of His life, but particularly by his Passion and by Hia 
obedience unto the death of the Cross. Hence it was, that 
after Judas had left the Supper Room to betray our Lord, 
Jesus Christ said, " Now is the Son of man glorified, and 
God is glorified in him."* " Father, the hour is come, that 
thy Son may glorify thee."f The greater the dignity and 
rank of a person, the greater also is the honor which he pays 
to another. This honor is so much the more acceptable, the 
more it proceeds from the heart. No one can show his ven- 
eration and esteem for his sovereign, or his desire of seeing 
him honored better than by sacrificing his very life in honor 

* John xiii. 31. f I^* ^^"- ^ 


and out of love for the potentate. As then the dignity ol 
Jesus Christ is infinite, so was the honor which He paid to 
His Father by every act of His life, especially by His 
death upon the Cross ; whilst the dishonor offered to His 
Father by all the sins of men that ever were or will be 
can never reach the infinite. He rendered this honor with 
an infinite love to His Father, and therefore it was most ac- 
ceptable to Him — infinitely more pleasing than the dis- 
honor caused by the sins of men could be displeasing. For 
this reason was it that the angels sang at the birth of our 
Lord : " Glory be to God in the highest, and on earth peace 
to men of good will."'^ 

If we truly love and esteem a person, we rejoice exceed- 
ingly at seeing him honored as much as possible. Before 
the Incarnation of the Son of God, there was no one who 
loved the Lord of heaven and earth more than the angels. 
For this reason tliey had the greatest desire to see their God 
honored, praised, and worshipped as He deserved to be; and 
no one could rejoice more than they in beholding their Lord 
and King lionored and glorified by the whole world. But 
knowing as they did, that God was worthy of infinite lionor and 
glory, and knowing also tliat this infinite honor and glory 
could not be given to the Lord by any finite creature- what- 
soever, they rejoiced exceedingly in seeing the Son of God — 
a person of infinite dignity — become man, to give to His 
Father that infinite honor and glory which He had never 
before received. Hence it was that they sang most joyously 
at the birth of our divine Saviour: "Glory be to God in the 
highest, and on earth peace to men of good Avill," henceforth 
we are able for all eternity to give ir. finite honor and glory 
to our God throiigli His Son Jesus Christ; now our joy has 
reached its height, and let all men of good will rejoice and 
be glad with us. 

And indeed, thongli loud is the voice of nature in the 

* Luke ii. 14. 


praise of its author, harmonious the songs of thanksgiving 
which the Universe ponrs forth to its Creator, incessant the 
homage which the celestial choirs render to their eternal 
King, — all dwindles and totally disappears when compared 
with that honor, homage, and glory which Jesus Clirist gave 
to His Father daring His life on earth. This same infinite 
honor, praise, and glory Jesus Christ gives and offers still to 
His Father in every Mass, as He Himself declared one day 
to one of His servants who was burning with love for Him, 
and with an ardent desire to honor Him. " 0," said this 
fervent soul, "would to God I had a thousand tongues, that 
I might praise the Lord always ! that I had hearts with- 
out number to love him! that the whole world were 
mine, that I might see him loved and served by all men ! '' 
"My daughter," replied an inward yoice, "thy zeal and lore 
are extremely pleasing to Me; but know that I am more 
honored by a single Mass than by all the honor thou couldsfc 
ever conceive or desire." 

The reason of this is plain. The victim, which is offered 
to God in the Mass, is our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the 
well-beloved Son of His Father, equal to Him in all His 
divine perfections. Do we start afc the expression ? But 
daring as it may appear, it is literally true. We know it ; 
we knew it before, only we did not sufficiently reflect upon 
it. To know how the mystery is to be comprehended, the 
highest angels are equally at a loss with ourselves. It is 
like all the other wonders of God, vast and incomprehensi- 
ble; and all we have to do is, to bow dow^n before it in silent 

The holy Sacrifice of the Mass is, therefore, of infinite dig- 
nity and value. In it we offer to the Eternal Father all the 
honor which Jesus Christ gave Him during His whole life 
on earth, thereby atoning for our natural poverty.- "Yes," 
says Father Paul Segneri in his "Homo-Christianus,"* 

*Diss. 12, p. 1. 


" If, on the one hand, the blessed Mother of God, and all the 
saints and angels of heaven, were to prostrate themselves be- 
fore God in the deepest humility and reverence ; and on the 
other hand, the humblest priest on earth were to offer but 
one Mass, the offering of the priest would give more honor 
to God, than the united adorations of all the angels and 
saints." Hence it is that St. Ignatius, the martyr, calls the 
holy Sacrifice of the Mass " the glory of God ; " and the priest 
prays in Mass, when holding the, sacred Host over the chalice, 
and slightly elevating both of them together: ^-Through 
Him, and with Him, and in Him, to God the Father x\I- 
mighty, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, be all honor and 

Of this infinite honor and glory, the Lord is worthy in 
time and for all eternity. It is true, according to the pro- 
phecy of Daniel,* the public celebration of Mass will be dis- 
continued during the reign of Anti-Christ for three years, six 
months and a half, or for the space of 1,290 days. Mass, 
however, will be said privately, for this holy sacrifice is never 
to fail for all eternity — Jesus Christ being a ]n'iest forever 
according to the order of Melchisedech ;t and being also the 
victim at the same time, will offer to His Father for al] eternity 
the same sacrifice which He one day offered upon the Cross 
for the honor of His Father and the salvation of mankind. 

Blessed, therefore, thrice blessed the priest who gives this 
infinite honor and glory to Almighty God, by saying Mass 
every day of his life ! To abstain from saying Mass occasion- 
ally, out of humility, is sometimes praiseworthy, for by such 
an act the Lord is also honored. But let it be remembered 
that this honor is finite, proceeding, as it does, from a finite 
and sinful creature ; whereas the honor given to God in the 
Mass proceeds from a divine Person, and is infinite on that 
account.- It is better, therefore, to say Mass every day than 
even out of humility to omit saying it. 

* Dan. xii. 11. | Ps. dx. 4. 

A2TD lis^riNITE PRAISE. 273 

A certain Cardinal of Rome was in the habit of saying 
Mass every day. But when his occnpations became rather 
nnmerous and pressing, he easily omitted saying Mass in 
order to gain more time for the transactions of temporal 
affairs. No sooner had St. Cajetan of !N"aples, his bosom- 
friend, learned this, than he started withont delay for Eome 
in spite of the extreme heat which endangered his life, in 
order to request the Cardinal to resume his former practice 
of saying Mass daily, and not deprive God any longer of so 
great an honor ; the Blessed Virgin and all the saints, of 
excessive joy ; sinners, of the grace of conversion and for- 
giveness; the just, of many actual graces; the souls in pur- 
gatory, of great relief in their pains ; the Church of her 
greatest strength, and himself, of so powerful a means of sal- 
vation and sanctification. 

One day Father John Avila, S. J., made a long journey. 
Having a great desire to say Mass, he continued his journey 
in spite of extreme fatigae, in order to reach a convent where 
he might offer up the holy sacrifice. But, at last, he felt so 
overcome with fatigue, that he gave up all hope of reaching 
the convent and saying Mass. Suddenly Jesus Christ ap- 
peared to him in the guise of a pilgrim, and, showing him 
all His wounds, said : " When I received these wounds I Avas 
certainly more fatigued than you are now." Having said 
this, our divine Saviour disappeared, leaving Father Avila 
full of courage to continue his journey, until he reached the 
convent to say Mass. 

The lay reader may envy the priests their happiness of 
daily offering to God the Father, His w^ell-beloved Son in the 
Sacrifice of the Mass. Indeed, if there is anything enviable, 
it is the l^appiness of priests. But it should be remem- 
bered that all can share in this happiness. Jesus Christ has 
not instituted Mass that it should be offered to His Father 
by Him alone. He has instituted it as a sacrifice which be- 
longs to every one. In it He gives Himself not only to all 
the faithful in general, but also to everyone in particular, in 


order that all present at Mass may offer Him to His heavenly 
Father. The holy Sacrifice of the Mass is, therefore, offered 
not only by the priest, but also by all those who assist at it 
with devotion, and are, as members of Christ, nnited with 
their Head. The only difference between the priest and the 
faithful is, that the priest has the poAver to change bread and 
wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ by the words 
of consecration — a' power which the faithful do not enjoy. 
But all who assist at Mass offer at the same time with the 
priest the Body and Blood, together with all the infinite 
merits of Jesus Christ to God the Father. It is for this 
reason that St. Peter, the Apostle, wrote to all Christians • 
"You are a chosen generation, a kingly priestliood, a holy 
nation, a purchased people : that you may declare His vir- 
tues who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous 
light." * 

Heuce, as the priest in saying Mass offers the sacrifice for 
himself and others, even so, those who are present at it, may 
also offer it with him for themselves and others. When a 
city sends a present to a prince by its deputies, all the in- 
habitants have their share in the offering, though but one of 
them may speak on the occasion ; in like manner, in the 
Sacrifice of the Mass, though none but the priest speaks and 
offers the sacrifice, yet all present fail not to have their share 
in it. It is true that with regard to the deputies of a city, 
each of them might speak, though but one be selected for 
the ofiice. But in the Mass it is not so; because it belongs 
only to the priest, who is chosen by God for that purpose, to 
consecrate and celebrate. This, however, does not prevent 
those who assist at this adorable sacrifice, from offering it up 
with him. Nay, the very words of the priest show this 
Avlien he says in the offertory : '' Pray, my brethren, that 
mi7ie and your sacrifice may be pleasing in the sight of God 
the Father omnipotent ;" and in those other prayers of the 

* 1 Peter ii. 9 


Canon of the Mass, " for whom we offer this sacrifice, or for 
those who offer it unto Thee." 

Again, Ave must take notice that the priest often says : 
" Oremtis, let us pray," and not '• Oro, I pray," because in 
reality all those who assist at Mass are invited and ought to 
pray with him, and because he prays in the name of them 
all. In order that this may be done with more fervor, the 
priest turns repeatedly towards the people and begs the as- 
sistance of the Holy Ghost in these words : — " Dominus vo- 
hiscum, — The Lord be with you," to which the people an- 
swer, '• Et cum sjnritu tuo, — and with thy spirit." 

After the memento for the living, that is, for all those liv- 
ing persons to whom the priest may desire to apply in an 
especial manner the Mass, he prays: "Remember also all 
here present who offer Thee this sacrifice of praise for them- 
selves and all theirs, for the redemption of their souls, for 
the hope of their salvation and safety, and who render their 
vows to Thee, the eternal, living and true God." 

Again, immediately after the consecration, the pi'iesfc 
prays : "Both we, Thy servants, and also Thy holy peoj^le, do 
offer to Thy most High Majesty, a pure Host, a holy Host, 
an immaculate Host, the holy Bread of Life Eternal and 
the Chalice of Perpetual Salvation." It is, then, a very con- 
soling truth to know that all who assist at Mass with devo- 
tion, and are as members united Avith Jesus Christ their 
Head, do really offer at the same time with their Saviour 
and His priest, this most august sacrifice, and thus are, as St. 
Leo says, partakers of the priestly office. It follows then, 
that by assisting at Mass, Christians render to God the 
Father that same infinite honor which Jesus Christ, His 
only Son, gives Him in this holy sacrifice. In holy Mass we 
render this same infinite honor to every divine attribute. 

AVe honor God as the Creator and Author of all things, 
by offering to Him the Incarnate Word, His well-beloved 
Son, the First-born and Head of all creatures; we honor 
God as our supreme Lord and sovereign Master, who as He 


made us out of nothing, can again destroy or change us as 
He pleases ; this supreme dominion of Almighty God over 
all creatures, we acknowledge by offering to Him tliat same 
sacrifice in which the death of Jesus Christ, our supreme 
Head is represented and mystically renewed. In Mass we 
honor God as the principal and chief end of all our actions. 
Offering to Him as we do Jesus Christ, our supreme Head, 
we offer at the same time ourselves, whole and entire, as 
members which are united with their Head. It is thus that 
we declare our readiness to honor and worship God, to obey 
Him under all circumstances, and to love Him with our 
whole heart above all things in the same manner as Jesus, 
our Head, does on the altar. 

In Mass we honor the mercy of God, by offering to the 
Eternal Father His Son, who saved us froui eternal death by 
His bitter Passion and cruel Crucifixion. 

In Mass we honor the wisdom of God, which invented 
this mystery — a mystery which neither any human nor any 
angelic understanding could ever have conceived. 

We honor the power of God, which manifests itself in 
Mass more wonderfully than in all the other works of God. 

We honor the liberality of God towards us, because by 
offering to Him a present of infinite value — the Body and 
Blood of His Son, — we make a worthy return for all the 
benefits He ever bestowed upon us. Lastly, in Mass we 
honor the justice of God, by offering to it a satisfaction 
more than sufiicient for all our sins. 

It is, then, at Mass that we, as members of Jesiis Christ, 
render Avith and through Him, our Head, the same infinite 
honor to all the Divine attributes, which He Himself ren- 
ders in this tremendous sacrifice. What a happiness for 
Catholics to be enabled to honor their God and Creator in a 
worthy manner! We must always bear in mind that at 
Mass we all honor God the Father by offering Him Jesus 
Christ, His well-beloved Son. With tliis thought always in 
our minds whenever we go to church, we cannot fail to 


acknoAvleilge God's high dominion and our own absolute de- 
pendence upon Him ; thus shall we worthily adore the 
sovereign Majesty of the Lord, and perfectly comply with 
our solemn obligations to offer to Him worthy and adequate 

There are numberless reasons for offering this honor and 
homage to God. Have we not dishonored Almighty God 
as many times as we have sinned ? And have we not sinned 
many times every day since the time when we were first ca- 
pable of sinning ? How many insults have we offered to 
God by our lukewarnmess : by the scandal given to our fel- 
low men : by disobedience and want of submission to God's 
representatives ! How often have we dishonored and insulted 
God in our neighbor by the hatred or contempt for his per- 
son ! Have we not good reason to confess that by our whole 
life, by the greater part of our thoughts, words, and actions 
we have rather dishonored than honored Almighty God ? 
Were one of our fellow-men to insult us, or cause us to lose 
our honor and good name, should we not require an ade- 
quate reparation ? And will not God require the same afc 
the hands of those who almost every day so grievously out- 
rage Him in countless ways? How shall we pay off the 
enormous debt of years ! 

Let us thank Almighty God for having placed in our 
hands so easy a means of discharging all our debts to the 
Divine Justice in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Let us 
profit by it, not only on Sundays and holy days of obligation, 
but also on every other day, if at all possible. Then our 
love and veneration for this holy sacrifice will greatly in- 
crease, and in proportion as this love and veneration increase, 
so will our efforts to assist at Mass as often and with as 
much devotion and reverence as possible. 

It is necessary to assist at Mass with all possible devotion 
and reverence, for, from what has been said, it follows that 
to assist at Mass with irreverence would be to offer a horri- 
ble outrage to God. Jesus Christ offers Himself upon the 


altar to His heavenly Father in our behalf, and thus renders 
Him an infinite honor. Now Catholics must go to Mass for 
no other jourpose than to offer conjointly with Jesus Christ 
the same sacrifice and render to God the Father the same in- 
finite honor. Would we like to hear Jesus Christ say to us 
wlien at Mass what He one day said to the envious and im- 
pious Pharisees, "I honor my Father, but you dishonor 
me ? " * Whilst I am rendering infinite honor to my Father 
by offering myself to Him upon the altar, you dishonor 
and despise me and my heavenly Father by your immod- 
est attire and unguarded eye, by your laughing and talk- 
ing and irreverent behavior; when you hear the priest, who 
takes my place at the altar, say in a loud voice : " Lift 
np your hearts!" and the acolyth answers in the name of 
the people : " We have them with our Lord ! " your heart is 
taken up with many worldly and unbecoming thougiits; 
you think of everything but me ; at the very time that I 
humble myself before the Divine Majesty, na\', annihilate 
myself, as it were, you are standing there, casting around 
looks of pride and haughtiness and immodesty, just as 
though you had come to a theatre to display your A^anity and 
gratify your curiosity, and to be seen and admired by every 
spectator ; the very same holy sacrifice by which an infinite 
honor is rendered to my Father, you make use of to dis- 
honor Him. Should we like to hear Jesus reproach us 
thus? Have we never given Him any reason to reproach us 
thus ? God forbid that we should ever displease Him by 
want of faith, devotion, reverence, and recollection at 

Cassarius of Heisterbach relates that a pious priest named 
Andrew, together with many other devout Christians, made 
a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The vessel in which they 
were to return was to set sail on Easter Sunday morning. 
So all embarked on that day except the holy priest, and 

* John viii. 49 


sailed off. This good priest i^referred to let his fellow-pil- 
grims start than to omit saying Mass. Having finished his 
Mass, he went to the wharf to obtain, if possible, a small, 
fast-sailing bark to overtake the other pilgrims. Wonderfnl 
to relate, a beantiful youth suddenly appeared before him on 
horseback, and said : " You preferred not to start with the other 
pilgrims rather than lose Mass ; get then on my horse with me 
and I will conduct you safely back to your own country." 
Andrew accepted the offer and soon fell asleep for a little 
wiiile. When he awoke, the young man, who was an angel 
of the Lord, said to him: " Do you know where you are?" 
"Kind sir," replied the priest quite amazed, "1 can hardly 
trust my eyes; it seems to me I am in my fatherland ; this 
is the street in which I live ; this is my bouse ; these are the 
houses of my friends and neighbors ; but how is it possible 
that I could come home by land in so short a time ? " 
" Nevertheless it is so," said the angel ; "your way has been 
shortened because you said Mass." Thus the good priest 
was taken home in a few minutes, whilst his companions 
remained exposed to all the storms and dangers of a sea- 
voyage for two months. It was thus that the Lord honored 
the holy priest, because He had been infinitely honored by 
him in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

In a similar way our Lord knows how to honor those even 
in this world, whose chief care it is to honor Him, especially 
by assisting at the holy Sacrifice of the Mass with all possi- 
ble devotion and reverence. If He rewarded St. Peter of 
Alcantara with exceedingly great glory for all his corporal 
penances; if He made a pious student, after his death, shine 
with extraordinary heavenly splendor and brightness for 
having always prepared himself well for holy Communion, 
Avhat will be the glory, splendor, and honor which the Lord 
will confer upon all who, during this life on earth, made it 
their chief duty to give infinite honor to the Almighty by 
hearing Mass as often as it was possible for them ! 

Let us, then, promise our Lord, that for the time to come 


we will always assist at Mass, with all possible humility, de- 
votion, and reverence in order to be able to say in truth 
with Jesus Christ, at the end of life : " Father, I have glori- 
fied thee on earth, I have finished the work which thou hast 
given me to do."* 

* John xvii. 4. 



Whithersoeyer we may turn our eyes we behold the sad 
effects of sin, and the infinite hatred God bears to it. If we 
look up to heaven, we see that its brightest angels have been 
cast out for one single mortal sin. If we look into Paradise, 
we see how our first parents were banished from that abode 
of happiness for one single mortal sin. If we look upon the 
earth, we see it destroyed by water ; cities consumed by fire 
from heaven, and all on account of mortal sin. If we look 
into the abyss of hell, we see lost souls there, we hear howl- 
ing and gnashing of teeth for ever and ever, and all on ac- 
count of mortal sin. 

Were we to see a good and holy man, renowned for his wis- 
dom and justice, a man who loved his children witli the most 
tender affection, cast some of them into a fiery furnace, into a 
prison of frightful torments, and there suffer them to linger 
on in the midst of the most excruciating pains, with never 
a glance of pity, no relief, no deliverance for them, what 
should we think or say ? How enormous must be the crime 
which could draw down such a punishment ! Tliis just, Avise, 
and loving father is God. He loved the fallen angels with 
an unspeakable love, yet, for one mortal sin. He instantly 
cast them into hell, to burn, to be tortured for all eternity. 

O hoAV fearful an evil must mortal sin be, for an all-merci- 
ful God to punish it with such merciless rigor ! The great- 
ness of the punishment is the measure of the enormity of the 
crime. God is most just. The demons themselves confess 
that God has not punished them with all the rigor that their 
sin deserved. So great is the enormity of one mortal sin, 


that it has brought on the earth all the misery and woe that 
men have suffered since the beginning of the world and 
will suffer till the day of doom. So great is the malice of 
mortal sin that it kept heaven closed against us for a length 
of four thousand years, and it has opened wide the mouth of 
hell, which never ceases to swallow its countless victims. 
Yea, so great is the enormity of one mortal sin that God 
■woidd see Himself obliged, as it were, to destroy man in the 
same instant he commits it, unless one interferes, and ap- 
peases His anger by offering a sufficient satisfaction to God's 
justice, and an adequate reparation to His honor. 

We know that our first parents, Adam and Eve, trans- 
gressed their Maker's law^, and in an evil hour undid the 
glorious work of their creation. Plunged in an instant into 
an abyss of miseries, they did not attempt to rise, and indeed 
had not left themselves the power. Their posterity, spread 
over the earth, adding sin to sin, insult to insult, carried 
with them their rebellion and their impieties. The iniqui- 
ties of the father were multiplied in his children ; one age 
improved on the vices of another; till at last almost the only 
intercourse between heaven and earth was the voice of crimes 
crying aloud for vengeance. And what was there to counter- 
act the just demand? God stood not in need of these His 
worthless creatures ; poor earth-born man had no connection 
with the eternal self-sufficient happiness of the Lord, Who 
in one moment might have crushed him without regret. 

Hell, on the other hand, raised up its baleful voice, and 
demanded with seeming equity that he who had followed in 
guilt should follow also in punishment. The essential attri- 
bute of a God — impartial justice — seemed to second the ter- 
rible demand. And in this fearful moment, what was it 
that saved us? The unaccoitntable, incomprehensible love 
of God for the most wretched of His creatures. His impet- 
uous love was too powerful for His justice, and, relenting 
into compassion, He pardoned us. 

And in what manner ? The Son of God Himself became 


man to atone for our sins. Jesus was all innocent and holy, 
the only Son of God, loved by His Father with an infinite 
love, and yet, because He charged Himself with our sins, 
because He took upon Himself the semblance of a sinner, 
God punished Him witli merciless rigor. On the night of 
His bitter Passion, our Blessed Kedeemer knelt in the gar- 
den of Olives ; His soul was sad unto death. His face was 
deadly pale ; He trembled in every limb, and His heart's 
blood oozed out through every pore of His body. He strug- 
gled and prayed. He implored His heavenly Father to de- 
liver Him from the shame and the torments that awaited 
Him. "Oh, My Father, if it be possible, take away this 
chalice from Me." But no, God's outraged justice must be 
satisfied. Jesus has taken upon Himself all our sins, He 
must also endure all our punishments. God treats His own 
beloved Son with justice, without mercy, in order that He 
might treat us with unbounded mercy. For our sakes God 
delivered up His beloved Son to the fury of His enemies, to 
all the malice of tlie demons, to the most infamous outrages, 
to the most atrocious punishments. For our sakes He made 
His only begotten Son to become an object of horror and 
malediction, for it is written in the Word of God: "Ac- 
cursed is he who hangs on the cross." * And Jesus, the 
God of all glory, hung on the Cross, and died on the Cross 
in expiation of the sins of the world. The effusion of His 
blood is the price of our Redemption. It is thus that His 
Father pardoned us. 

Pardoned us. Oh ! look again upon the cross and behold 
the manner in which He has pardoned us ! Who would 
have thought it ? Had He but pardoned us, that alone 
would have been astonishins:. Had He commissioned 
another to atone for our sins, it would still have been infi- 
nite mercy. But that He should think of this, — that He, 
the Omnipotent, the Eternal, the essential of all beings, 

* Deut. xxi. 23. 


should think of atoning for us Himself, that He should 
leave His celestial throne, invest Himself with our wretched 
clay, and hang for us upon the infamous gibbet of the Cross, 
— this surpasses all comprehension ; it leaves us at once 
speechless and prostrate. Here we cannot understand ; we 
can only be silent and adore. 

But there is yet another circumstance wanting, to com- 
plete this stupendous wonder. For, was it necessary, if He 
must indulge His immense love, that He should descend to 
all this — that He should become as a worm, and no man, 
endure the very extremity of torment and ignominy ? 
Faith teaches us, and reason itself seems sufficient to evince 
that, coming from a God, the slightest atonement w^ould 
have been enough ; that, in a being of His infinite dignity, 
tlie very first drop of His inestimable blood would have suf- 
ficed, nay, would have blotted out the sins of a thousand 
worlds ten times more wicked than our own. Yet for us 
alone He prodigally shed it all ; He would observe no me- 
dium in His love, nor rest satisfied till He had selected and 
exhausted in His own person every refinement of sufiering 
that the ingenuity of the most cruel of mankind could de- 

Behold, then, the grand wonder complete ! Behold the 
grand act of atonement, the stupendous sacrifice of propi- 
tiation complete! Behold the justice of God fully satisfied 
and His honor more than abundantly repaired ! Behold the 
unaccountable love and mercy of God to His guilty creature 
man, displayed on the Cross to an unthinking world! 

But Jesus Christ was not content to offer Himself once a 
sacrifice for our sins upon the Cross ; no. He wished to re- 
main here below to be offered in sacrifice, not only once, but 
as often as we wish — even every day to the end of the world, 
in order that we might have in Him the most pleasing sacri- 
fice that we could ever offer to His Father for our sins, and 
the most valuable present we could make to appease Him. 
For this reason it is that the Council of Trent declares that 


Jesns Christ instituted the divine mystery of the Blessed 
Eucharist for two ends, namely, to be the food and life of 
our soul in the quality of a sacrament, and also in order 
that the Church might have a perpetual sacrifice to offer to 
God, in satisfaction for our offences. "In this divine sacri- 
fice ^' (of the Mass) says the holy synod, " the same Christ is 
contained and is immolated in an unbloody manner, who on 
the altar of the Cross, offered Himself once in a bloody man- 
ner; hence it is that this sacrifice is truly propitiatory. If, 
with a sincere heart and a right faith, with fear and rever- 
ence, we come, contrite and penitent, unto God, we obtain 
mercy and find grace in seasonable aid. — For it is one and 
the same victim; the same Christ offering Himself in the 
Mass by the ministry of the priests, who on Mount Calvary 
offered Himself upon the Cross — the manner alone of offer- 
ing being different. Wherefore, not merely is it rightfully 
offered, agreeably to the traditions of the Apostles, for the 
sins, pains, satisfactions, and the other necessities of the 
faithful who are living, but also for those who have died in 
Christ, and who are not as yet fully purified." * 

"Now there are four things," says St. Augustine, '^ which 
are to be considered in a sacrifice : The person to whom it 
is offered ; he who offers it ; what is offered ; and for whom 
it is offered. The infinite wisdom of God has here disposed 
things in such a manner that he who offers this sacrifice to 
reconcile us to God, is the same as He to whom it is offered ; 
nay more, it is He Himself who is the victim, and He is so 
united to those for whom He offers it, that He is the same 
with them also. That true Mediator — whereas in the form 
of God He receives sacrifice together with the Father, with 
whom also He is one God, yet, in the form of a servant, He 
chose rather to be, than to receive sacrifice, lest, even on this 
account, any one might think that sacrifice was to be offered 
to any creature. For this cause also He is a priest, Himself 



the offerer. Himself also the oblation," * Theodoret says the 
same of Jesus Christ, " He exercises the priesthood as man, 
but as God receives the things that are offered." f So that 
as upon the Cross He was both the priest and the victim, 
He is still npon our altars the victim and the priest, AVlio 
offers up Himself to His Eternal Father by the ministry 
of the priests. He who says Mass does but represent the 
person of Jesus Christ. It is in His name and as His min- 
ister that he offers this sacrifice. This is quite evident from 
tlie words of consecration ; for the priest when consecrating, 
says not " This is the body of Jesus Chi^ist" but he says, 
speaking in the person of Jesus Christ — " This is My Body ; " 
from which words it is clear that Jesus Christ Himself is the 
High Priest who offers this sacrifice, using the priest as He 
does as a mere agent, to pronounce in His name and place 
the words of consecration over the bread and wine. 

The royal Pi'ophet and the Apostle St. Paul call Jesus 
Clirist a '' priest forever according to the order of MelcUise" 
dech ; " and He is very justly called so, because every day in 
the Mass He offers to God that same sacrifice of propitiation 
which He once offered upon the Cross ; and Avhich He will 
never cease to offer to the end of the world. " Such a priest 
as this," says St. Paul I " we should have, holy, innocent, un- 
defiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the 
heavens; who needeth not, as the other priests, to offer 
sacrifices first for his own sins and then for the sins of 
the people." We stood in need of a priest who was able 
to appease the wrath of God, not by tlie blood of victims, 
as ordained in the Old Law, but by His own blood, and 
His own Death and Passion. 

From what has been said it is clear that this sacrifice is of 
so great price and value that it has not only sufficiently 
satisfied the Eternal Father for our sins and for those of the 
whole world — " He is the propitiation for our sins, and not 

* T. vii, L. X. c. XX., col. 410. f T. i. Interpret in Ps. cix, 

X Heb. vii. 20. 


only for ours, but for those of the whole world — ," * but it 
would be sufficient to satisfy for the sins of a million of 
worlds. It is not only a sufficient satisfaction, as theologians 
say, but it is a superabundant compensation ; it is a payment 
that far exceeds the debt ; it is a reparation of honor which 
pleases the Eternal Father far more than the sins of millions 
of worlds could displease Him. So that, as Jesus Christ is at 
the same time the sacrifice and the person who offers it, the 
sacrifice loses nothing of the value and merit when offered 
by the hands of a bad priest, and it ceases not to be always 
alike profitable to those for whom it is offered; just as an 
alms loses nothing of its merits if bestowed by the hands of a 
wicked man. 

This sacrifice of propitiation is offered up daily, nay, hourly, 
all over the world. Ah ! what would become of the world 
without it? To its efficacy, undoubtedly, must we attribute 
the less frequent occurrence, in later times, of those terrible 
punishments which God formerly inflicted on the wicked. 
The whole world was once destroyed by a deluge because of 
sin. Seventy thousand men fell victims to a pestilence sent 
by God to punish the vanity of King David. Fifty thou- 
sand Bethsamites were punished with death for the irreverent 
curiosity with which they gazed upon the Ark of the Cove- 
nant. Why are there so few instances of such punishments 
since the coming of Jesus Christ ? Sin has lost none of its 
inherent wickedness; on the contrary, it has become much 
more malicious by reason of the more abundant graces of 
God. The Fathers of the Church tell us that without doubt 
it is, because in all countries and at all times Jesus Christ 
is offered up by the priests of the Catholic Church, and the 
hands of God are bound. Indeed, were it not for this sacrifice 
of propitiation, we should have been treated long ago as were 
Sodom and Gomorrha. Only for it, God would have punished 
us long before this, according as our sins have deserved. 

♦ 1 John ii 3. 


" The Mass;' says St. Odo, Abbot of Cluny, " is the act on 
which is based the salvation of the world." * '' It is to the 
Mass," adds Timothy of Jerusalem, " that the entire world 
owes its preservation : without it, the sins of man would have 
annihilated it long ago." \ 

The property of this sacrifice, then, is to appease God; it 
is precisely this the Apostle expresses by the words : " He 
offered Himself to God for us to be a victim of an agreeable 
sweetness." X ^^^'j ^^ ^^^^"^ ^^'® accnstomed to forgiye an 
injury in consideration of a service or gift, so God feels 
appeased and looks upon us with merciful eyes in considera- 
tion of the present of the sacrifice we offer to His diyine 
majesty. Had we been at the foot of the Cross when our 
Saviour died, what consolation would we not have felt in our 
souls, and what hope of salvation should we not have con- 
ceived, had some drops of His most precious blood fallen upon 
us! A miserable wretch, whose life was spent in robbing, 
was filled with so much confidence at the side of our Lord, 
that, in an instant, from a robber he became a saint, and 
from the cross to which he was fastened he raised himself to 
the enjoyment of everlasting glory. The same Son of God 
Who then offered Himself for us upon the Cross, still daily 
offers Himself for us upon the altars, and the sacrifice offered 
in our churches is of as great a price and of as great virtue 
as that which was consummated upon Mount Calvary. 
Hence the Church is accustomed to say, " that the work of 
our Eedemption is as often performed as we celebrate the 
commemoration of this Victim," § the fruits and graces of 
the bloody sacrifice of the Cross being applied to us by the 
unbloody sacrifice of the Mass. The voice of the blood of 
the Lamb of God prevails over the sins which cry to heaven 
for vengeance, and benedictions descend where punishments 
are due. How could it be otherwise ? " Appeased by the 

♦ Opusc. 2, c. 28. f Orat. de Propli. % Eph. v. 2. 

§ In orat. secret. Dom. 9, p. Pent. 


Sacrifice of the Mass," says the Council of Trent, " God for- 
gives even the most heinous crimes." * 

However, we must not believe that the Sacrifice of the 
Mass is, properly speaking, the ordinary means which God 
makes use of to effect our justification. No, our sins are not 
directly and immediately remitted by Mass, as they are by 
baptism or the sacrament of penance; but this adorable 
sacrifice obtains the grace of repentance through which the 
sinner is disposed to go to confession, and by the reception 
of the sacrament of penance, in right and holy dispositions, 
to obtain the forgiveness of all his transgressions. 

It would be a very wrong interpretation of the doctrine of 
the holy Council of Trent to pretend that, in order to recover 
sanctifying grace, when we had the misfortune of losing it 
by mortal sin, it is sufi&cient to assist at the holy Sacrifice of 
the Mass. The benefit we derive from our assistance at it, 
when we hear it with faith and the other necessary condi- 
tions, is the remission of venial sins, without the obligation 
of apjflying ourselves to the sacrament of penance, as well as 
several other spiritual graces. As for mortal sins, they can 
only be remitted by the sacrament of penance. Always re- 
member that the sole effect with regard to such sins, of our 
assistance at Mass, is to appease the wrath of God, and to 
induce Him to grant us the requisite dispositions to receive 
the saciament of penance worthily, which alone can effect 
our justification. And it is thus understood and explained 
that we pay the Sacrifice of the Mass is propitiatory for the 

" Unless you do penance," says our Lord in the Gospel, 
** you shall perish." Now, it is certain that no one will do 
true penance for his sins unless he is very sorry for them. 
But to have this sorrow requires a particular grace of God. 
Jesus Christ, speaking of the just, says: "As the branch 
cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, sq 

* Sess. 33, c. iii. 


neither can 3^011, unless you abide in Me." * Now, if this be 
true of those who ah'eadj enjoy the grace of God, it is espe- 
cially true of sinners. The poor sinner, deprived of God's 
grace, is like a child that is helpless and abandoned. He is 
unable, of his own strength, to rise from the state of sin and 
recover the friendship of God. " If any one," says the Coun- 
cil of Trent, "asserts that without the preceding inspiration 
and grace of the Holy Ghost man can believe, hope, love, or 
repent in such a manner as he ought, let him be anathema." 
Consider well the word : " Eepent in such a manner as he 
ought." Judas repented, for Holy Scripture says of him : 
*• Then Judas, who betrayed Jesus, seeing that He was con- 
demned, repenting himself, brought back the thirty pieces 
of silver to the chief priests and ancients, saying : I have 
sinned in betraying innocent blood." f ^^t this was not 
such repentance as is required for justification ; it proceeded 
only from natural motives, and consequently ended in de- 
spair. "xVnd Judas," as Holy Scripture says, "went and 
hanged himself with a halter." 

We may, indeed, fall into sin without any assistance ; but 
rise from it we cannot, except by the special assistance of 
God. I can pluck out my eyes, but to set them in again 
properly is beyond my power. I can likewise lose the grace 
of God, but to recover it again without God's assistance, is 
more than I can do. St. Peter remained chained in prison 
until an angel came and said to him : " Arise," and the chains 
fell from his hands. I Had St. Peter not been awakened 
by the angel, he would not have thought of rising ; and had 
he thought of it, he would not have been able to free him- 
self from his fetters. In like manner, the soul which has 
once been chained by sin will scarcely ever think seriously 
of being converted and returning to God. Should it even 
think of this, all its efforts will not suffice to break the 
chains of sin, and free it from the slavery of the devil, if 
God's grace does not come to its aid. 

* John xiii. 4. f Matt. xxii. 3. t Acts xii. 7. 


One day St. Anselm met a boy playing witli a bird. The 
poor bird tried to fly away, but it could not, as the boy held 
it by a thread which he had tied to its leg. The little bird 
tried to fly away again and again, but the boy always pulled 
it back, and laughed and leaped for joy, as he saw it flutter 
and fall upon the ground. St. Anselm stood gazing for a 
considerable time at this strange sport, and showed the 
greatest compassion for the poor little bird. Suddenly the 
thread broke, and the little bird flew away. The boy began 
to cry, but St. Anselm expressed the greatest joy. All pres- 
ent were astonished to see so great a prelate take such inter- 
est in this childish sport. But St. Anselm said : '* Do you 
know what I thought of on seeing this boy amuse himself thus 
with the bird ? Ah ! it is thus, thought I, that the devil 
makes sport of sinners. He ties them at first, as it were, 
with a slender thread, and then sports with them as he pleases, 
drawing them from one sin into another." Some he ties by 
indifference to God and to their own salvation, others by too 
great love for the goods of this world ; some, again, he ties 
by the sin of avarice, others by the sin of uncleanness, others 
by tlie sin of theft. Many a one of the unfortunate sinners, 
seeing his great misery, will cry out like St. Augustine: 
" How long, Lord ! Wilt Thou be angry forever ? Ee- 
member not my past iniquities." And perceiving himself 
still held back by them, he cast forth miserable complaints, 
and reproached himself, saying : " How long ? How long ? 
To-morrow ! To-morrow ! Why not now ? Why does not 
this hour put an end to my filthiness ? " These complaints 
he uttered, and he wept with most bitter contrition 
of heart, not feeling courage enough to renounce his evil 

" Oh ! would to God," cries many a sinner, " that I were 
freed from this accursed habit of drinking, of swearing, of 
sinning against the angelic virtue of holy purity ! What 
am I to do ? " Like the little bird, this poor sinner wishes 
to get free from his sinful habits, but in vain. The devil 


keeps him tied, and drags him back into his old sins. At 
last the unhappy wretch, seeing that he cannot get free, gives 
way to despair. 

Many sinners become so hardened that they resemble 
incarnate demons ; — even were hell open before them, they 
would still continue to sin. Others, again, are so unhappy 
that they do not see their misery, whilst some do not wish 
to see it, lest they should feel any stings of conscience, and 
conceive a desire of amendment. There are others who 
would indeed wish to amend, and even feel the good- will 
to do so, but they lack courage and energy. 

Oh, unliappy state of sinners! Whence shall such men 
obtain light to understand their misery ? Whence shall they 
receive the good-will, the courage, and energy to free them- 
selves from their evil habits ? From God alone : He can 
gi'ant those graces. ''' The heart of man," says Holy Writ, 
"is in the hand of the Lord ; He turns it whithersoever He 
wills." God can in one moment enlighten the sinner so 
that he understands the misery and danger of his state. 
The Lord can so move his will, that he makes a firm resolu- 
tion to amend. He can in one moment inspire the heart of 
the sinner with so much confidence in His mercy, that he 
firmly hopes for the forgiveness of all his sins. 'No\y it is 
this unspeakably great grace that the sinner surely obtains 
at Mass if he assists at it with proper devotion. 

! my sweet and most merciful Lord, Thou knowest the 
number of souls which Thou hast most wonderfully re- 
claimed from their evil ways by this sacrifice of propitiation ! 
How many unnatural children, who had almost entirely re- 
nounced and forsaken Thee by the irregularity and the 
profligacy of their conduct, hast Thou not, by the influence 
of Thy grace, changed into sincere penitents, crying with 
bitter sorrow, '•' Father, I have sinned against heaven and 
before Thee, I am not now worthy to be called Thy son; 
make me as one of Thy hired servants."* How many crim- 
* Luke XV. 19. 


inals hare returned from this new Mount Calvary striking 
their breasts and imploring mercy ! How many lepers, after 
having earnestly solicited Thy assistance, have been in- 
wardly urged to go and show themselves to the priests, and 
have been cured of their loathsome disorder ! 

St. Paul the hermit had received from God the gift of the 
penetration of hearts. By means of this gift he could dis- 
cover the most secret thoughts of his fellow-men. On Sun- 
days when the hermits went to hear Mass he often stayed at 
the entrance of the church, in order to tell those who in the 
state of mortal sin entered the house of God, to repent of, 
and do penance for, their evil deeds. One day he saw a man 
go to church whose face was quite disfigured, and who was 
followed by several evil spirits who kept him chained and 
pulled him to the right and to the left. His guardian angel 
followed at a distance, with great compassion for the unhap- 
py man. At this lamentable sight, the holy hermit com- 
menced to shed bitter tears ; he struck his breast and greatly 
sympathized with the poor wretched sinner. But wonderful 
to relate, after Mass was over, he saw that great sinner come 
out with a bright countenance, and his guardian angel quite 
close by him. Full of joy, he exclaimed : " most incon- 
ceivable, most wonderful mercy of God! Behold, my 
brethren, I saw this man enter the church with a black face 
and surrounded by several evil spirits ; and now, on coming 
out, I see him beautiful and bright like an angel." Then 
turning to that sinner, he said: "Give honor to God, and 
tell us in what state you entered the church." ^'I am a 
great sinner," said he; "I have spent many years in de- 
bauchery ; but when I heard in the Epistle of the Mass, the 
words of the prophet Isaias, ^ Wash yourselves, be clean, take 
away the evil of your devices from my eyes,' etc., -'if your 
Bins be as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow.' 
I entered into myself and said to God: 'O my Lord, Thou 
Who camest into this world to save poor sinners, save me, 
the most wretched of sinners.' These were the sentiments 


of my heart during Mass. I firmly resolved never more to 
offend Almighty God. I besought the Lord to forgive me 
and to receive me once more in mercy. "With these senti- 
ments I left the church." Now, when the hermits heard 
this, they exclaimed : " Ah ! how great is the mercy of God ! 
He bestows the grace of conversion upon sinners in the holy 
sacrifice of Mass, and receives them again into His sacred 

What a consolation for us poor sinners to think that, as 
the sun in its course brings daylight to each successive spot on 
the earth, it ever finds some priest girding himself to go up to 
the altar; that thus the earth is belted from the rising of the 
sun unto the going down of the same, with a chain of 
Masses ; that as the din of the world commences each day, 
the groan of the oppressed, tlie cry of the fearful and 
troubled, the boast of sin and pride, the wail of sorrow — the 
voice of Christ ascends at the same time to heaven suppli- 
cating for pardon and peace ! 

It is in this sacrifice of propitiation that the eagerness of 
God to save sinners is truly manifest. It is this eagerness 
for the salvation of sinners that makes Him come down 
from heaven in every Mass and say to them : " * Eeturn, ye 
transgressors, to th'fe heart.' f Sinners, enter once more into 
your own hearts; think on the benefits you have received 
from Me, on the love I have borne you, and offend Me no 
more. Turn ye to Me, and I will turn to you ; I will re- 
ceive you in My embraces.]; My children, why will you 
destroy yourselves, and of your own free will condemn your- 
selves to everlasting death ? Eeturn to Me and you shall 

"Have you forgotten that I am tliat Good Sheplierd who 
goes about seeking the lost sheep, and on finding it makes 
a festival, saying : ' Rejoice with Me, because I have found 

* Lives of the Fatliers of the Desert. Lib. V. in fine. 
\ Isaias xlvi. 8. % Ezech. xxi. 31. 


My slieei^ that was lost ? ^ * And He lays it upon his shoul- 
ders, and carefully keeps possession of it in His fond 
embraces for fear He should lose it again. Have you 
forgotten that I am that loving Father, Who, whenever a 
prodigal son that has left Him returns to His feet, does 
not thrust him away, but embraces him, kisses him, and as 
it were, faints away from the consolation and fondness which 
He feels in beholding his repentance? With what tenderness 
did I, the moment she repented, forgive Magdalen and 
change her into a saint ! With what kindness did I forgive 
the paralytic, and at the same moment restore him to bodily 
health ! And with what sweet gentleness, above all, did T 
treat the woman taken in adultery ! The priests brought 
that sinner before Me, that I might condemn her; but I, 
turning towards her, said : * Hath no man condemned thee ? 
Neither will I condemn thee, I, who came to save sinners ; 
Go in peace and sin no more.'f 

" Eemember it was out of compassion for sinners that I 
have been pleased to be bound in swaddling-clothes, ^hat 
they might be released from the chains of hell; that I h wq 
become poor, in order that they might be made partakers ^f 
My riches; that I have made Myself weak to give thevT. 
power over their enemies ; that I have chosen to weep anc^ 
shed My blood in order that by My tears and blood their 
sins might be washed away." 

It is thus that the Lamb of God, the Saviour of the world, 
speaks at Mass to every poor sinner. And in very deed, all 
the sins ever committed are but a grain of sand beside a 
huge mountain when compared with the mercy of God. 
Hence it is that the Lord wishes every priest to tell poor 
sinners what He one day commanded the prophet Isaias to 
tell them for their encouragement : " Say to the faint- 
hearted. Take courage, and fear not: behold, God himself 
will come and will save you."J Fear not, then, says the 

* Luke XV. 6. f Jolin viii. 10. J Isaias xxxv. 4. 


prophet ; despair no more, poor sinners ! What fear can 
yon have of not being pardoned when the Son of God Him- 
self comes down from heaven in each Mass to save you ? 
Has not He Himself made compensation to God by the sa- 
crifice of His life for that just vengeance which our sins de- 
manded? If you cannot by your own w^orks appease an 
offended God, behold His Son upon our altars. Who can ap- 
pease Him ; this His very Son, with His tears, prayers, suffer- 
ings, and death, propitiates Him. You have no grounds for 
being any longer sad, on account of the sentence of death 
fulminated against you, now that Life Itself is upon our altars. 
If you are unable to render due satisfaction to the Divine 
Justice, look on Jesus during Mass, where He offers to His 
Father all the penances which He performed for thirty-three 
years in satisfaction for your sins. Hence, God, Who accepts 
on our behalf the torments and death of Jesus Christ, is 
obliged to pardon us in virtue of the compact made. He 
charged His beloved Son with all our iniquities, in order 
to release us from the punishment due to them. 

Let us, then, not be afraid of Jesus Christ, but of our own 
obstinacy, if, after offending Him, we will not listen to His 
voice, inviting us to be reconciled. " Who is it that shall 
condemn ? " says the Apostle ; " Christ Jesus who died ; 
AVho also maketh intercession for us." * If we persist in our 
obstinacy, Jesus Christ will be constrained to condemn us ; 
but if we repent of the evil we have done, what fear need we 
have of Jesus Christ ? Who has to pronounce on us sen- 
tence? "Think," says St. Paul, "that the self-same Ee- 
deemer has to sentence thee who died for thee, and still 
descends from heaven every day, and dies mystically in each 
Muss, in order that He might not condemn thee ; that self- 
same One Who, tJiat He might pardon thee, has not spared 

Go then, sinner, go to Mass, give thanks to this your 

* Rom. viii. 34. 

OF pkopitiatio:n". 297" 

Redeemer, Who there comes down from heaven to call you 

to nimself and to save you. If you are desirous of pardon, 

He is waiting there to pardon yon. Go quickly, then, obtain 

your pardon, and forget not the excessive love which Jesus 

Christ has borne you. 

Know, further, that should you love Him, your past sins 
will not stand in the way of your receiving from God those 
specially great and choice graces which He is wont to bestow 
on His most beloved souls : " All things work together unto 
good." * *' Even sins," subjoins the Gloss. Yes, even the 
remembrance of the sins you have committed, contributes 
to your advantage, for the very fact that you bewail and de- 
test them will make you more humble and more pleasing to 
God, and the reflection that God has welcomed you into the 
arms of His mercies, will be a powerful incentive for you to 
give yourself wholly and entirely to God. " There shall be 
joy in heaven upon one sinner that doeth penance, more than 
upon ninety-nine just." f 

But what sinner is understood to give more joy to heaven 
than a whole multitude of just ones ? That sinner, who, out 
of gratitude to the Divine Goodness, devotes himself wholly 
and fervently to the love of God, after the example of a St. 
Paul, a St. Mary Magdalen, a St. Mary of Egypt, a St. 
Augustine, a St. Margaret of Cortona. To this last saint in 
particular, who had formerly spent several years in sin, God 
revealed the place prepared for her in heaven, amongst the 
seraphim ; and even during her life He showed her many 
singular favors, so much so, that beholding herself so favored 
she one day said to God : " Lord, how is it that you lavish 
so many graces on me ? Have you, then, forgotten the sins 
I have committed against you ? " And God thus answered 
her: "And do you not know what I have before told you, 
that when a soul repents of her faults I no longer remember 
all the outrages she has been guilty of towards Me." This 

* Rom. viii. 28. f Luke xv. 7. 


same thing God had long ago annonnced by His prophet 
Ezechiel : " If the wicked do penance I will not remember all 
his iniquities." * 

Our sins, then, do not prevent us from becoming saints. 
God readil}^ offers us every assistance, especially at Mass, if 
we only desire and ask it. It remains for us to give ourselves 
entirely to God, and to devote to His love at least the re- 
mainder of our days in this life. If we fail, we fail of our- 
selves, and not through God. Let us never be so unhappy as 
to turn all the mercies and loving calls of God into subjects 
of remorse and despair upon our death-bed, at that last mo- 
ment when no more time is left to do^anything. 

Let us acknowledge that if ever it be our misfortune to 
ftiU into hell, that place of eternal woe, the fault will be 
entirely our own. We shall not certainly have our God to 
blame. For what more could He have done to extricate us 
from it? It was indeed our destined and inevitable abode ; 
but He has with His own blood effaced the terrible hand- 
writing; and each time Mass is said, Jesus goes to Mount 
Calvary at the price of His blood, to keep down the ancient 
war between heaven and earth, to renew the treaty of solemn 
peace between God and man, and if, after this, we are eternally 
miserable, it is by our own free and deliberate choice. It is 
vain to allege that we have still a thousand enemies combin- 
ing to drag us into the bottomless gulf Have we not now 
an omnipotent arm stretched out at Mass to save us? It 
would be cruel to complain that unruly passions still clamor 
in our bosoms ; can any of them speak so loud as an expiring 
God upon the altar? It would be injustice and insult to 
allege that we are surrounded by sin in every shape, and daily 
allured by its tempting baits: has it any persuasive power 
like the image of a crucified Saviour at Mass ? No ; if we 
can calmly look up at the Cross, and still embrace and con- 
tinue in an evil which was so dearly expiated, we are hope- 

* Ezech. xviii. 21. 


less, we are beyond redemption, and must prepare witliout 
resource for that hell which he, for whom it was first created, 
had merited by such obdurate malignity. 

Mass is the consolation for poor sinners! "Wh}^, then, do 
men go to it so seldom? Why do they hear it with such 
coldness ? Do they not know that to do so is to offend 
Almighty God ? Do we not wish to repair the injury done 
by our sins ? Can we offer God a satisfaction more worthy 
than His well-beloved Son ? 

Have we not merited hell ? What a consolation to be able 
to turn away the anger of God, and avoid the everlasting 
pains of hell at so small a price ! Oh, happy souls who wa«h. 
themselves often in the sacred laver of the blood of Jesas 
Christ at Mass ! Unhappy souls ! who prefer eternal death 
to a remedy so easy a.nd efficacious ! More miserable still are 
those who abuse and make subservient to their crimes the 
holy sacrifice which ought to put a stop to them. 

Let us sing constantly with the prophet of the Lord this 
beautiful canticle of love and gratitude : " Bless the Lord, 
my soul, and let all that is within me bless His holy name. 
Bless the Lord, my soul, and never forget all that He has 
done for thee ; Who forgiveth all thy iniquities ; Who healeth 
all thy diseases ; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; 
Who crowneth thee with mercy and compassion; Who satis- 
fieth thy desire with good things ; thy youth shall be renewed 
like the eagle's." 



About three 3-ears ago a pious virgin, named Amelie Lau- 
tard of Marseilles, died in Rome. She was very sensitive to 
every outrage offered to God. There was, however, one, at 
which she seemed to be more pained than at all the rest. 
This was the ingratitude of men and their cruel neglect of 
our Saviour in His Eucharistic prison. During her solitary 
vigils before the altar, she conceived an ardent desire to 
make some reparation to the outraged love of Jesus Christ. 
The idea occurred to her of instituting a community whose, 
mission should be to give thanks and console our divine 
Saviour for the ingratitude of the Avorld by perpetual ado- 
ration before the Tabernacle, and at the same time of getting 
up a regular service of thanksgiving among the faithful at 
large, to have short prayers appointed and recommended by 
the Church to their constant use, for the sole and express 
purpose of thanking God for His countless mercies to us all, 
but more especially to those among us who never thank 
Him on their own account. In order to carry out these sug- 
gestions more effectively, she Avent to Rome to obtain the 
authorization and blessing of the Pope. She received the ' 
most affectionate welcome, for the Holy Father had been 
long acquainted with her by name and knew the apostolio 
manner of life she led. He approved of her design, en- 
couraged her to carry it out, and gave his blessing to the 
work. She was in the habit of recommending to her friends 
the use of the Gloria Patri and the ejaculation Deo Gratias, 
as having been particularly commended to her devotiou 
by the Holy Father himself. 


An incident occurred to Amelie during her stay in Eome, 
wliich she often narrated as a proof of the extreme need 
T\'e have of a service of thanksgiving. She went one morn- 
ing to an audience at the house of a cardinal, and while 
waiting for her turn, she entered into a conversation with 
the superior of the Eedemptorist Fathers in France. Always 
on the watch to gain an ally to the cause, she told him the 
motive of her journey to Rome, and begged that he would 
use his influence in his own wide sphere to forward its suc- 
cess amongst souls. 

" Ah ! madame ! " exclaimed the Eedemptorist, " it was a 
good thought to try and stir up men's hearts to a spirit of 
thanksgiving, for there is nothing more wanted in the 
Avorld. The story of the nine lepers is going on just the 
same these eighteen hundred years. I have been forty years 
a priest, and during that time I have been asked to say 
Masses for every sort of intention, 'but only once have I been 
asked to say a Mass of thanksgiving.^'' * Yes, truly the 
story of the nine lepers is being enacted now as in the 
old days when Jesus exclaimed sorrowfally, "Is there no 
one but this stranger found to return and give thanks ? " 

The duty of thanksgiving seems to be forgotten by most 
men, even by the good and pious. It would not be easy to 
exaggerate the common neglect of this duty. There is little 
enough of prayer; but there is still less of thanksgiving. 
For every million of Paters and Aves, which rise up from 
the earth to avert evils, or to ask graces, how many follow 
after in thanksgiving for the evils averted or the graces 
given ? 

Men are grateful to their fellow- men, grateful even to ani- 
mals. But to be thankful towards God, their greatest bene- 
factor, seems unaccountably to have fallen out of most men's 
practical religion altogether. If we have reason to pity God, 
if we may dare so to speak with St. Alphonsus, because men 

* Catholic World, 1873. 


sin against His lo\Tng Majesty, still more reason have we to 
do so when we see how scanty and how cold are the thanks- 
givings offered up to Him. 

" This sin of ingratitude," says St. Bernard, " is an enemy 
of the soul that entertains it in every way, depriving it of 
the good it has acquired, and preventing the acquisition of 
more; it is a scorching wind that dries up the sources of 
piety, the streams of mercy, and the torrents of grace. I 
have an extreme hatred of ingratitude, because it is a mur- 
derer which directly attacks the soul's salvation, and in my 
opinion there is nothing in religious, and in persons who 
practise piety, so displeasiug to God as ingratitude for His 
benefits. Why is it that often God does not grant what we 
ask of Him with the greatest earnestness ? Is His power 
weakened ? Are His riches exhausted ? Has His affection 
for us waned ? Alas, no ! The true cause is that we do not 
thank God for His benefits. There are few who thank Him 
as they ought for His favors." 

Indeed, there is nothing more odious even among men 
than ingratitude. " The ungrateful man," says St. Irenaeus, 
*' is a vessel of ignominy into which God pours the gall of His 
anger; while the grateful man is a vessel of election and 
honor, into which He continually pours the precious waters 
of His grace, making him a great instrument of His 

Now, to accomplish well our duty of gratitude towards 
Almighty God, we must consider attentively the excellence 
of His gifts and of the love with which He bestows them, 
and then make use of the means He has left us to thank 
Him in the most perfect manner. What are then the gifts 
which the love of God has bestowed upon us ? To under- 
stand them in some measure, we must remember that the 
charity of God contains, in an eminent degree, three quali- 
lies, which, according to St. Ignatius, distinguish true from 
false love ; for 1st, the love of God effects great things; 2d, 
it liberally communicates all it possesses to the beloved 


object; 3rd, it is always present to it iu the most intimate 

In the first place, the love of God for us effects great 
things ; He has drawn us from the abyss of nothingness in 
preference to so many other possible beings ; He has formed 
us according to His own image ; He has giyen us the three 
faculties of the soul ; the entire use of the senses ; He has 
granted us sound and perfect members ; He has enriched us 
with bappy natural qualities. Through love of us He pre- 
serves the universe ; He multiplies animals for our use ; He 
makes the trees grow, produces the plants, covers the 
meadows with grass, enriches the fields with harvests ; He 
strengthens the earth under our feet, enlightens us by the 
sun, nourishes us by our food, refreshes us by water, warms 
us by fire, and cools us by air. 

Add to these benefits of God the work of the Eedemption 
of man when He became, not the deliverer of the angels, 
but of the human race ; add the mission of the Holy Ghost 
to sanctify the world and to teach all truth ; add our adop- 
tion as a child of God, as a brother of Jesus Christ, and 
heir of heaven by baptism; add moreover the benefit of a 
good education, our vocation to the true faith (perhaps, to 
the religious life), and say. Yes, " He who is mighty has done 
great things to me." 

Secondly, God has bestowed great blessings upon us, and 
given Himself entirely to us when He gave the principal 
blessings which His almighty arm has created : namely, 
corporeal things for our use ; the angels to guard us ; grace 
to merit heaven ; Jesus Christ for our master ; His life for 
our example. His body for our ransom, His soul for our 
price ; His sacred flesh for our food ; His blood for our 
drink ; in fine, when He lavished upon us all the riches of 
His love in the Eucharist, so that He Who knows everything 
knows of nothing better and has nothing greater to give. 
He has communicated the great and precious graces contained 
in His promises : viz., the assistance of His so -caMed jpreve?it' , 


tng co-operating grace, the gift of faith, of hope, of habitual 
charity and sanctifying grace, that we might become partakers 
in tlie divine nature ; for love gives itself liberally, with all its 
possessions, to the beloved object. Assuredly, if ^' God so 
loved the world as to give it His only Son," how could He re- 
fuse to give all things with liim ? Yes, it is in this especially 
that the charity and benevolence of God has appeared. 

Finally, God also shows His love for us in this, that He 
is always intimately present by His Essence, according to 
the doctrine of St. Paul the Apostle. " It is in Him," he 
says, " that we live, move, and exist," being more surround- 
ed, filled, and penetrated with the Divinity than with the air 
we breathe. 

He is present by His power, for He lives. He grows. He 
feels. He sees. He thinks, remembers, and speaks in us, by 
His concurrence in all these actions. He is present by His 
Providence, "for He carries us in His bosom ; He protects us 
as His children, removes evils both temporal and spiritual 
out of our path, provides us with food, and makes even 
temptation and all kinds of crosses and adversities profita- 
ble. In a word, God, to testify His benevolent love, is al- 
ways intimately present in our body and soul, as in His 
temple ; for He who loves, desires to be constantly united to 
the beloved object. There is no telling what He has done 
for men. "There are so many things,"* says St. John, 
*' which Jesus did : which if they were written, every one, 
the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books 
that should be written." Yes, indeed, to lay open all God's 
blessings to the full, would be like a man trying to confine in a 
little vase the mighty currents of the wide ocean ; for that were 
an easier work than to publish with human eloquence the in- 
numerable gifts of God. Man, rightly considered, is a compo- 
sition of God's benefits. This is why the royal prophet 
calls God his mercy. This means that David regarded 


himself under every aspect as the work of the divine 

Now, what enhances all the gifts and blessings of God in 
greatness and value, is the affection with which He bestows 
them. The love and affection with which He bestowa 
His gifts is an eternal love, eternal with Himself, so ancient 
that we can never go back to its beginning; for God did 
not begin to love Himself before He began to love us, and 
intended to bestow His choicest graces upon us. He cast 
from all eternity those looks of mercy that drew us from 
our nothingness, in preference to so many others, who 
would have served Him much more faithfully than we. 

Moreover, this love with which He bestows His favors is a 
gratuitous love, without any merit on our part, or advantage 
to Himself. St. John says, that the love of God for us ap- 
peared particularly in this, that we did not love Him first, 
thus meriting on His part a reciprocal love, but that He 
loved us first; that He loved us when we were His ene- 
mies, and by our nature, children of wrath. He bestows 
His benefits voluntarily, without having need of us, with- 
out any advantage to Himself His eternal knowledge of 
the future could see in us only sin and nothingness, cal- 
culated to rouse His anger rather than gain His love; never- 
theless this God, who has need of no one, who is happy in 
Himself, has enriched man with His benefits without any merit 
on his part, without any profit to Himself, even though He 
foresaw the many great faults that man would commit. 

Finally, God has heaped upon us all His gifts and favors 
with an infinite love, with the same love, in its nature, with 
which He loves Himself, with which He loves Jesus Christ 
and His saints. Now, if we consider in all the gifts of the 
Lord the greatness and majesty of the Giver, and the infi- 
nite affection with which He gives them, we will come to 
understand that they are all unspeakably great, that there 
are no such things as small mercies. Hence it was that our 
Lord one day said to the Blessed Battista Varani, a Francis* 


can nun, "If you were never to sin again, and if you alona 
were to perform more penances than all the blessed in heaven 
have ever performed, and if you were to shed tears enough 
to fill all the seas, and suffer all the pains you are capable 
of suffering ; all this could not be enough to thank Me for 
the very least blessing I have ever bestowed upon you/' 
Another time, Battista said, God had given her to under- 
stand that the glorious Motlier of God, and all men and 
angels, with their perfections, could not adequately tliank the 
Divine Goodness for the creation of one of the least field- 
flowers of the earth, which He has made for our use, in re- 
spect of the infinite gulf there is between His excellence and 
our vileness. 

Hence, St. Gregory Nyssen was right in saying : " I think 
that if our whole life long we conversed with God without 
distraction, and did nothing but give thanks, we should 
really be just as far from adequately thanking our heavenly 
Benefactor, as if we had never thought of thanking Him at 
alL For time has three parts, the past, the present, and the 
future. If you look at the present, it is by God that you are 
now living ; if the future, He is the hope of everything you 
expect ; if the past, you would never have been if He had 
not created you. That you were born, was His blessing. 
And after you were born, your life and your death were 
equally His blessing. Whatever your future hopes may be, 
they hang also upon His blessing. You are only master of 
the present ; and therefore, if you never once intermitted 
thanksgiving during your whole life, you would hardly do 
enough for the grace that is always present ; and your im- 
agination cannot conceive of any method possible by which 
you could do anything for the time past, or for the time to 
come." Since the benefits and blessings of God are unspeak- 
ably great, from their multitude, their magnitude, and their 
incomprehensibility, they are by no means to be concealed 
in silence or left without commemoration, though it be im- 
possible to commemorate them adequately. They are to be 


confessed with the mouth, revered in the heart, and re- 
ligiously worshipped, as far as the littleness of man can do 
so. For though we cannot explain them in words, we can 
make acknowledgment of them in the pious and enlarged 
affection of our hearts. Indeed, the immense mercy of our 
Eternal Creator condescends to approve not only that which 
man can do, but all He would desire to do ; for the merits 
of the just are counted up by the Most High, not only in 
the doing of the work, but in the desire of the will. 

Hence the spirit of thanksgiving has been in all ages the 
characteristic of the saints. Thanksgiving has always been 
their favorite prayer. They learned this spirit from our 
Lord Jesus Christ, who always thanked His Father in the 
beginning of His prayers, and when about to operate any 

From the epistles of St. Paul we learn that this great 
Apostle constantly exhorted the Christians, '^ always to give 
thanks for all things, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
to God and the Father." 

When the Archangel Raphael was about to make himself 
known to Tobias and his family, he said to them : " It is 
time that I return to Him that sent me : but bless God and 
publish all His wonderful works." Probably, as he parted 
from them, he showed them a glimpse of his angelic beauty, 
as they went immediately into an ecstasy of three hours, 
which filled them with a spirit of thanksgiving. " Then 
they, lying prostrate for three hours upon their face, blessed 
God, and rising up th*ey told all His wonderful works." 

The ancient Christians saluted each other with these 
words: "Thanks be to God." Those very words were always 
in the mouth and heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. And 
in heaven, as St. John assures us, the blessed prostrate them- 
selves before the throne of God to thank Him continually 
for all His benefits. St. Cyprian, on hearing the sentence of 
his death, said: "Thanks be to God," and gave twenty-five 
gold crowns to the man who was to cut off his head. St. 


Lawrence tliaTiked God on his gridiron. St. Boniface, in the 
midst of horrible torments, exclaimed : " Jesus Christ, Son 
of God, I thank Thee." St. Dulas, while he was being 
cruelly scourged, repeated: "I thank Thee, my Lord Jesus, 
for having deemed me worthy to suffer this for love of Thee." 
There is nothing more holy than a tongue which thanks God 
in adversitv. To say but once ** Thanks be to God " in ad- 
versity or illness, is better than to say it several thouc-and 
times in prosperity. Father Didacus Martinez, the Jesuit 
who was called the Apostle of Peru, because of his zeal for 
souls and his indefiitigable labors in that province, used to 
say daily four hundred times and often six hundred times, 
" Deo gr alias" " Thanks be to God," and he had some beads 
on purpose to be accurate. Re tried to induce others to 
practise the same devotion, and declared that he knew there 
was no short prayer more acceptable to God, if only it be 
uttered with a devout intention. 

These illustrious examples teach us how grateful we*ought 
to be for the benefits of Almighty God. There are three 
degrees of the virtue of gratitude, says St. Thomas. The 
first engraves gratitude on the heart, causing a man to feel 
the good done him and acknowledge it ; this is the lowest 
degree of gratitude, the very least that a benefit deserves. 
The second degree excites us to praise and magnify the 
benefit, and to thank the benefactor with words full of affec- 
tion. The third and highest consists in adding to gratitude 
of the heart and mouth that of the hand, by giving some- 
thing to our benefactor, and more than has been received; 
for, as the same Doctor remarks elsewhere, to fulfil all the 
duties of gratitude, we should give something gratis, that is, 
more than Ave have received, in as much as to give only 
the same, is to give nothing. How, then, shall we be able, 
as the word of God expressly declares, " to give to the Most 
High according to what He has given us ? " * What can we 

* Eccl. XXXV. 12. 


do to repay. God for all that He has done for us ? Shall we 
search the depths of the sea, and offer to God its hidden 
treasures, its glittering pearls ? Or shall we delve into the 
bosom of the earth, and offer to God its silver, and gold, and 
precious stones ? Or shall we offer to God the birds of the 
air, the beasts of the field, the flowers and fruits of the earth ? 
What shall we offer to God in thanksgiving for all His 
gifts ? 

Even had we offered to God all these gifts, we should still 
have done noticing; for the whole earth belongs to God with 
all its riches. The gold of the mountains, the pearls of the 
ocean are His. His are all the treasures of earth, and sea, 
and sky. Even were we to offer to Him our property, our 
honor, and our lives, we should still give to God only what 
He already possesses. What return, then, shall we make to 
God for all His favors ? It is God Himself who, in His 
mercy, has given the devout soul a means of paying off this 
immense debt of gratitude. This means is the holy Mass. 
The Mass is an Eucliaristic Sacrifice, that is to say, a sacri- 
fice of thanksgiving. Jesus Christ has left us Himself to be 
offered in the Mass, by way of thanksgiving, to His heavenly 
Father. When the priest offers to God the sublimest act of 
homage possible, holding the body aiid blood of the Re- 
deemer above the altar, suspended between heaven and earth, 
he presents the great thanksgiving as the source and object 
of all honor and glory, saying: "To Thee, God, the 
Father Omnipotent, together with the Holy Ghost, through 
Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, is all honor and glory," * 
in which words the Church declares that she is incapable of 
offering up her thanks to God in any other way than by 
giving Him back who became the Victim for the world ; 
as though she were to say : " Thou didst, Lord, for Christ's 
sake look down, with graciousness and compassion, upon us 
as Thy cliildren ; so vouchsafe that we, with grateful hearts, 

* Canon of Mass. 


may revere Thee as our Father in Christ, Thy Son, here 
present. We possess nought else that we can offer Thee, 
save Christ ; be graciously pleased to receive this our sacri- 
fice of thanksgiving." 

In order to understand, in some measure, the great return 
we make in the Mass to the Almighty for all the benefits 
bestowed upon us, we have but to consider the gift we offer 
to God in gratitude — the glorious privileges of the Sacred 
Humanity of Jesus Christ, and the excellence of our dear 
Saviour on account of His Divinity. 

His body is the temple of God, because the plenitude of 
the divinity dwells in Him corporally, and not merely as in 
a cloud, of which Holy Scripture speaks when relating the 
manner in which, during the time of Solomon, the glory of 
the Lord appeared in the temple of Jerusalem. This body 
is the work, by excellence, of the Holy Ghost, for "the 
virtue of the Most High overshadowed Mary,^' and formed 
divinely this body of the pure blood of the Virgin, so that 
never, in all creation, has it produced any body of a delicacy, 
excellence, and perfection to be compared with that of the 
body of Jesus Christ. In His body are wrought miracles 
equally great and continual ; in it are united infinite merits, 
because all the actions of Jesus Christ, without any excep- 
tion, even those which are natural and necessary, are the 
actions of a Man-God, and are consequently of infinite value ; 
60 that, on account of the excellence and perfection of His 
Person, it is impossible that any actions more perfect or sub- 
lime could be found. This body is the sanctuary of sanctity 
itself, because Jesus Christ possesses a soul impeccable and 
endowed with intuitive wisdom, in fine, it is the worthy 
abode of the Divine Word. To form this body, the Father 
opened, with abundant liberality, the treasuir&s of His power, 
the Son, those of His wisdom, and the Holy Ghost, those of 
His goodness; for if God displayed the power of His arm 
when He wrought astonishing miracles to glorify the "Ark 
of Alliance," and the Temple of Solomon, which he had 


caused to be built for His abode, and which were but feeble 
figures of the body of Jesus Christ, who would dare deny 
that the Most Blessed Trinity exhausted all the treasures of 
magnificence in ornamentiiig the sanctuary of the Divine 
AYord ? 

The body of our Lord is gifted with incomparable beauty, 
consisting in the perfect proportion of all its parts, its bril- 
liancy, and impassibility. These qualities it possesses in an 
eminent degree, because it is the head of the Church Tri- 
umphant, and the first-born among the dead. If, when He 
conversed on earth, there was seen in Him a divine majesty, 
tempered by a heavenly sweetness, so that many on behold- 
ing Him forgot the necessity of eating and drinking, to 
follow Him for several days ; if, when He appeared on Mount 
Thabor, with so brilliant a beauty, the Apostles were ravished 
in ecstasy, — with what perfect graces does He not now shine 
in heaven, clothed in immortal glory ! He must, indeed, be 
infinitely amiable and beautiful, whose face the angels vie 
with one another in contemplating ; whom the Seraphim see 
eternally, without being satiated, and in ' whom our senses 
shall one day find their beatitude for all eternity ; He, in 
fine, who was upon the earth the object of the complacency 
of His Father, as is said in St. Matthew : " This is My be- 
loved Son, in whom I am well pleased." 

But, if the beauty of the body of Jesus Christ is so great, 
what must not be the charms of His soul ? To assert that 
these charms far surpass the beauty that all the saints and 
angels have received from nature and grace, is to express a 
truth as incontestable, as to say that the whole universe ia 
greater than a grain of mustard-seed. The memory of Jesus 
Christ is the image of the invisible God, the living image of 
the divine perfections, which are eyer present to Him, and 
which He contemplates incessantly. His understanding 
contains all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. From 
the first instant of His creation. His understanding saw 
clearly, face to face, by intuitive vision, the whole divine 


essence ; it compreliended the whole depth of the mystery 
of the Blessed Trinity ; it knew in particular, and in all their 
immensity, the perfections of God; it clearly distinguished 
in God, as in the purest mirror, all things, past, j)resent, and 
to come, eyen all possible things. The knowledge of all the 
angels together, is but darkness and ignorance, compared 
with the knowledge of Jesus Christ. His will is a continual 
practice of the most sublime truths, a lamp eyer burning, of 
the most ardent loye of God, and the perfect image of the 
diyine will. His loye, in fine, is embellished by the habit of 
all the yirtues, ornamented with all the gifts of the Holy 
Ghost, in a perfect manner, as is becoming His dignity and 
glorious priyileges. It is enriched with habitual grace, in so 
high a degree, that no created spirit, not eyen the angels, 
can comprehend its excellence. If the sanctifying grace with 
which the Blessed Virgin was filled, was so great, what must 
haye been the measure of grace giyen to Jesus Christ ? In 
a word, Jesus Christ is an immense ocean of prerogatives, of 
all yirtues, of all perfections ; the more we sound it, the 
deeper abysses of grace do we discover. ISTothing, however, 
so much exalts the Sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, as the 
privilege of being united by the Word to the Diyinity\ It is 
precisely in this that the eminent dignity of our dear Saviour 
consists — a dignity w^hich the angels contemplate in an ec- 
stasy of admiration — which Cherubim adore, and which all 
the affections and desires of the blessed never cease to glorify ; 
for is there a prodigy equal to that of the human nature 
being so substantially united to the Word, as to make but 
one person ? so that we may attribute to the human nature 
of Jesus Christ, that which belongs to the divine nature, and 
in like manner, may attribute to the divine nature that 
which belongs to the human nature. Consequently, in 
virtue of this hypostatic union, we may call God, weak, pas- 
sible, mortal, dead; and say of the human nature, that it is 
immense, omnipotent, and omniscient. Who will not admire 
this truth, by which we believe that the Divinity fills and 


penetrates tli» Humanity of onr Lord Jesus Christ, more 
than red-hot iron is penetrated by tliefire; more than the 
air by light ; more than the crystal by the rays of the sun ? 
Hence it is that His amiability is so great, that, if heaven 
were opened one instant, all the demons in hell, instead of 
hating Him, as they do, would be compelled by a gentle 
violence to love Him with the most lively ardor. His beauty 
is so ravishing, that the lost souls would willingly suffer a 
thousand hells, could they contemplate it for for a single 
instant. His goodness has so many charms that, if the least 
effect of it could be experienced in hell, that horrible prison 
would more quickly than thought be changed into a para- 
dise. Such is the excellence of His sanctity, that the dis- 
pleasure caused Him by the least fault, far surpasses the joy 
afforded Him by the heroic action of all the saints. His 
wisdom is infinite, so that He forgets nothing that is past, 
He is ignorant of nothing present ; and He sees the future 
as clearly as if all things were represented to Him in a mirror. 
His astonishing power equals His will. His age is eternity; 
His course immutability; His place, immensity, and His 
measure, infinity ; He is so rich, that His wealth is inex- 
haustible ; so provident, that He disposes everything without 
number, weight, or measure ; so constant, that in Him there 
is no change, no shadow of vicissitude ; so strong, that on 
three fingers He supports the world, weighs the mountains, 
places the hills in a balance ; and so elevated is His power, 
that there is none like to Him ; in a word. He is higher than 
heaven, deeper than hell, wider than the earth, vaster than 
the sea. Everthing is naked and open to His eyes. He holds 
in His hands the life and essence of every being. No one 
can resist His anger. Thousands and thousands of angels 
serve Him, and tens of thousands stand before Him. 

From this feeble description of the present we offer to our 
Heavenly Father in the Mass for all the benefits He has 
ever bestowed upon us, may easily be understood what an 
immense return we make to God for all His blessings, ancl 



how fully we discharge by the Sacrifice of thd^ass our diif-y 
of gratitude towards the Almighty. 

Two pious souls were one day discoursing about the graces 
they had received from God. One of them complained of 
her inability to give due thanks to God for all she had re- 
ceived ; the other smiled and said : '* I give to God every 
day more than I ever received from Him." This answer 
naturally surprised the former, and she asked how this was 
l^ossible. " Oh I " replied the latter, " I go to Mass every 
day, and ofi'er up Jesus Christ to my heavenly Father for all 
the graces He has bestowed upon me; and Jesus Christ, the 
w^ell-beloved Son of God, is certainly of greater worth than 
all the benefits which I ever received, or ever shall receive." 
Indeed, richer than if we had at our disposal all the elements 
and all the inhabitants of the heavenly Jerusalem, we have 
in the Sacrifice of the Mass, an ofiering which infinitely sur- 
passes them all in dignity and power. On our altar the 
Eternal Son of God repeats in our name, as well as in His 
own, what He said in the days of His mortal existence : " 
God, I give Thee thanks." What an abundant and inesti- 
mable resource in our extreme indigence ! It is an inex- 
haustible source from W'hich we are allowed to draw every 
day thanksgivings always acceptable to God. Lord, we 
can never sufficiently acknowledge Thy infinite goodness in 
our regard. Our prayers, supplications, homage, and adora- 
tion are not worthy to be presented to Thee, but, in the 
Sacrifice of the Mass, it is not so much our interior acts of 
thanksgiving and adoration which Ave offer to Thee, as Thy 
divine Son Himself. These emotions of our heart are in- 
deed excited, unfolded, sustained, and fostered by the pres- 
ence and self-sacrifice of Thy Christ, our Saviour ; but of 
themselves we deem them unworthy to be presented to Thee. 
Thy well-beloved Son, the victim in our worship, is the co- 
pious, inexhaustible source of our deepest devotion; it is to 
His personal Presence that we attach ourselves and unbosom 
all our afi'ections. Thus, the expression of our gratitude and 



thanksgiving is no longer that of weak and imperfect beings, 
it is that of a God, equal therefore to Thy boundless and in- 
effable blessings. 

Can we ever sufficiently bless God for having given us so 
easy a means of thanking Him worthily ? From the mo- 
ment that holy Simeon saw the promise accomplished, which 
the Holy Ghost had made him — that before his death he 
should see the Redeemer of the world — he burst forth into 
canticles of benediction ; he received with ecstasy the holy 
Infant ; he pressed Him in his arms, and, transported with 
joy and gratitude, cried out : "Now Thou dost dismiss Thy 
servant, Lord, according to Thy word, in peace, because 
my eyes have seen Thy salvation." 

The same sentiments of gratitude must animate our 
hearts ; they should be apparent from the devotion and rev- 
erence with which we hear Mass^ as well as from the eager- 
ness with which we run to hear it, not only on days of obli- 
gation, but also on every other day, if possible. 

There was a beautiful tradition amongst the Jews which 
Lancicius quotes from Philo. It was to this effect : When 
God had created the world. He asked the angels what they 
thought of this work of His hands. One of them replied 
that it was so vast and so perfect that only one thing was 
wanting to it, namely, that there should be created a clear, 
mighty, and harmonious voice, which should fill all the 
quarters of the world incessantly with its sweet sound, thus 
day and night to offer thanksgiving to its Maker for His in- 
comparable blessings. They knew not how much more than 
this the holy Sacrifice of the Mass was one day to be. Happy 
he who faithfully discharges his duty of thanksgiving by 
hearing Mass every day, or, if lawfully prevented, offers up 
to God, as far as he can, all the Masses of the day, thus to 
thank the Lord for the innumerable graces He has received 
from Him. This spirit of gratitude is the key to the choicest 
gifts of the Almighty. 

In one of the revelations of St. Catharine of Sienna, God 


the Father tiills her that thanksgiving makes the soul in- 
cessantly delight in Him, that it frees men from negligence 
and lukewarmness altogether, and makes them anxious to 
please Him more and more in all things. " Happy is he," 
says St. Bernard, "who at every grace he receives, returns in 
thought to Him in Whom is the fulness of all grace ; for if 
we show ourselves grateful for what He has given us, we 
may make room for still farther grace in ourselves. Speak 
to God in thanksgiving, and you will receive grace more 

St. Lawrence Justinian says : " Only let God see you are 
thankful for what He has given you, and He will bestow 
more and better gifts upon yon." St. Mary Magdalen of 
Pazzi also received a revelation in which she was told that 
thanksgiving prepared the soul for the boundless liberality 
of the Eternal Word. Assuredly we shall experience this 
liberality of the Eternal Word in time and infinitely more in 
eternity by hearing Muss as often as possible, by offering to 
God in return for His favors multiplied, countless, immense, 
infinite as the Donor, His only Son, His beloved Son in 
Whom He is well pleased. Whose merits immeasurably sur- 
pass all our obligations; one word from Wliose lips, one 
sigh from Whose heart is precious in His sight beyond mil- 
lions of worlds, which, with their untold wealth, are but 
as dross before Him in comparison. "What shall I render 
to the Lord for all the things that He hath rendered to 
me ? I will take the chalice of salvation and I will call 
upon the name of the Lord;"* and could my debt of 
gratitude be even greater than it is, my obligations heavier 
or more numerous, still would the return be more than 
sufficient, because infinite. 

Surely these are very sweet and consoling reflections, 
which cannot fail to warm our hearts with the love of Jesus, 
and to inspire us with profound veneration for the great 

* Ps. cxv. 13, 13. 


Bacrifice which has so justly been styled the golden key of 
Paradise. Let us endeavor by meditation and prayer to un- 
derstand the yalue of the treasure we possess in the holy 
Mass, and far from requiring a recommendation to hear it 
as often as possible, the impulse of our own devotion will 
prompt us to do so. We will feel that no preparation could 
equal that involved in the loss of a Mass, and think little in- 
deed of any sacrifice by which we can purchase the hap 
piness of assisting at one. 



A TRAVELLER wisliing to go to ^ew York, will not arrive 
there by taking the train to New Orleans; he must take the 
cars that go to New York. It is just as certain that who- 
ever wishes to go to heaven must follow the path that leads 
to heaven. If he takes another direction, he will certainly 
be excluded from the abode of the Blessed. 

What, then, is the path that leads to heaven ? There arc 
but two ; the one is the way of innocence, the other the way 
of penance. All who die after baptism, before they have 
committed any sin, all- who have never lost their baptismal 
innocence, enter heaven by the first path: but for us who 
have lost that grace, who have soiled the pure robe of bap- 
tism, there is but one path left — the path of penance. Both 
ways are beset by three powerful enemies, the world, the 
flesh, and the devil, who are actively employed every instant 
of our life in laying snares for the destruction of the soul. 
This warfare will cease only with our earthly life, and must 
be carried on manfully to be crowned with life everlasting. 

Even in this warfare the just are often in great danger of 
being overcome, on account of the weakness of human 
nature, and the malice and subtlety of their enemies. 

St. Peter says, that " the devil goeth about like a roaring 
lion, seeking whom he may devour." * It was this arch- 
enemy who persuaded Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden 
fruit, who prevailed on Cain to slay his innocent brother 
Abel ; who tempted Saul to pierce David with a lance. It 

* 1 Peter, v. 8. 


was lie who stirred up the Jews to deny and crucify Jesus 
Christ our Lord; who induced Ananias and Sapphira to lie 
to the Holy Ghost ; who urged Nero, Decius, Diocletian, 
Julian, and other heathen tyrants, to put the Christians to a 
most cruel death. He it was who inspired the authors of 
heresies, such as Arius, Martin Luther, and others, to reject 
the authority of the one, true. Catholic Church. 

In like manner, the devil, at the present day, still tempts 
all men, especially the just, and endeavors to make them 
lose the grace of God. He tempts numberless souls to indif- 
ference towards God and their own salvation ; he deceives 
many by representing to them in glowing colors the false, 
degrading pleasures of this world; he suggests to others the 
desire of joining certain bad secret societies ; he tempts 
many even to conceal their sins in confession, and to receive 
Holy Communion unworthily ; others, again, he urges to 
cheat their neighbor ; he allures some to blind their reason 
by excess in drinking ; some he tempts to despair ; in a word, 
the devil leaves nothing untried which may cause the just to 
fall into sin. He finds the weak point of every man, and 
knows that this weak point is for many — very many — a 
strong inclination to the vice of impurity. The wicked 
spirit knows how to excite in them this degrading passion to 
such a degree, that they forget their good resolutions, nay, 
even make little account of the eternal truths, and lose all 
fear of hell and the Divine Judgment. It is the universal 
opinion of all theologians that there are more souls con- 
demned to hell on account of this sin alone, than on account 
of any other which men commit. 

But the jnst must not only wage war against their arch- 
enemy, the devil, they must also fight manfully against the 
seductive examples of the world. Were all those who have 
lost their baptismal innocence to tell us hoAv they came to 
lose it, they would al answer : " It was by this corrupt com- 
panion, by this false friend, by this wicked relative. Had I 
never seen this person, I would still be innocent." One un- 


sound apple is sufficient to infect all the others near it. In 
like manner, one corrupt person can ruin all those with 
whom he associates. Indeed, the bad example of one wicked 
man can do more harm to a community, than all the deyils 
in hell united. Small indeed is the number of those who 
manfully resist bad example. 

There is still another truth to be considered here. St 
Paul the Apostle says : " All that live godly in Christ Jesus 
shall suffer persecution."* All those who endeavor to serve 
our Lord Jesus Christ faithfully, and to persevere in His 
service, will have to suffer, in some way or other, from their 
fellow-men. Sometimes it will be from jealous and envious 
neighbors ; sometimes from bad comrades, whose company 
they have given up ; again, they are blamed, rashly judged, 
and condemned ; and what is the most painful of all, God, to 
try their patience and charity, often permits them to suffer 
most from those very persons from whom they should natur- 
ally expect sympathy and consolation. Very small, indeed, 
is the number of those \v'ho, under such severe trials, remain 
faithful to God. The greater part, even of the just, cannot 
bear detraction and calumny. To suffer a temporal loss 
seems almost insupportable ; to forgive an injury or an in- 
sult is more than they can do; they try to avoid those who 
have offended them ; they complain bitterly of, and some- 
times even curse them. 

The just must fight not only against the devil and the 
world, but also against their own corrupt nature. Had they 
not this enemy to contend with, the devil and the world 
would not so easily overcome them. Corrupt nature plays the 
traitor, and very often gains the victory, even when the other 
enemies have failed. This dangerous foe is always near, within 
their very hearts ; and his influence is the more fatal because 
the greater number of the just themselves do not seem to be 
fully aware of his existence ; hence it is that they are so 

*2Tim.iii. 13. 


little on tlieir guard against his wiles, and fall a prey to his 
evil suggestions. 

Ever since the fall of our first parents, we are all naturally 
inclined to evil. Before Adam had committed sin, he was 
naturally inclined to good ; he knew nothing of indifference 
in the service of God, nothing of anger, hatred, cursing, im- 
purity, vain ambition, and the like ; but no sooner had he 
committed sin, than God permitted his inclination to good 
to be changed into an inclination to evil. Man of his own 
free will forfeited the kingdom of heaven; he exchanged 
heaven for hell, God for the devil, good for evil, the state of 
grace for the state of sin. It was, then, but just and right 
that he should not only acknowledge his guilt, repent sin- 
cerely of his great crime, but that he should also, as long as 
he lived, fight against his evil inclinations, and, by this life- 
long warfare, declare himself sincerely for God. 

Baptism, indeed, cancels original sin in our soul, but it 
does not destroy our natural inclination to evil, which we 
have inherited from our first parents. The great Apostle 
St. Paul bears witness to this when he says : " I do not that 
good Avhich I will, but the evil which I hate, that I do." * 
That is to say, I do not wish to do evil; I even try to avoid 
it; but I experience within myself a continual inclination 
to evil ; I endeavor to do good, but I feel within myself a 
great reluctance thereto, and I must do violence to myself 
in order to act aright. Every one has from his childhood 
experienced this evil inclination. We naturally feel more 
inclined to anger than to meekness, to disobedience than to 
submission ; we are more prone to hatred than to love ; 
more inclined to gratify the evil desires of our heart than 
to practise the holy virtue of purity; we prefer our own ease 
to visiting Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, or receiv- 
ing Him in the Holy Communion. We are naturally in- 
difierent towards God and His holy religion ; we lack fervor 
in His divine service ; we often feel more inclined to join a 

* Rom. vii. 15. 


forbiddeu society than to enter a pious confraternity ; we 
often find more pleasure in reading a bad or useless book 
than one that is good and edifying ; we are more apt to 
listen to uncharitable and unbecoming conversation, than to 
the word of God; we feel naturally more inclined to vain 
glory, pride, and levity, than to humility, self-control, and the 
spirit of mortification. 

When we consider seriously the continual war we have to 
wage against these three poAverful enemies; when we consider 
our extreme Aveakness,and the sad fact that the greater part of 
mankind do not overcome even one of their enemies, we see 
clearly how terribly true are the words of our Lord: "Wide 
is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, 
and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the 
gate and strait is the way that leadeth to life, and few 
there are that find it."* Ah! who shall find this strait 
Avay ? Who will be able to conquer these three enemies of 
our salvation ? AVhence shall we obtain strength and courage 
to struggle bravely against them until death ? Truly must we 
exclaim with King Josaphat: '•' As for us, we have not strength 
enough to be able to resist this multitude, which cometh vio- 
lently upon us. But as we know not what to do, we can only 
turn our eyes to Thee, our God." By our own efforts alone we 
shall never be able to overcome even one of our enemies. 

It is only by the constant efficacious grace and assistance 
of God that we can overcome them to the end of our life. 
But how are we to obtain this assistance ? By prayer. But 
vile, abject, worthless, and undeserving as we are, by what 
right shall we venture to implore the numberless favors of 
which we stand in need in the order both of nature and 
grace ? Certainly, by no right of our own, for in truth, we 
have not the very least. But happily for us, our dear Saviour 
came, and by His tears. His labors, and sufferings, by His 
blood and death upon the Cross, but especially by His 

* Matt. vii. 13, U. 



prayers, He obtained for us from His Heavenly Father, 
the right to every grace and gift of the Lord. This 
right He obtained by His prayers particnhirly ; for the 
Heavenly Father had decreed not to grant any grace to man, 
not even to His Divine Son, except through prayer, which is 
the channel through which all graces flow. Wishing to be 
glorified by His Father, Jesus had to pray for this favor: 
"And lifting up His eyes to heaven. He said: Father, the 
hour is come, glorify thy Son."* Jesus merited the empire 
of the whole universe; notwithstanding which He obtained 
it only by praying for it. " Ask, my Son," says the Heavenly 
Father, " all the nations of the earth, and I will give them 
to Thee for Thy inheritance." 

Our dear Saviour, knowing this decree of His Father con- 
cerning the necessity of prayer to obtain the divine grace, 
was therefore not satisfied wdth preaching, laboring, fasting, 
nor even with the sacrifice of His blood and life for the sal- 
vation of mankind. To all this He added most fervent 
prayer. Prayer was His chief occupation from the moment 
of His Incarnation until that of His death. Thirty years of 
His life were consecrated to this holy exercise, and three 
years and a half only to the instruction of the people, and 
even of this short period of three years He spent the greater 
part in prayer. How often did He not say to His disciples : 
" Withdraw a little from the multitude." And for what pur- 
pose ? That they might be more at liberty to pray. More- 
over, do we not read in the Gospel that after having spent 
the day in instructing the people. He would retire to a lonely 
mountain, there to spend the whole night in prayer ? " And 
it came to pass that He went out into a mountain to pray, 
and He passed the whole night in the prayer of God." f 
This was the custom of our Saviour, as we may gather from 
the fact that Judas, the traitor, did not go with the soldiers 
to seek Him in the city of Jerusalem, but went straightway 

* John xi. 1. f Luke vi. 12. 


to the Hoimt of Olives, because lie knew that Jesus was ac- 
customed to go thither to spend the night in prayer. We 
may say that prayer was His life, and Ilis life a continual 
prayer. He had no sooner become man than He prayed, and 
He died with prayer on His lips. He perfectly accomplished 
that which He inculcates to His disciples, that we must 
always pray, to overcome our enemies and to sanctify our 

And for whom did He pray ? He prayed for all men in 
general; but He prayed especially for tliose who would be- 
lieve in Him, and follow Him faitlifully. "I pray for them 
(His disciples) ; I pray not for the world, but for them whom 
Thou hast given me : that they may be one, as "We also are 
one. I do not ask that thou take them away out of the 
world, but that Thou preserve them from evil. Sanctify 
them in truth. And not for them only do I pray, but for 
those also who through their word shall believe in Me : that 
they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in Me and I in Thee, 
that they also may be one in US ; that the world may believe 
that Thou hast sent Me. Fatlier, I will that where I am, 
they also whom Thou hast given Me, may be with Me ; that 
they may see my glory which Thou hast given Me." * It is 
thus that Jesus prays to His Eternal Father for all His 
elect; it is He Who loves them with a love of preference, a 
love full of tenderness and strengtli, and in dying He re- 
commends them Avith a particular affection. 

What does He demand for them? The same riches, pleas- 
ures, and glory that He has chosen for Himself. His glory 
is to be the Son of God: He desires that His Father should 
cherish them as His brethren. He is the Holy of Holies : 
He would have them to be holy as He is holy. He is from 
eternity in the bosom of God ; He will have them to dwell 
there, tasting with Him the delights of beatitude for eternity. 
He is one with the Father in essence and in love: He 

* John XV ii. 


desires that thej should be one with Hini; and one among 

what a powerful advocate with the Heavenly Father had 
mankind in the Person of Jesus Christ during His life on 
earth for thirty-three years and a half! If the Lord of 
heaven and earth spared the Jewish nation for the sake of 
Moses' prayer ; if He declared Himself ready one day to spare 
the city of Jerusalem for the sake of a just man's prayer, 
should one be found therein, assuredly from the moment 
that Jesus Christ commenced to pray for the human race. 
His Father felt reconciled with men and ready to grant them 
all graces. But alas! this divine, this all-powerful Advocate 
has left the world and ascended into heaven ! Who will now 
pray for us and with us, to make our prayers acceptable in 
the sight of God, and obtain for us all we need for body and 
soul ? Jesus knew that men could not advance in this world 
without His powerful intercession, without His continual 
prayer. He knew that the prayers of men were not power- 
ful enough to obtain salvation unless they were supported 
by, and united to His. So, in the excess of His love He 
chose to stay with us by means of the holy Mass, to be in 
this holy sacrifice our perpetual Advocate with His Father. 
In Mass He renews all the prayers which He addressed to 
His Father in our behalf for the space of thirty-three years and 
a half, and offers them to Him to obtain for us the abundance 
of spiritual and temporal blessings. It is for this reason that 
Mass is also called a sacrifice of iuijjetration. 

Let us imagine that we are assisting at Mass, and that the 
solemn w^ords of the Preface are uttered: "Holy, holy, holy, 
Lord God of Hosts, heaven and earth are full of thy glory. 
Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." The 
worshippers are warned that the Lord of glory is about to 
appear before them upon the altar. They rouse their best 
feelings to receive Him. And now the Redeemer comes from 
His throne at the right hand of God. He comes from among , 
the Cherubim and Seraphim, from among the angels and 


archangels who have taken up our adoring cry of welcome. 
Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord! This 
loving cry reaches the gate of Heaven; it is re-echoed on the 
mercy- seat. The Eternal Word replies: " Ecce veiiio, Lo, I 
come ! " And the ancients fall down and cast their crowns 
at His feet as He passes, and the thousands of thousands of 
angels around the throne strike their golden harps and 
sing : '•' Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, 
and divinity, and wisdom, and honor, and glory, and bene- 
diction, for ever and ever." And oioiu " the Lamb that was 
slain from the foundation of the world " — the Lamb of God — 
our Lord Jesus Christ, comes down from Heaven to offer 
Himself up again for each one present. The awful words 
of consecration are pronounced, and Jesus Christ, the King 
of glory, is really and truly present upon the altar as a 
Victim of impetration. 

In the Old Law, the High Priest entered once a year into 
the Holy of Holies. His sacred place was separated from the 
rest of the temple by a veil ; and while the High Priest 
prayed unseen behind the veil, the people prayed in silence 
without. Thus, too, it is in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 
The priest raises the Sacred Host on high ; we see the white 
appearance of bread; that is the white veil which hides from 
our gaze the God of all holiness. Behind that veil our Lord 
Jesus Christ intercedes with His Eternal Father in our be- 
half. It is a most solemn moment. Let no sound be heard 
to break its awful stillness. Even the priest dares not raise 
his voice ; he prays in silence. The Lord is present. He 
prays for us. *•' Let the whole earth be silent before Him.'* 
It is a moment rich in untold blessings. Would that Chris- 
tians miglit understand better the great power of Mass to 
obtain all kinds of graces and blessings ! Assuredly they 
would not so easily stay away, especially on days of obliga- 
tion, nor would they assist at it with such lukewarmness. 

In order to understand well how powerful a means Mass is 
of obtaining from God every blessing possible, one need only 



consider the qualities which accompany the prayer of Jesns 
at Mass. Holy Scripture tells us that prayer to be pleasing 
to the Almighty must be humble. " The prayer of the 
humble and the meek hath always pleased Thee." * Jesus 
Christ assures us in the Gospel that the Publican who 
prayed with so much humility went down justified to his 
house.f " To the humble God giveth grace ; their prayer 
shall pierce the clouds," says Holy Writ. As God is severe 
and inexorable to the proud, so is He bountiful and liberal 
to the humble. '•' Know, my daughter,'' said Jesus Christ to 
St. Catherine of Sienna, " that whosoever shall humbly per- 
severe in asking graces of Me, shall obtain all virtues." 
*' Never did I," says St. Teresa, " receive more favors from 
God, than when I humbled myself before His divine Majes- 
ty," "Yes," says St. Alphonsus, "should a soul have com- 
mitted ever so many sins, yet the Lord will not reject her if 
she knows how to humble herself." "An humble heart, 
Lord, Thou wilt not despise." J 

Holy Scripture § tells us that Achab was one of the most 
impious kings that ever lived. God sent to him the prophet 
Elias to tell him that in punishment for his enormous crimes 
the Lord would cut off his posterity, and that their bodies 
would be eaten up by the dogs in the streets and by the birds 
of the air. JSTow when Achab heard these words, he rent his 
garments, and put haircloth upon his flesh, and fasted and 
slept in sackcloth and walked with head cast down. When 
the Lord saw how the king humbled himself He again sent 
the prophet Elias to Achab, to tell him that as he had hum- 
bled himself before the Lord, the evils with which his house 
had been threatened would not be inflicted in his days, but 
in the days of his son. 

If this impious king obtained forgiveness, if he was 
not punished by the Lord as he had deserved, because he 
humbled himself before God, what will not the humiliations 

* Judith ix. 16. f Luke xviii. 10. J Ps. i. 19. g 3 Kings xxi. 


of Jesus Christ at Mass be able to obtain for wretchetl sin- 
ners ! AVhen our dear Saviour is lying upon our altars as 
our Victim; when He offers to His Father in heaven all the 
humiliation He went through during His lifetime on earth, 
together with those He has been submitting to in the Blessed 
Sacrament — oh I then does the Heavenly Father say to His 
angels as He said toElias: "Do 3'ou seo how my well-beloved 
Son humbles Himself before Me for the salvation of men ? 
Do you see the excess of humility with which He prays to 
Me for all men ? With that same humility with which He 
prayed to Me in the Garden of Gethsemane and when hang- 
ing on the Cross ? " " Ah, yes," the angels answer, "when 
we behold our King and Master lying in the crib, or pros- 
trate on His face, we are almost beside ourselves at the sight 
of the infinite humility with which He prays." It is then 
that the Heavenly Father cannot help saying: *' Because my 
well-beloved Son prays to Me with such unspeakable hu- 
mility for sinners as well as for the just, I cannot refuse 
His prayers, I feel constrained to grant all He asks for 
them." It is for this reason that the Church prays that 
"our vices may be cured by the sacred mysteries, and that 
we may receive everlasting remedies ; that her solemnities 
may both confer upon us the remedies of the present life, 
and grant us the rewards of eternity." 

History records many memorable examples to show us 
the fulfilment of such prayers. Listen to the great j^oet 
who sung the recovery of Jerusalem, telling the story of 
his own conversion. " A time there was," says Tasso, " when 
I, darkening as I did my mini with clouds of sensuality, 
could only recognize Thee, Lord, as a certain reason of 
the Universe; for I doubted whether Thou hadst created 
the world or endowed man with an immortal soul, and I 
doubted of many things which flowed from that source ; 
for how could I firmly believe in the Sacraments, or in the 
authority of the Pontiff, or in hell, or purgatory, or in the 
Incarnation of Thy Son, if I doubted of the immortality of 


tlie soul ? Willingly I would liaye kepfc down my under- 
standing, of itself curious and wandering, and believed 
whatever the holy Eoman Catholic Church believes and 
teaches ; but this I desired, Lord, not so much through 
love of Thy infinite goodness, as through a certain servile 
fear which I had of the torments of hell ; for often there 
used to sound horribly to my imagination the angelic 
trumpet of the great day of rewards and punishments, and 
I saw Thee sitting upon the clouds, and heard Thee utter 
words full of terror, — Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire. 
And this thought was so strong in me, that sometimes I 
used to communicate it to some friend or acquaintance of 
mine, and in consequence of this fear I used to go to con- 
fession, and to communion, in the times and manner pre- 
scribed by Thy Koman Church ; and if at any time I 
thought I had not mentioned any sin through negligence 
or shame, though it was ever so little and vile, I repeated 
my confession, and often made a general confession of all 
my errors. Yet Thou knowest that I always desired, though 
perhaps with a fervor more mundane than spiritual, that 
the seat of Thy faith and pontificate in Eome might be 
preserved for ever. And Thou knowest that the name of 
Lutheran or heretic was abhorred and detested by me, as 
a pestiferous thing, and that my doubts were merely an 
interior afiiiction, until Thou didst begin to warm and to 
rejoice my heart with the flames of Thy love : and then by 
degrees, hy means of freqitentmg oftener the sacred mysteries 
of the^Mass, and praying every day, my faith grew stronger 
from day to day, and I became sensible from experience 
that it is Thy gift, and I learned to see my past folly in 
having presumed to imagine that I could discover by my 
intelligence the secret things of Thy essence, and estimate 
by the measure of human reason Thy goodness. Thy jus- 
tice, Thy omnipotence."* 

* Torquato Tasso. J)iscorso sopravari accidenti della sua vita, scritto 
a Scipion Gouzaga. 


This affecting passage clearly shows the Avonderful effect 
produced by the prayer of Jesus in souls, whilst assisting at 
the celebration of the sacred mysteries. Nor is there matter 
for wonder at this ; for the Mass contains a spectacle that 
gives delight to angels ; it is here that they behold the eleva- 
tion of the innocent Lamb of God, praying to His Father 
with such deep humility as to obtain all. 

Father Columbiere used to say : '•' When I pray, or fast, or 
give alms, or do penance for any sins, I do so with a certain 
diffidence, not knowing whether or not the intention is pure 
enough to make them pleasing in the sight of God. But 
when I say Mass, or assist at the holy Sacrifice, I am, my 
God, full of confidence and courage ; I dare challenge all the 
saints of heaven to offer something more pleasing to Thee 
than Mass; neither terrified by the number nor by the 
grievousness of my sins, I most confidently ask Thy pardon, 
not doubting in the least but Thou wilt grant it more 
abundantly than I could ask it ; how great soever the de- 
sires of my heart may be, I do not hesitate in the least to 
pray Thee to gratify them all." 

A prayer which is also infallibly heard by the Almighty is 
that which is accompanied with forgiveness of injuries, and 
great charity for our enemies. 

To pray for those who wish us evil, is an extremely diffi- 
cult act, and one full of the most heroic charity. It is an 
act free from self-love and self-interest, which is not only 
counselled but even commanded by the Lord.* The insults, 
calumnies, and persecutions of our enemies, relate directly to 
our own person; wherefore, if we forgive, nay, even beg of 
God also to forgive them, we give wp our claim to our right 
and honor, thus raising ourselves to the great dignity of 
true children of God, nay, even to an unspeakably sublime 
resemblance to His divinity, according to what Jesus Christ 
says : '' if you pray for those who hate you, calumniate, and 

* Matt. v. 44. 

OF IMPETR axioms'. 331 

persecute you, you will be children of your Fathei who is in 
heaven, who maketh His sun to rise upon the good and 
bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust/' * For there 
is nothing more peculiar to God than to have mercy and to 
spare ; to do good to all His enemies, convert them into His 
friends and His children, and thus make them heirs of ever- 
lasting glory. 

By imitating God's goodness in a point most averse to 
our nature, we give Him the greatest glory, — and do such 
violence to His tender and meek heart as to cause it not only 
to forgive the sin of our enemies, but even to constrain it to 
grant all our prayers ; because He wishes to be far more in- 
dulgent, far more merciful, and far more liberal than it is 
230ssible for us ever to be. Holy Scripture and the lives of 
the saints furnish us with very striking examples in proof 
of this great and most consoling truth. 

The greatest persecutor of St. Stephen was St. Paul the 
Apostle, previous to his conversion ; for, according to St. 
Augustine, he threw stones at him by the hands of all those 
whose clothes he was guarding. What made him, from being 
a persecutor of the Church, become her greatest Apostle and 
Doctor ? It was the prayer of St. Stephen : '' for, had he 
not prayed," says St. Augustine, " the Church would not 
have gained this Apostle." St. Mary Oigni, whilst in a rap- 
ture, saw how our Lord made to St. Stephen a present of the 
soul of St. Paul before his death, on account of the prayer 
which the former had offered for the latter ; she saw how 
St. Stephen received the soul of this Apostle, the moment of 
his death, and how he presented it to our Lord, saying: 
" Here, Lord, I have the immense and most precious gift 
which Thou gavest me, now I return it to Thee with great 
usury." f 

Most touching is what Father Avila relates of St. Elizabeth 
of Hungary. One day this saint prayed to God to give great 

* Matt. V. 45. f Her Life, by Cardinal Vitriaco, Lib. 2, chap. xi. 


graces to all those who had in any way injured her; nay, 
even to give the greatest graces to those who had injured her 
the most. After this prayer our Lord Jesus Christ said to 
her: "My dear daughter, never in your life did you make a 
prayer more pleasing to Me than the one which you have 
just said for your enemies ; on account of this prayer I for- 
give not only all your sins, but even all temporal punish- 
ments due to them." Let us be sure that the greater injuries 
we forgive for God's sake, the greater graces we shall receive 
in answer to our prayer. 

Now, no saint ever forgave more and greater injuries than 
our divine Saviour did; no saint ever forgave his enemies 
with so much charity and generosity, ever prayed for his 
persecutors with so much fervor as our Lord did. Who can 
think of Jesus hanging on the Cross and hear Him pray, 
nay, even cry to His Father for the forgiveness of His 
enemies, without feeling moved to tears at such an excess of 
divine charity ! " Father, forgive them, for they know not 
what they do." * Let us rest assured that Jesus Christ said 
this prayer not only when hanging on the Cross, but every 
moment of His life. He had come down from heaven to 
be our Saviour, therefore it was His greatest desire that His 
Father should forgive us, and not forgive us only, but grant 
us every grace and blessing. To force His Father, as it 
were, to do so, He prayed constantly to Him with iniinite 
charity for all of us who were His enemies. How could the 
Heavenly Father refuse to listen to such a prayer? It was 
by its effect that the good thief was converted, and that the 
centurion who led the soldiers to crucify our Lord, repented, 
and on leaving Mount Calvary, struck his breast, saying: 
" Indeed this man was the Son of God." f The power- 
ful effects of that prayer will be known only on the day of 

Let us remember that at Mass Jesus still prays for us with 

* Luke xxiii. 34. + Mark xv. 35. 


the same intensity of fervor and charity, with the same un- 
speakable desire to help and assist us in all our necessities. 
What He is most desirous to obtain for us is a complete 
forgiveness of our sins, that is to say, not only the forgive- 
ness of eternal punishment, but also the full remission of all 
temporal punishments which often remain due to the divine 
Justice after the remission of the eternal punishment. 

A criminal is often recommended to mercy because of his 
remorse and good conduct while in prison, and the extreme 
punislmient of death, which he deserves, is commuted into 
one lighter. The same thing takes place in the government 
of God. Adam obtained pardon from God, and the hope of 
pardon for all his posterity, and yet a part of his punishment 
remained, the necessity of laboring for his bread, the miseries 
of this life, sickness, and death. 

God pardoned the sin of the Israelite nation at the prayer 
of Moses, and did not destroy them, but left a penalty behind. 
Their children were allowed to enter the promised land of 
Canaan, but they themselves were kept back to spend their 
lives and die in the desert. When the prophet Nathan re- 
proved King David for his two-fold sin of murder and 
adultery, David repented, confessing his guilt, and the 
prophet declared : " The Lord also hath taken away thy sin, 
nevertheless, since thou hast made the enemies of the Lord 
to blaspheme on account of this thing, the child which is 
born to thee shall surely die." ♦ 

Among the temporal punishments due to sin, after the 
remission of its guilt, the saints count the withholding of 
many of God's graces. From eternity God prepared for us 
all abundant graces to work out our salvation. Some of 
these graces were necessary to lead us to a high degree of 
perfection and to make us saints ; others were so necessary 
for our salvation, that without them we should not be saved. 
Li punishment of sin, even after its guilt has been remitted, 

* II. Kings xii. 13. 


God sometimes withholds these graces ; and, therefore, 
our past sins, after they have been forgiven, may be the 
cause of our damnation, by preventing God from bestowing 
upon us certain graces without which we shall be certainly 
lost. Hence it is that the Holy Ghost tells us "not to be 
without fear about sin forgiven." * In order, then, to secure 
not only the pardon of all our past sins, but also the graces 
which may be withheld in punishment of them, and par- 
ticularly the graces without which Ave should be lost, we 
must pray fervently and frequently for the complete and 
entire remission of all our sins, and of all the penalties due 
to them. By frequent and fervent petitions for these favors, 
every one, even the most abandoned sinner, however enor- 
mous his crimes may have been, can easily and infallibly avert 
the chastisement of sin, which consists in the withholding 
of God's graces ; and may thus infallibly prevent the danger 
of his past sins being the cause of his damnation, after their 
guilt had been remitted. 

Now, be it borne in mind that nowhere shall we obtain 
sooner the full remission of these temporal punishments 
than during the celebration of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass ; 
for it is there that our divine Saviour Himself offers up His 
prayer for this very great favor. For this I'eason it is that 
St. Ephrem, who lived in the fourth century, prays : "Since 
Thou wast immolated a Victim for us, free us from all defile- 
ment by cutting o^ all our sins; for Thou hast been consti- 
tuted our High Priest that, by the shedding of Thy blood, 

Thou mightest cleanse us from all defilement An 

eternal Eedemption having been obtained. Thou dost daily 
renew Thy sacrifice upon the altar, and dost present Thy 
saving chalice to our lips to be partaken of; to so great a 
benefit and gift grant such efficacy that, being freed in vir- 
tue of it from every sin, we may cling to Thee with the 
utmost love of which we are capable." f 

♦ Eccl. V. 5. I Tom. III. Syr-Paraen 74, p. 555. 


Oh, how advantageous it is to hear holy Mass ! As St. Ger- 
trude offered the adorable Host to the Eternal Father at the 
moment of the Elevation, in satisfaction for all her sins and 
in reparation for all her negligences, she beheld her soul 
presented before the Divine Majesty with the same senti- 
ments of joy in which Jesus Christ, who is the splendor and 
living image of the glory of His Father, and the Lamb of 
God without spot, offered Himself on the altar to God His 
Father for the salvation of the whole world; because the 
Eternal Father considered her as purified from all sin by 
the merit of the spotless Humanity of Jesus Christ, and en- 
riched and adorned with all the virtues which, through the 
same holy Humanity, adorn the glorious Divinity of His 

As the Saint returned thanks to God for these graces with 
all her power, and took pleasure in considering the extra- 
ordinary favors which He had communicated to her, it was 
revealed to her that whenever any one assists at Mass with 
devotion, occupied with God, who offers Himself in this 
Sacrament for the whole world, he is truly regarded by the 
Eternal Father with the tenderness merited by the sacred 
Host, which is offered to Him, and becomes like to one who, 
coming out of a dark place into the midst of sunlight, finds 
himself suddenly surrounded by brightness. Then the Saint 
made this inquiry of God: "Is not he who falls into sin de- 
prived of this good, even as one who goes from light into 
darkness loses the favor of beholding the light ? " The Lord 
replied : " No ; for, although the sinner hides My divine light 
from him, still My goodness will not fail to leave him some 
ray. to guide him to eternal life; and this light will increase 
whenever he hears Mass with devotion or approaches the 

Let us, then, imitate the saints in their great desire to render 
to God a full satisfaction for their sins, and to obtain, as soon 
as possible, a complete remission of all their temporal punish- 
ments, in order to be sure that God, in punishment for their 


sins, would not withliold from them those efficacious graces 
which were necessary for them to overcome great tempta- 
tions and withstand great trials, as well as to save them from 
being cast into the terrible flames of purgatory after their 
death. In order to accomplish these two objects, the saints 
were very careful to hear Mass as frequently as possible. 

We are debtors to the Divine Justice, and we have a choice 
between two modes of payment. We may make satisfaction 
here below, of our own accord, and set about obtaining a full 
remission of all our indebtedness to God by assisting at Mass, 
or we may wait till God shall take satisfaction of us here- 
after in purgatory. To prefer the latter, would be unpar- 
donable cruelty towards ourselves and a great want of love 
for God, as such a mode would only be forcing God to 
punish us, and deprive us of the happiness of heaven for a 
long time. Such a want of love for God would render us 
unworthy to receive in purgatory the benefit of the prayers 
and good Avorks which our friends on earth might ofi'er up 
for us. Let us beware of falling into the hands of the Divine 
Justice, for it is a thing terrible beyond conception. Let 
us rather avail ourselves of His exceedingly great mercy 
while in this valley of tears. Let us wash our souls white in 
the blood of the Lamb during Mass. How great is the power 
of that cleansing blood! how little the labor that applies it'- 

St. Margaret of Cortona, reflecting on her many grievous 
sins, and wishing to atone for them all as far as possible, 
went to her confessor to ask him what was the best way for 
her to make satisfaction to God for all her sins. He told 
her to hear as many Masses as she could. From that time 
forward she was very careful not to miss a single opportunity 
of hearing Mass. 



Holy Scripture tells us that a prayer accompanied with 
tears is most powerful with God. It is for this reason that 
the Fathers of the Church are profuse in bestowing praises 
upon humble tears of the soul. The Holy Scriptures and 
the lives of the saints abound in examples, to prove their 
power with God. " Oh, how great is the power which the 
tears of sinners exercise with God ! " exclaims St. Peter 
Chrysologus. " They water heaven, wash the earth clean, de- 
liver from hell, and prevail upon God to recall the sentence 
of damnation pronounced upon every mortal sin." " Yes," 
says Anselmus Lauduneiisis, commenting on the words of 
the Book of Tobias, — " Continuing in prayer, with tears he 
besought God,"—" prayer appeases God, but, if tears are 
added. He feels overcome, and unable any longer to resist. 
The former is for Him an odoriferous balm, the latter a 
sweet tyranny." 

Hence Julianus exclaims, with truth : « humble tears, 
how great is your power, how great is your reign ! You need 
not fear the Tribunal of the Eternal Judge ; you silence all 
your accusers, and no one dares prevent you from approach- 
ing the Lord ; should you alone enter, you will not come out 
empty. Moreover, you conquer the unconquerable, you 
bind the Omnipotent, you open heaven, you chase away all 
the devils." " Indeed," says Peter Cellensis, "the infernal 
spirits find the flames of hell more supportable than our 
tears." Cornelius a Lapide says: '' One tear of the sinner, 
produced by the sorrow of his heart, is capable of making God 
forgive and forget many, even the most atrocious crimes." For 


tliis reason St. ]jeo tlie Pope says of the tears of St. Peter, 
" happy tears of thine, holy Apostle St. Peter, which 
were for thee a holy baptism to cancel thy sin of denying the 
Lord." St. 3Iagdalen asks of our Lord the forgiveness of her 
numerous and great sins ; but in what manner ? " She be- 
gan to wash His sacred feet with her tears ; " those tears 
moved His compassionate heart, and made Him say, " Many 
sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much." 

Why was it tliat tlie holy patriarch Jacob, when wrestling 
with the Angel of the Lord, received his blessing? It was 
because he asked it with tears in his eyes : " He wept, and 
made supplication to him." In the Fourth Book of Kings, 
we read as follows : " In these days Ezecbias was sick unto 
death, and Isaias the Prophet came to him and said: Thus 
saith tbe Lord God ; give charge concerning thy house, for 
thou shalt die and not live. And he turned his face to the 
wall, and prayed to the Lord, saying : I beseech Thee, 
Lord, remember how I have walked before Thee in truth, 
and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is pleas-' 
ing before Thee. And Ezecbias wept with much weeping." 
What did he obtain by his tears ? Holy Writ says : "And 
before Isaias was gone out of the middle of the court, the 
word of the Lord came to him, saying: Go back and tell 
Ezecbias ; thus saith the Lord : I have heard thy prayer and 
I have seen thy tears ; and behold, I have healed thee; on 
the third day thou shalt go up to the Temple of the Lord. 
And I will add to thy days fifteen years." 

Now, if the tears of a wretched sinner are so powerful with 
God, if the tears of a just and holy man are still more so, 
w^hat power must not the tears of Jesus Christ have with 
His Father ? Our dear Saviour shed torrents of tears in the 
course of His life. He wept in the crib at Bethlehem; He 
shed bitter tears over the obstinacy of the Jews; He wept at 
the grave of Lazarus ; He was so compassionate that He 
wept out of love for His friends, and out of sympathy for the 
afflicted, but He wept far more bitterly over the sins of men. 


St. Paul the Apostle assures us that He used to pray to His 
Father with tears in His eyes. " Who in the days of His 
flesh, ivith a strong cry and tears, oflfering up prayers and 
supplications was heard for His reverence." * And it is Jesus 
Himself Who assures us that His Father always hears His 
prayer. " Father," He said at the grave of Lazarus, " Father, 
I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me. And I know that 
Thou hearest me ahvays." f 

How was it possible for the heavenly Father to resist the 
prayers and tears of His well-beloved Son ? With what con- 
fidence, then, ought we not to assist at the Mass, knowing as we 
do that the same Jesus who prayed and wept so much for us 
on earth, continues to do the same at this holy sacrifice ? 
If our eyes are dry, if we cannot pray with tears, we 
should not feel discouraged; we have the tears and prayers 
of our dear Saviour to ofierto our heavenly Father — prayers 
and tears far more precious, far more powerful than the pray- 
ers and tears of all the saints united. What grace and bless- 
ing is there that these prayers and tears will not obtain for 
us ? In his comment on Zacharias, Cornelius k Lapide re- 
lates, that St. Dunstan, after the death of King Edwin, at 
whose hands he had received much ill-treatment, saw, whilst 
praying, several black men running off with the soul of the 
king in their hands. Forgetting all the injuries and ill-treat- 
ment which he had received from Edwin, he took pity on 
him in his miserable condition, shedding torrents of tears 
before the face of the Lord for the deliverance of the king's 
soul, and he did not cease weeping and praying until the 
Lord heard him. Soon after he saw the same black men 
again, but their hands were empty, and the soul of the king 
was no longer in their possession. They then commenced to 
curse and swear, and uttered the most abominable impreca- 
tions against the servant of God, to which St. Dunstan paid 
no attention, but thanked God for the extraordinarily great 
mercy shown to the king. 

* Heb. V. 7. f John xi. 41, 43- 


If the prayers and tears of this saint could obtain the de- 
liverance of the king's soul from the hands of the devil, from 
what evils shall we not be delivered by the prayers and tears 
of Jesus at Mass, if we assist at it in the proper spirit ! It 
would take whole volumes to relate all the favors that have 
been granted by means of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. St. 
Bernard obtained a great number of them"; his life contains 
several which took place, as we may say, before the whole 
city of Milan. One day, at the moment when he was going 
to celebrate Mass, there was brought to the church of St. 
Ambrose a lady of distinction who had been sorely afllicted 
for several years. She had lost at once sight, hearing, and 
speech ; her tongue even had lengthened so that it protruded 
from her mouth in a monstrous manner. St. Bernard ex- 
horted all the people present to unite their prayers with his, 
and began to celebrate the divine mysteries, making the 
sign of the cross over the poor infirm woman every time he 
made it over the Host or chalice. Having finished the Lord's 
Prayer, he took the Body of Jesus Christ, placed it on the 
paten, which he laid on the woman's head, and prayed our 
Lord to cure her. After that he turned to the altar to finish 
the holy Sacrifice. When he had made the division of the 
Host and distributed Communion to the people, the infirm 
lady, who was placed near the altar, felt herself suddenly 
cured; her tongue resumed its natural state, and she re- 
covered at the same time sight, hearing, and speech. Quite . 
transported with joy, she came to throw herself at the feet 
of St. Bernard, and returned a thousand thanks to the Lord. 
A cry of admiration arose from every part of the church; 
the bells rang out joyously, the people ran in crowds to see 
the person so miraculously cured, and the whole city mag- 
nified the power of God, so wonderfully manifested in that 
miraculous cure.* 

St. Gregory relates that on certain days the fetters used .to 


* Abbe Favre, Le del Ouvert. 


fall from the hands of a Christian captive who had been 
taken prisoner by the barbarians, and after his deliverance 
he found out that on those days his relatives had Mass offered 
up for him. 

When, in the year 871, the Danes invaded England, King 
Ethelred went with a small army to meet them. But 
trusting more in the protection and assistance of God than 
in the valor of his army, he went first to hear Mass. While 
assisting at the holy Sacrifice, messengers came to tell him 
that the Danes were quite near, and that he mnst prepare 
immediately for battle ; but he answered that he would not 
go until he had received Holy Communion. So he stayed in 
church until Mass was ended, and then went forth with a 
lion's courage to attack his enemies. The Lord of armies 
was with him and fought for him, and thus, after a short 
conflict, the pious king succeeded in putting the enemies of 
his kingdom to a shameful flight.* Let us then rest assured 
that, as a mother cannot help consoling her weeping child, 
neither will the heavenly Father refuse to hear any of the 
petitions of His weeping Son at Mass. 

The great power of Mass as a sacrifice of impetration ap- 
pears also from the fact that a prayer united with good works 
is most powerful with the Almighty. '^ Prayer is good, with 
fasting and alms," said the angel of the Lord to Tobias; f 
and by the prophet Isaias the Lord says: *-Deal thy bread 
to the hungry, and bring the needy and the harborless into 
thy house; when thou shalt see one naked, cover him, and 
despise not thy own flesh." ;|: "Seek judgment, relieve the 
oppressed, judge for the fatherless, defend the widow." § 
" Tlien shalt thou call, and the Lord shall hear; thou shalt 
cry, and He shall say : Here I am." || 

And again it is said : " Blessed are the merciful, for they 
shall obtain mercy; "^ especially when they pray, for who- 

* Baronius. f Tob. xii. 8. X isaias Iviii. 8. 

§ Isaias i. | Isaias Iviii. ^ Matt. v. 


soever is good and liberal to the brethren of Jesus Christ on 
earth, to him Jesus Christ must be good and liberal also ; 
for He is, and He desires to be, and to exhibit Himself in- 
finitely better than any one possibly could be. 

In the life of the Bishop St. Julian, we read that he dis- 
tributed among the poor and needy everything he possessed. 
Hence the Church says of him that, being inflamed with a 
great paternal charity for his fellow-men, he obtained from 
God many wonderful things. When the people were once 
suffering very much from a want of corn, he began to pray 
to God with tears in his eyes ; at once several wagons of corn 
arrived, and no sooner were they unloaded than the men who 
brought the corn disappeared. Another time, when the 
epidemic spread rapidly throughout the diocese of this holy 
bishop, God caused it suddenly to cease, on account of the 
prayer of His servant. The Lord also heard his prayer for 
many who suffered from incurable diseases. 

If the prayer of the saints is so powerful with God because 
their justice — " their good works go with them before the 
face of the Lord," * what shall be said of the power of the 
intercession of Jesus Christ with His Father ? The least 
act which He performed was of greater merit and dignity 
and gave greater pleasure and honor to His Father than the 
good works of all the saints together with those of the 
Blessed Mother of God herself. All the good works of Jesus 
Christ are of an infinite value and dignity, and when He 
prays to His Father for us at Mass, it is not mere prayers 
that He offers in our behalf, but, in addition, -all He has 
done for thirty-three years and a lialf to please Him. He 
offers to Him His blood, His very life itself, in sacrifice, and 
thus lays before His Father the greatest gift possible — a 
gift far more precious than all He can ask for us — as great 
in power and dignity as is* the Father Himself. This is the 
precise reason why Mass is so powerful a sacrifice of impetra- 

* Igaias Iviii. 8. 


tion, why ifc can obtain for us every favor possible. " Ask 
of Me/' says the Father to 'His Son when lying upon the 
altar, "ask of Me and I will give Thee the Gentiles for Thy 
inheritance." * Every word that our dear Saviour spoke, 
every act of obedience that He performed, every step that He 
took, every breath that He drew, every pulsation of His 
sacred Heart, every drop of blood that He shed, every pain 
that He suffered, all are so many eloquent tongues with (xod 
the Father to defend our cause and obtain for us His 
choicest gifts and blessings. 

Our divine Saviour has assured us " that whatever is asked 
of His Father in His name is granted." f If then the 7iame 
of Jesus is so powerful, so efficacious, and of so great author- 
ity with the Father that, for the sake of His name alone He 
grants the most wonderful things, shall we hesitate to be- 
lieve that Almighty God, for the sake of His well-beloved 
Son, interceding in His own Person for us at Mass, will grant 
us all we can desire, all we stand in need of, nay, far more 
and far greater gifts than we would dare to ask ? 

In a city of the West I made, about three years ago, the 
acquaintance of a Catholic lady whose husband was a Prot- 
estant. Wishing to obtain for her husband the grace of con- 
version to the Roman Catholic faith, she made an offering 
to Almighty God of what was most dear to her in this 
world— her only child. " My most merciful God," said 
she, " if Thou wilt vouchsafe to give the grace of conversioji 
to my husband, I am willing to lose my darling child by 
death." God heard the prayer of this good lady, for her 
child died soon after. N'ow, when the child was lying dead 
in bed, she called her husband and said to him : " Where 
do you think the child is now ? " "I have no doubt he is in 
heaven," was his answer. "Do you not wish," said she, 
" to be, one day, with him in heaven ?" " Indeed I do," re- 
plied he. " Well, then," said his wife, "embrace the religion 

* Ps. ii. 8. f Jolin xvi. 23. 


in wliich our darling child was baptized and died." At this 
moment God enlightened the mind of that man to know the 
truth of the Eoman Catholic religion, and, at the same time, 
strengthened his will to embrace it. 

Kow, if the offering .which this pioi^s mother made of her 
child was so pleasing in the sight of God that He could not 
help granting her petition, the offering which Jesus Christ 
makes of Himself at Mass to His Father, is, no doubt, infi- 
nitely more pleasing to Him, and must, of course, obtain for 
us all he asks in our behalf. It is, therefore, not in vain 
that the priest prays during Mass tliat through this sacrifice 
" we may be filled with every heavenly blessing and grace." 

Let us always remember, then, that in the holy Sacrifice 
of the Mass the Son of God not only worships His Father for 
us, but that He also prays for us, asks pardon and every 
kind of blessing for us. 

Bollandus relates of St. Coleta that, one day, when she was 
hearing the Mass of her confessor, she suddenly exclaimed 
at the elevation : " My God ! Jesus ! ye angels and 
saints ! ye men and sinners, behold the great marvels ! '' 
After the Mass her confessor asked her why she had wept so 
bitterly and uttered such pitiable cries. " Had your Rever- 
ence," said she, "heard and seen the things which I heard and 
saw, perhaps you would have wept and cried out more than 
I did." " What was it that you saw ? " asked her confessor 
again. "Although that which I heard and saw," she re- 
plied, "is so sublime and so divine that no man can ever find 
words to express it in a becoming manner, yet I will en- 
deavor to describe it to your Reverence as well as my feeble 
language will permit. When your Reverence raised the 
sacred Host, I saw our Lord Jesus Christ as if hanging on 
the Cross, shedding His Blood, and praying to his heavenly 
Father in most lamentable accents : * Behold, My Father, 
in what condition I was once hanging on the Cross and suf- 
fering for the Redemption of mankind. Behold My wounds, 
My sufferings. My death : I have suffered all this in order 


that poor sinners might not be lost. But now Thou wilt 
send them to hell for their sins. "What good, then, will re- 
sult from My sufferings and cruel death! Those damned 
souls, instead of thanking Me for My Passion, will only 
curse Me for it; but should they be saved, they would bless 
Me for all eternity. I beseech Thee, My Father, to spare 
poor sinners, and forgive them for My sake ; and for the sake 
of My Passion preserve them from being damned forever.' " 

What, a consolation to know that we have so powerful an 
advocate with the Almighty in heaven. Let us no longer 
say that we are poor, that we are weak, that we have nothing 
to offer to God. In the holy Mass we have an offering 
worthy of God — a prayer to present to Him, which is all- 
perfect — all-powerful, the prayer of His only begotten Son, 
in whom He is well pleased. 

But our divine Saviour worships God for us, and prays 
for us in the Mass, not in order to exempt us from worship- 
ping, but in order to helj) us to worship God properly and to 
pray to Him in a perfect manner. 

On the night before His death Our Blessed Redeemer 
went with His Apostles to the Garden of Gethsemane. 
When they had- come to the garden He said to them : *' Re- 
main ye here while I go yonder and pray." He went from 
them about a stone's throw and began to pray with great 
fervor. Then His agony came on, and His soul was sad 
unto death. His whole body was covered with a bloody 
sweat, and the blood which oozed through every pore fell 
down in drops to the ground. He was praying to His Eter- 
nal Father for the sins of His brethren : He prayed for all 
those souls whom He had created and for whom He was to 
die. The Apostles were sad and weary, worn out with watch- 
ing ; and instead of praying with our dear Lord they fell 
asleep. Then Jesus arose and went to them again and again. 
In a mournful voice He upbraided them for their weakness, 
their drowsiness ; He exhorted them to watch and pray ; 
desiring that they should unite their prayers with His. 


It is thus that onr Lord acts during the holy Sacrifice of 
the Mass ; He withdraws a short distance from us in order 
to make intercession for us. He prays for us on the altar, 
and wishes us to kneel around Him in church, there to unite 
with His our feehle prayers. What we ask for in broken ac- 
cents, He puts into glowing words, and as our prayers pass 
through His Sacred Heart, as they ascend to heaven from 
His divine lips, they are transformed, they become most ac- 
ceptable in the sight of God, all-powerful, all-divine. Throw 
copper into molten gold and it appears at once to be all 
gold. Unite your prayers with those of Jesus at Mass and 
they go up to His Father as the prayers of His well-beloved 

St. Porphyrins, Bishop of Gaza, went once to Constanti- 
nople to ask a favor of the Emperor Arcadius. On his way 
he met the servants of the emperor carrying with them his 
infant son Theodosius. The holy Bishop immediately drew 
near and placed his petition in the hands of the young 
prince. The emperor, agreeably surprised at this singular 
artifice of the prelate, readily granted what he asked, through 
love for the little bearer.* 

Let us adopt a similar means to obtain favors from God. 
In the Mass Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is ever ready to 
carry up our desires to the throne of His Father. Let us, 
therefore, in all confidence, charge Him with our petitions, 
and rest assured that, for His sake, they will be granted. 
Let our lips move in silence after consecration. Let us pray 
to Jesus according to the wants of our hearts, pouring out 
before Him our joys and sorrows, our hopes and fears. 

Catholics do not go to church to hear a man pour forth 
an extempore prayer ; they are not obliged to follow any man 
through the various moods of his thoughts and feelings. 
They are not obliged to join in any set form of prayer ; for 
Buch a prayer, no matter how beautiful, must necessarily 

* Sclimid's Histor. Catech. 


fail to express the different wants and feelings of the various 
members of the congregation. They go to churcli to take 
part in the most holy Sacrifice of the Mass — not to join in 
the prayers of a man, but in the prayers of our Lord Jesus 
Christ Himself, Who is really present on our altars. They 
are not bound by any set form of prayer ; they can pour out 
their souls before God according to the various wants and 
desires of their hearts. There is around the altar the most 
complete liberty, the greatest variety, combined with the 
most perfect unity. 

Let then the little children, let the young and innocent 
go to Mass ; let them unite their joyous hearts with the heart 
of the Infant Jesus, Who is born again spiritually every day 
upon our altars.- Let also the old and the weary go ; let 
them pour out their sorrows before the face of God, and 
Jesus, " Who hath borne our sorrows," will comfort and con- 
sole them. 

And let those who are weak and sorely tempted go to 
Mass : Jesus will encourage and strengthen them by His 
heavenly grace. Let those who have sinned go to Mass; and 
weep, and mingle their tears with the tears which Jesus shed 
for them and for us all on the hard wood of the Cross. 

Let those who are poor and sick and heart-broken go to 
Mass, and lay their wants before the compassionate heart of 
Jesus; He Who "filleth the hungry with good things" will 
not suffer them to go away empty-handed. 

Let the rich and prosperous also go to Mass, and give 
thanks to God Who has blessed them with the good things 
of this world. Let all go : laying their fears, their joys, 
hopes, wishes, and tears — all at the feet of Jesus, and He 
will hear and sympathize with us. He will offer up our 
prayers and our tears in union with His own divine suppli- 
cation. Our prayers, united with the prayers of Jesus, will 
ascend before the throne of heaven louder than the music of 
angelic choirs, sweeter than the sublime hymn of the virgins, 
more powerful than the intercession of all the saints. 


And if ever there is a time when prayers are heard, it is 
during the holy Sacrifice of Mass. For this reason is it that 
in the office of consecrating a church, the Bishop prays that 
" here may be heard by God the prayers of all invoking 
Him, that the blessed and holy Trinity, which purifieth all 
things, and adorneth all things ; that the blessed and holy 
hand of God, which sanctifieth all things, blesseth all things, 
and enricheth all things, might purify and bless and con- 
secrate, by a perpetual out-flowing of His sanctification, 
that house ; that here priests might ever offer to Him the 
sacrifice of praise, and here the faithful people pay their 
vows; that here the burden of sinners might be loosed, 
and the falls of the faithful repaired; that here the sick 
might be healed, the lepers cleansed, the blind enlightened, 
the demons expelled, and all invocations granted through 
our Lord Jesus Christ." 

Oh, what a gift is the Holy Mass ! How completely is the 
distance bridged over that separated the Creator and the 
creature ! The time of the Mass is the time of grace ; it is 
then that the earth has disappeared from view, and heaven 
is opened. The place on which we kneel is holy ground, we 
are in the presence of God, surrounded by myriads of angels. 

Mass was the comfort of the Christians in the Catacombs. 
It was the glory of St. Basil, and St. Ambrose, and St. Au- 
gustine. So it is also our glory, our stay and support in 
this nineteenth century of unbelief and impiety. " Yes, strip 
our altars, leave us only the corn and the vine, and a rock for 
our altar, and we will worship with posture as lowly and 
hearts as loving as in the grandest Cathedral. Let persecu- 
tion rise; let us be driven from our churches; we will say 
Mass in the woods and caverns, as the early Christians did. 
We know that God is everywhere, we know that Nature is 
His Temple, wlierein pure hearts can find Him and adore 
Him; but we know that it is in the Holy Mass alone that 
He offers Himself to His Father as ' the Lamb that was slain.' 
How can we foresfo that sweet and solemn action ? How 


can we deprive ourselves of that heavenly consolation ? It 
is in Mass that man's heart has found a home and resting- 
place in this vale of tears. To ns the altar is the vestibule 
of heaven." 

Such be our thoughts about the Holy Mass. Go to Mass 
and go to pray. When the Lord drew near to Elias on the 
Mount, the prophet wrapped his face in his mantle ; so when 
we come to Mass let us wrap our souls in a holy recollection 
of spirit. Eemember what is going on. Now pray; now 
praise ; now ask forgiveness ; now rest before God in quiet 
love. So will the Mass be a marvellous comfort and refresh- 
ment to the Christian. 



Theee are many now-a-days who view death merely as 
the dissolution of organs, the decomposition of a worn-out 
machine, as an extinction of the powers of life; in other 
words, they examine it simply with the eye of an infidel 
physician. It is not strange at all that these people should 
be insensible to the high moral grandeur which so often 
distinguishes the closing scene of mortal life, or that they 
should be surprised and offended at the importance which 
religion ascribes to this last act in the combat of her children. 
But far is it from the humble followers of a crucified Saviour 
to profess a scorn for death, which He Himself condescended 
to endure. Death is disarmed, it is true; it is vanquished; 
yet its aspect still bespeaks its origin, and the eye naturally 
turns from it in mourning. " Perhaps you do not know," 
says St. Leonard, ^' what sort of a grace it is to die a happy 
death. It is such a grace, that the greatest saints never 
thought it was their due for anything they had done for God. 
Even if God had denied a happy death to His own Mother, 
He would have done her no wrong, for it is a grace so great 
that no one can merit it. Though all angels and men should 
unite their power to give us a just knowledge of the impor- 
tance of a good or bad death, it would be impossible for them 
to do so, because they themselves cannot adequately com- 
prehend the good or evils resulting from a good or bad 

Death is the end of all our works, of our earthly pilgrim- 
age, the harbor where we cast anchor, or are wrecked for 
ever. On death depends eternity ; eternal happiness or 


eternal misery is its necessary result. If we die well, we sliall be 
saved eternally, if we die ill, we shall be eternally lost. We can 
die but once. Hence the infinite importance of this final ac^ 
of our life. Yes, the day of death is the master-day — the day 
that judges all the others. It is for this reason, that this 
crisis naturally impresses every oue with a feeling of awe. 
The pinched and pallid features, the cold and clammy skin, 
the heaving, laborious, rattling respiration, and the irresist- 
ible force of that disease which no earthly remedies can 
overcome, speak of something appalling, and suggest the idea 
of an Almighty power manifesting displeasure and inflicting 

What especially increases the sujQferings of the dying is 
their remorse for sin committed, their dread of the approach- 
ing judgment, and the uncertainty of eternal salvation. At 
that moment especially, the devil puts forth all his power to 
gain the soul that is passing into eternity, knowing that 
the time is short in which he may win her, and that if he 
lose her then, he has lost her forever. For this reason it is 
that the devil, who has always tempted her in life, will not 
be satisfied to tempt her alone in death, but calls companions 
to his aid. When any one is at the point of death, his house 
is filled with demons, wlio unite to accomplish his ruin. It 
is related of St. Andrew Avellino that, at the time of his 
death, several hundred devils came to tempt him, and we 
read that, at the time of his agony, he had so fierce a struggle 
with hell, as to cause all his good brethren in religion who 
were present to tremble. 

Now, the path which we are pursuing leads us necessarily 
within view of death ; this angel of destruction gains upon 
us more and more every day, and he comes upon many too 
often unawares. Happy are those who are always prepared 
to follow his summons. He has two keys in his hands ; with 
the one he opens heaven for the good, and with the other he 
opens the gates of hell for the bad. The greatest gain, therefore, 
in this life is to prepare ourselves every day for a happy death. 


Chief among- the means which our Lord has left us for 
this end, is that of assisting, as often as possible, at the mys- 
tical renewal of His Death — the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 
*' Offer up the sacrifice of justice," says holy David, " and 
then trust in the Lord."* This sacrifice of justice is the 
holy Mass ; by this sacrifice, as we have seen, the Lord is 
appeased. His justice is fully satisfied, and our sins and the 
punishments due to them are cancelled. We read in holy 
Scripture that a certain man, named Michas, said to a 
young Levite : " Stay with me, and be unto me a father and 
a priest, and I will give thee every year ten pieces of silver, 
and a double suit of apparel, and thy victuals." The Levite 
was content, and abode with Michas, and was unto him as 
one of his sons. Michas was overjoyed, and said : " Now I 
know God will do me good, since I have a priest of the race 
of the Levites." f If Michas was not afraid of the Lord and 
His punishments, if he felt quite confident that God would 
bless him because the priest of the Lord staid with him in 
his house, and prayed and offered sacrifice for him, how 
much greater must be the joy and confidence of a Christian 
in the hour of death, when he remembers that he assisted so 
many times at the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, where not only 
the priest of God, but the Priest of priests — Jesus Christ 
Himself — prayed, and offered Himself in sacrifice to His 
heavenly Father to obtain for him the grace of a happy 

Saint Boniface, Archbishop of Mayence, relates the follow- 
ing: "A deceased Brother in a certain convent of my dio- 
cese had been raised to life again ; he came to me and said : 
When I was conducted before the tribunal of God, every sin 
of mine came along with me in the shape of a most hideous 
person, and said to me, ' I am that vain honor and glory 
which made you consider yourself superior to others ; ' an- 
other said, *I am that want of charity which you have shown 

* Ps. iv. f Judges xvii. 


to your neiglibor in tlionglits, words, and actions; ' another 
again said, ^ I am that lie which you told on such and such 
an occasion.' It was thus that all my sins, one after the 
other, came and presented themselves to me, accusing me, 
and clamoring against me most frightfully before the Eternal 
Judge. Many devils, too, came at the same time, and bore 
witness that I had committed these sins at such a time and 
in such a place. Then there came also before me the few 
good works which I had performed during my life, and they 
said to me, one after the other, ' I am that obedience which 
you have rendered to your superior for the love of God;' 
another said, ' I am that mortification, that work of penance, 
by which you have chastised your body ; ' ^ I am,' said an- 
other, ' that prayer and meditation which you have so often 
performed.' It was thus that, all my good works, one after 
the other, came and presented themselves before me, consol- 
ing and defending me before the Eternal Judge, and many 
of the angels of the Lord, too, came and bore witness to my 
good works, and exalted them exceedingly." 

What happened to this pious brother may also happen 
to us at the hour of death. At that moment our sins may 
rise up before us in hideous forms to terrify and throw 
us into despair. But then our good works, especially all 
the Masses we have heard with devotion, will also present 
themselves in the form of beautiful virgins, to Inspire us 
with the greatest confidence in the mercy of God. They 
will say : we are the many holy masses you have heard 
with so much fervor; we will accompany you to the Tri- 
bunal of the Eternal Judge ; there we will defend you and 
plead your cause ; we will say to the Lord of heaven and 
earth: "It is true, this soul has often dishonored Thee by 
her many sins, but it is also true that she has infinitely more 
honored Thee by one Mass than Thou hast been dishonored 
by all her sins ; it is true that by her sins she has contracted 
before Thee an enormous debt, but it is also true that one 
Mass alone, which she heard with devotion, was more than 


sufficient to cancel a thousand times more sins than she ha3 
committed. It is true that she has shown herself very un- 
grateful for the numberless graces thou hast bestowed upon 
her; but it is also true that by one Mass alone she returned 
to Thee far more than Thou hast ever bestowed upon her." 
Thus will each Mass become a most powerful advocate in our 
favor. What then wnll not the hundreds of Masses we have 
heard be able to obtain for us ! The cry raised against us by 
our sins, and the accusations of the devil, will be hushed in 
a moment by the cry of the many Masses, that is, of the 
Blood of the Lamb of God which fell so abundantly upon us 
in each holy Mass. What consolation, what joy, what con- 
fidence will be ours at the hour of death, when we see our- 
selves surrounded by so many Masses as by so many faithful 
friends and most pow^erful advocates, pleading for our admis- 
sion into paradise. Blessed, therefore, are those who per- 
severe in their love and devotion for Mass until death. By 
a peculiar supernatural strength, which they derive from 
this holy sacrifice, they will also in a most wonderful manner 
either be preserved from all attacks of the devil, or ren- 
dered strong against the same in a manner most fearful to 

We read in holy Scripture that the angel of destruction 
passed by all the bouses of the Israelites without doing them 
any harm, because he found them sprinkled with the blood 
of the lamb. We have seen how at Mass the blood of the 
Lamb of God — of Jesus Christ — is shed in a mystical manner; 
that wiienever we assist at Mass with devotion, our souls are 
sprinkled with this sacred Blood, and experience its power- 
ful effects, especially the protection it affords them in all 
spiritual and temporal afflictions. When the devil comes to 
these souls at the hour of death, he loses all courage to win 
them, because he sees tliem sprinkled with the sacred Blood 
of the Lamb of God, at sight of w^hich he trembles and flies 
away in rage, perceiving that no room is left for his tempta- 

OF THE DYIi^G. 355 

Eneas Silvius, who afterwards became Pope Pius II., tells 
ns that in a certain city of Germany, called Svezia, there 
lived a gentleman of high social position, who, aftfer losing 
nearly all his wealth, retired to a country-house for the sake 
of economizing. Spending his time in great seclusion, he 
soon became a prey to the most ])rofound melancholy, so 
much so, indeed, that he was in a state bordering on desper- 
ation. While in this deplorable condition the devil often 
suggested to him that he ought to put an end to his life ; 
" for," said the tempter, " there is nothing for the barren tree 
but the woodman's axe." In this conflict of mental agony 
and temptation, the gentleman had recourse to a holy con- 
fessor, who gave him the following good advice : " Let no day 
pass without assisting at the holy Mass, and make your mind 
easy." Pleased with the advice, the gentleman lost no time 
in carrying it out, and in order to prevent the possibility of 
ever losing Mass, he engaged a chaplain, who daily offered 
the adorable Sacrifice, at which he assisted with the most 
edifying devotion. But it happened that one day his chap- 
lain went at an early hour to a neighboring village to assist 
a young priest, who was about to celebrate his first mass. 
The devout nobleman, fearing that he would that day be 
deprived of the Sacrifice, hastened to the same village in 
order to be present at it. On the way he met a peasant who 
told him that he might as well turn back, because the 
last Mass was ended. Much disturbed in mind, he began 
even to shed tears. "Alas, what shall I do?" he ke23t 
repeating, " What shall I make of myself to-day ? Perhaps it 
may be the last of my life." The peasant was astonished to 
see him so much agitated, and being himself a man careless 
of his soul, he exclaimed, " Pray, do not weep, my lord, do 
not weep ; for my part, if it is a thing that can be done, I don't 
mind at all selling you my share in the Mass I heard this 
morning. Give me that good cloak of yours, and for aught 
I care, my Mass is yours this moment." The nobleman, 
thinking he would take the chance of possibly getting some- 


thing by it, at least for his good intention's sake, handed 
over the cloak and pursued his path towards the church. 
There h*e offered a short prayer, and on his return had hardly 
reached the place where the bargain had been struck, when 
he saw the miserable man who had conceived the profane 
design of selling his Mass, hanging by the neck from an 
oak-tree, and already dead, like another Judas. In fact, 
the temptation to self-destruction had passed into the un- 
happy peasant, who ha<^l voluntarily deprived himself of the 
aid which he might have had from the Sacrifice, and design- 
edly left himself powerless to resist the malignant suggestion 
of the devil. Then the worthy nobleman began to perceive 
how effectual was the remedy which his confessor had ad- 
vised, and he was from that moment confirmed in his holy 
determination — daily to assist at the divine mysteries, in 
order to be preserved from the temptation of the devil, and 
make a happy end. What Pope St. Gregory says is true : 
" The holy Sacrifice of the Mass preserves the soul from ever- 
lasting destructioji."* 

The Archangel Eaphael said to Tobias : " Alms delivereth 
from death, puro:eth away sins, and maketh to find mercy 
and life everlasting." f What the archangel said of alms, 
applies most assuredly, far more directly, to the holy Sacrifice 
of the Mass ; for it delivers the soul from a bad death, 
cleanses her from sins, and makes her find mercy and life 
everlasting. " As many Masses as a good Christian has heard 
with devotion," said our Lord to St. Mechtildis, "so many 
of my angels do I send him in the hour of his death to con- 
sole, and protect, and to accompany him to heaven." % Al- 
though this revelation be not an article of faith, yet it is 
very authentic and agrees with what we read in the writings 
of St. John Chrysostom: "A certain person," says he, "told 
me — not having heard it from some other person, but him- 
self found worthy to be an eye and ear witness of the fact — 

* Lib. iv. Dial. c. 53. f Tob. xii. 9. X Lib. iii. Revel, c. 19. 


that persons about to depart this life, if they be found to 
have partaken of the mysteries (of the holy Mass) with a 
pure conscience, have, at the moment of breathing their lasfc, 
angels as guards to conduct them away hence, for the sake 
of what they have received." ^^ 

A certain holy Bishop of Breslau, named Nanker, enter- 
tained a most tender devotion for the holy Sacrifice of the 
Mass. He used to say Mass daily, and heard as many Masses 
besides as he possibly could. When at the point of death, a 
most sweet, heavenly melody was heard, and a voice from 
above said : " The soul of Bishop Nanker has already lefb 
the body, and is now being carried by the angels into heaven. 
This grace and honor have been bestowed upon him on ac- 
count of his great love and devotion for the holy Sacrifice of 
the Mass." f ^^ wonder, then, that we read in the lives of 
holy bishops, priests, and Christians, how diligent they were 
in off'ering up daily the holy Sacrifice, and hearing Mass as 
often as possible. They found ample time to do so by quit- 
ting vain amusements, useless conversations, and frivolous 

Baronius relates of St. Theodore Studita that he begged 
God in his last illness to give him sufiicient strength to say 
Mass once more before he died. His prayer was heard. So, 
to the great astonishment of all his friends, he rose up from 
his bed and said Mass with the utmost fervor and devotion, 
shedding at the same time a torrent of tears. This devo- 
tion of the saint made a deep impression upon all who saw 
him, so much so that they could not help shedding tears 
themselves. Immediately after Mass, St. Theodore returned 
to bed, feeling perfectly prepared to die, for he could say with 
holy Simeon: "Now Thou dost dismiss thy servant, Lord, 
according to Thy word, in peace, because my eyes have seen 
Thy salvation." He soon after died a holy death. | 

Baronius relates also that St. Tarasius, patriarch of Con- 

. * T.i., L. vi, de Sacerd, n. 4, p. 518. f Reinaldus ad ann. 1241. 

X Ad ann. 826, Num. 44. 


stantinople, said Mass as long as his strength did not fail 
altogether. When it was nigh exhausted, towards the end 
of his life, he would lean on and bend over tlie altar, in or- 
der to be enabled to finish Mass. By this great fervor and 
devotion for saying Mass, he obtained from God the grace 
to breathe his last with unspeakable happiness and consola- 
tion.* In all ages there have been many holy priests who 
knew no better preparation for death than that of saying Mass 
daily with great devotion. 

Dom Basile in his last illness, though suffering from a 
severe cold, used to rise and say Mass a little after four 
o'clock. So also, Don Isidore continued to hear Mass every 
morning until be died. Hence, hospitals and convents are 
so constructed that the patients, who are in bed, can each 
see the altar in the cliapel and hear Mass, and thus prepare 
for a happy death. 

Good Christians try to imitate holy priests in their devo- 
tion and love for the holy Sacrifice of the Mass ; they hear 
it as often as possible with the utmost fervor. Many even 
when grievously sick, try to obtain the privilege of having 
Mass said in their room, or, at least, to have it offered up for 
a happy death. Theodoret relates the following of an old 
man : '•' Though ninety years of age, his garments were of 
hair-cloth, and his food bread and a little salt. And having 
desired for a long time to see the spiritual and mystic Sac- 
rifice (of the Mass) offered up, he begged that the oblation 
of the divine gift might take place there. And I (Theodoret) 
gladly yielded to him ; and having ordered the sacred vessels 
to be brought, for they were at no great distance, and using 
the hands of the deacons instead of an altar, I offered up the 
mystic, divine, and saving Sacrifice. But the old man was 
filled with all spiritual joy and fancied that he beheld the 
very heavens, and declared that he had never experienced so 
great a gladness."f 

♦ Ad aim. 806, Num. 1. f T. iii. Hist. Relig. c. xx. p. 1233. 


Sucl'. is the joy which the Lord keeps in readiness for the 
hour of death of those who know how to value, in the course 
of their life, the gift of the holy Mass, this inexhaustible 
treasure of grace. 

But in what does this joy which good Christians expe- 
rience consist ? In this: that they bear the pains of their 
last illness Avith great patience ; that they experience an 
unlimited confidence in the mercy of God and in the merits 
of Jesus Christ, that they have no fear of death, but greet it 
joyfully as their best friend, opening for them the gates of 
heaven; in a word, this joy consists in a perfect and most 
admirable resignation to the holy will of God, who calls 
them to a better life. To die in this manner is to die with 
a merit similar to that of a martyr ; for " martyrdom," says 
St. Thomas Aquinas, " does not consist in suffering much 
for the faith; it consists rather in the conformity of the 
martyr's will to the will of God in the trials under which he 
dies." If, then, God makes use of sickness or any other 
cause to take away my life, and if I conform my will to His, 
declaring myself perfectly resigned to th6 manner of my 
death, my will, being in conformity with that same will of 
God to which the martyr conforms in the hour of death, 
must earn a merit similar to that of the martyr. As man 
cannot make a greater sacrifice to God than that of his life, 
the will being perfectly resigned to make this sacrifice in the 
manner God requires and manifests by sickness or any other 
cause, it follow^s that such an act of the will is an act of per- 
fect charity for God, which cancels all sins and punishments 
due to them. To die in this way, is, of course, a very great 
grace, and yet w^e may rest assured that it is particularly 
this grace which the Lord grants in the hour of death to 
those who are careful not to miss Mass. If we pray for this 
grace in each Mass we hear, our prayer will undoubtedly be 
heard, so much so that we shall exclaim : " I never thought 
it was so sweet to die." There are, indeed, some things 
whose price we know not till we come to die. To have 


fonglit the good figlit against the devil — to have sad no to 
those who tempted us to sin — to have been patient when we 
were poor, or sorrowful, or in pain — to have been kind and 
merciful to many a poor creature — but especially to have often 
assisted at the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, — these are things 
the value of which we scarcely realize when death is far off. 
Their true value will appear only when it will no longer be 
of any advantage to us. We easily suffer ourselves to be 
prevented from hearing Mass by our friends and acquaint- 
ances, by our occupations, and by our sloth. Often it is a 
burden to us to go and assist at the Sacrifice, and when there 
we hardly know what to do. A day will come when a single 
quarter of an hour spent in hearing Mass will appear of more 
worth to us than all the riches of the world. Let us ever 
remember that we are advancing rapidly towards eternity, 
that the time of Mass is the best to prepare for it, and that 
eternity will not be too long for our regrets at the loss of one 
single Mass. 



A SHORT time ago, a fervent young priest of this country 
had the following conversation with a holy Bishop, on his 
way to Eome. The Bishop said to him : " You make me- 
mentoes, now and then, for friends of yours that are dead, 
do you not?" The young priest answered: "Certainly,! 
do so very often." The Bishop rejoined : " So did I when I 
was a young priest. But one time I was grievously ill. I 
was given up as about to die. I received Extreme Unction, 
and the Viaticum. It was then that my whole past life, with 
all its failings, and all its sins, came before me with startling 
vividness. I saw Iww much I had to atone for ; and I re- 
flected on how few Masses would be said for me, and how 
few prayers ! Ever since my recovery I have most fervently 
offered the Holy Sacrifice for \\\q rejwse of the pious and pa- 
tient souls in purgatory ; and I am always glad when I can, 
as my own offering, make the ^ intention ' of my Masses, for 
the relief of their pains." * 

Indeed, no one is more deserving of Christian charity and 
sympathy, than the poor souls in purgatory. They ar.e 
really poor sotds. No one is sooner forgotten than they. 

How soon their friends persuade themselves that the souls 
departed are in perfect peace. How little they do for their 
relief when their bodies are buried. There is a lavish ex- 
pense for the funeral. A hundred dollars are spent where 
the means of the family hardly justify the half of it. Where 
there is more wealth, sometimes five hundred or a thousand 

* Freeraan's Journal, Nov. 1869. 


and even more dollars are expended on tlie poor dead body. 
But what is done for the j^^or living soul f Perhaps it is 
suffering the most frightful tortures in purgatory, whilst the 
lifeless body is laid out in state and borne pompously to the 
grave-yard. It is right and fitting to show all due respect 
even to the body of a deceased friend, for that body was once 
the dwelling-place of his souL But, after all, what joy has 
the departed, and perhaps suffering soul, in the fine music of 
the choir, even though the choir be composed of the best 
singers in the country ? What consolation does it feel in 
the superb coffin, in the splendid funeral ? What pleasure 
in the costly marble monument, in all the honors that are 
so freely lavished on the body ! All this may satisfy, or at 
least seem to satisf}', the living, but it is of no avail what- 
ever to the dead. 

Poor, unhappy souls ! how the diminution of true Catho 
lie faith is visited upon them. Tliose that loved them in 
life might help them, and do not, for want of knowledge, 
or of faith ! 

Poor, unhappy souls ! your friends go to their business, to 
their eating and drinking, with the foolish assurance that 
the case cannot be hard on one they knew to be so good! 
Oh ! how much and how long this false cliarUy of your 
friends causes you to suffer! 

The venerable Sister Catherine Paluzzi offered up for a 
long time and with the utmost fervor, prayers and pious 
works for the soul of her deceased father. At last she 
thought she had good reason to believe that he was already 
enjoying the bliss of Paradise. But how great was her con- 
sternation and grief, when our Lord, in company with St. 
Catherine, her patroness, led her one day in spirit to purga- 
tory. There she beheld her father in an abyss of torments, 
imploring her assistance. At the sight of the pitiful state 
his soul was in, she melted into tears, cast herself down at 
the feet of her heavenly spouse, and begged Him, through 
His precious Blood, to free her father from his excruciating 


sufiferings. She also begged St. Catherine to intercede for 
him, and then turning to our Lord, said : " Charge me, 
Lord, with my father's indebtedness to Thy justice. In ex- 
piation of it, I am ready to take upon myself all the afflic- 
tions Thou art pleased to impose upon me." Our Lord gra- 
ciously accepted this act of heroic charity, and released at 
once her father's soul from purgatory. But heavy, indeed, 
were the crosses which she, from that time forth, had to suf- 

This pious sister seemed to have good reason to believe 
that her father's soul was in Paradise. Yet she was mistaken. 
Alas ! how many are there who resemble her in this. How 
many are there whose hope as to the condition of their de- 
ceased friends is far vainer and more false than that of this 
sister, because they pray less for the souls of their departed 
friends than she did for her father. 

" No defiled thing," says St. John, " shall enter the heav- 
enly city of Jerusalem." How easy was it for the departed 
soul to defile itself in this life, where it was surrounded by 
all kinds of snares and dangers. 

St. Severinus, Archbishop of Cologne, was a prelate of 
such great sanctity, that God wrought many remarkable 
miracles through him. One day after his death, he was seen 
by a Canon of the Cathedral to sufier the most excruciating 
pains. Upon being asked why he suffered so much, he who, 
on account of his holiness of life, ought to be reigning glo- 
riously in heaveji replied : *' I suffer this torment, merely for 
having recited the canonical hours hurriedly and with wilful 
distraction." * 

It is related in the life of St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, 
that one day she saw the soul of one of her deceased 
sisters kneeling in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament 
in the Church, all wrapped up in a mantle of fire, and suffer- 
ing great pains in expiation of her neglecting to go to Holy 

* St. Peter Dom. Epist. 14. Edit. Desid. c. vii. 


Communion, on a day when slie had her confessors permis- 
sion to communicate. 

If St. Severinus, so holy a prelate of the Church, if a 
holy nun who spent her life in the convent, had to suffer 
most excruciating pains in purgatory in expiation of small 
faults, what reason have we to imagine so readily that the 
souls of our departed friends are already enjoying the bea- 
tific vision of God — who perhaps were never very much in ear- 
nest about leading a holy life— who perhaps made light of 
venial faults — who perhaps often spoke uncharitably of their 
neighbors — who perhaps neglected so many Holy Commu- 
nions and other means of grace and sanctification — who in 
their youth may have committed hundreds of secret mortal 
sins of the most heinous kinds, and may never have con- 
ceived any other than imperfect sorrow or attrition on ac- 
count of tliem — who perhaps spent flieir whole lives in the 
state of mortal sin, and w^ere converted only on their death- 
bed ? 

Ah ! how. much combustible matter — how many imper- 
fections, venial sins, and temporal punishments due to mor- 
tal and venial sins, may they not have taken with them to 
be burned out in the flames of purgatory ? 

The Venerable Bede relates that it was revealed to Drith- 
elm, a great servant of God, that the souls of those who 
spend their whole lives in the state of mortal sin and are 
converted only on their death-bed, are doomed to suffer the 
pains of purgatory to the day of tlie last judgment.* 

In the life and revelations of St. Gertrude, we read that 
those who have committed many grievous sins, and who die 
witliout having done due penance, are not assisted by the 
ordinary suffrages of the Church until they are partly puri- 
fied by divine justice in purgatory. 

After St. Vincent Ferrer had learned of the death of his 
sister Frances, he at once began to offer up many fervent 

* Hist. Anglic. Iv. c. 13. 


prayers and works of penauce for the repose of her soul. 
He also said thirty Masses for her, at the last of which it 
was revealed to him, that, had it not been for his prayers 
and good works, the soul of his sister would have suffered 
in purgatory to the end of the world.''' 

From these examples we may draw our own conclusions as 
to the state of our deceased friends and relatives. The judg- 
ments of God are very different from the judgments of men. 
*'My thoughts are not your thoughts," says the Lord, "nor 
your ways my ways. For as the heavens are exalted above 
the earth, so are my ways exalted above your ways, and my 
thoughts above your thoughts." f 

We know that souls of great perfection have been deprived 
of the beatific vision of God, for having committed little 
faults. This we learn from many apparitions of the souls of 
the faithful departed, who have been saved and who praised 
the mercy of God, declaring at the same time that the judg- 
ments of the Lord are strict and terrible beyond description, 
and that mortals could never reflect too deeply upon this 
truth. The true reason of this great rigor of the judgments 
of God is found in His infinite sanctity, justice, and love. 

God's sanctity requires an adequate expiatory punishment, 
because everything that is not good and perfect, is essentially 
opposed to His divine nature; hence He cannot admit into 
heaven, to the contemplation of His divine Essence, a soul 
that is still spotted Avith the least stain of sin. 

God's justice requires no less severity than His sanctity, 
because every sin is an offense and outrage against His di- 
vine Majesty ; for which reason he cannot help defending 
His divine right and absolute dominion over all creatures 
by requiring full satisfaction from every soul that has 
offended against this divine Majesty. 

Neither can God's infinite love be less severe, because He 
wishes to see the souls of His elect pure, beo.utiful, perfect 

* Marclies. Diar. Dom. 5 Apr. f Isaias Iv. 8. 


in every way ; for which reason He purifies them from every 
stain, as gold is refined in a furnace, until they become His 
true image and likeness, according to which He created the 
first man in sanctity and righteousness. He takes no pleas- 
ure in seeing these souls suffer, but, wishing to render them 
capable and worthy of being united to Him as to their su- 
preme happiness, He makes them pass through a state of the 
most frightful sufferings, a state of the greatest poverty im- 
aginable — the privation of the beatific vision of God. 

No sooner has the soul departed this life, than it beholds 
God, and from this sight it receives at once so deep and 
vivid a knowledge of God and all His infinite perfections, 
that thenceforth it is utterly incapable of being occupied 
with anything else than the divine beauty and goodness ; it 
feels so violently drawn towards God, the supreme Lord of 
all things visible and invisible, that it finds it altogether 
impossible to Avish, to seek, and to love anything but God. 
It experiences at once an insatiable hunger and thirst after 
God; it pants for its Supreme Good with a most ardent 
desire. " God ! God ! I must be with God! '' is its constant 
cry. But at the very moment when the soul is endeavoring 
to unite itself to God, it is repulsed by Him and sent to pur- 
gatory to cleanse itself from the sins not cancelled in this 
life. In this banishment from the sight of God, the soul 
finds the bitterness of its torments. As it is the height of 
happiness to see a God infinitely amiable, so it is the greatest of 
all pains to be rejected from His presence. It- is true, dur- 
ing this life, the soul experiences but a feeble desire to see 
God, and, as it does not know the greatness of this heavenly 
benefit, it does not comprehend how great a pain and mis- 
fortune it is to be deprived of it. But once the soul has 
quitted the body, it conceives so high an esteem for the pos- 
session of the Supreme Good, it burns with so ardent a de- 
sire to obtain it, it tends with so mucli force to enjoy it, that 
the greatest of all its torments in purgatory is to be repulsed, 
if only for an instant, from the presence of its Creator. In 


a word, the soul suffers more from the privation of the bea- 
tific vision of God, than from all the otlier torments of pur- 
gatory. For such is the infinite beauty of God, that to have 
seen Him for a single instant, and in that same moment to 
be rejected from His presence, is to experience at once the 
torment of hell. In heaven, love for God is the happiness 
of the elect ; but in purgatory, it is the source of the most 
excruciating pains. It is principally for this reason, that 
the souls in purgatory are called *' poor souls," they being, as 
they are, in the most dreadful state of poverty — that of the 
privation of the beatific vision of God. 

After Anthony Corso, a Capuchin Brother, a man of great 
piety and perfection, had departed this life, he appeared to 
one of his brethren in religion, asking him to recommend 
him to the charitable prayers of the community, in order 
that he might receive relief in his pains; "for I do not 
know," said he, "how I can bear any longer the pain of 
being deprived of the sight of my God. I shall be the most 
unhappy of creatures as long as I must live in this state. 
Would to God all men could understand well what it is to 
be without God, in order that they might firmly resolve to 
Buffer anything during their life on earth rather than expose 
themselves to the danger of being damned and deprived 
forever of the sight of God." * 

The souls in purgatory are poor souls, because they suffer 
the greatest pain of the senses, which is that ofjire. AV'ho can 
be in a poorer and more pitiful condition than those who 
are buried in fire ? Yet such is the condition of these souls. 
They are buried under waves of fire. The smallest spark of 
this purgatorial fire causes them to suffer more intense pains 
than all -the fires of this world. In this fire they suffer more 
than all the pains of distempers and the most violent dis- 
eases — more than all the most cruel torments undergone by 
malefactors, or invented by barbarous tyrants ; more than 

* Annal. PP. Capuc. ad 1548. 


all the tortures of tlie martyrs summed up together. Could 
these poor souls leave the lire of purgatory for the most 
frightful earthly fire, they would, as it were, take it for a 
pleasure-garden ; they would find a fifty years' stay in the 
hottest earthly fire more endurable than an hour's stay in 
the fire of purgatory. Our terrestrial fire was not created 
by <jrod to torment men, but rather to benefit them ; but the 
fire in purgatory was created by God for no other purpose 
than to be an instrument of His justice, and for this reason 
it is possessed of a burning quality so intense and penetra- 
ting that it is impossible for us to conceive even the faintest 
idea of it. 

A religious of the Order of St. Dominic, when about to 
depart this life, most earnestly begged a priest to say Mass 
for the repose of his soul immediately after his death. The 
good religious had scarcely expired when the priest went to 
say Mass for him with great /ervor and devotion. Hardly 
had he taken off the sacred vestments after Mass, than the 
soul of his deceased friend appeared, rebuking him severely 
for the hardness of his heart in leaving him in the torments 
of purgatory for thirty years. Quite astonished, the good 
priest exclaimed : " What, thirty years ! an hour ago you 
were still alive!" "Learn then from this," said the de- 
ceased, " how excruciating are the pains of the fire of pur- 
gatory, since one hour's stay therein appears as long as tliirty 
years." * 

xinotlier reason why these holy prisoners and debtors to 
the divine justice are really poor, is, because they are not 
able to assist themselves in the hast. A sick man, afilicted 
in all his limbs, and a beggar, in the most painful and des- 
titute condition, has still a tongue left to ask relief At 
least they can implore Heaven — it is never deaf to their 
prayer. But the souls in purgatory are so poor that they 
cannot even do this. The cases in which some of them 

* Da Fusian, Tom. iv. 


were permitted to apj^ear to their friends and ask assistance, 
are but exceptions. To whom should they have recourse ? 
Perhaps to the mercy of God ! Alas ! they send forth their 
sighs plaintively: "As the hart panteth after the fountains 
of water, so my soul panteth after Thee, God. When 
shall I come and appear before the face of God ? My tears 
have been my bread day and night, whilst it is said to me 
daily : Where is thy God." * '' Lord, where are Thy ancient 
mercies." f " I cry to Thee, and Thou hearest me not ; I stand 
lip, and Thou dost not regard me. Thou art changed to be 
cruel toward me." I But the Lord does not regard their 
tears, nor heed their moans and cries, but answers them, 
that his justice must be satisfied to the last farthing. 

Are they to endeavor to acquire new merits, and thereby 
purify themselves more and more ? Alas ! they know that 
their time for meriting is passed away, that their earthly 
pilgrimage is over, and that upon them is come that fatal 
nigJd in wliioli no one can worky § They know that by all 
their sufferings they can gain no new merit, no higher glory 
and happiness in heaven ; they know that it is through their 
own fault they are condemned to this state of suffering ; 
they see clearly how many admonitions, exhortations, in- 
spirations, and divine lights they have rejected ; how many 
prayers, opportunities of receiving the sacraments, and 
profiting by the means of grace within their reach they 
have neglected through mere caprice, carelessness, and 
indolence. They see their ingratitude towards God, and 
the deep wounds they have made .in the Sacred Heart of 
Jesus ; and their extreme grief and sorrow for all this is a 
wo^*m never ceasing to gnaw at them ; a heart-rending 
pain, a killing torment — that of knowing that they have 
placed themselves wilfully and wantonly in this state of th© 
most cruel banishment. " cruel comforts ! accursed 
ease ! " they cry out, " if is on your account that we are de- 

* Ps. xli. 1. f Ps. Ixxxviii. 50. % Job xxx. 20, 21. § John ix. 4 



prived of the enjoyment of God, our only happiness for all 
eternity ! " 

Shall they console themselves by the thought that their 
sufferings will soon be over ? They are ignorant of their 
duration unless it be revealed to them by God. Hence they 
sigh day and night, hence they weep constantly and cry 
unceasingly : "Wo unto us, that our sojourn is prolonged!" 

Shall these poor, helpless souls seek relief from their 
fellow-sufferers, all utterly incapable of procuring mutual 
relief? Lamenting, sobbing, and sighing, shedding torrents 
of tears, and crying aloud, they stretch out their hands for 
one to help, console, and relieve them. "We are the only 
ones who have it in our power to assist them in their suffer- 

After the Emperor Henry had besieged a certain city for 
a considerable time, and found the inhabitants still un- 
willing to surrender, he notified them that he would give 
orders to his soldiers to take the city by assault, and mas- 
sacre all its inhabitants, even the little children. Alarmed 
at this proclamation, and seeing no hope left of saving them- 
selves except by moving the emperor to compassion, the in- 
habitants of the city had recourse to the following expedient : 
They collected all the little children from six to ten years 
of age, and after arraying them in procession, made them 
march before the emperor and throw themselves on their 
knees, striking their breasts and crying aloud in pitiful 
accents : " Have pity on us, emperor : emperor, have pity 
on us." This heartrending scene affected the emperor so 
much that he himself could not help weeping. He pardoned 
the inhabitants of the city, and raised the siege imme- 

Could we only open the dungeons of purgatory and see 
the immense procession of poor suffering souls coming forth 
and crying aloud in the most lamentable and heart-rending 
voice : Father, mother, have pity on me, your child ! Brother, 
have pity on me, your brother! Sister, have pity on me, 


your sister ! Husband, have pity on me, your wife ! "Wife, 
have pity on me, your husband ! Friend, have pity on me, 
your friend ! — how would this spectacle affect us ? Would 
not their pains alone plead more pathetically than any human 
tongue? Would not our eyes stream with tears, and our 
hearts be moved with compassion at beholding innumerable 
holy and illustrious servants of God, suffering more than 
any human being can conceive! But, unable to let us wit- 
ness their tears and hear their moans, they borrow a voice 
from the Church, their mother, and her priests, who, to ex- 
press their moans and inconceivable distress, and to excite 
our compassion and charity, cry to us in the words of Job : 
" Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, at least you, my 
friends, for the hand of the Lord hath smitten me." * 

Just and holy souls, illustrious servants of the Lord, noble 
sons of the heavenly Father, heirs of His celestial glory, 
chosen vessels of election, enriched with precious igifts and 
ornaments of divine grace, laden with the merits of so many 
good works, confirmed in grace, and no longer in a condi- 
tion to offend God, dear spouses of Christ, but victims to the 
divine justice, shall we be so dead to compassion, so steeled 
to feelings of humanity as to refuse you our sympathy? 
Shall we be as deaf and unmerciful to you as the just God 
who punishes you. " Quare me iJersequimini, sicut DeusV^ 
what a cruelty ! A sick man weeps on his bed, and his 
friend consoles him ; a baby cries in his cradle, and his 
mother at once caresses him ;, a beggar knocks at the door 
for an alms and receives it ; a malefactor laments in his 
prison, and comfort is given him ; even a dog that whines 
at the door is taken in ; but these poor, helpless souls cry 
day and night from the depths of the fire in purgatory: 
" Have pity on me, have pity on me, at least you, my friends, 
because the hand of the Lord hath smitten me," and there 
is no one to listen ! 

* Job six. 21. 


It seems as thougli Tve heard these poor souls exclaim : 
Priest of the Lord, speak no longer of our sufferings and 
pitiable condition. Let your description of it be ever so 
touching, it will not afford us the least relief. When a man 
has fallen into the fire, in'stead of considering his pains, you 
try at once to draw him out or quench the fire with water. 
This is true charity. Let Christians do the same for us. 
Let them give us their feet by going to hear Mass for us ; 
their hands, by frequently offering the honoraries for the 
'•'intention" of the Masses of a priest in our behalf; their 
lips, by praying for us at Mass; their tongue, by begging 
others to do the same ; their memory, by constantly bearing 
us in mind at the holy Sacrifice ; their body, by offering up 
for us to the Almighty all its labors, fatigues, and penances, 
in union with the merits of Jesus Christ at Mass. 

Indeed, it seems to be a kind of folly to reflect long upon 
the pains of the souls in purgatory by way of inducing our- 
selves to assist them. To know that they are tormented by 
fire ought to be enough to bring us to their relief at once, 
especially as we can do so with so little inconvenience to 

We read in the Acts of the Apostles that the faithful 
prayed unceasingly for St. Peter when he was imprisoned, 
and that an angel came and broke his chains and released 
him. We, too, should be good angels to the poor souls in 
purgatory, and free them from their painful captivity. 

But the most efficacious of all means to release them is 
undoubtedly the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is the 
common doctrine of the Fathers. St. Jerome says, that by 
every Mass, not one only, but several souls are delivered 
from purgatory, and he is of opinion that the soul for which 
the priest says Mass suffers no pain at all while the holy 
Sacrifice lasts. * 

St. Augustine writes: " The funereal pomp, the crowded 

* Apud Bern. de. Busto, Serm. 3, de Missa. 


funeral, the sumptuous attention to the burial, the construc- 
tion of costly monuments, are some sort of solace* to the liv- 
ing, not aids to the dead. Wliereas it is not to be doubted 
that the dead are aided by alms, prayers of the holy Church, 
and dy the salutary sacrifice." * And in another < place : 
" Nor is it to be denied that the souls of the departed are re- 
lieved by the piety of their living friends when the Sacrifice 
of the Mediator is offered for them." f " Not in vain," says 
St. John Chrysostom, "were these things ordained by the 
Apostles that a memorial of the departed be made at the 
awful mysteries. Tliey knew great gain and great aid ac- 
crues to them. For when all the people stand stretching 
out their hands — a priestly assemblage — and the awful Sacri- 
fice lies to open view, how shall we not propitiate God for 
those departed when we call upon Him." \ " It is for this 
reason," continued this great saint, " that there is no time 
fitter to treat or converse with Almighty God than that of 
the divine Sacrifice ; that the angels profit by this time as 
the most favorable to beg graces for men and the souls in 
purgatory; that at the moment in which the Sacrifice of 
Mass is offered, these heavenly messengers presently fly to 
open the prisons of purgatory, and to execute all that God 
has been pleased to grant by the prayers of the faithful and 
the merits of His Son." 

The Fathers of the Council of Trent declare that, by the 
Sacrifice of the Mass, the souls in purgatory are most effica- 
ciously relieved. It is for this reason that the Sacrifice is 
offered up not only for the living, but also for the dead; that 
is to say, God is implored for the sake of Christ's oblation to 
grant to all those who have departed this life in the Lord, 
the full remission of their indebtedness to His divine justice. 

To consider merely himself, is an impossibility to the 
Christian ; how much less is it impossible for him, in so 

* T. V. Serm. 172, n. 2, 3, col. 1196. 

t T. vi. De Octo Dulcit. Quaest. n. 4, col. 222. 

X T. xi Horn. iii. in Ep. ad Philip. 


sacred a solemnity, to think only of himself, and omit his 
supplication that the merits of Christ, ^vhich outweigh the 
sins of the whole world, may likewise be appropriated by the 
souls in purgatory. 

In the time of St. Bernard, a monk of Claii^-aux appeared 
after his death to his brethren in religion to thank them for 
having delivered him from purgatory. On being asked what 
had most contributed to free him from his torments, he led 
the inquirer to the church where a priest was saying 
Mass. "Look," said he; "this is the means by which 
my deliverance has been effected; this is the power of 
God's mercy; this is the salutary Sacrifice which takes 
away the sins of the world." Indeed, so great is the efficacy 
of this Sacrifice to obtain relief for the souls in purgatory, 
that the application of all the good. works which have been 
performed from the beginning of the world would not 
afford so much assistance to one of tliese souls as is imparted 
by a single Mass. The blessed Henry Suso made an agree- 
ment with one of his brethren in religion, that as soon as 
either of them died, the survivor should say two Masses every 
week for one year for the repose of his soul. It came to 
pass that the religious with whom Henry had made this con- 
tract died first. Henry prayed every day for his deliverance 
from purgatory, but forgot to say the Masses which he had 
promised, Vy'hereupon the deceased religious appeared to him 
with a sad countenance, and sharply rebuked him for his 
unfaithfulness to his engagement. Henry excused himself 
by saying that he had often prayed for him with great fervor, 
and had even offered up for him many penitential works. 
" Oh, brother I " exclaimed the soul, " blood, blood is neces- 
sary to give me some relief and refreshment in my excrucia- 
ting torments. Your penitential works, severe as they are, 
cannot deliver me. Nothing can do this but the blood of 
Jesus Christ, which is offered up in the sacrifice of the Mass. 
Masses, Masses, these are what I need." We read of St. 
Gregorv the Great, that he had Mass said for thirty days in 


succession for a deceased monk named Justin, who, accord- 
ing to a revelation, was detained in purgatory for having 
kept some money without permission. On the last day Jus- 
tin appeared to his brother, telling him that he now was 
released from purgatory, after enduring intense tor- 

St. Bernard tells us that the renowned Irish Bishop, St. 
Malachy, had a sister who led a rather worldly life. After 
some time she fell sick and died. St. Malachy prayed for 
her every day during the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This 
he continued to do for a long time. At last, supposing that 
she was in heaven, he ceased praying for her. One night, 
however, he had a strange dream or vision. It seemed to 
him that he saw his sister standing outside the graveyard. 
She looked pale and sad. She told him that she was fam- 
ished with hunger, as she had tasted no food for thirty days. 
St. Malachy understood at once that the food of which she 
spoke was the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as he had not 
offered it up for her during the previous thirty days'. Next 
morning he began to pray for his sister. After some time 
he saw her once more. She was now standing at the en- 
trance of the church, but unable to enter. He continued to 
pray for her, and he saw her again ; she was now in the 
church, but at some distance from the altar. He prayed 
with redoubled fervor, and, at last, as he was standing at 
the altar, he beheld the soul of his sister quite near him. 
Her countenance was now beaming with heavenly joy, and 
she was surrounded by a multitude of- blessed spirits. -She 
thanked him for his prayers, after which she entered into 
the unutterable joys of heaven. 

St. Teresa gives an account of a merchant who lived at 
Valladolid, in Spain. His life was not what that of a good 
Christian should be. However, he had some devotion to the 
Blessed Virgin. St. Teresa came to the town where the 

* L. 4, Dial. c. r)5. 


merchant was living. Slie wanted to find a house for her 
nuns. The mercliant heard that she was seeking a house; 
so he went to her, and offered to give her one that belonged 
to him. He said he would give the house in honor of the 
Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Teresa thanked him and accepted 
his offer. Two months after this the gentleman suddenly- 
fell very ill. He was not able to speak or make a confession ; 
although he showed, by sign>s, that he wished to beg pardon 
of our Lord for his sins. Soon after he died. " After his 
death," St. Teresa says, "I saw our Lord. He told me that 
this gentleman had been very near losing his soul ; but He 
had mercy on him when he was dying on account of the 
service he did to His Blessed Mother, by giving the house in 
her honor." " I was glad," the saint adds, " that his soul 
was saved. For I was very much afraid it would have been 
lost on account of his bad life." Our Lord told St. Teresa to 
get the house finished as soon as possible, because that soul 
was suffering great torments in purgatory. It would not 
come out of pnrgatory till the convent was finished and the 
first Mass said there. When the first Mass was said the 
saint went to the rails of the altar to receive Holy Commu- 
nion. At the moment of kneeling she saw the gentleman 
standing by the side of the priest. His face was shining with 
light and joy ; his hands were joined together. He thanked 
her very much for getting his soul out of the fire of purga- 
tory. She then saw him ascend to heaven. 

" My children," said the Cure d'Ars one day, '^ you remem- 
ber the story I have told you of that holy priest who was 
praying for liis friend; God had, it appears, made known to 
him tliat lie was in purgatory ; it came into his mind that 
he could do nothing better than to offer the holy Sacrifice of 
Mass for his soul. When he came to the moment of con- 
secration, he took the sacred Host in his hands, and. said: 
* Oh, holy and eternal Father, let us make an exchange. 
Thou hast the soul of my friend who is in purgatory, and I 
have the body of Thy Son who is in my hands. Well, do 


Thou deliver my friend, and I offer Thee Thy Son, with all 
the merits of His death and passion/ In fact, at the mo- 
ment of the Elevation, he saw the soul of his friend rising to 
heaven, all radiant with glory." 

Let us do the same after consecration if we wish to obtain 
from God speedy relief for the souls in purgatory ; let us 
offer up to Him His well-beloved Son with all the merits of 
His death and passion. He will not be able to refuse our 
prayer. Indeed, if He heard the prayers of the Jews when 
they asked Him anything in the name of His servants 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He will certainly hear a Chris- 
tian who, during the celebration of the holy Sacrifice of the 
Mass, asks relief for the souls in purgatory in the name and 
through the merits of His Son. 

We read ih the Book of Esther that Aman, a very proud 
and wicked man, procured a decree of the king to destroy 
the whole nation of the Jews. When Queen Esther learned 
this, she felt quite inconsolable. She sought for an oppor- 
tunity to prevail upon the king to repeal the decree and to 
spare her nation. To find this favorable opportunity she 
invited the king to dinner. Whilst at table, the king ob- 
served that the queen was in deep mourning. " What is 
thy petition, Esther," asked the king, "that it may be 
granted thee? and what Avilt thou have done? although 
thou ask the half of my kingdom, thou shalt have it." Then 
she answered: "If I have found favor in thy sight, king, 
and if it please thee, give me my people for which I request." 
She then related to the king how Aman, by intrigues, had 
obtained a decree of the king to destroy the whole nation of 
the Jews, and she requested him to repeal this decree. Her 
request was granted immediately. 

Now, as Queen Esther was right in believing that the best 
opportunity to obtain the king's pardon for the Jews would 
be afforded her at the royal banquet, we, too, should feel con- 
vinced that one of the best opportunities of obtaining the 
Lord's pardon for the souls in purgatory is offered when 


assisting at Mass. at His sacred banquet, while receiving 
Him worthily in Holy Communion as a guest into our hearts. 
At that happy moment Jesus Christ unites Himself most 
intimately with the soul, and caresses her in the most endear- 
ing manner, saying to her: "Dear spouse of Mine, why is 
it that thou art cast down ? Kejoice and be glad. I, thy God 
and sweet Saviour have deigned to come and dwell in thy 
heart ; My grace has rendered thee most beautiful. Oh, re- 
joice exceedingly." And the soul should answer confidently : 
"O Jesus, my God and my all ! how can I rejoice and be glad 
when I know that there are so many of my departed fellow- 
Christians who, at this very moment, suffer such bitter pains 
in purgatory? No, my dear Saviour, I shall experience no 
consolation if Thou dost not give me my people — these suf- 
fering souls, for whom I beg relief and offer up {he merit of 
my Communion." 

Is it possible to think that the sweet Heart of Jesus, so full 
of compassion, will not be touched and overcome by such an 
humble and tender prayer and offering ? No heart can be 
sooner moved to compassion, and overcome by j^rayer and 
works of charity, than that of Jesus. St. Gertrude never felt 
happier than on those days on which she had heard Mass 
and offered up Holy Communion for the relief of the souls in 
purgatory. Once she asked our Saviour why it was that she 
felt so happy on those days. "It is," He replied, "because 
it would not be right for Me to refuse the fervent prayers 
which you, on these days of My visits, pour out to Me for the 
relief of My suffering spouses in purgatory." " It is not right 
for Me," says Jesus Christ, '^ to refuse the prayers which you, 
on Mass and Communion days, address to Me in belialf 
of My captive spouses." How consoling, then, and, at the 
same time, how encouraging must it be to hear Mass often, 
to receive Holy Communion thereat, and offer up the 
merit of these holy acts for the release of the poor suffering 
spouses of Christ. Then do they say to us what Joseph said 
to the chief butler of King Pharaoh: "Eemember me when 


it shall be well with thee, and mention me to Pharaoh, that 
he may bring me out of this place." * 

It is during Mass and after Communion that all is well 
with us, and that we must remember these poor souls. If it 
is a pleasure to give a crumb to a poor little dog that is 
near when at table, surely we can remember these poor suf- 
ferers that press around us when at Mass, and cry at the 
sacred banquet to share in the merit of our Mass and Holy 
Communion. Let some fervent prayers for their relief be 
part of our worship and thanksgiving. If we condemn the 
rich Dives in the Gospel, who feasted splendidly every day, 
for not giving, at least, the crumbs that fell from his table to 
poor Lazarus, who was sitting at his door, covered all over 
with ulcers, must not these poor souls, afflicted in so many 
ways, complain of us, if we withhold our charity from them, 
while we are feasting splendidly ; that is, when the Lord of 
heaven and earth is present upon the altar, has become the 
guest of our heart, is so desirous to hear our prayers, but 
especially those which we address to Him for the release 
of the souls in purgatory ? Were we always to remember 
these great sufferers after Communion, the Lord would much 
sooner shower down upon them the torrents of eternal de- 
lights ; He would much sooner disclose to them the light of 
His glory, and admit them into the company of His angels 
and saints. 

Let us call to mind again the words of our Lord to St. 
Gertrude : " Because it would not be right for Me to refuse 
t\iQ fervent prayers you offer up to Me for the souls in pur- 

Our prayers, then, for these souls must be fervent, as other- 
wise they will not benefit them very much. This was one day 
expressly declared by our Lord to St. Gertrude when asking 
Him : " How many souls were delivered from purgatory by 
her and her sisters' prayers ? " " The number," replied our 

* Gen. xl. 14. 


Lord, "is proportionate to the zeal and fervor ol those who 
pray for them. Although the souls of the departed are much 
benefited by these vigils and other prayers, nevertheless a few 
words said with affection and devotion are of far more value 
to them.-' And this may be easily ex2)laincd by a familiar 
comparison : it is much easier to wash away the stains of 
mud or dirt from .the hands by rubbing them quickly in a 
little warm water than by pouring a quantity of cold water 
on them without using any friction ; so a single word said 
with fervor and devotion for the souls of the departed is of 
far greater efficacy than many vigils and prayers coldly 
offered and negligently performed. 

Dinocrates, the brother of St. Perpetua, died at the age of 
seven years. One day, when St. Perpetua was in prison for 
the sake of faith, she had the following vision : " I saw Di- 
nocrates," she says, ^* coming out of a dark place, where there 
were many others, exceedingly hot and thirsty; his face was 
dirty, his complexion pale, with the ulcer in -his face of 
which he died, and it was for him that I prayed. There 
seemed a great distance between him and me, so that it was 
impossible for us to come to each other. Near him stood a 
vessel full of water, whose brim was higher than the stature 
of an infant. He attempted to drink, but though he had 
water, he could not reach it. This mightly grieved me and 
I awoke. By this I knew my brother was in pain, but I 
trusted I could by prayer relieve him ; so I began to pray for 
him, beseeching God with tears, day and night, that He 
would grant me my request, as I continued to do till we re- 
moved to the camp-prison. The day we w^ere in the stocks 
I had this vision : I saw the place, which I had beheld dark 
before, now luminous; and Dinocrates, with his body very 
clean and well clad, refreshing himself, and instead of his 
wound, a scar only. I aAvaked, and I knew he was relieved 
from his pains." * 

* Butler's Lives of the Saints. 


After St. Lndgardis had offered up many fervent prayers 
for the repose of the soul of her deceased friend, Simeon, 
abbot of the monastery of Soniac, our Lord appeared to her, 
saying: "Be consoled, My daughter; on account of thy 
prayers I will soon release this soul from purgatory." " Oh, 
Jesus, Lord and Master of my heart," she rejoined, " I can- 
not feel consoled so long as I know that the soul of my 
friend is suffering so much in the purgatorial fire I Oh ! I 
cannot help shedding most bitter tears until Thou hast re- 
leased this soul from her sufferings." Touched and over- 
come by this tender prayer, our Lord released the soul of 
Simeon, who appeared to Ludgardis, all radiant with 
heavenly glory, and thanked her for the many fervent 
prayers which she had offered up for his delivery. He also 
told the saint that had it not been for her fervent prayers, 
he would have been obliged to stay in purgatory for eleven 
years. * " It is, therefore, a holy and wholesome thought," 
says Holy Writ, " to pray for the dead, that they may be 
loosed from their sins." f 

* Life 1, 1, c. 4. f II. Maccliabees xii. 46. 



The Blessed Virgin is that blessed tabernacle in whom the 
Son of God was conceived, made man, and dwelt for nine 
months. Her Son is the divine Victim that we offer at Mass 
to the Eternal Father : to her, after God, we are indebted most 
for this divine Victim; for unless Mary had consented to be- 
come His Mother, Jesus would not have been born. Divine 
grace no doubt disposed her to acquiescence, but the act was 
not the less one of her own free unfettered will, an act which 
it was in her power to have refused, and by refusing to have 
thwarted the divine plans. Omnipotence might have ar- 
ranged it otherwise; but as certainly as man has been re- 
deemed by the Incarnation and Passion of Jesus, so surely 
did God make the whole depend, in the first instance, 
on the assent and co-operation of Mary. When He 
created the visible universe He said " Fiat " — Let it be : 
and it was. When He Avished to redeem the world, it was 
by a Fiat ; but the word was uttered by the lips of Mary ; 
" Fiat milii secundum verhum tuumP But why did God not 
act as before, without any intermediate agent, — why did He 
make the execution of His plans of mercy depend on the 
will and the word of a feeble woman ? No one can say, be- 
cause He has not revealed the reason. We only know that 
so it is, and it is for us to accept the truth that after God we 
are most indebted to the Blessed Virgin for the coming of 
the holy Redeemer. 

As by her word He became incarnate, so was He supported 
by her from day to day, as infants are by their mothers. He 
was nourished by her substance, watched and tended by her 



love, and closely associated with her at eyery step of His ad- 
vancing years. I 

" After the days of Mary's purification," according to the 
law of Moses, " were accomplished," says the Gospel, " they 
carried the divine Infant to Jerusalem to present Him to the 
Lord." Here is a new and important instance of the agency 
of Mary. It was no empty ceremony, that offering and re- 
demption of the infant Kedeemer. " He was offered," says 
the prophet Isaias, " because it wa^ His own will." * It was 
the first installment of the sacrifice which from eternity He 
had designed to make ; when, in the language of the Psalm- 
ist, He said, " Behold, I come : in the head of the book it is 
written of Me, that I should do Thy will. my God, I 
have desired it ; and Thy law is in the midst of my heart." f 
It was the symbolical and preparatory offering which was 
consummated on Calvary, and is perpetuated on our altars 
for a lasting memorial of His Death, Resurrection, and As- 

That offering was made by the hands of Mary. He lay in 
the hands of His Blessed Mother passive, and seemingly 
helpless, with no visible sign of His greatness, as He lies to- 
day in the hands of His priest. The Omnipotent had taken 
upon Himself our infirmity, had adopted our weakness ; He 
could not walk, or stand, or speak. Mary must therefore 
sustain Him, and express for Him the interior longing de- 
sire of His Eternal love to offer Himself to His Father for 
man, which had as yet found in Him no voice to make it- 
self known or to carry out its intentions. Beneath the form 
of an infant, there lay concealed a divine energy. That 
child was the very Word that created the world ; but the 
conditions of our humanity, within which His infinite love 
had circumscribed Him, imposed silence upon Him, reduced 
His power to feebleness and inaction. Mary was chosen 
among all the generations of mankind to stand forth in the 

* Is. liii. 7. f Ps. xxxix. 7-9. 


plenitude of grace and power, to supply the means of action 
to the infiint God, to become for the time being the voice of 
the Eternal Word. 

She advanced along the aisles of the solemn temple, at- 
tended by Simeon and Anna and Joseph, to the place where 
.the priest was waiting to receive her. She raised the child 
in her arms, and with an overflowing heart surrendered Him 
to the representative of His heavenly Father on earth. The 
first and long-desired act^of His sacrifice was accomplished. 
He was not hers any longer, but God's — the victim of charity, 
ready to be immolated. The Eternal Priest according to 
the order of Melchisedech had ascended the mountain of 
sacrifice, and in this oblation of Himself, Mary was made 
the great agent and minister of His will. Thus "they pre- 
sented Him to the Lord " for the salvation of mankind. ' 

But the time had not yet come for the closing and bloody 
act of His sacrifice, when the Lord would lay upon Him the 
iniquity of us all; when the life of the victim was to be 
taken in expiation. His oblation of Himself, though essen- 
tially one and the same, must be prolonged and reiterated 
through a course of years : '* He must first sufier many 
things and be rejected by His nation." * His Mother must 
therefore receive Him again, to foster and mature His natural 
powers, to watch the growing signs of His intelligence. His 
advance in wisdom and age, and in grace with God and man. f 
He was, therefore, ransomed for the small sum of money 
prescribed by the ceremonial law, and restored to Mary until 
the time of His Passion and cruel Death upon Mount 
Calvary. There, at the foot of the Cross, she stood to behold 
the eyes she had been the first to see opening to the light, 
closing in death ; to hear His last cry as she had soothed 
His first; to ofl"er to the Eternal Father all His prayers, 
labors, sufferings, life, and death for the Eedemption of man- 
kind, as she had done over and over again during the course 

* Luke xvii. 25. f Luke ii. 52. 


cf His "life, but especially when offering Him in the Temple, 
As the Son of God became man only at the consent of 
Mary, so He died only after His Mother had given her 
consent to His death. 

As then, after God, it is to the Blessed Virgin that we are 
indebted for our holy Eedeemer, so is it to her that we owe 
the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, because it is her divine Son 
who offers Himself to His Father in the Mass for our sins. 
Moreover, the Blessed Virgin alone had a true knowledge and 
just appreciation of the cruel sufferings and death of a God 
made Man for our Redemption. By reason, therefore, of the 
depth of her profound wisdom, she penetrated into all the 
mysteries of the sacrifice of our Redemption, which was to 
be accomplished by the ignorance of those who were to be 
redeemed. She worthily and truly appreciated the majesty 
of Him who suffered, because, as next to her divine Son, she 
possessed the gift of knowledge in the highest degree, so 
she most fully comprehended the dignity of Jesus Christ, in 
whom were united both the human and divine natures, with 
the perfections of each. Therefore, she alone among all 
pure creatures could fully estimate the value of the great 
sacrifice that He made for us of His life, and all the advan- 
tages that were to be derived from it to the end of the 
world. She understood that it was the will of her Son that 
the fruits of the sacrifice of the Cross should be applied to 
the souls of men by means of the holy Mass. 

As then after Jesus Christ, no one ever suffered more for 
the salvation of mankind than did His Blessed Mother, so 
no one ever more ardently desired to see the fruits of His 
life and death applied to those who were redeemed than she. 
For this reason we piously believe that it was at her request 
the Apostles said the first Mass soon after having received 
the Holy Ghost. We read in the " Mystical City of God," 
by Mary of Jesus of Agreda, as follows : "After the descent 
of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles preached assiduously the 
word of God and confirmed their doctrine b^ miracles. 



The number of believers continued to increase, and seven 
days after Whit-Sunday they were already live thousand. 
On the following day the catechumens assembled, in the 
supper-room, and St. Peter begged the divine Mother to in- 
struct the new converts more perfectly by her fervent words. 
The Mother of humility said to them with great modesty; 
' My children, the Kedeemer of the world, my Son and true 
God, because of the love He has for men has offered to the 
Eternal Father the sacrifice of His divine body and blood, 
in consecrating and concealing Himself under the species 
of bread, under which He has willed to remain present in 
the holy Church, in order that His children might have a 
sacrifice to offer to the Eternal Father, and might also pos- 
sess the food of eternal life, and a most assured pledge of 
that which they hope for in heaven. 

" ' Thus, by means of this sacrifice, which contains all the 
mysteries of the life and death of the Son, we can appease 
the Eterntd Father, and in Him and by Him the Church 
will render the actions of thanksgiving and praise, which 
are due to Him as God and sovereign Benefactor. 

" ' To you, priests, to you alone belongs the right to offer 
it. It is my desire, if it be agreeable to you, that you com- 
mence to offer this unbloody sacrifice, in order to testify our 
gratitude for the ineffable benefit of Redemption which Jesus 
Christ has operated for us, and for the descent of the Holy 
Ghost upon His Church. The faithful in receiving it will 
begin to relish this bread of eternal life and its divine eiBfects. 
Among those who have been baptized, they who are capable 
of it and well-disposed, may be admitted to receive it, but 
baptism is the first and necessary condition.' 

" All the Apostles and disciples agreed to the desire of the 
Mother of wisdom, and returned her thanks; they deter- 
mined that after the baptism of the catechumens, St. Peter, 
as head of the Church, should celebrate the first Mass. St. 
Peter consented. 

"Whilst the Apostles went forth to preach, and the disci- 


pies to instruct the catechumens and prepare them for bap- 
tism, the divine Mother, accompanied by the holy angels 
and the Marys, went to prepare and adorn the hall in which 
her divine Son had celebrated the Last Supper; she swept it 
herself and arranged it for the celebration of the holy Mass. 
She begged the good master of the house to give her the 
same ornaments that had been used on the Thursday at the 
Last Supper, which he did immediately on account of the 
veneration he entertained for the holy Virgin. She also 
prepared the unleavened bread and the wine needed for the 
consecration, with the little plate and chalice used by the 

" On the morning of the following day, the Octave of Pen- 
tecost, all the faithful and catechumens, with the Apostles 
and disciples, assembled together in the hall ; St. Peter made 
a discourse to show the excellence of baptism, its divine 
effects and the obligations its reception entails on the re- 
ceiver; he also announced the truth of the blessed Sacra- 
ment of the Altar. After this the Apostles baptized with 
their own hands more than five thousand persons; they 
rendered thanks to God and prepared themselves with the 
rest of the faithful to receive Holy Communion. They pros- 
trated themselves upon the earth, adoring the infinite good- 
ness of God and confessing their unworthiness to receive so 
great a gift. Then they recited the canticles and psalms 
which the Lord had said. 

' " St. Peter took in his hands the bread already prepared, 
and raising his eyes to heaven with gr6at devotion and 
profound recollection, pronounced over it the divine words 
of the consecration of the sacred Body of Jesus Christ. 
The supper-room was at that moment filled with ravishing 
splendor and an infinite multitude of angels, and in the 
sight of all the assistants this divine light was especially 
directed towards the great Queen. St. Peter immediately 
consecrated the wine in the chalice, and with the sacred 
Body and precious Blood, he performed the same ceremonies 


as the Saviour ; that is to say, he elevatccl them that they 
might be adored by all. 

"After this he communicated himself, then the other 
Apostles. When the divine Mother received holy Commu- 
nion from the hands of St. Peter, she was surrounded by the 
heavenly spirits, who were there present, with ineffable re- 
spect. Before reaching the altar, the great Queen performed 
three acts of humility ; she prostrated upon the earth to the 
edification of the faithful, who were moved to tears. Then 
being entirely recollected and ravished in the Lord, she re- 
turned to the place where she had been kneeling. 

"After the Communion of the Queen of angels, the other 
faithful communicated, but of the five tliousand who had 
been baptized, only one thousand received Holy Communion, 
because the others were not sufficiently disposed and pre- 
pared. The manner in which the holy Sacrament was on 
that day administered was as follows : St. Peter communi- 
cated the Apostles, the holy Virgin, and all those who had 
received the Holy Ghost, under the two species of bread and. 
wine. The faithful who had been baptized, afterwards re- 
ceived only under the s^iecies of bread. This difference was 
not made because the converts were less worthy of receiving 
one species than another, but because the Apostles knew 
that by receiving only under one species they received Jesus 
whole and entire in the Blessed Sacrament, and again be- 
cause there was no precept to communicate under both. 

"After the Communion, St. Peter finished the holy mys- 
teries by prayers and acts of thanksgiving. Whereupon 
they spent some time in meditation. The great Queen re- 
turned thanks in the name of all, in which the Divine 
Majesty took His complacency. He heard and accepted the 
prayers of His beloved Mother for all the children of the 
Church, both present and future." 

Thus did the Blessed Virgin on this occasion manifest her 
great desire to see offered up the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 
She has still the same desire as she then had. 


St. Bonnet, Bishop of Clermont, a great servant of Mary, 
betook himself one night alone to a church in order to give 
himself with more leisure and devotion to prayer. At the 
moment in Avhich his affections were most enkindled, he 
lieard a sweet and ravishing melody, and soon the whole 
church was filled with light. He then saw the Blessed Vir- 
gin enter, accompanied by a great number of angels and 
saints, who walked in procession, chanting the praises of Our 
Lord and of His holy Mother. Arrived at the altar, some 
of them asked who should celebrate Mass. Mary replied 
that her w^ll-beloved servant Bonnet, bishop of the place, 
would celebrate. On bearing these words, the holy prelate 
was seized with fear, and so deeply penetrated with the sen- 
timent of his un worthiness, that he sought to hide himself, 
and on retiring fell against a stone, which miraculously 
softened and received the impression of his body. His hu- 
mility, however, but rendered him more worthy of the 
honor which he fled; he was constrained to obey. Being 
conducted to the altar some saints met him, and he cele- 
brated Mass in the midst of this glorious assemblage, assist- 
ed and served by the saints. After Mass, Mary gave him a 
very wdiite alb of a material so fine and delicate that the 
like was never before seen on earth. It was afterwards 
shown as a very precious relic. 

Why is it that the Mother of God is so desirous of, and 
delights so much in seeing the holy Sacrifice of the Mass 
offered ? It is because she desires so much to see God the 
Father honored and worshipped in a manner worthy of His 
infinite greatness; because she wishes to see men recon- 
ciled with Him; because she wishes to obtain for us all 
the graces necessary for our salvation and sanctification ; 
because she wishes that fitting thanks should be offered to 
Him for all the blessings and favors He has in an especial 
manner bestowed upon her and the saints and the whole 
human race. She understands that it is by the unbloody 
Sacrifice of the Mass that all these objects are accom- 


plished. It is for this very reason that all the angels and 
saints of Heaven also rejoice exceedingly whenever the holy 
Mass is being said. The Blessed Virgin knows that for 
the sake of the sacrifice of her Son upon the Cross, she 
was honored with the unspeakable privilege of being pre- 
served from original sin; that to this sacrifice she is in- 
debted for all the other graces and favors which are now 
hers in heaven, and that the time of Mass, during which 
the sacrifice of the Cross is renewed, is for her the time 
most favorable for obtaining every kind of blessing for 
men, but especially for her servants. Let us rest assured 
that we can never honor and praise her better, nor give 
her greater jo}^, than by having the holy Sacrifice of the 
Mass offered up in her honor. 

Caesar of Heisterbach relates the following : Some time 
ago two good priests passed through the country of the 
Albigensian heretics in France. On seeing a church quite 
desolate on the road-side, one said to the other, " It is Sat- 
urday ; let us enter this church and say Mass in honor of 
our Lady;" for they carried with them everything necessary 
for the sacrifice. Before Mass was over, some heretics 
came and said to them : '* Why have you said Mass in spite 
of our strict orders to the contrary ? " The priest who said 
Mass replied boldly, as did the Apostles before the Jewish 
Council : " We must be more obedient to God than to man ; 
for this reason I have said Mass in honor of God and the 
Blessed Virgin in spite of your unjust orders." Enraged 
at this answer, they dragged the pious priest out of the 
churcli, beat him, and tore out his tongue. It was with 
great difficulty that his companion led him to Cluny, where 
he commended him to the care of the monks. The servant 
of God suffered this most cruel pain very patiently. On 
the night of the Epiphany the sick priest made signs to be 
carried to the church. The charitable monks took him there 
and placed him before the altar. There he prayed with great 
fervor to the Mother of mercy, and this good Mother heard the 


fervent prayers of her servant. The Blessed Virgin appeared 
to him with his tongue in her hand, saying: "Because of 
the honor which you have rendered to God and to me by 
saying Mass, I herewith restore your tongue, requesting you 
at the same time to continue to say Mass." He thanked 
the Mother of God for this great blessing, and returning 
to the people showed them his tongue and confounded the 
enemies of the Mass. This miraculous cure inflamed the 
good priest with still greater love for the Blessed Virgin, 
and out of love for her he staid in the convent and became 
a monk. 

The time of Mass is the most favorable moment for asking 
the Blessed Virgin to exercise her maternal power, and ob- 
tain for us every blessing, both temporal and spiritual. To 
understand this, we must remember that as before death every 
father of a family makes his will, so did Jesus Christ make 
His will on the Cross in concert with the Eternal Father. 
It remained sealed and hidden with regard to men, but was 
revealed to the Divine Mother as the co-operatrix in the 
Eedemption. Our dear Saviour declared her heiress and 
testamentary executrix of His divine will, and all was re- 
mitted into her hands, as the Eternal Father had remitted 
all into those of His Son. Thus our great Queen was charged 
with the distribution of the treasures which belonged to her 
Son by virtue of His divinity, or had been acquired by His 
infinite merits. She was declared the depositary of the 
riches of her Son, our Eedeemer, that all graces, favors, and 
helps might be given us by the holy Virgin, and that she 
might distribute them through her merciful and liberal 

If we remember this last will of our dear Saviour, if we 
think of the moment in which the Blessed Virgin was de- 
clared the depositary of her Son's wishes and the distributor 
of all His graces ; if we remember that tliis privilege was 
bestowed upon her whilst her Son was consummating the 
great sacrifice of atonement upon Mount Calvary, then it 


will be clear that slie executes her Son's wishes most cheer- 
fully, and distributes to us His blessings and graces more 
abundantly at the very time when the great Sacrifice of the 
Cross is renewed, that is, during the time of the holy Mass, 
for then is she at full liberty to distribute to every one as 
many favors as he is capable of receiving. 

One day St. Dominic was saying Mass in London, England, 
in presence of the king and queen and three hundred other 
persons. As he was making the memento for the living, he 
suddenly became enraptured, remaining motionless for the 
space of a whole hour. All present were greatly astonished, 
and knew not what to think or to make of it. The king 
ordered the server to pull the priest's robe, that he might go 
on with the Mass. But on attempting to do so, the server 
became so terribly frightened that he was unable to comply 
with the order. After an hour's time St. Dominic was able 
to continue the Mass, when, wonderful to relate, at the ele- 
vation of the Sacred Host, all who were present saw, instead 
of the Host in the hands of the priest, the holy Infant Jesus, 
at whose sight they experienced great interior joy. At the 
same time they beheld the Mother of God in heavenly splen- 
dor, and surrounded by twelve stars ; and they saw her take 
the hand of her Divine Infant to bless with it all those who 
were present at Mass. At this blessing many experienced 
an ineffable joy, and shed tears of tenderness. At the eleva- 
tion of the chalice every one saw above it a cross on which 
Our Lord Jesus Christ was hanging in a most pitiable con- 
dition, and shedding all His Sacred Blood ; they also saw 
how the Blessed Virgin sprinkled, as it were, the sacred 
Blood over the people, upon which every one received a clear 
knowledge of his sins and a deep sorrow for the same. Mass 
being ended, St. Dominic ascended the pulpit and addressed 
the people in the following manner : " ^ Sing ye to the Lord 
a new canticle, because He hath done wonderful things.' * 

* Ps. xcvii. 


You have all seen with yonr own eyes, and experienced in 
your own hearts the wonderful things which Jesus Christ 
has done in the Most Blessed Sacrament. You have seen 
with your own eyes, and it has been given you to understand, 
how Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, and the Son of 
Mary, has been pleased to be born anew, and to be again 
crucified for you. In this divine and tremendous mystery 
of the holy Mass, you have witnessed things most holy, 
most sublime, most consoling, and most touching. It is not 
one or a few of you who have seen these wonders, but all 
here assembled, to the number of three hundred, have wit- 
nessed them. Now, if there be but one little spark of divine 
love in your hearts, sentiments of gratitude and hymns of 
praise in honor of the divine goodness ought incessantly to 
ascend to God from your hearts." * 

This may help us to understand the all-powerful means 
which the Blessed Virgin has at her command, more than 
all the angels and saints united, a means which she makes 
use of every minute of the day, to obtain for us in abundance 
whatever temporal and spiritual blessings we stand in need 
of in this valley of tears. 

She knows and understands the full extent of the great 
promise of her Son : " Amen, amen, I say to you, if you ask 
the Father anything in My name, He will give it to you." f 
This promise is made to all men, to the Jews as well as to 
the G-entiles, to Catholics as well as to heretics, to the just 
as well as to sinners. 

"Were all men to profit by this promise, were all to pray to 
the heavenly Father to save them from everlasting perdition 
for the sake of His son, their Redeemer, all would be saved. 
But now the greater part of men do not mind this promise, 
they neglect prayer, and thus are lost. Not so the Blessed 
Virgin. She profits by this promise, she uses it in our favor, 
but especially at Mass, when her Son is lying upon the altar 

* Ex. lib. intit. B. Alamos rediv. par. 3. cap. 33. f John xvi. 33. 


as a Sacrifice of impetration. It is then, more than at any 
other time, that she presents to the heavenly Father His and 
her Son, and obtains through Him all she asks. Let us then 
be careful to hear Mass in her honor as often as possible, 
resting assured that in life and death she will be to us the 
most tender of mothers, to lead us safely through all the 
dangers and troubles of this life to the everlasting contem- 
plation of the glory of her divine Son in heaven. 



God is everywhere. Nevertheless He is said to be particu- 
larly in heaven, because He there displays His Presence by 
His glory and gifts. In like manner, He honors the Church 
with His special Presence, because He is there in a particu- 
lar manner ready to receive our public homages, listen to 
our prayers, and bestow on us His choicest graces. 

*' How wonderful were the privileges which He restricted, 
how magnificent the promises which He made to the Jewish 
temple ! " * With what religious awe did His servants honor 
it ! There was then bnt one temple of the true God in the 
world : and that temple no infidel was ever suffered to enter 
farther than the outer incloaure, or Court of the Gentiles. 

The Jews, that is to say, the faithful, had an inner Court 
allotted to them, where they beheld the offering of the sacri- 
fices, and performed their devotions at a distance from the 
holy place ; but they were never permitted to go any farther, 
nor even to enter this Court until they had been purified 
from all legal uncleannesses by the ablutions and other rites 
prescribed by the law. It is recorded by the Rabbins f that 
it was not lawful for any one to spit on any part of the moun- 
tain where the temple stood, ever to go through it to another 
place, or ever to gaze about in it ; but entering with trem- 
bling and gravity, they went to the place where they perform- 
ed their prayer. The Levites, though devoted to the divine 
service, were not admitted beyond the part allotted for the 
bloody sacrifices. None but the priests could enter the sanc- 

* 2 Paral. vii. 2, 14-16. f Lamy, in Appartu Biblico. 


t.iiary or Holy Place, and of these but one a week, cliosen by 
lot, could approach the golden altar to offer the daily sacri- 
fice of frankincense. As for the Holy of Holies, or inner- 
most sanctuary, which God sanctified by His more immediate 
Presence, where tlie ark, the tables of the law, and the rod of 
Aaron were kept ; — this no one could ever enter on any ac- 
count, except the High Priest alone, and even he only once 
a year, on the solemn feast of expiation, carrying the blood 
of victims sacrificed. Xor w^as he to do this without having 
been prepared by solemn purifications and expiations : and 
the smoke of perfumes was to cover the ark and the propi- 
tiatory or oracle, called the seat of God, before the blood was 

Whoever dared profane the temple was visited with terri- 
ble punishments by the Lord. 

It is related in Holy Scripture that Heliodorus was sent 
by King Seleucus to take away the treasures wiiich were de- 
posited in the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. When He- 
liodorus entered the holy place, " Almighty God gave a great 
evidence of His presence, so that all who had presumed to 
obey Heliodorus, falling down by the power of God, were 
struck with fainting and dread. For there appeared to them 
a horse with a terrible rider upon him (an angel of the Lord), 
adorned with a rich covering, and he ran fiercely and struck 
Heliodorus with his forefeet, and he that sat upon him 
seemed to have the armor of gold. 

" Moreover, there appeared two other young men beautiful 
and strong, bright and glorious, and in comely apparel (two 
angels), who stood by him, on either side, and scourged him 
without ceasing with many stripes. And Heliodorus sud- 
denly fell to the ground, and they took him up covered with 
great darkness, and having pnt him into a litter they carried 
liim out. So he that came with many servants and all his 
guard into the aforesaid treasury, was carried out, no one 
being able to help him, the manifest power of God being 
known. And he, indeed, by the power of God lay speechless, 


and without all hope of recovery. But the Jews praised 
the Lord because He had glorified His place ; and the temple, 
that a little before was full of fear and trouble, when the 
Almighty Lord appeared, was filled with joy and gladness. 

" Then some of the friends of Heliodorus forthwith begged 
of Onias that he would call upon the Most High to grant 
him his life, who was ready to give up the ghost. So the 
High Priest Onias, considering that the king might perhaps 
suspect that some mischief had been done to Heliodorus by 
the Jews, ofi'ered a sacrifice of health for the recovery of the 
man. And when the High Priest w^as praying, the same 
young men in the same clothing stood by Heliodorus, and 
said to him : Give thanks to Onias the priest, because for his 
sake the Lord hath granted thee life. And thou, having 
been scourged by God, declare unto all men the great works 
and the power of God. And having spoken thus, they ap- 
peared no more. 

" So Heliodorus, after he had offered a sacrifice to God, and 
made great vows to him who had granted him life, and given 
thanks to Onias, taking his troops with him, returned to the 
king. And he testified to all men the great works of God, 
which he had seen with his own eyes. 

"And when the king asked Heliodorus who might be a 
fit man to be sent yet once more to Jerusalem, he said. If 
thou hast any enemy or traitor to thy kingdom, send him 
thither, and thou shalt receive him again scourged, if so be 
he escape : for tliere is undoubtedly in that place a certain 
power of God. For he ivho hath his dwelling in the heavens, 
is the visitor and protector of that pilace, and he striheih and 
destroyeth them that come to do evil to it." * 

Pompey's boldness and presumption in viewing the temple 
of the Lord all over when he had conquered the country, in 
the opinion of the Jewish historians, caused the mis- 
fortunes with which he was afterwards overwhelmed. It 

* 2 Macchabees iii. 


was thus, by friglitfnl punishments and other wonderful 
signs, that Almighty God inspired the Jews and the Gentiles 
with reverence and awe for his holy place. 

Yet, the temple of Solomon and the Holy of Holies were 
only types of our sacred tabernacles, in which is otfered not 
the blood of sheep and goats, but the adorable blood of the 
immaculate Lamb of God. " Verily, the Lord is in this place, 
and I knew it not." * When the Jewish temple was conse- 
crated, to inspire the people with awe for the holy house, 
God filled it with a cloud ; nor could the priests stand and 
minister, by reason of the cloud : for the glory of the Lord 
had filled the house of God. This miracle was repeated 
when the holocausts were first ofiered in it. The like won- 
der had often happened when Moses and Aaron entered the 
tabernacle. When God came to give the law, Moses himself 
was affrighted and trembled, and the people stood terrified 
afar off. Yet all these things were but shadows to our tre- 
mendous mysteries, in which we are sprinkled with the pre- 
cious blood of our Eedeemer, and associated to the company 
of angels. 

When our dear Saviour was crucified on Mount Calvary, 
the sun was darkened, the rocks were rent, and the whole 
earth quaked. AVhy did our Lord permit these awful dis- 
turbances in nature ? In order to impose silence on His 
enemies, whilst He was offering His life in sacrifice for the 
expiation of their crimes ; and that the Jews, terrified by 
these prodigies, might leave Him in a repose suited to the 
sanctity and importance of the action. For the same 
reason He also remains three hours in silence, recollection, 
and prayer. Many indeed were at that time deeply im- 
pressed with sentiments of faith, reverence, and repentance. 
The Koman centurion, seeing the things that were done, 
was greatly afraid, struck his breast, and said: "Indeed 
this was the Son of God." The Mass, being the mystical 

* Gen. xxviii. 16. 


renewal of the sufferings and death of our Lord, will always 
excite emotions of faith, reverence, and love in those who 
assist at it with sincere hearts. 

The Catholic has within himself the rule of deportment 
during the time of Holy Mass — his faith in the Keal Pres- 
ence. He needs nothing else to teach him what is proper 
or improper during Mass. Yet, although our faith is suffi- 
cient to teach us how to behave during Mass, it is possible 
to remain irreverent, indevout, and cold at so sacred a mys- 
tery. In the very temple of God, our Lord found those that 
sold oxen, sheep, and doves, and the changers of money sit- 
ting. The devU understands well how important it is for 
Christians to assist at Mass with reverence and devotion. 
Hence he makes every effort to distract them while they are 
present at the holy sacrifice. It has often been remarked 
that infidels and idolaters never behave disrespectfully at the 
sacrifices which they offer to their false gods. Now, this is 
not strange, for, as Picus Mirandola justly remarks, there is 
no reason why the devil should tempt them to irreverence, 
since it is he himself who is honored by their superstitious 
ceremonies, but knowing how highly God is honored by the 
great Sacrifice of the Christians, he does all in his power to 
keep the faithful from church, or, at least, to make them 
irreverent and indevout while they are there. Once, when 
the Israelites were fighting against the Philistines and were 
on the point of being defeated, they had the Ark of the 
Covenant brought to the camp. As soon as it came they all 
raised a great shout, so that the earth rang again. The 
Philistines heard the shout, and were struck with terror on 
learning that the God who had done such wonderful things 
against the Egyptians was come into the camp of their 
enemies. " Woe, woe to us ! " they cried, " who shall deliver 
us from the hands of these high gods ? " However, driven* 
to desperation by the greatness of their danger, they exhorted 
one another to fight manfully. " Let us take courage," they 
cried, " let us behave like men, Philistines, lest we become 


the servants of the Ilebrews, as they have served us ; let us 
take courage and fight bravely." * In like manner, when 
the signal is given for beginning Mass, the great adversary 
of mankind is seized with rage and terror. '' Woe, woe! " he 
cries, '•' what shall we do ? This is that Sacrifice which 
every day snatches so many souls from our grasp ; this is , 
the weapon with which Anthony and Francis, and so many 
others, have defeated us, and weakened our power. What 
shall we do ? " Then, urged on by the rage he feels at his 
own impotence, he employs all his cunning to destroy, at 
least, some part of the good fruits of the Mass: he prevents 
the sinner from escaping his power by placing before him 
some dangerous object on which his eyes or imagination 
may rest ; he deprives the devout Christian of the strength 
and consolation which he would have received during Mass 
by filling his mind with vain thoughts and woi'ldly cares, so 
that he cannot attend to what is going on. It is thus that 
notwithstanding the Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ on 
our altars, and the infinite value of the Sacrifice, so many 
precious graces are lost during Mass. 

The author of the "Magnum Speculum " relates the fol- 
lowing example. Three maidens made a pilgrimage to a 
certain church. The priest wlio said Mass was wrapt in 
ecstasy ; he saw how an angel descended with a crown of 
red roses, and placed it on one of them ; he also saw how 
another angel descended with a crown of white roses, and 
placed it on the second ; while, at the same time, a demon 
enveloped the third with a fur tippet, and danced before her. 
After Mass the priest asked them, what had been their 
thoughts during Mass. The first said she had meditated on 
the crowning of our Lord with thorns ; the second, that she 
had thought of the boyhood and innocence of our Lord; 
and the third avowed that she had been thinking how slow 
the priest was in saying Mass, and that she wished it over, 
that she might buy a new tippet, and hasten to a dance. 

* 1 Kings iv. 5-10. 


In a book, named Dormiscuro, it is told, as a well-fonnded 
story, that a woman, for a long time suffering deep poverty, 
wandered about in a sort of despair through solitary places, 
and that there, in some way or other, an evil spirit intimated 
to her that if she had conducted herself in church as some 
did, entertaining those near with idle whisperings and use- 
less and impertinent talk, he would have befriended her 
and made her better off. The miserable woman accepted 
the bargain thus suggested, applied herself to the devilish 
work, and succeeded marvellously; for whoever happened 
to be placed beside her found it impossible to attend de- 
voutly to Mass, so constant were her observations and 
questions, and so many the little methods of interruption 
which she applied. But no long time passed before she felt 
the avenging hand of God. One morning there came on a 
violent thunder-storm, and a thunderbolt fell among the 
crowd, which slew her alone, reducing her to ashes. 

Learn then at another's cost and avoid those who, with 
idle talk and with so much irreverence in church, make 
themselves truly the servants of Satan ; spurn them, if you 
do not yourself wish to incur the wrath of God. 

" The Lord sometimes vehemently impelled me," says 
Marina de Escobar, "to reprove the faults which others 
committed against the divine Majesty, and if I ever omitted 
it through the consideration of my being a poor woman, I 
felt obliged to return through a mighty scruple. It happened 
once that being in a church, a certain noble lady entered, 
who wishing to sit in a place occupied by a poor woman, 
ordered her angrily to yield it up, beginning at the same 
time to rebuke her maids for not driving her away instantly ; 
for she was choleric by nature and had an inveterate habit. 
Then the Lord said to me, ' Rise up and accost that lady, 
and tell her that she remembers not the nothing from which 
she is made, and admonish her to be humble.' I heard the 
divilie voice, and I was troubled, as I did not like to perform 
this unpleasant duty, which was so very contrary to my in- 


clination, and unsuitable to my vile condition ; but so absolute 
was the injunction that I could not help obeying it. There- 
fore I rose up, and approaching the lady said to her with 
as loving and sweet a tone as I could find the words with 
which the Lord inspired me, and she received them with 
great humility, embracing and returning me immense thanks 
for having showed her such charity, and beseeching me to 
commend her to God, and also her son, who was sick. Thus 
I was consoled, seeing how souls could be inflamed with 
divine love through such a miserable instrument." 

Since the devil has never ceased to tempt the Christians 
to irreverence and indevotion at Mass, and since there are 
60 many in whom the love of the world soon deadens the 
appreciation of the most holy mysteries of our religion, the 
Church has always found it necessary to exhort Christians 
to behave with great reverence in the house of God. " Eever- 
ence My sanctuary, I am the Lord." * " For My house shall 
be called the house of prayer." f And as exhorting by ex- 
ample is much more impressive than that by precept, word, 
or Avriting, a few striking instances may serve to impress 
deeply upon the" mind the duty of reverence during the time 
of holy Mass. 

*^ And I saw an angel come, wlio stood before the altar, 
having a golden censer : and there was given to him much 
incense, that he should offer up the prayers of all the saints 
•upon the golden altar. And the smoke of the incense of the 
prayers of the saints ascended up before God, from the hand 
of tlie angel." I From this and other similar passages of holy 
Scripture, the Fathers of the Church infer that God has 
deputed a particular angel to assist the priest at the altar, 
whilst celebrating tlie holy Sacrifice of Mass, to offer to the 
Almighty the august Sacrifice and the prayers of the priest. 
Nor is there reason for surprise at this, for holy ScrijDture 
tells us that angels assisted even at the sacrifices of the Old 

* Levit. xxvi. f Matt. xxi. 13. ^ Apocal. viii. 3, 4. 


Law, wliicli were but the shadows of the Sacrifice of the 

We read in the Gospel of St. Luke,* that when the priest 
Zachary was offering incense to the Almighty in the temple 
of Jerusalem, the archangel Gabriel appeared to him and 
said : " Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard, and thy 
wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his 
name John." In the book of Judges f we read that an angel 
appeared to Manue, and promised him a son, and assisted at 
his sacrifice. " And when the flame of the altar went up 
towards heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended also in 
the flame.-' We read in the same book I that when Gedeon 
was ofiering sacrifice to God, an angel of the Lord was 
present. "And the angel put forth the tip of the rod which 
he held in his hand, and touched the unleavened loaves ; 
and there arose a fire from the rock and consumed the flesh 
and the unleavened loaves." 

When Abraham was about to sacrifice his son at the com- 
mand of the Lord, an angel was present, who prevented 
Abraham from killing his son Isaac, and supplied him with 
a ram to be ofiered to the Lord instead of his son.§ If God 
then sent His angels to be present at those sacrifices which 
but prefigured the Sacrifice of the Mass, we may rest assured 
that He sends them to assist the priest at the altar to cele- 
brate Mass with reverence and devotion, and also the people 
to hear Mass with proper sentiments of respect and awe. It 
is related in the book, " Spiritual Meadow," that the Abbot 
Leontius went one Sunday, to church to celebrate Mass. 
AVhen he came to the altar, he saw an angel standing close by 
it, who said to him: "Since this altar has been consecrated, 
I have been commanded to stay here all the time." 

One day, whilst St. John Chrysostom was celebrating the 
holy mysteries, soldiers were sent by the Empress Eudoxia 
to take him prisoner. Now, when they came to the church, 

* Cliap. i. f Chap. xiii. 20. t Chap. iv. 21. § Gen. xii. 11. 


they saw an angel standing at the entrance, brandishing his 
sword to prevent the soldiers from entering, so that they 
were obliged to go home without having accomplished any- 

Sometliiug similar is related by Ado,f where he tells us 
that when the Saxons were about to enter sacrilegiously into 
a church which had been consecrated by St. Boniface, they 
found two young men of exquisite beauty and heavenly 
brightness standing at the entrance. They were angels of the 
Lord, who prevented them from entering the church, and 
put them to a shameful flight. Now this angel may be 
either the guardian angel of the priest, of the altar, or of the 
church, who assists the priest at the altar, in order that he 
may be enabled to celebrate the sacred mysteries with greater 
devotion and reverence. It is for this reason that the priest, 
after consecration, prays in every Mass in a posture of pro- 
found humility: " We humbly beseech Thee, Almighty God, 
that Thou Avouldst command these to be carried by the 
hands of Thy holy angel to Thy sublime altar before the sight 
of Thy sublime Majesty." Besides this guardian angel of the 
altar or the church, there are also many other angels present 
at the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. St. Euthemius, when 
saying Mass, used to see many angels assisting at the sacred 
Mysteries in reverential awe. St. Guduvalus, Archbishop, 
often saw how the angels descended from heaven during 
Mass, chanting hymns of praise with unspeakably great 
reverence ; but he himself would be standing at tlie altar 
like a majestic column of fiery flame whilst he was celebra- 
ting the holy sacrifice. St. Basil and St. Chrysostom J testify 
to having seen at the time of the Mass many hosts of the 
angels in hitman form, clothed with white garments, and 
standing round the altar as soldiers stand before their king. 
But what was their attitude and deportment ? Their heads 

* Life of St. John Chrysostom. f In Chron. aetat. 6, anno 774. 
X De Sacerd. lib. 6, c. 4. 


were bowed, their faces covered, their hands crossed, and the 
whole body so profoundly inclined as to express the deepest 
sense of their own unworthiness to appear before the Diyine 

Father Balthazar Alvarez, S. J.', whilst saying Mass, nsed 
to see an angel of the Lord who assisted him in the offering 
of the holy Sacrifice, and made known to him the particular 
wants of those for whom he offered up the Mass.* St. 
John Damascene tells us f that St. Gregory I. used to see 
the angel of the Lord whilst he was celebrating the sacred 
mysteries. In the Liturgy of the Mass of St. James the 
Apostle, we read: "When the moment of consecration is 
arriving, every one should be silent and trembling with 
reverential awe ; he should forget everything earthly, remem- 
bering that the King of kings and the Lord of lords is com- 
ing down upon the altar as a victim to be offered to God the 
Father, and as food to be given to the faithful. He is pre- 
ceded by the angelic choirs in full splendor, with their faces 
veiled, singing hymns of praise with great joy." Of these 
hymns of praise St. Bridget writes thus : '' One day, whilst 
a priest was celebrating Mass, I saw, at the moment of con- 
secration, how all the powers of heaven were set in motion ; 
I heard at the same time a heavenly music most harmonious, 
most sweet. Numberless angels came down, the chant of 
whom no human understanding can conceive, nor the tongue 
of man can describe. They surrounded and looked upon 
the priest, bowing towards him in reverential awe.";|; 

Who can wonder at this behavior of the angels during 
Mass, and at the great preparations which the celestial 
spirits make when it is being celebrated, in order that the 
most august mystery may be performed with the greatest 
pomp and dignity possible ? But wretched men as we are, 
we see for want of a lively faith but little of the supernatural 

* His Life, by Louis de Ponte. 
f Orat. de iis qui cum fide dormierunt. :j: Lib. 8, c. 5, 6. 


that is going on during Mass. Were Our Lord to sliow us 
what lie deigned to show St. Bridget and so many other saints, 
how we would prostrate ourselves to the earth, dazzled, oyer- 
whelmed, crushed down by the overpowering splendor of 
heaven's glory ! Not seeing these wonders with our eyes, 
we come not to appreciate them, and to assist at Mass with 
levity and indevotion. But why not exercise our faith, and 
dissipate by its clear light the obscurity of the senses? 
"Faith is the evidence of things that appear not," * and if 
we appeal to its aid, it will reveal to us the existence of the 
wonders concealed from our corporal vision. Believing, on 
its unerring testimony, that the God of the altar is the God 
of heaven and earth, the Judge of men — while that thought 
holds dominion it will be impossible to forget for a moment 
the respect due to His Majesty; to permit the mind to 
Avander, to w^hisper, or smile, or look about to recognize 
acquaintances, or assume any other than a reverential at- 
titude. In a well-instructed Christian such practices would 
be quite inexcusable and extremely disedifying, therefore we 
must never allow ourselves to be drawn into them by example. 
The temple of the Lord is holy; it is ''a terrible place, the 
home of God and the gate of heaven."f Let us take the 
angels, its invisible guardians, for our models, and contem- 
plating them as they hide their faces with their wings in 
presence of the (Tod of power and majesty, bow down our 
souls in profound and humble adoration with them, and for 
the time, at least, forget all else, to think only of Him 
Whom, with the eyes of faith, we behold present on the 
altar. When we think how the angels, those pure spirits, 
shrink before the Infinite Holiness of God, can we allow 
vain, worldly, and even sinful thoughts to insinuate them- 
selves into our minds in His Presence ? The angels tremble 
before His Greatness, and shall we dare to talk and laugh 
before It? The angels, those princes of heaven, are all 
humility and modesty, and shall we, the dust of the earth, 

* Heb. xi. 1. t Gen. xxviii. 17, 


and miserable sinners, be all impertinence and pride ? The 
angels veil their faces before His splendor, and shall we not 
do even so much as cast down onr eyes, but stare rudely and 
gaze around to see every one who comes in or goes out ? 
The angels, full of awe, fold their hands upon their breasts, 
and shall we allow ourselves every freedom of attitude and 
movement? The slightest noise is sufficient to disturb and 
cause us to forget the Presence and Majesty of the Lord. 
Shall the reproach which Jesus Christ made to St. Peter 
when he said, '- ye of little faith," become applicable to 
us ? When approaching these sacred mysteries, let ns put 
off from our hearts the shoes of all earthly thoughts and 
affections, for the groimd on lohicli we stand is holy : let us 
cover our faces with the veil of a deep reverential awe, put 
upon our senses the guard of profound recollection, tremble 
with the Seraphim in the Presence of the Lord, and, like the 
Jews upon entering the temple, bow toward the Mercy-seat 
of God, saying with the Publican in the Gospel, "Be merci- 
ful to me a sinner." i 
But to assist at Mass with reverence is not enough ; we 
must also assist with devotion, to derive from it the bless- 
ings of Our Lord's Passion. The Mass in itself is indeed 
always of the same value, whether those who assist at it be 
devout or indevout ; but the fruit we derive from it is greater 
or less according to our dispositions. When Our Lord 
offered His life on the Cross as a sacrifice for the sins of the 
world, those who were present received the fruits of that 
sacrifice in very different proportions. Some received no grace 
at all, but went away as hardened as they had come, while 
others received great and special favors. The good chief 
obtained an entire remission of all his sins, and the punish- 
ment due to them. St. Mary Magdalen received a large 
increase of sanctifying grace. So it is at Mass. The Coun- 
cil of Trent says that God gives the grace of contrition and 
forgiveness of sin to those who assist at this Sacrifice with 
a sincere heart, with faith and reverence. / 


These graces are given more or less in proportion to the 
devotion and purity of intention of those who assist at Mass. 
In one of the prayers which the priest recites in the canon of 
the Mass he says: " Be mindfnl,-0 Lord, of all here present 
whose /(fn7/i and j^i^^ty are known to Thee." It follows from 
this that one person may gain more graces from a single Mass, 
than another wonld gain from twenty or thirty. When we go 
to the well to draw water, we can only take as much as our 
vessel will hold ; if it be large, we can draw a great quantity ; 
if it be small, we can draw but little. Now, the Mass is an 
inexhaustible fountain of blessings ; it is, to use the language 
of th« Scripture, the Saviour's fountain, from which the 
precious graces He has merited for us gush forth upon 
our souls, and the vessel in which we receive these graces is 
our faith and devotion. If our faith be lively, and our de- 
votion ardent, the blessings of heaven will fill our hearts; 
if our hearts be filled with the thoughts of this world, we 
shall receive but a small share of those blessings. All this 
was once shown ih a vision to Nicholas de la Flue, a holy 
hermit of Switzerland, who was greatly enlightened by God 
in spiritual matters. While this good man was present at 
Mass one day, he saw a large tree full of the most beauti- 
ful flowers. He soon noticed that the flowers began to fall 
down upon those who were present. But some of them, as 
soon as they fell, withered and became dry, while others 
retained their freshness and fragrance. After Mass he re- 
lated this vision to his brother, and requested him to explain 
its meaning. The brother replied that he, too, had seen the 
vision, and he explained it as follows: 

" The tree," said he "is the holy Mass ; the withering of 
many of the flowers signifies that many of the graces which 
Our Lora distributes in the Mass are lost because Chris- 
tians are not i-p^ollected and devout while they assist at this 
Sacrifice, or because they afterwards allow worldly thoughts 
to stifle all the good inspirations which they have received; 
the flowers whrch retained their odor and beauty signify 


the permanent fruits which those Christians derive from the 
Mass who assist at it with reverence and devotion." Such 
ChristiaHS, when about to enter the church to hear Mass, say 
N.with St. Francis: "Now, ye worldly affairs and thoughts of 
lousiness, leave me and remain outside, while I go into the 
sanctuary of the Most High to speak to the great Lord of hea- 
ven and earth ; " and when Mass is over they leave the church 
with such sentiments of humility and piety as if coming from 
the awful scene of the death of Jesus Christ on Mount Cal- 
vary; they go forth to their duties with the same resolution 
w^ith which they would have gone had they stood with Mary 
and St. John beneath our Saviour's Cross, namely, to merit 
heaven by fulfilling tlie obligations of their state of life, 
and by bearing with patience all sufferings, trials, and hard- 
ships, and injuries, for the love of Jesus Christ, who loved 
them to such an excess, and whom, they feel, they will never 
be able to thank sufiicientl}^, nor repay His ever-burning 

Fornerus, Bishop of Bamberg, relates of the great Duke 
Simon Montfort : " This famous Duke was accustomed to 
hear Mass daily with great devotion ; and at the elevation 
of the sacred Host, he used to say with Simeon: 'Now 
Thou dost dismiss Thy servant, Lord, according to Thy 
word, in peace, because my eyes have seen Thy salva- 
tion.' f His regular attendance at Mass was known to the 
Albigenses, his bitterest enemies, against whom he had been 
waging war for twenty years. The Albigenses, being driven 
to despair, determined to make a sudden attack upon the 
Duke's army in the morning whilst he was at Mass. They 
executed their design, and really surprised his soldiers. 
Officers came to him whilst he was hearing Mass, announc- 
ing the great danger in which the whole army was, and 
begging him to come to their assistance. The Duke an- 
swered : * Let me serve the Lord now, and men after- 

* Dr. Herbst, Vol. II., p. 409. f Luke ii. 29. 

410 EETEREJn-CE axd 

wards.' Xo sooner were tliose officers gone, than others ar- 
rived, making the same most earnest request. The Duke re- 
plied : ^ I shall not leave this place until I have seen and 
adored my God and Saviour Jesus Christ.' Meanwhile he 
recommended his whole army to Our Lord, beseeching Him 
hy the most august Sacrifice of the Mass to assist liis people. 
At the elevation of the sacred Host he poured out his heart 
in humble prayer to his Saviour, offering up to the Heavenly 
Father the Body and Blood of His well-beloved Son, and 
making at the same time an oblation of his own life in honor 
of the Blessed Trinity. At the elevation of the chalice he 
pra3^ed : ' j^ow Thou dost dismiss Thy servant, Lord, ac- 
cording to Thy word, in peace, because my eyes have seen 
Thy salvation.' Then,- feeling inspired with great courage 
and confidence in the Lord, he said to his officers : 'Now let 
us go, and if God pleases die for Him who has deigned to die 
for us on the Cross.' His whole army consisted of but six- 
teen thousand men. With this little force he attacked iii 
the name of the Blessed Trinity th'e grand army of the Albi- 
genses commanded by the Count of Toulouse, who was sup- 
ported by the army of Peter, king of Arragon, his brother- 
in-law. ISTow, of this grand army, Simon Montfort, the 
Christian hero, killed twenty thousand men on the spot, 
and the rest of his enemies he put to a shameful flight. 
Every one said and believed that Montfort had gained this 
glorious victory more by his fervent and devout prayers at 
Mass than by the strength of his army."* 

How many and how great would be the victories which 
we should gain over the devil, the world, and the flesh, were 
we always to hear Mass IVith as much faith, fervor, and de- 
votion as did this pious Duke! How great would be our 
luimility to bear contempt and contradictions with a tran- 
quil heart! how great our patience to carry the crosses and 
trials of this life until death ! how great our charity for our 

* Miser, cone. 78. 


neighbor ! liow great the light of our understanding in relig- 
ions matters and the devotion of our hearts to relish the 
same, if we profited by the gift of God in the holy Mass! 
What the holy patriarch Jacob said after his wrestling with 
the angel of the Lord, we too might say, but with more 
truth : " I have seen God face to face, and my soul has been 
saved." " For as often as one hears Mass," said Our Lord 
Jesus Christ to St. Gertrude, " and looks with devotion upon 
Me in the sacred Host, or has at least the desire to do so, so 
many times he increases his merits and glory in heaven, and 
so many particular blessings and favors and delights shall 
he receive." * How consoling are those words of Our Lord ! 
Let us beware of depriving ourselves of the great blessings 
of our dear Saviour by inexcusable irreverence and indevo- 
tion at Mass. 

It is related of St. Basil, that he would not finish Mass 
unless he had been favored by a heavenly vision. One day, 
however, this favor was denied him on account of a lascivi- 
ous look of his assistant. The saint then sent him away, 
whereupon the vision returned, and he finished the holy 

If God withheld from a great saint certain favors at Mass 
on account of the sin of another, how many blessings will 
He refuse to bestow upon us on account of our own Avilful 
faults which we commit durincr the celebration of the Sa- 
cred Mysteries ! 

Blessed Veronica of Binasco relates of herself the follow- 
ing : " One day, whilst at Mass, I cast a glance of curiosity 
at one of my sisters in religion. Immediately after, my guar- 
dian angel gave me such a severe reprimand for this fault as 
made me almost die from fright. Ah ! how severe was not 
the look he cast at me, and how sharp the words he spoke 
to me ! * Why did you give such unbecoming liberty to your 
eyes ? ' said he; * why did you cast that look of curiosity at 

* Lib. 4. Revel, c. 25. 


your sister ? Indeed this is not a little fiinlt ! ' Then he 
gave me in the name of Jesus Christ a penance for my sin, 
over which I shed bitter tears for three days. Since that 
time I hardly ever again dared to make the least motion at 
Mass for fear of being punished by the Divine Majesty." * 

Let us be persuaded that the amount of graces and favors 
to be derived from the adorable Sacrifice of the Mass de- 
pends upon the dispositions of our heart. The Mass is an 
infinite treasure. Our sliare, however, rests upon tlie extent 
of our claim in the sight of God. When the cathedral of 
Salzburg was being built, St. Vigilius presented a purse to 
his workmen, and allowed each man to take what he could. 
By a supernatural restraint, however, no one could take 
more than was justly earned. In like manner our dear Lord 
presents to us in Mass the fulness of the treasure of His 
blessings, but we can take only the amount which our faith, 
fervor, reverence, and devotion of the heart will have 

* Bollandus in Vita ejusdem 13. Jan. Lib. 3. c. 9. 



We have already seen that sacrifice is as old as the world. 
False or true sacrifices always existed, and haye ever been 
employed for the same purposes. Mankind adopted some 
victim which was destroyed as a recognition of the supreme 
dominion of God over all His creatures, or, as the case might 
be, to expiate sin, propitiate the divine Majesty, or to thank 
Him for favors received. This is so universal and so uniform, 
even among nations that could not have known one another, 
that only the original teaching of God Almighty Himself, or 
an impression by Him in the hearts of men from the begin- 
ning, can adequately explain its universality. 

The reason why religion requires a sacrifice is this : — to 
express our duty of oflferiug to the divine Majesty a fit- 
ting worship, to thank Him for the innumerable benefits 
He has conferred on us, in a manner worthy of the giver 
and the magnitude of His gifts, to expiate the sins we have 
committed against God, and to secure for ourselves and 
others all the blessings needed for soul and body. 

Now, the holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the only suitable 
means of accomplishing all this. For the excellence of 
the Christian sacrifice consists in the Victim offered being a 
living, reasonable Divine Victim, even the incarnate Son of 
God Himself, Who by His life and death offered to His 
Father the four-fold offering of adoration, impetration, pro- 
pitiation, and thanksgiving, and Who still, in every Mass, con- 
tinually, with heart and soul offers this four-fold offering 
anew. For this, then, the Mass is given, and for this we are 
required to assist at it, that we may, in a perfect and fitting 


manner recognize God's sovereignty and our dependence on 
Him. When we assist at Mass the meaning of our action, 
if put into words, would be something of this kind : '* I 
acknowledge Thee, my God, for my Sovereign Lord and 
the Supreme Disposer of my life and death : and because I 
am not able worthily to express Thy greatness, I beg of Thee 
to accept as if it were my own, all the submission with 
which Thy Son honored Thee on the Cross and now honors 
Thee in this Holy Sacrifice. I intend, moreover, by this di- 
vine Victim to propitiate Thee for my sins, to lay my wants 
open to Thee, through the pleading tongue of Jesus ; and to 
thank Thee as becomes me and as is worthy of Thee, for all 
the blessings Thou hast bestowed upon me and upon the 
whole world." 

The spectacle is beautiful, indeed awful, in its sublimity. 
" Have I not said, you are gods ! " comes up before one's 
mind when we think of it. All nature seems to turn to us at 
that moment : each of us is its representative. Intelligent and 
unintelligent, in heaven above, on earth, and under the earth, 
they all turn towards the priest, who gives expression to their 
feelings and their dependence, who represents their desires at 
the throne of eternity. The saints and angels look down with 
Holy Mary at their head, because we bring them increased glory 
and honor ; the souls in purgatory look up to where we kneel, 
because we are about to make the Blood of the Lamb plead for 
the eternal union to which their holy souls are tending ; the 
wants and woes and sorrows, the crimes and penitence of the 
universe turn to us, because everything, outside hell, is inter- 
ested in the adorable Sacrifice, which it is given us to offer up. 
At Mass we are enabled to place in the Sacred Heart of the 
divine Lamb all our thoughts, words, and actions, that tliey 
may be purified and sanctified. In this Sacred Heart of the 
divine Victim at Mass we find a supplement for our deficien- 
cies, and a substitute for our incapabilities. In the Mass we 
can offer to the eternal Father, to atone for the coldness and 
distraction of our prajers, the petitions which this compas- 


sionate heart of Jesus poured forth in the silence of night 
on the lonely mountains of Judea, its supplications in the 
garden of agony, its piteous appeals for mercy for men on 
the Cross. At Mass we can offer the burning zeal and love 
of the Heart of Jesus to supply for our insensibility to the 
divine attractions, our indifference to heavenly things, our 
fatal self-love, which blinds the understanding and enslaves 
the affections : at Mass we can clothe ourselves in the virtues 
of Jesus Christ, and hide our miseries under the mantle of 
His perfections. 

Kwe-go often to Mass, this holy Sacrifice will correct our 
faults without bitterness ; will heal our wounds without 
pain ; will purify our heart without violence ; will sanctify 
our soul without alarm, and almost without a struggle ; it 
will detach us from ourselves without the convulsion of 
death ; it will withdraw us from creatures and unite us to 
God without agony. It is the remedy which Jesus Christ has 
left us in all its sweetness. The poor and the rich, the me- 
chanic and the merchant, the married and the unmarried, 
the sick and the strong, all can easily participate in this 
adorable Sacrifice without leaving the world, without injur- 
ing their health, or abandoning their family, or employments. 
The, holy Sacrifice of the Mass, then, is the most beautiful, 
the most sublime, the most powerful, the most acceptable, 
and withal the easiest worship that we can ever offer to God. 
This is the reason why Holy Church commands her children 
under pain of mortal sin to hear Mass, at least every Sunday 
and holy-day of obligation ; why she forbids us to come too 
late to Mass ; why we always find good Catholics so eager to 
assist at the divine Sacrifice. This explains also the great 
difference between Catholics and Protestants while on their 
way to their several churches. 

One may see Protestants taking their time, loitering on 
the way as if they were going to a lecture-room, which, in 
fact, is really the case ; while, on the contrary, good 
Catholics are hastening on to church with a certain 


ecagerness, as haying some very important duty to per- 

Why this strict obligation of hearing Mass? Why this 
eagerness in going to assist at it ? Can we not worship God 
just as well at home? No! For, although God, by His 
immensity, is present everywhere — yea, even in hell — never- 
theless He is present on our altars in a most sjyecial manner. 
He is present there as God and man, as our Eedeemer, our 
Intercessor, our High Priest, Who offers His own innocent 
Heart's Blood as the atonement for our sins. 

What a consolation to know that as the sun in it^ course 
brings the light of day to each successive spot on earth, it 
ever finds a priest girding himself for the altar, preparing 
to celebrate holy Mass. Thus, from the rising to the setting 
of the sun, the pure oblation is offered up to God. Each day, 
as the busy din of the world begins, as the groan of the 
down-trodden and the wail of the heart-broken, the tear of 
the helpless victim and the insolent boast of pride, rise up 
before the throne of God, there also ascends before that 
throne from our altars iho, sweet voice of Jesus supplicating 
for pardon and for peace. 

But, say some : "There is no need of going to Mass; we 
can pray just as well at home." 

jSTow, do we really pray to God at home ? But, whe'ther 
we do or not, the question is 7iot can we pray well at home, 
but whether God requires us to hear Mass on Sundays and 
holy-days of obligation. God does require this. God speaks 
to all Christians through His Church, and the Church of 
God commands us to hear Mass on Sundays and holy-days 
under pain of mortal sin, that is, she commands you under 
pain of eternal damnation to be present, with attention and 
devotion, at the three principal parts of the Mass : that is, at 
the Offertory, Consecration, and Communion. Should you, 
through your own fault, miss one of these parts, you would 
not comply with your obligation of hearing Mass. In this 
case you are bound to hear another Mass, if possible, under 


pain of eternal damnation. It is true that we are distinct 
individuals, with distinct individual duties, but it is also 
true that we are a religious body. This society, this 
Church of which we are members, has certain duties to 
fulfil towards God, one of which is public worship; and 
the public worship of this Christian society is precise- 
ly the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. To stay away from 
this act of public worship is to neglect a most sacred duty; 
it is, in a certain sense, to renounce all our share in 
the merits of Jesus Christ. For our sake the heavenly 
Father sends His well-beloved Son upon the altar ; for our 
salvation, the Holy Ghost changes bread and wine into the 
Body and Blood of Jesus Christ; for our sake the Son 
of God comes down from heaven, and conceals Himself 
under the species of bread and wine, hnmbling Himself so 
much as to be whole and entire in the smallest particle of 
the Host. For our sake He renews the Mystery of His In- 
carnation, is born anew in a mystical manner, ofiers up to 
His heavenly Father all the prayers and devotions which He 
performed during His life on earth, renews His Passion and 
Death to make us partakers of its merits, cancelling our 
sins and negligences, and remitting many temporal punish- 
ments due to the same. And we reject these graces and 
blessings, despise this ofiering every time that we carelessly 
stay away from the holy Mass. 

Now, can we think that God will allow this carelessness of 
ours to go unpunished ? Listen to the following example : St. 
Anthony, Archbishop of Florence, relates that two young men 
went hunting on Sunday. The sky was cloudless, not a leaf 
was stirring. Presently they heard the low rumbling of dis- 
tant thunder. A dark smoke like a vapor began to spread 
over the face of the heavens. Flashes of lightning succeeded 
one another rapidly, and the voice of the thunder was heard 
in one continuous roar. In a few moments the sky grew 
black as sackcloth. Soon the vivid flashes of lightning lit up 
the heavens with a lurid preternatural glare. At times the 


whole nni verse appeared to "be on fire; the peals of thunder 
followed one another with astounding rapidity. Many trees 
were struck by the lightning within view of the hunters, 
and presently one of the largest was shivered to splinters 
directly in their path. Suddenly they heard above them in 
the air a wild unearthly yell. "Strike! strike!" cried the 
voice, and instantly a flash of lightning killed oue of them 
— the one that liad not heard Mass. The other young man 
was panic-stricken at this, especially as he heard at the same 
time, a voice saying: "Strike him too." A little after he 
felt encouraged by another voice, which said, " I cannot 
strike him, because he heard Mass this morning." * 

We know that we can do nothing better for our parents, 
friends, for the poor and distressed, for our benefactors, for 
the dying, for the conversion of sinners, for the just, for the 
souls in purgatory, than to hear and offer up for them the 
holy Sacrifice of the Mass; and that we cannot give greater 
glory and joy to the blessed Trinity, to the Blessed Virgin, 
and to all the saints, than by assisting at Mass with devotion. 
But whenever we stay away from Mass through neglect, es- 
pecially on Sundays and holy-days of obligation, we thereby 
give to understand that we do not care to give glory to God 
and His saints, as little as we care to obtain the graces of 
God for ourselves and others by so powerful a means as that 
of the Mass. And do we imagine that this contempt of ours 
for God's glory and His blessings will go unpunished ? We 
cannot complain that the Almighty should treat us with 
similar neglect, if He bestows His choicest gifts upon others 
and passes us by unnoticed. AVe made the choice and we 
must abide the issue. 

Three merchants of Gubbio went to a fair held in the town 
of Cisterno, and having disposed of their goods, two of them 
began to speak of returning home, and arranged to start the 
next day at dawn, so as to arrive by evening in their own 

" Ant. ii. p. Theolog. ix. r. 10. 


neigliborliood. But tlie tliird would not consent to start afc 
thiit time, j)rotesting that the next day being Sunday he 
would never think of commencing a journey without first 
having heard holy Mass. His companions refused to wait 
for him, and set out by themselves. But when the}^ arrived 
at the river Corfuone, which had risen to a great height in 
consequence of the rain that fell during the night, the 
bridge gave way and they were drowned. The third, who 
had waited to hear Mass, found his two companions dead 
on the bank of the river, and gratefully acknowledged the 
grace which he had received on account of having heard 

We may rest assured that whenever we miss Mass through 
carelessness, we expose ourselves to the greatest dangers of 
soul and body ; for it is then that the devil obtains from 
God great power over both ; which power is refused him in 
regard to those wlio comply with their duty of hearing Mass 
with devotion on all days of obligation. It is an unques- 
tionable truth that devout attendance at Mass has protected 
many souls from vices into which they would otherwise have 
fallen ; it has saved many a one from sudden death and ca- 
lamities which God has permitted to fall on others ; it has 
conferred a blessing on many a family — given peace and 
unanimity, where discord would otherwise have reigned; 
and made parents happy in the conduct of children, whose 
hearts would otherwise have been broken by their disobe- 
dient and disorderly behavior. 

It is related of Drahomira, the mother of St. "Wenceslaus, 
a very impious Duchess of Bohemia, how she one day went 
in a carriage to Saes in order to take a solemn oath on 
her father's grave, to extirpate all the Christians in her do- 
minions. Passing a chapel in which Mass was being said, 
the driver, on hearing the bell ring for the Elevation of 
the Host, stopped the carriage and kneH down on the bare 

* Loliner. 


ground to adore our Lord Jesus Christ on the altar. At 
this the impious Duchess flew into a violent passion, curs- 
ing the driver and the Blessed Sacrament. In punishment 
for her horrible blasphemies, tlie earth opened and swal- 
lowed her and her whole escort. They cried for help, but 
in vain. In a moment they were gone forever. The driver 
was glad indeed for having stopped the carriage to adore 
our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament; his faith and devo- 
tion saving him from destruction.* 

^Mass alone of itself is an inexhaustible treasure of graces. 
Yet how little is this most august Sacrifice valued by most 
men ! If it were said, " At such a place and at such an 
hour a dead person will be raised to life," men would run 
to witness the miracle. But is not the consecration which 
changes bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, 
a much greater miracle than the raising of a dead person 
to life ? If Christians only knew the value of the holy Sac- 
rifice of the Mass, or rather, if they had more faith, assuredly 
they would not absent themselves from it on the most triv- 
ial pretexts. There are indeed grievous reasons which 
dispense with the obligation of hearing Mass, for instance, 
when a person is confined to bed by sickness, when he is 
in prison, or when he is blind and has no one to conduct 
him to church, or when he cannot go to Mass without ex- 
posing himself to the danger of some grievous temporal or 
spiritual evil. Hence, the persons on guard in cities, or in 
armies, or entrusted with the care of herds of cattle, or of 
houses, or of infants, or of the sick, are exempt from the 
obligation of hearing Mass, when they have no person to take 
their place. A grievous inconvenience is also an excusing 
cause. Hence, the sick who are convalescent and unable to 
go to church without great pain or danger of relapse, are 
excused from the obligation of hearing Mass. Servants, also, 
are excused who cannot leave the house without grievous 

* Hagec in chronic. Boliemic. ad ann. 9. 30. 


inconvenience to their master, or to themselves. A consid- 
erable distance from the church is also an excusing cause. 
A less distance excuses from sin when it is raining or snow- 
ing, or when a person is infirm, and the road to the church 
very bad. But there are numbers for whom a little rain, a 
damp mist, the slight inconvenience of heat, a little moist- 
ure under foot, rise up as a sufficient excuse. They will 
be judged by St. Elizabeth, who, as Eutebeuf tells us, repaired 
early in the morning to Mass so poorly and humbly, through 
the mire of the road, without horse or carriage, holding her 
lighted taper in her hand. 

These lukewarm Christians will be judged by that Chris- 
tian young lady who, when on her way to Mass, was per- 
ceived by the guard of the Emperor Diocletian; he was 
struck with her modesty, and going rudely up to her he 
said : " Stop ! whither are you going ? " The young lady was 
frightened ; she feared that he would insult her. She made 
on her forehead the sign of the Cross, in order to obtain the 
divine protection. The soldier, deeming himself affronted 
by her silence, seized her violently and said: "Speak! who 
are you? whither are you going?" She courageously re- 
plied : " I am a servant of Jesus Christ, and am going to the 
assembly of the Lord." " You shall not go," said the sol- 
dier ; "you must sacrifice to the gods; to-day we worship 
the sun ; you must worship him with us." He then at- 
tempted to pull off the veil which covered her face. This she 
endeavored to prevent, and said : " Wretch, Jesus Christ will 
punish you ! " At these words the soldier became furious, 
and plunged his sword into the heart of the Christian vir- 
gin. She fell, bathed in her blood, but her holy soul flew up 
to heaven, there to receive an unfading crown of glory.* 

There are also many who find an excuse in the fact that 
their friends and acquaintances, as well as occupations, make 
large demands upon their time. But these will be judged 

* Fleury. 


by Sir Thomas More, who never omitted hearing Mass, not- 
withstanding his nnmerous friends and occupations. One 
day, wliilst lie was assisting at Mass, the King's messenger 
came aiid told him that his majesty required his immediate 
presence, in order to transact with him business of the 
greatest importance. The Chancellor said to him : " Yet a 
little patience. I have to present my homages of respect to 
a sovereign of greater power and authority ; and I think it 
necessary to remain at the audience of heaven until it shall 
be over." He considered it a high honor to serve Mass. 
" I deem it," he used to say, " a high honor to have it in my 
powder to render this slight service to the greatest of sove- 

There are others who say: "Father, I oversleep myself.^' 
Shame on such! Let them break off useless conversations 
and go to bed in due time ; not turning night into day and 
day into night, and they will awake easily enough, as they do 
when there is question of some temporal gain. But wiien 
the question is one of obtaining the blessings of the Mass, 
.graces and blessings which have cost our dear Saviour His 
most precious Blood, they are too lazy to get up in time. 
Certainly they wall be judged by that good and faithful 
Christian who, as Gillois relates, lived in Koibon, a town of 
the diocese of Grenoble. He was a peasant whose great de- 
votion at Mass edified every one who saw him. Although 
living three miles from the church, he never failed to be one 
of the first worshippers in the morning. In the latter years 
of his life he was subject to severe pains in his legs, which 
prevented his walking so far in the winter season, but as 
soon as the spring came on, he used to rise about one o'clock 
in the morning, and supporting himself by means of crutches, 
he would reach the church after a painful and laborious 
walk of four hours. 

But some may say, "It is more necessary for us to labor 
than to hear Mass ; because, without work, w^e cannot even 
earn a subsistence for oui selves and family." On the contrary, 


it is eyen more necessary to liear Mass tlian to labor, be- 
cause it is a most powerful means of keeping oneself in the 
state of grace, and obtaining the blessings of God. This 
does not mean that men are to neglect their work, but they 
can easily break off for half an hour, and devote that short 
time to God. Those who do so will soon find that their 
business will not sufier, as God's blessing will be upon 
it. Men wlio neglect to hear Mass, either from temporal in- 
terest or from sloth, inflict upon themselves a loss for which 
there is no compensation ; they lose a hundred-fold more 
than the Avork of a whole day could bring in. 

In the life of St. John the Almoner is an instructive nar- 
rative of two artisans who pursued the same trade ; one was 
burdened with a family : wife, children, grandchildren ; 
the other Avas alone with his wife. The first brought up his 
family in great comfort, and all his transactions turned out 
wonderfully. Thus he went on till he found himself putting 
by every year a good round sum, to serve in time for mar- 
riage portions for his daughters. The other, who was-with- 
out children, at one time got very little employment, was 
half famished, and in short, a ruined man. One day he 
said confidentially to his neighbor : ^' How is it with you ? 
On your home rains down every blessing of God, while I, 
poor wretch, cannot hold up my head, and all sorts of 
calamities fall on my house." "I will tell you," said his 
neighbor ; " to-morrow morning I will be with you and 
point out the place from which I draw so much." Next 
morning he took him to church to hear Mass, and then led 
him back to his work-shop ; and so for two or three days, 
till at last the poor man said: "If nothing else is wanted 
than to go to church to hear Mass, I know the way well 
enough, without putting you to inconvenience." "Just so," 
said the other; "hear holy Mass, my friend, with devotion 
every day, and you will see a change in the face of your for- 
tune." And, in fact, so it was. Beginning to hear holy 
Mass every morning, he was soon well provided with work, 


sliortly after paid his debts, and put his house once more in 
a prosperous condition. 

Some again say : " Father, I am in a place where I have 
too much work to do; after I have finished it is too late for 
Mass; and were I to leave my work unfinished and go to 
Mass, the fiimily I live with would be much displeased with 
me, and might discharge me." 

Xow, there is good reason for believing that this difiiculty 
is not so great as is imagined by those who raise it. If the 
family they live with are Catholics, they know that it is 
their duty to see that all Catholics get to Mass in due time ; 
if they are Protestants or Jews, they Avill be glad to see those 
in their employ anxious to comply Anth their religious duties, 
knowing that if their employees are faithful to God, they 
will also be faithful to them ; and this is the reason why 
they like to have Catholic workmen and servants. Should, 
however, the demand to go to Mass be refused, other places 
are open, and sensible employers will scarcely object at the 
risk of parting with a conscientious Catholic workman or 
servant. In order to avoid all difficulties, it is best to tell 
the family into whose service one is about to enter, that he 
or she only enters on condition that full liberty be given to 
comply with religious duties on Sundays and liol3^-days of 
oblioration. Should thev not ao:ree to this, one should not 
go to them so long as there are prospects of finding another 
situation. However, it may be taken for granted that gen- 
erally speaking, a good Catholic laborer or servant who is 
very anxious to hear Mass on Sundays and all holy-days of 
obligation, easily finds a good situation, for this is a blessing 
which Jesus Christ grants to those who never miss Mass 
til rough neglect. It may be also taken for granted that 
those who really value and rightly appreciate the blessings 
of Mass, will know how to arrange their work so as not to 
allow it to interfere Avith their regular attendance at Mass. 
Show a little more anxiety to serve the Lord, to keep the 
soul in the state of grace, and to advance in holiness of life, 


and all imaginary difficulties in this matter of staying away 
from church will soon disappear. Be just as careful and 
desirous to obtain the blessing of God as to avoid a little 
temporal loss, and you will soon be a better Catholic. 

St. Isidore was hired by a wealthy farmer to cultivate hia 
farm. He would, however, never commence his work in the 
morning before he had heard Mass. He was accused to hia 
master by some of his fellow-laborers, of staying too long in 
church, and on that account of being always late at work. 
His master, in order to examine for himself the truth of the 
accusation, went out early in the morning to see whether or 
not Isidore came in due time to the farm; but how great 
was his astonishment when he beheld two angels, dressed in 
white, ploughing with two yoke of oxen, and St. Isidore in 
their midst. From that time forward Isidore was held in 
great veneration by his master as well as by all those who 
heard of the wonderful occurrence. 

Why is it that Mass is said, especially on Sundays and 
holy-days of obligation, at different hours, from break of day 
till noon ? Precisely for the convenience of the early trav- 
eller, laborer, the domestic, the student, the charitable 
matron, the pious father of a famil}^, the children ; to remove 
as far as possible every pretext for missing Mass. Indeed, 
there were, and there still are many Catholics who heard 
Mass under greater difficulties and inconveniences than 
those who are so ready with excuses. They will judge and 
condemn on the day of the last judgment all w^ho neglect 
this most important duty of their religion. 

After the miserable Henry VIII., King of England, had 
consummated the schism and heresy of the Anglican Church, 
there were enacted several penal laws against those who had 
the courage to practise the Catholic religion ; a heavy fine 
even was imposed on those who assisted at Mass. It hap- 
pened one day that a fervent Catholic, who enjoyed a large 
fortune, was condemned to pay five hundred gold pieces, be- 
cause he had dared to fulfil publicly that duty of religion. 


The gentleman was Tery happy in that he was judged 
worthy to endure this persecution. He sought out the finest 
pieces of Portuguese gold that were to be had, because they 
bore the impress of the Cross, and went himself to present 
tlie entire sum in the court of law. As he counted out the 
new coins before the Protestant ofl&cial, the latter asked him 
in a jeering tone, what was the reason of his selecting such 
beautiful pieces to pay the fine. To this ironical question 
the Catholic gentleman merely replied: "I would think it 
wrong to pay with common and ordinary money the favor 
I received in being enabled to adore my Lord and Saviour in 
the holy Sacrament of the Altar. KnoAV, sir, that between 
the Cross you see stamped on this coin and the holy Sacrifice 
of the Altar, there exist numerous points of analogy ; both 
are, in fact, monuments of our Saviour's infinite love, and no 
Catholic may ignore them." And so saying he went on qui- 
etly counting out the five hundred gold pieces which were 
the price of assisting at the holy Sacrifice.* 

But, granting that our facilities for hearing Mas« may not 
always be so great as our wish, yet if we understand and 
value the gift of God to us in the Mass, we will not only 
think it well Avortli some additional trouble in the purchase, 
but feel that the sacrifice of a life would be too well repaid 
by the high honor and unsurpassed happiness of assisting 
even once at the most adorable Sacrifice. There is no Chris- 
tian incapable of feeling the pleasure that is produced by 
the knowledge of what is contained in the holy Sacrifice of 
the Mass. All that is necessary for that is to esteem the 
blessings of grace, to desire your salvation, to sigh after 
heaven, and to remember that the august Sacrifice is the 
source of all temporal and spiritual riches, and the most 
efficacious means of satisfying all holy desires. 

Unless so circumstanced that to hear Mass even daily is a 
moral impossibility, or a decided infringement on the duties 

* Schmidt's Histor. Catech. 


of your state in life, maintain inviolably the good habit of 
hearing Mass every day. Go gladly to the altar of God, there 
to draw down the multiplied graces of which it is the copi- 
ous source, thence to extract the spiritual treasures of which 
it is the inexhaustible mine ; thence to procure a balm for 
all miseries and a remedy for all wants. Think seriously of 
all that we have in the wonderful and adorable Sacrifice, 
thus to enliven faith, to reanimate confidence, to inflame de- 
votion, and powerfully to confirm the determination to be 
ever the fervent, devoted, loving adorer of Jesus, the divine 
Victim of the Altar. If circumstances render it really im- 
possible to hear Mass daily, endeavor at least, as far as in 
you lies, to indemnify yourself for the very great privation. 
Desire with all the ardor of your soul that you could enjoy 
so great a happiness. 

It is well for those who can do so in the course of the 
morning to retire to their room nearly at the time which 
they know to be the hour when the holy Sacrifice of the 
Mass is being ofi'ered in the church, and, after having im- 
plored the grace of God, to perform with recollection and 
fervor the duty of religion, to kneel down before the Cruci- 
fix, and with all the sentiments of devotion possible to unite 
heart and soul to the Heart of Jesus in the holy Mass, and 
then read or say the same prayers Avhich they would have 
said had they been actually present in the church, never 
forgetting to make the spiritual Communion, which may be 
made in any place, and at any hour of the day or night. 
The good Catholic, then, will always feel himself impelled 
to hear Mass, unless a very urgent reason prevents him from 
so doing. 

In the South of Ireland, County Cork, there are two 
islands with only one church. When the sea is too stormy 
the inhabitants of one island assemble upon the beach at the 
appointed hour and turn to the church. There they kneel 
in the sand, arise at the Gospel, bless themselves at the Con- 
secration, and thus unite themselves in spirit with the holy 


Sacrifice from wliicli they are separated b}^ the wind and 

St. Louis, King of France, used to hear two Masses every 
day ; sometimes even three or four. Some of his courtiers 
murmured at this, but the king gave them a sharp repri- 
mand, saying, " If I were to ask you to play, or to go hunt- 
ing with me, three or four times a day, you would find no 
time too long, and now you feel weary of staying in the 
church during one or two Masses for the honor of our Lord 
and Saviour."* 

Henry IIL of England used to assist each day at three 
High Masses, besides several Low Masses. One day St. Louis 
conversed with him on this devotion and observed that it was 
not always necessary to assist at so many Masses, but that 
as many sermons as possible should be heard. King Henry 
replied, "I prefer seeing my friend often to hearing any one 
speak of him, however excellent may be his discourse." 

When St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, was no longer 
able on account of his old age to say Mass, he had himself 
carried to the church every day to hear it.f 

Blessed ArmeHa was a poor, but holy servant girl. We 
read in her life that whenever she was prevented from going 
to church, she used to kneel down in the place wliere she had 
to work, with her face turned towards Jesus in the Blessed 
Sacrament, and thus performed her devotion. She used to 
do this particularly at the time when she knew the Holy 
Mass was being celebrated, or that the Blessed Sacrament was 
exposed on tlie altar. 

Would that we had some of this spirit of the saints still 
"left among us ! Has devotion forsaken the greater part of 
Christians altogether, that they leave Jesus at present such 
a stranger upon our altars ? Are their necessities less nu- 
merous or less urgent than were those of old ? No, but it 
is true that their weaknesses are greater and they are less 

* Reinaldus in Annal. 1270, No. 19. f His Life, by Eadmer. 


sensible of them. They take less pains to acquire strength. If 
there were a day on which they were not exposed to sin ; a time 
in which they were not surrounded by enemies ; if they had no 
virtues to acquire, no homage to pay, they might be excused 
from hearing Mass. But if, on the other hand, they are 
pressed by all these motives, let them not be so thankless to 
the Almighty, so thoughtless of themselves, as to neglect 
the only means they have of performing all these duties. 
Let us endeavor to imitate the saints in their zeal in hearing 
Mass. Early in the morning, when angels are descending 
from heaven to take their stand around the altar of the 
Most High, let us too set out to assist at Mass, and emulate 
their devotion during the performance of this stupendous 

Let us not think the time is lost which is spent in hear- 
ing Mass ; it will prove most profitable to us in this life and 
in the next. See how many sins are expiated by it ! how 
many punishments averted ! how many graces drawn upon 
ourselves and others ! how many merits stored up for heaven ! 
Let us be diligent in hearing Mass, and we shall surely find 
in it all that we need, our happiness here below and our 
happiness hereafter. Amid all the vicissitudes of life, at 
the altar we shall find true peace and support. At one time 
it will be Mount Calvary for us, where we may weep tears 
of sympathy for our Saviour, and of grief for our sins and 
for those of others ; at another time it will be Mount Thabor, 
where heavenly joy will be poured into our sorrowing heart, 
and tears will be wiped away from our eyes. Again, that 
same altar will be a crib of Bethlehem, where we may gather 
strength to bear contempt, poverty, pain, and desolation. 
Yes, at the altar we shall find that Mount of Beatitude, 
where we may learn the vanity of all earthly things, and the 
way to true and lasting pleasure. In fine, it will be to us 
Golgotha, where we may learn to die to ourselves and to live 
to Him who died for us ! All this and more we find in the 
Mass, if we cherish a tender devotion to it : let us persevere 


in this devotion, and we will soon taste the sweets of those 
inspired ejacnlations : " How lovely are Thy Tabernacles, 
Lord of Hosts ! Thou hast prepared a table before me against 
those that trouble me. Better is one day in thy courts above 
thousands ! Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, Lord: 
they will praise Thee forever and ever: They will drink 
hereafter at the torrent of delight, which, flowing from the 
Heart of Jesus as its source, inundates from end to end the 
everlasting kingdom of God's glory." 



Whek we go to church to hear Mass, we must remember 
that, though it is only the priest who speaks in the holy 
Sacrifice and offers it up to God, yet all who assist at Mass 
also offer it up in union with the priest. Our Lord has in- 
stituted Mass in such a manner as to serve for all and each 
of us as a sacrifice worthy of being offered to the Divinity, 
and as a Victim most agreeable to Him, so that Mass is a 
common good to all and to each in particular. Every Chris- 
tian has a claim to this Divine Host, and can offer it in his 
own name and for his own good, as if it belonged to him 
alone, and also as a gift common to all and peculiar to 

In order to gather the wonderful fruits of the Mass, we 
must assist at it in the right spirit and with proper disposi- 
tions. Every grand and solemn action in human life is 
preceded by a suitable preparation. As there is nothing 
more sublime in heaven and on earth than the celebration 
of the Holy Mass, it is our duty to prepare ourselves worthily 
for performing or assisting at the sacred mysteries. On this 
preparation depend in great measure the blessings and favors 
of this august Sacrifice. 

There are many who live quite close to the church, and 
they are, generally speaking, the very persons to be regularly 
late at Mass, seeming to be afraid of being a minute too soon 
in church. Others are in the habit of standing outside the 
church until the organ commences to play, and then noisily 
rush in so as to disturb the priest at the altar and the devout 
worshippers in their prayers. As all these come to Mass 
without preparation, they assist at it, of course, without 


devotion. Many of them remain behind in the church. 
They have eyes, and see not; ears, and hear not what is 
going on at the altar. They have hearts, and feel not^ lips, 
and pray not. They have neither prayer-book nor rosaries 
in their hands. They are there like marble statues. Like 
these, they neither hear nor draw the least profit from Mass. 
They do not comply with the command of the Church, pre- 
scribing to liear Mass with devotion. How sad it is to see 
Catholics manifest less devotion and recollection at the tre- 
mendous Sacrifice of the Mass than heathens manifest at 
their idolatrous worship ! 

There are others whose preparation for Mass is still worse. 
It frequently happens that the nearest neighbors of a Catholic 
church are generally the proprietors of drinking saloons. It 
was not the Holy Ghost, but the devil, the enemy of God 
and of prayer, that inspired these men to establish the oflices 
of Satan as close to the church as possible, so as to make it 
convenient for lukewarm Catholics to enter first these little 
chapels of the devil, and pay their homage to the god of 
their belly before entering the house of the Lord. What is 
still worse than all this is, that the near neighborhood of 
these houses causes lukewarm Catholics sometimes to leave 
the church during the time of the sermon, in order to spend 
it in tliese chapels of the devil. They are afraid of listening 
for half an hour to the word of God, which might make 
them become better Christians ; they prefer to listen to the 
word of the devil, to the obscene language which prevails in 
these establishments. Some of these lukewarm Catholics 
remain there during the whole time of High Mass, and leave 
but too often in a state of intoxication ; while others leave 
when they think tliat the sermon is over. It is hardly neces- 
sary to say that to this class of Catholics the words of the 
Gospel apply : *' This people honoreth me with their lips, 
but their heart is far from me." * They leave the church as 

* Mark vii. 6. 


little touclied and benefited by the sacred mysteries as the 
stones in the wall. But woe to the men who thus draw 
Catholics from the worship of God ! Can there be a greater 
blindness, a greater cruelty to one's self and to our fellow- 
men, than that of making a liying by offending Almighty 
God, and ruining many souls redeemed at the infinite price 
of the most precious Blood of Jesus Christ ? 

How, then, must we prepare for hearing Mass ? We must 
remember that Mass is not only a commemoration and rep- 
resentation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, and of the Sacri- 
fice which He Himself offered upon the Cross to His Eternal 
Father for our sins, but that it is also really the same Sacri- 
fice which was then ofiTered, of the same virtue, efiQcacy, and 

On the way to the church we may imagine that we form 
part of the crowd who accompanied our divine Saviour in 
His last journey to death. We may think over some of the 
circumstances of that sorrowful journey, or represent to 
ourselves the closing scene on Calvary. Before Mass begins, 
we should acknowledge our unworthiness to assist at the 
most holy and august Sacrifice, as well as our incapability 
of doing so with suitable dispositions, and beseech our Lord 
to inspire us with the thoughts and sentiments which should 
occupy our mind and heart on so solemn an occasion. 

After this preparation it would be well to unite the inten- 
tion at the beginning of Mass with that of the priest, and 
endeavor to follow and imitate him in all he does, remember- 
ing that, at the time of the Sacrifice, we are not only in the 
church to hear Mass, but also to ofier with the priest the 
most adorable Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Jesus 
Christ. This may be briefly done thus: "0 my God! I 
offer to Thee this Sacrifice for the same ends for which Thou 
didst institute it, and for which Thy priest is now celebra- 
ting it ; I beseech Thee to grant that the souls of the living 
as well as the souls in purgatory may share in its fruits." 

After this, the time of Mass may be spent in such prayers 



as devotion may suggest. According to St. Leonard of Port 
Maurice, it is a very good plan to divide the whole Mass into 
four parts, corresponding with the four principal objects for 
which Mass is offered ; that is to say: To consider the Mass 
from the beginning to the Gospel as a sacrifice of propitia- 
tion; from the Gospel to the Elevation, as a sacrifice of im- 
petration; from the Elevation to the Communion, as a 
sacrifice of adoration ; and from the Communion to the end, 
as a sacrifice of thanksgiving. 

In the first place, we may consider the holiness of God 
and the enormity of sin, and, bewailing our offences, offer 
the Immaculate Lamb to the Father, and ask in the name 
of Jesus a more complete forgiveness of our sins, and of the 
temporal punishments due to them, and a more profound 
spirit of penance. 

In the second part we may offer this sacrifice to obtain 
special graces from God for ourselves and others, for the 
welfare of Christendom, for the propagation of the Catholic 
faith, for the extirpation of heresy, for peace among Christian 
rulers, for grace to fight against our besetting sin, and in 
remembrance also of the poor souls in purgatory. 

In the third part we may consider our own nothingness 
and God's greatness; then offer up to Him the homage of 
His well-beloved Son, and in union with the same sublime 
homage of Jesus Christ our own acts of adoration to the 
Heavenly Father. We may rejoice in His glor}^, and desire 
that all men render Him due honor. 

In the fourth part we may consider what God is in Him- 
self and what He is in His Saints, and offering to Him tlie 
thanksgiving which Jesus Christ makes in the Mass, add an 
affectionate oblation of ourselves and of all we have in return 
for the great mercies He has shown us. Here an especial 
acknowledgment of the graces which the Lord has bestowed 
on the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, and on all the 
angels and saints of heaven, may be made. 

These intentions are just and appropriate at the beginning 


of Mass, and afterwards the Book of Devotions may be used, 
or the Eosary of the Blessed Virgin may be said. If the Eo- 
sary, it would be well to say the Hail Mary in the usual 
manner as far as the word Jesus, adding in the first decade, 
*' Whom I offer to God as a sacrifice of propitiation for my 
sins," and then continue the Hail Mary as usual; in the 
second decade, add after Jesus, " Whom I oflTer to God as a 
sacrifice of impetration ;" in the third and fourth decade, 
*' Whom I offer to God as a sacrifice of adoration ;" and in 
the fifth decade, " Whom I offer to God as a sacrifice of 
thanksgiving." By these means the time of Mass will never 
seem irksome, and great fruit will be derived from the most 
holy Sacrifice. 

The best method, however, of hearing Mass is to recall the 
sufferings of our Lord's Passion, and to consider with what 
an excess of love He devoted Himself for us to the death of 
the Cross ; one of the chief ends for which He instituted the 
holy Sacrifice of His Body and Blood, being that Ave might - 
have His Passion ever present to our minds. " As often," 
says the Apostle, " as you shall eat this bread and drink this 
chalice you shall show the death of the Lord until He 
come."* The reason why this method of hearing Mass is the 
best of all is because it is best calculated to produce in us the 
spirit of sacrifice, which is the spirit of Christianity, the 
spirit of Christ Himself. It is necessary that when we offer 
the Sacrifice of the Mass, we should offer ourselves also to 
God in sacrifice; and since we celebrate the mysteries of the 
Passion of our Saviour, we ought to imitate what we celebrate 
Jesus Christ will be truly a Victim for us if we become a 
victim with Him. In this sense St. Peter calls all Chris- 
tians a lioly priestliood. What is more royal, more sacer- 
dotal, than to subject the mind to God and the body to the 
Spirit? Many offer to God their prayers, alms, fasts, and 
mortifications; but few offer themselves, and make an obla- 

* 1 Cor. xi. 26. 


tion of their hearts. They always secretly reserve to them- 
selves the disposal of their own will. This division is dis- 
pleasing to God ; it is not the sacrifice ef Abel, but of Cain, 
who offered to God the fruits of the earth, but reserved to 
himself his heart and will, as St. Augustine says. 

We should remember, therefore, that as we are associated 
with the priest of Christ in offering the adorable Victim to 
God, so should we be associated with the divine Victim, in 
the spirit of self-sacrifice ; Ave should offer ourselves with 
Him; we should lay on the altar the oblation of our soul 
and body, our memory, will, and understanding ; our 
thoughts, words, actions, and intentions of the day; our 
life, death, and whole being, that all may be sanctified by 
union with Him "Who is immolated for the love of us. We 
should offer all generously to God, with self-renunciation, 
that the mystic death of Jesus in His temple may produce 
in our souls a similar death — the death of our evil inclina- 
Ntions to worldly pleasures and allurements, but above all, the 
death of our self-will, in order thus to become a fit holocaust 
in the sight of God, of which He may dispose according to 
His good pleasure, for His greater glory and for that of our 
own soul and the souls of our fellow-men. 

The holy Mass is a worship of sacrifice, and a worship of 
sacrifice implies a life of sacrifice. This is most beautifully 
illustrated in the lives of the martyrs and of all the saints. 
One A^ho reads the Acts of the Martyrs cannot help seeing 

The evil spirit seems, indeed, to have left nothing untried 
to overcome the grace of God that upheld the martyrs, the 
faithful witnesses and champions of the faith; and the 
divine Wisdom appears to have allowed every excess of cru- 
elty to have been put to the test and found futile against 
His followers, in order more deeply to humble for ever His 
enemies, to exalt and glorify His own adorable name, and 
heighten the splendor of the triumphs of the Church, His 


Some martyrs, like Metriiis, a venerable old man of Alex- 
andria, had splinters of reeds thrust into their eyes. 

Some, like the aged and venerable matron, Apollonia in 
Egypt, had their teeth knocked out of their jaws. 

Some had their tongues as well as their teeth pulled out, 
as was done to Andronicus in the persecution of Diocletian. 

Some were cut open, filled with grain and thrown out to 
be devoured by swine, as in Phenicia. 

Some, like the holy man Serapion, were thrown headlong 
from the tops of their houses upon the pavement. 

Some, like Quinta, were dragged by the heels over a pave- 
ment of sharp pebbles. 

Some, like Marcellus, were buried up to the waist, and 
left there to perish after many days of suffering. 

Sometimes the holy martyr's body was broiled on every 
side, as if prepared for the crowd to devour it. 

Sometimes the martyrs were burnt " according to law," 
that is, condemned to die by slow fire, according to the rules 
laid down in the imperial edict: First, a slight flame was 
applied to the soles of their feet, until the callous sole shrank 
so as to fall off; then torches, with little flame, or smoking, 
were moved along every member of the body until no spot 
was left unharmed : meanwhile, prolonging the torture, the 
face was sprinkled with cold water, and the lips moistened 
frequently, lest the drought of the parched throat should 
bring forth too soon the last breath. When the surface of 
the whole body and limbs had gone through an entire day's 
cooking and the fire reached the entrails, the martyr died. 

Many w^ere put into large marble mortars, and actually 
pounded to death with a pestle. 

Others were cut into pieces and their chopped limbs 
thrown before their companions to terrify them. 

But the grace of the Divine Eedeemer made men and 
women triumph even over the arts and ingenuity and most 
cruel outrages of paganism. 

In those days of persecution, the truth of the words of our 


Lord, "Unless you eat My flesli and drink My blood, yon 
shall not have life in you : but lie who eats my flesh and 
drinks my blood shall have life everiasting," was most evi- 
dent. The Bishops and priests and the Christians knew 
and perfectly understood it; hence they not only celebrated 
the sacred mysteries in some chamber of the Catacombs, or 
in the well-concealed hall of some mansion in Eome, or else- 
where, but they also partook of them to become strong with 
the strength of God. They could not be prevailed upon to 
stay away, ieing fully 'persuaded tliat they could not fight 
the battle of the Lord and gain the final victory by the sacrifice 
of their lives, unless they were fortified and encouraged by the 
celebration of the holy Mass and receiving lioly Communion. 

During the reign of the Emperor Galerius, thirty men and 
seventeen women were arrested in the city of Aluta, in Africa, 
for having heard Mass contrary to the orders of the emperor. 
While on their way to Carthage they never ceased singing 
hymns of praise in honor of God. Having arrived at Car- 
thage, wliere they were to be tried before the emperor, an 
officer of the guard said : " Behold, emperor, these im- 
pious Christians, whom we have arrested at Aluta for having 
heard Mass contrary to the orders of your Majesty." The 
emperor at once had one of them stripped of his clothes, 
placed on the rack, and his flesh torn to pieces. Mean- 
Avhile, one of the Christians, Tehca by name, cried out in a 
loud voice: " Why,^0 tyrant, do you put but one of us to 
the rack, since we are all Christians, and we all heard Mass 
at the same time." At once the judge treated this one just 
as cruelly as the other, saying: "Who was the author of 
your meetings ? " " Saturninus, the priest," replied the 
Christians, "and we all together; but you, impious 
wretch, act most unjustly towards us ; for we are neitlier 
murderers nor robbers, nor have we done any harm." The 
judge said : " You should have obeyed our orders and stayed 
away from your false worship." Telica replied : " I obey the 
orders of the true God, for which I am ready to die." Then 


by the emperor's orders Telica was taken off the rack and 
thrown into prison. 

After this, the brother of St. Victoria came forth, accusing 
Datiorns for liaying taken his sister Victoria to Mass. But 
the saint replied, " Not by tlie permission of man, but of my 
own accord, I went to hear Mass. I am a Christian, and as 
such, I am bound to obey the lavrs of Christ." Her brother 
replied, " You are crazy, and talk like a crazy woman." She 
said, " I am not crazy, but I am a Christian." The emperor 
asked her, " Do you wish to return home w^th your brother ? '-* 
She answered, "'No, I will not ; I take those for my brothers 
and sisters who are Christians like me, and suffer for Jesus 
Christ." The emperor said, " Save your life, and follow your 
brother." She answered, "I will not leave my brothers and 
sisters, for I confess to you that I heard Mass with them, 
and received Holy Communion." The judge then tried every 
means to make her apostatize, for she was very beautiful, and 
the daughter of one of the noblest families of the city. 
When her parents wanted to force her to marry, she jumped 
out of the window and had her hair cut off. Then the judge 
addressed the priest, Saturninus, saying, " Did you, contrary 
to our orders, call these Christians to a meeting?" The 
priest replied, " I called them, in obedience to the law of God, 
to meet for His service." The emperor then asked, "Why 
did you do this ? " Saturninus replied, " Because we are 
forbidden to stay away from Mass." "Are you, then, the 
author of this meeting ? " asked the emperor. " I am," said 
the priest, " and I myself said the Mass." Upon this the 
priest was taken and put to the rack, and his flesh torn by 
sharp iron points, so much so that his entrails could be seen ; 
finally he was thrown into prison. 

After this, St. Emericus was tried. "Who are you?" 
he was asked. "I am the author of this meeting," he 
replied, " for the Mass was celebrated in my house." " Why 
did you," said the emperor, " permit them, contrary to my 
orders, to enter your house ? " " Because they are my 


brotliers/'' said Emericus, " and we cannot do without Mass." 
Then his flesli was also mangled, after which he was also 
led into prison to the other martyrs. 

The jndge then said to the other Christians: '' You have 
seen how your companions have been treated ; I hope you 
will have pity on yourselves, and save your lives." "We 
are all Christians," they cried out with one voice, " and we 
will keep the law of Christ, being ready to shed our blood 
for it." Then the iniquitous judge said to one of them, 
named Felix, " I do not ask you if you are a Christian, but 
I ask you if you were present at this meeting and heard 
Mass ? " " What a foolish question this," replied Felix, 
"just as if Christians could do without Mass; incarnate 
devil, I tell you that we were very devout at the meeting' and 
prayed fervently during the holy Sacrifice." At these words, 
the tyrant felt so much enraged that he knocked the holy 
martyr down, and beat him until he expired. The remain- 
der of the Christians were also thrown into prison, where 
they died from starvation.* 

From the answers of these Christians we may see in what 
esteem they held the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, of what im- 
portance it w^as to them. " We cannot do without it," they 
say. It was at this holy Sacrifice that they obtained that 
•wonderful spirit of sacrifice which taught them to give their 
lives for the love of Jesus Christ, Who offered Himself daily 
for them upon the altar. We have another most beautiful 
illustration of this truth in tlie life of Saint Lawrence, the 
martyr and deacon. 

St. Lawrence was one of the seven deacons of the city of 
Eome in the third century of the Christian era. As deacon, 
it was his office to serve the Mass of St. Xistus, who was at 
that time Pope. When the persecution broke out under the 
Emperor Valerius, St. Xistus was seized and carried off to 
martyrdom. As he was on his way, St. Lawrence followed 

* Baronius. 


him weeping and saying: "Father, where are you going 
without your son ? Whither are you going, holy priest, 
without your deacon ? You were never wont to offer 
sacrifice (to celebrate Mass) without me, your minister ; 
wherein have I displeased you ? Have you found me want- 
ing in my duty? Try me now, and see whether you have 
made choice of an unfit minister for dispensing the Blood 
of the Lord." And St. Xistus replied : "I do not leave you, 
my son ; but a greater trial and a more glorious victory are 
reserved for you who are stout and in the vigor of youth. 
We are spared on account of our weakness and old age. You 
shall follow me in three days." 

And, in fact, three days after St. Lawrence was burnt to 
death, his faith rendering him joyful, even mirthful, in his 

In the words of St. Lawrence we see the sentiments with 
which he was accustomed to assist at Mass. As he knelt at 
the foot of the altar at which the Pope was celebrating, 
clothed in the beautiful dress of a deacon, his soul was filled 
with the thoughts of God's greatness and goodness, and to- 
gether with the offering of the heavenly Victim, he used to 
offer his fervent desire to do something to honor the Divine 
Majesty ; the color sometimes mounting high in his youth- 
ful cheek as he thought how joyfully he would yield his own 
heart's blood as a sacrifice if the occasion should present it- 
self Martyrdom to him was but a natural completion of 
Mass. It was the realization of his habitual worship. 

In the early history of the city of St. Augustine in Florida, it 
is related that a priest who was attacked by a party of Indians, 
asked permission to say Mass before he died. This was grant- 
ed him, and the savages waited quietly till the Mass was ended. 
Then the priest knelt on the altar steps and received the 
deatii-blow from his murderers. With what sentiments must 
that priest have said Mass ! with what devotion ! with what' 
reverence ! with what self-oblation ! So I suppose St. Law- 
rence, St. Xistus, and the Christians of the olden time were 

442 HOW TO HEAR :mass. 


accustomed always to assist at Mass with the greatest desire 

to honor God, in the most complete spirit of self-sacrifice. 

Tliis spirit of self-sacrifice was not required in bishops, 
priests, and Christians in those days of cruel persecution 
only ; tlie same spirit has always been required in the true 
followers of Christ. Without this spirit, parents will do but 
little good to their children, and children to their parents ; 
without this spirit of self-sacrifice, pastors of souls wdll be 
but hirelings to their respective flocks, and Christians will 
be Christians only in name, but not in deed. To celebrate 
Mass and to assist at it daily without any increase of the 
spirit of sacrifice is to be ignorant altogether of one of the 
principal fruits to be derived from it, or to remain a faithless 
and lukewarm Christian. Indeed the numberless enormous 
sins of so many Christians proceed from no other source than 
from the want of the spirit of sacrifice. The miser does not 
want to sacrifice his passion for money ; the revengeful liis pas- 
sion of avenging himself on his neighbor ; the slothful finds 
it too difficult to overcome his laziness in order to comply 
with his Christian duties ; the lustful finds it too hard to 
sacrifice his sensual and brutal pleasures. Thus, wherever 
the spirit of sacrifice is wanting, there can be no faithful 
compliance with the commandments of God and the Church ; 
there can be no faithful correspondence to the divine inspi- 
rations ; there we find nothing but egotism or selfishness. It 
is, therefore, of the greatest importance for pastors of souls 
to celebrate Mass in this sj)irit of sacrifice, and it is also not 
less important to teach the faithful to assist at Mass in this 
same spirit— as otherwise they are wanting in what is most 
essential to a true follower of Christ. This great truth 
cannot be illustrated better, nor impressed more forcibly 
on the mind of the pious reader than by relating what our 
Lord one day said to St. Catherine of Sienna. 

We read in the life of this saint that from her very child- 
hood she experienced a great desire to become a perfect holo- 
caust to the Lord. The older she grew the better she under- 


Stood that this was the duty of every good Christian, and 
that she could not please the Lord perfectly unless she be- 
came His without the least reserve. So she most fervently 
begged God to teach her the shortest way to become His own, 
and lead the life of a holy Christian. Our Lord heard lier 
prayer and said to her: "Know then, that the salvation of 
My servants and their perfection consists in this only, that 
they do My will, and that tbey endeavor with their whole 
strength to do it always ; that they obey, glorify, and look 
to Me alone at all times. The more carefully they do this, 
the more they advance in perfection ; for then it is that they 
adhere and unite tliemselves more closely to Me, who am 
Supreme Perfection Itself. 

" In order that you may understand this sublime truth, 
expressed in a few words, consider My Christ, in whom I am 
well pleased. He annihilated Himself, taking the form of a 
servant, being made in the likeness of man, in order that by 
His example and word, He might lead you back to the way 
of truth, from which you had gone astray so very far, walk- 
ing in tlie greatest darkness of the intellect. He was obedi- 
ent unto death, teaching you by His persevering obedience 
how your salvation depends altogether on your firm resolu- 
tion to do nothing but My will alone. He who carefully 
reflects and meditates upon His life and doctrine, will soon 
come to understand that the summit of perfection consists 
in nothing else than in the uninterrupted, persevering, and 
constant accomplishment of My will. This He has declared 
repeatedly. ' Not every one who says to Me, Lord, Lord, 
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who obeys 
the will of My Father who is in heaven, shall enter into the 
kingdom of heaven.' He means to say that no one, whoso- 
ever he may be, and whatsoever exterior good works he may 
perform for My name's sake, shall be admitted to the glory 
of life everlasting, if he has not performed all according to 
My will. 

" He has said again : * I have come down from heaven not 


to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 
And : ' Not My w^ill, bnt Thine be done.' Xow, if, in imi- 
tation of your Sayiour, you will do My will, in which alone 
your salvation consists, you must necessarily renounce your 
own will in every thing ; you must make it die, as it were, 
having no longer any regard for it. The more you die to 
yourself, the more you endeavor to empty yourself of what 
is your own, the more will I fill you with what is My own. 
But no one will arrive at this perfection unless he constant- 
ly renounces his self-will. He who neglects this, neglects 
also this sublime perfection ; but he who practises it, does 
My will in a perfect manner, and I am well pleased in him. 
I am always near such a one ; for nothing gives Me greater 
pleasure than to be with you and to co-operate with you. 
My delight is to be with the children of men, and to change 
you, by My grace, into Myself, so that you may become one 
with Me, by partaking of My perfections, of My peace, and 
of My joy. But this I will not do unless you so wish; fori 
will never violate the privileges of your free-will. 

"Xow, in order that you may be inflamed with a vehement 
desire of submitting your will most closely to Mine, you 
have but to consider My ardent desire of being with you. 
This you will understand the better, the more deeply you re- 
flect how I have willed that My only-begotten Son should 
assume flesh, that My Divinity, stripping itself, as it were, of 
its majesty, should be united to your humanity, in order 
that, by this inconceivable love of Mine, you might be in- 
duced, drawn, nay, sweetly forced, to unite your will in the 
same manner with Mine, and to remain thus always united 
with Me. 

" Moreover, consider how I have willed that this My Be- 
loved Son should give Himself up to so horrible and cruel a 
death as that of the Cross ; that by His sufferings He should 
cancel your sins, which had separated you so far from Me. 

" Finally, consider how I have prepared for you a precious 
banquet in the most august Sacrament of His own Flesh 


and Blood, in order that, receiving Him you miglit be trans- 
formed into Me ; for as bread and wine which you take be- 
come one with the substance of your body, so you too by 
receiving Him become spiritually changed and transformed 
into Myself, because He is one with Me. 

" It is certain that your perfect welfare depends on your 
perfect renunciation of self; for I will fill you with My 
grace in proportion as you empty yourself of your will. 
This participation in My will effects your perfection by My 
grace, without which you would be totally destitute of all 
virtue and dignity. Now, in order to obtain this grace, you 
must, in profound humility and in deep knowledge of your 
own misery and poverty, ardently desire and strenuously en- 
deavor to obey Me only, and do nothing but My will. In 
order to be enabled to effect this, you must, by means of your 
memory and intellect, build for yourself a cell out of My 
will. You must keep this cell entirely close, remaining 
shut up within it, so that whithersoever you go, you may 
not go out of it; and whithersoever you look, you may not 
look out of it. Eegulate all your affections according to My 
will. Think, speak, and do nothing but what is pleasing to 
Me, and what you know to be in accordance with My will. 
Then the Holy Ghost will teach you everything you have 
to do. 

" There is yet another means by which you may attain to 
a perfect renunciation of your will, viz.: if there are ser- 
vants of Mine who will teach and guide you to do My will, 
submit yourself to them, by giving up into their hands 
your own self and all that is yours, always obeying and fol- 
lowing their advice. You hear Me, if you listen to My wise 
and faithful servants. 

" Moreover, I wish that you should often meditate, with 
an unyielding faith and an elevated mind, upon Me, your 
most glorious God, who created you, in order to make you 
capable of partaking of My own happiness; of the happi- 
ness of the Most High and All-Powerful Being ; who does 


for you everything that I please ; whose will no one can re- 
sist ; without whose will nothing can happen to you, as I 
spoke by the Prophet Amos. Meditate upon Me, your God, 
whose wisdom and knowledge are infinite; wlio see and pen- 
etrate everything at a glance; who cannot be deceived nor 
disturbed by any error; who govern you, and at the same 
time heaven and earth ; because I am God, the All- Wise 

" And in order that you may understand something of the 
effects of this My wisdom, you must know that, from the 
evil of guilt and punishment I can draw a good which sur- 
passes by far the extent of the evil itself. Furthermore, I 
wish that you should meditate upon Me, your God, as being 
most perfect in love and in kindness; whence I cannot will 
anything but what is good, salutary, and profitable to you 
and to others ; for no evil can go out from Me. I hate 
nothing, and, as I have created man through love, so do I 
continue to love him with infinite love. 

" To these truths you must always cling with steadfast 
faith. From a constant meditation upon the same it must 
be clear to you how, under My wise Providence, afflictions, 
temptations, hardships, sickness, and other adversities, are 
permitted to befall you for no other reason than for your 
own good, in order that by them you may be induced to 
amend what is bad in you, and to commence to walk in the 
road of virtue, which leads you to Me, your Supreme Good. 

" If this light of faith shines on you, you will also under- 
stand that I, your God, know better how to promote your 
welfare, and wish more for it, than you yourself; and that 
you, without My grace, w^ould be ignorant of it, unable to 
promote it, nay, even not able to will it. 

" This being true, you must endeavor with your whole 
strength to submit your will to Mine, then peace will always 
reign in your heart, for I will be with you ; because My 
habitation is in peace. There will be no scandal of sin for 
you, that is to say, no occasion of sin ; for great is the peace 


of tliose who loYe My l^ame ; they shall not fall, because 
they love nothing but My law, that is to say. My will; My 
law is that rule according to which all things are directed. 
Their union with Me is so close, and their delight in doing 
My will so great, that, happen whatever may, nothing but 
sin is able to disturb or disquiet them. Their souls being 
totally purified, they see without deception that from Me, 
the Euler of the Universe, Who govern all things with 
wonderful wisdom, charity, and order, nothing but good can 
proceed, and that, consequently, I can take care of both their 
temporal and spiritual welfare far better and with more 
salutary effect than they themselves. 

" Persevering in the consideration that all things which 
happen and which they may endure, proceed from Me and 
not from their neighbor, they feel animated with unconquer- 
able patience, baffling every attack, so that they suffer every- 
thing, not only with a tranquil mind, but also with a cheer- 
ful heart, because in all things, whether exterior or interior, 
they taste the sweetness of My unspeakable love. 

" And this is to give true honor to My goodness, namely, 
to believe and consider with a thankful and cheerful heart, 
in all difficulties and adversities, that I order all things 
sweetly, that everything proceeds from the profound source 
of My love, and that nothing but your own will and self-love 
hinder and destroy the fruit of this consideration and the 
union of your will with Mine. Were you to do away with 
them, there would be no longer any hell for you, cither in 
the world to come, with its perpetual torments of both soul 
and body, or in this world, by continual disquietudes of mind 
and the ever -recurring anxieties of exterior and interior 

"Well, if you wish to live, endeavor to die to this life, 
drowning yourself in the unchangeable life of perpetual 
glory, and doing away with your own self-will. * Blessed 
are the dead that die in the Lord,' and, * Blessed are the poor 
in spirit.' These see Me in mutual loye in their earthly pil- 

448 now TO HEAR MASS. 

grimage, and will see Me in heaven in everlasting bliss and 

These are the lessons which our Lord gave to St. Catherine 
of Sienna, and which He still gives to us at Mass. If we 
assist at it in the proper spirit, like St. Catherine, we shall 
experience in our soul a great desire to become a holocaust 
to tlie Lord, in order to be altogether His as He is altogether 
ours in the Sacrifice of the Mass. It is at this holy Sacrifice 
that He inspires such a desire, and the manner of resolutely 
carrying it out. What is the source of the Catholic charity 
that is so productive of wonders, and so superior to worldly 
philanthropy and to Protestant generosity ? Ask it of all 
those Sisters of Charity of different denominations in the 
Catholic Church — those angels here on earth, who have con- 
secrated themselves and their fortunes to the alleviation of 
human infirmities, to the instruction of the little ones, espe- 
cially of the poor orphans ; ask it of the Catholic missionary 
buried in the midst of trackless deserts and barbarous na- 
tions, and all will answer by pointing to the altar, to the 
holy Sacrifice of th-e Mass. Yes, indeed ; this august Sacri- 
fice is the true source of the wonderful charity of the Catho- 
lic Church. Wherever the belief in, or the participation of 
this great mystery of the Mass ceases, there charity dies out 
and gives place to egotism or philanthropy. Except amongst 
Catholics who often hear Mass, there is no such thing as 
heroic consecration of one's self to the aid of suffering man ; 
no missionary, no true Sisters of Charity. 

The Protestant, the philanthropist, may bestow greater or 
less donations of money, but never will he give himself; his 
religion does not go so far. " I could wish to be like you," 
said a young Protestant lady to some nuns whose assiduous 
attention to the sick excited her admiration, " but I feel full 
well that our religion does not go so far." 

But the devout worshipper at Mass says to himself: My 
Lord and my God, AMio suffered and died for my salvation, 
comes down in person upon the altar to renew for me His 


Passion and Death : in exchange for His heart He asks for 
mine; for His life my life; what can I refuse Him? But 
as He wants nothing for Himself, He yields His rights to the 
poor, to the sick, to the unfortunate, to the ignorant, and to 
the little orphans; they are His brethren ; for them He asks 
me to give my heart and my life. To repay His love I have 
but this means alone ; but He is content with it. And then 
a low, sweet voice is heard in the depths of the soul, a hea- 
venly joy diffuses itself over it, an overpowering impression 
seizes it, and the Catholic, carried off, as it were, by a sweet 
force, makes an offering of himself And here, if God 
wills, is a new missionary, a martyr, a Sister of Charity, a 
servant of the poor, a whole life of devotedness and self-sa- 

Does the fire that consumed the holocaust begin to 
smoulder ? If so, the Catholic knows how to rekindle it at 
the perpetual Sacrifice of the Mass ; he returns to the altar 
where the burning fire of the love of God is kept up. As 
the blood returns from the extremities of the body to the 
heart whence it first set out, to start afresh, heated and puri- 
fied, in order to carry to the members heat and life, in like 
manner does the adorable Sacrifice of the Mass, the focus of 
heat and spiritual life, operate in the moral body of the 
Catholic Church. Yes, it is even here, to this Eucharistic 
Sacrifice, that our best Christians of to-day come to receive 
the riches of their souls and the treasures of their love. 
Here it is that the good soldier learns how to die in defence 
of his country, good parents to sacrifice themselves for the 
temporal and spiritual welfare of their children. Here it is 
that good children learn their filial obedience, respect and 
love to their parents, and good servants their submission to 
their masters in all lawful matters. Here all good Christians 
not only receive the power, but put themselves under the 
obligation of offering to God continual sacrifices — the sac- 
rifice of their passions, their perverse inclinations and evil 
propensities, by self-denial and mortification ; the sacrifice 


of their own will, by submission to the dispensations of 
Providence ; the sacrifice of their pride by humility ; of their 
resentment by charity; of their anger by meekness. "By 
such sacrifices," we may add, in the words of St. Paul, " God's 
favor is obtained." * 

In the life of St. Casimir, son of Casimir, King of Poland, 
we are told that this king spent more of his time in the 
church than in his own palace. His devotion and love to 
Jesus Christ in the most Blessed Sacrament were astonish- 
ingly great and ardent. He used to rise about midnight 
and go barefooted quite alone to the church to adore our 
Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. On leaving he used to kiss 
the door and threshold for love of Jesus Christ, Who dwelt 
in it in His mystery of love. Early in the morning he went 
back to the church to assist at all the Masses which were 
celebrated. During the holy Sacrifice he was so deeply ab- 
sorbed in prayer that he seemed to be beside himself, and 
often forgot to take his meals. One of the great divine fa- 
vors which he obtained at Mass was a wonderful spirit of 
self-sacrifice — a grace which sweetly compelled him to con- 
secrate his virginity to Almighty God, and brought down 
upon him many other choice graces. He died in the odor 
of sanctity at the age of twenty-three, and God glorified His 
.great servant by many miracles which He wrought at his 

Let us, then, celebrate or assist at Mass, daily, if possible, 
in the spirit of sacrifice, and this spirit will make our prayers 
all-powerful ; it will prevail upon the Lord to grant all our 
petitions. "If thou hear the voice of the Lord thy God," f 
or, as Isaias says, "If thou turn away thy foot from doing 
thy own will," | in order to follow Mine, as it is expressed 
in My commandments, in the doctrine of My Son, and thy 
Redeemer, and in thy rules, if thou art a religious ; in the 
precepts of those who keep My place with thee on earth, and 

* Heb. xiii. 16. f Deut. xxx. 10. X Cliap. Iviii. 13. 

now TO HEAR MASS. 451 

in My inspirations, I also will listen to thy voice when thou 
prayest to Me. Hence, Cornelius a Lapide says : " If you 
wish that God should do your will when praying, you 
must first do what He wishes and commands you. If 
you wish that He should turn to you, you must go to meet 
Him; if you desire that He should delight in you, you 
must delight in Him." " Delight in the Lord," says the 
Psalmist, "and He will give thee the requests of thy 
heart." * 

Now who can be said in truth to go and meet the Lord at 
Mass and delight in Him ? He alone who with a cheerful 
heart does the Lord's will. " His petitions " as the royal 
prophet says, " shall be granted." ur Lord said one day 
to St. Gertrude, when she was praying for one of her sisters 
in religion, who wished that God should grant her prayer 
for divine consolations: " It is she herself who puts obstacles 
to the consolations of My grace, by attachment to her own 
will and judgment. As one who closes his nostrils cannot 
enjoy the fragrance of fresh flowers, so the sweet consolations 
of My grace cannot be experienced by him who is attached 
to his own will and judgment." 

The response to our petitions at Mass depends, then, on 
our faithful fulfilment of the will of God. " You ought to 
know, brethren, that God will comply with our wishes in 
prayer only in proportion as we try to comply with His com- 
mandments." f We must not be astonished, therefore, if we 
see or hear how the saints obtained everything from God, 
" He who honoreth his father, ... in the day of his prayer 
he shall be heard." I Those who honor their Heavenly 
Father, perfectly, by an exact compliance with His Divine 
will, He honors by doing their will. 

St. Francis of Assisium would often stop on his journey 
suddenly, as soon as he perceived within himself an interior 
inspiration of God, and giving it all his attention, he would 

* Psalm xxxvi. 4. f St. Aug. vol. x., Serin. 61. | Eccles. iii. 6. 


say : ^' Speak, Lord, for Thy servant hearetli ! " He would 
stop as long as the inspiration lasted, listening to it in all 
humility, and promptly executing whatever our Lord would 
inspire him to do. For this reason did he become so great 
and powerful with God. One day as he was praying in 
these words, "Lord, have compassion on poor sinners," 
Jesus Christ appeared to him, saying : " Francis, thy will 
is one with Mine; I am therefore ready to grant all thy 

Thus, Cornelius a Lapide exclaims: "Oh, how powerful 
should we be with God, were we always ready to lend a 
ready ear and an obedient heart to His voice ! " Like St. 
Dominic, we would experience that there is nothing that 
could not be obtained by prayer. Indeed, so good is our 
Lord to those who do His will perfectly, that He not only 
grants their prayers, but even anticipates them. Tauler re- 
lates of a pious virgin, whose spiritual director he was, that 
many people used to come and recommend their affairs to 
her prayers. She always promised to pray for them, but 
often forgot to do so. Nevertheless, the wishes of those who 
had recommended themselves to her were fulfilled. These 
persons then came and thanked her, feeling persuaded that 
through her prayers God had helped them. The pious vir- 
gin blushed, and confessed that although she had intended 
to pray for them, she had forgotten to do so. Wishing to 
know the reason why our Lord blessed all those who recom- 
mended themselves to her prayers, she said to Him : " Why, 

Lord, is it that Thou dost bless all those who recommend 
themselves to my prayers, even though I do forget to pray 
for them ? " Our Lord answered her : " My daughter, from 
that very day on which you gave up your will, in order 
always to do Mine, I gave up Mine to do yours, wherefore 

1 even comply with the pious intentions which you forget to 
carry out."* Thus is verified what the Lord promised by 

* Serm, I. De Circumsia 


the prophet Isaias :* " And it shall come to pass that before 
they call I will hear." 

Would that all Christians would understand what has 
been said in this chapter, and practise faithfully the lesson 
inculcated ! How happy would they make themselves, and 
thousands of their fellow-men ! 

*Chap. Ixv. 24. 



Some persons are under the impression that it is impossi- 
ble to reap more advantage from many Masses heard at once, 
than from a single Mass. This is a mistake. That two or 
more Masses may be heard at the same time, when they are 
obligatory, or in accordance with a vow, or enjoined as a 
penance, is not true. But a person may profit as much by as- 
sisting at several Masses simultaneously, as if he assisted 
at each singly. 

In a previous chapter, we saw the obligation every priest 
is under, of praying and of sacrificing the unbloody Victim 
in behalf of the faithful present. Take the case, then, of one 
priest at the altar: he is in- duty bound to pray for every in- 
dividual in the church. Increase the number of priests cele- 
brating at the same moment to two, three, five, or any num- 
ber possible, the whole body unite in recommending each in- 
dividual to God, and thus, their combined mementoes are 
certainly more powerful than that of a single priest. 

It has also been remarked elsewhere that the angels are 
very busy in bearing up to heaven the petitions of all the 
faithful present at the august mysteries. Accordingly, the 
greater the number of Masses offered up at the same moment 
and in the same church the more numerous the holy angels 
hovering about the altars, and bearing the requests made on 
their airy wings to the throne of the Most High. 

The spotless Lamb Himself offers His atoning Blood, 
not only for the welftire of His Church at large, but in a 
most special manner for those assisting at the divine Sacri- 
6ce then and there. Their wants, their necessities, their pe- 


titions, are the peculiar objects of His solicitude in every 
Mass. For Christ, having died for all, laid down His life for 
every one in particular ; according to the words of St. Paul 
— " Christ, having loved me, laid down His life for me." * 
In like manner, every Mass, which is the unbloody renewal 
of that great Sacrifice on Calvary, may be said to be offered for 
each one in particular, since Christ interposes His mediation 
and pours out mystically His Blood for every individual 
present. This happens at every Mass. Supposing, then, more 
Masses than one going on at the same time in our presence, 
the prayers of Christ multiply in our behalf in proportion, 
whilst innumerable blessings, graces, and spiritual treasures 
of every kind are showered down upon us. 

It is hardly necessary to add that one must be in a state of 
grace in order to be enriched with so many gifts and treas- 
ures. It is well, then, to endeavor to assist at as many Masses 
as possible, and never to make light of the multitude of bless- 
ings, both spiritual and temporal, which roll in one united 
stream from as many altars as the unspotted Lamb is immo- 
lated on simultaneously. In order to hear several Masses at 
the same time, something more is required than a mere re- 
commendation in all that are being, or are about to be, said. 
He who so desires must contribute to each Sacrifice by means 
of prayer; must adore Jesus Christ really present ; must offer 
Him up as a sacrifice of propitiation, and have the hearty 
desire of hearing all the Masses. If a priest approaches the 
altar, he must say to himself: I purpose to hear this Mass 
too, and I offer it up to God in advance. He must renew the 
intention as often as another priest begins the divine myste- 
ries. If upon entering the church, he perceives a priest just 
at the Introit, he must not forget to make the proper inten- 
tion. Up to the moment of Consecration, he may occupy 
himself with reciting prayers from his book, telling his beads, 
or, if he belong to some confraternity, saying the prayers 

Gal. ii. 


appointed for its members will be very suitable. At the mO' 
ment of the Consecration, it is well to close the book and 
make an act of lively faith in the Keal Presence : to pros- 
trate one's self in spirit before the Lord, as the priest elevates 
the Sacred Host. Arouse your faith anew, at the Consecra- 
tion of the Chalice, uniting in all the fervor of your soul 
with the breathless host of angels who surround the spotless 
Lamb. Excite acts of love, adoration, and thanksgiving, 
till you see another priest about to consecrate. Bow down 
again in respectful awe during the Elevation, repeating at 
the same time the prayer of adoration. Thus do briefly at 
each succeeding Mass ; and then signal advantages will ac- 
crue from each Mass, to say nothing of the abundant merits 
thus laid up in heaven. 

But it may be objected ; " Suppose I am to recite the prayer 
for the Elevation at every Mass, I should have no leisure for 
the other prayers, not even for my daily devotions." Let 
the objector weigh well the moral contained in the following 
parable, which bears directly on this point : A vine-dresser 
went forth into his vineyard to till the soil. He had struck 
but a few blows, when he hit upon a treasure. Overjoyed at 
his good fortune, he hastened home, carefully stowed away 
the sparkling gems and glittering coins, and returned to his 
work. To his unbounded delight another heap of wealth 
met his gaze after a short time. He quickly secured the prize, 
laid it up safely with the first, and betook himself again to 
his task in high glee. It was not long before he struck upon 
a third treasure. He hastened to gather up the precious 
diamonds, hurried home, and related his good fortune to his 
wife. " Say rather," rejoined his wife, " that a great misfor- 
tune has befallen us. Because, if you spend your time in car- 
rying home treasures, our vineyard must remain untilled this 
year, and we shall have no grapes." " "Would," exclaimed her 
husband, " that I could find such heaps of gold all day long : 
depend upon it, I would not put a hoe into our vineyard. 
For one of these treasures is worth ten abundant harvests." 


Apply the parable to your case, devout soul, and rest as- 
sured that the adyantages to be derived from all other pray- 
ers combined cannot be compared with the golden fruit 
which one reaps from the renewed act of adoration and the 
repeated recital of the proper prayer at the Consecration. 
If on entering the church, the Priest is at the Pater Noster, 
Agnus Dei, or even on the point of receiving, the usual 
prayer of Consecration, if said at once, will draw down a 
considerable share of merit as a reward. 

When two priests consecrate at the same moment, pro- 
nounce the prayer but once, adoring your Lord on both al- 
tars at the same time. Nor is it necessary to see the priest ; 
the signal given with the little bell is quite sufficient to di- 
rect the thoughts to the altar. More is not required. And 
even suppose one not hearing the signal should miss the 
precious moment — still no loss would be incurred, provided 
one had the intention at the beginning to hear all the Masses 
likely to be celebrated at the same hour. If, on leaving the 
church, you perceive a priest about to consecrate, tarry a 
moment to assist at the Elevation of the Body and Blood of 
Jesus Christ. 

It is related in the life of St. Elizabeth, Queen of Por- 
tugal, that she was extremely charitable to the poor. She 
had ordered her almoner never to refuse charity to any one, 
but, over and above, she also gave continual alms by her 
own hands or those of her domestics. She usually em- 
ployed for that purpose a young page named Pedro, in 
whom she had discovered great piety. Another page, 
whether through envy of him or to ingratiate himself witli 
King Denis, husband of St. Elizabeth, accused Pedro of 
having a secret understanding with the queen. Although 
the king did not absolutely give credence to this story, still, 
as he was already somewhat displeased with his wife, a sus- 
picion entered his mind, and he resolved to get rid of the 
page. The means adoprted for that purpose were rather ex- 
traordinary. Passing one day by a kiln where men were 


458 now TO hear several 

baking lime, lie sent for the people whose business it was to 
keep up the fire, and told them that, on the following morn- 
ing, he would send a page to ask them if they had executed 
his orders, and uhat they must not fail, as soon as he uttered 
those words, to throw him immediately into the fire. There- 
upon he returned to his palace, sent for the suspected page, 
and ordered him to go next morning early to deliver the 
message in question. But God, who always takes care of 
His own, ordained it so that as he passed by a church on his 
way to the limekiln, he heard the bell which announced the 
Elevation of the Host at Mass. Piety having induced him 
to enter the church, he heard the rest of that Mass, and two 
others that were said in succession. Meanwhile King Denis, 
impatient to know if he had been obeyed, chanced to meet 
in his ante-chamber the wicked page who had accused the 
queen, and commanded him to go in haste and ask the men 
at the limekiln if they had done as he ordered. The page 
WTut thither Avithout a moment's delay, and delivered his 
message ; but no sooner did they hear what he said, than, 
taking him for the one of whom the king had spoken, they 
seized him and threw him into the fire. The other, who by 
this time had finished his devotions, went on his errand, and 
being informed that the king's orders had been obeyed, re- 
' turned to Denis with the answer. Imagine the king's 
amazement when he saw that things had turned out so dif- 
ferently from what he expected. He asked Pedro where he 
had stopped so long. The page answered unsuspectingly : 
"Prince, as I passed by a church, on my way to the place 
w^here your majesty had sent me, I heard the bell for the 
Elevation and was induced to go in ; I remained till the end 
of the Mass. But just as it was finishing another was com- 
menced, and then a third before the other was finished, and 
I heard them all, because my father, in giving me his last 
blessing before he died, told me, above all things, to hear to 
the end of every Mass I saw commenced." Then the king, 
entering into himself, easily understood that it was owing to 

MASSES AT O^s'CE. 459 

the three Masses that his faithful servant had escaped his 
doom. He adored the divine Providence, and banished from 
his mind all the injnrious suspicions he had conceived 
against his wife, whom lie venerated ever after as a saint.* 

Not a few eminent theologians maintain that to recom- 
mend one's self at the moment all Masses begin is to share 
largely in their merits. Others, on the contrary, withoat 
blaming these recommendations or stripping them of merit 
in the sight of God, deny openly that any one can partici- 
pate in this way in the merits of such Masses as are cele- 
brated elsewhere, because he does not contribute anything 
towards the Sacrifice. For, they say, allowing the contrary 
opinion to prevail, it would be no longer necessary to go to 
Mass on ordinary days, the mere intention to hear Mass suf- 
ficing. Nevertheless, it must be granted that, when assist- 
ing at one Mass, if a person feels a fervent desire and makes 
an earnest intention to hear all the Masses going on at that 
hour elsewhere, he is surely entitled to a share in their 
merit. For we do what lies in our power and would gladly 
do more if we could. We would fain, were it possible, mul- 
tiply ourselves, in order to be present everywhere in body 
where we can only assist in spirit. God is content with our 
good will, when the execution of our praiseworthy desires is 
out of the question. Our Lord said as much to St. Gertrude.f 

What consolation does this thought afford! In one hour 
not less than fifty thousand Masses are offered up through- 
out Christendom, and we have free access to their overflow- 
ing merits. This practice should be especially dear to re- 
ligious who have no leisure to assist at many Masses. Secu- 
lars, too, who are prevented by domestic duties from being 
present at more than one, should profit by their short hour 
and multiply it diligently. It cannot be denied, further, 
that the practice of many pious Christians, who are deprived 
of the holy Sacrifice entirely, either by distance of place, 

* Life of St. Elizabeth of Portugal. f Life, iv. c. 15. 


sickness, or other impediments — the laudable custom of go- 
ing through the prayers of Mass with zeal is beyond doubt 
very meritorious, their merit will not be much less than that 
which they would acquire were they really present. God 
exacts nothing unreasonable of us, but He expects us to 
show ourselves in earnest, and then He is ready to supply 
our shortcomings. If such be the case, if I can hear all the 
Masses celebrated throughout the world during the half 
hour I am in church, why not make the intention to assist 
at all the Masses to be said that day, or even during the rest 
of my life, asks some one. This opinion is not condemned, 
neither does it appear extravagant; still it cannot be more 
than probable, and as such it may be maintained. For my 
part, I affirm that one has no claim to the merits of any 
Mass other than that he really assists at, or offers up. But 
a man cannot be supposed to assist at all the Masses which 
will be offered up during the day, or even during his lifetime. 
He may, indeed, desire to hear every Mass even till the day^ 
of judgment, still such a desire is necessarily vague, and 
affords little or no room for its fulfilment. The case is far 
different if we confine ourselves to the Masses said during 
the time we are present at the holy Sacrifice. For then our 
prayers are not limited to the particular Mass at which we 
assist, but are extended so as to embrace, as it were, all the 
Masses going on at the same moment. We place ourselves 
at the foot of every altar and unite our glowing intentions 
with those of every priest. By our intention we invoke 
grace from on high for the minister of Christ that he may 
offer worthily; we pay Christ supreme homage on every 
altar, imploring blessings for ourselves and for our neigh- 
bors. Hence arises our claim to a share in all these merits ; 
we have done our best, we have contributed our mite. God 
requires no more. 

In conclusion may be added the beautiful sentiments of 
P. Marianus Schott.* " You ought to rejoice," he says, 

* Vide " Fundamentum Perfectionis," Tract. 2. cap. 6. 12- 


" when a priest promises to remember yon in his Mass ; in- 
deed you should frequently ask this favor yourself, for thus 
you share largely in the merit of their Masses and unlock 
for yourself the treasury of Christ. As I said before, when 
you would heartily wish to hear Mass and find it impossible, 
remember that God is satisfied with the sincere desire of 
your heart. And, what is more, suppose you would like to 
assist at Mass some morning at Jerusalem or Loretto, recol- 
lect that you are enabled to do so any time by assisting in 
thought at the Mass celebrated there. It is even likely that 
3^ou will derive more profit in this way, than another who is 
really present but distracted. Certainly they who are pres- 
ent usually receive the largest share of spiritual gifts, still 
his merit is double who assists in spirit only because holy 
obedience so disposed." 

Were I to rejoice in all the sins that are being committed 
at the time I hear Mass, or even during the day ; nay, were 
I to desire to share in them actually, I would, no doubt, be- 
come accessory to them all, and God would without fail pun- 
ish me accordingly. But God, by reason of His infinite 
goodness, is far more inclined to reward me for good inten- 
tions and hear my holy desires than He is to punish me for 
wicked ones. If I have the sincere intention and real desire 
to share in all the Masses that are going on at the time I am 
hearing Mass, nay, that are being said during the whole day, 
or to share particularly in those Masses which are being said 
in certain sanctuaries of our Lord or the Blessed Virgin, 
why should God not let me share in tliem to a certain de- 
gree, and thus reward me for my good desires and inten- 
tions ? It is therefore a very laudable practice for all pious 
Christians to make, in the morning, the good intention of 
sharing in all the Masses of the day. 



Feom the title — the Dignity and Sanctity of the Mass — the 
reader must not expect an adequate description of the in- 
finite excellence of this holy Sacrifice. If the subject were 
the sacrifices of the Old Law, it would not be so difficult to 
place before the mind a high idea of their excellence. Mere- 
ly to call to mind the great pleasure which God took in the 
sacrifices of animals— a pleasure which He so wonderfully 
manifested in sending fire from heaven to consume the 
victims, and in rendering His Presence visible by a bright 
cloud which filled the entire temple of Jerusalem with the 
glory of heaven and by its dazzling brilliancy obliged the 
people to prostrate themselves with their faces to the earth — 
might suffice. But the Lord, Who instituted those sacrifices, 
and manifested great pleasure in them for a certain number 
of years, abolished them also, as we have seen, and in their 
stead instituted the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which they 
only foreshadowed — a sacrifice of such great dignity and 
sanctity, that it is not within the range of mortal mind to 
comprehend and describe its infinite excellence. 

The holy Sacrifice of the Mass is one of those works greater 
than which the omnipotence of God cannot produce. St. 
Thomas Aquinas asks whether God could make works still 
greater than those already created, and he answers, yes. He 
can, except three — the Incarnation of the Son of God, the ma- 
ternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the everlasting 
beatitude of the saints in heaven. In other words, God can 
create numberless worlds, all different one from another in 
beauty, but He cannot make anything greater than the In- 
carnation of Christ, the maternity of the Blessed Virgin, and 


the happiness of the Blessed in heaven. Bat why can He 
not ? Because God Himself is concerned in, and most inti- 
mately united to each of these works, and is their object. 
*' HcBc tria Beum involvunt et. 'pro objecto liabent,'' says St. 

Now, as there is nothing greater than God, so there cannot 
be a work greater than any of these, wdth which His Divin- 
ity is so intimately united. As there can be no greater 
happiness than the beatific vision and enjoyment and posses- 
sion of God in heaven, where the soul is as it were trans- 
formed into God, and most inseparably united to His nature, 
and as there can be no mother made more perfect than the 
Mother of God, so also there can be no man more perfect 
than Christ, because He is the Man-God. These three works 
are, in a certain sense, of infinite dignity on account of being 
so intimately united to God, the infinite Good. 

But in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass it is the Son of God 
incarnate, Jesus Christ Himself, Who is at once our High 
Priest and Victim. And thus, in order to form an adequate 
idea of the dignity and sanctity of the Mass, it would be ne- 
cessary for us to be able to form an adequate idea of the 
Victim that is there offered, of the sanctity of the High. 
Priest who offers it, to measure the depth and the height of 
the mysteries of our Lord's Life, Passion, and Death, w^hiclx 
are here represented, continued, and renewed. But this is 
simply an impossibility. In order to compass the idea of 
the dignity and sanctity of Jesus Christ, our High Priest 
and Victim at Mass, it would be necessary to comprehend 
the greatness of His Godhead. But what mind of man or 
angel can conceive the greatness of the Divinity of Jesus 
Christ, which is indeed infinite ? To say that His Godhead 
is greater than the heavens, than all kings, all saints, all 
angels, is to fall infinitely below it. Jesus Christ, as God, is 
greatness itself, and the sum of our conception of greatness 
is but the smallest atom of the greatness of His Godhead. 
David, contemplating the divine greatness, and, seeing that 


lie could not and never would be able to comprehend it, 
could only exclaim " Lord, who is like unto Thee !" * 
Lord, what greatness shall ever be found like to thine ? And 
how in truth could David understand it, since his under- 
standing was finite and the greatness of Jesus is infinite ? 
*' Great is the Lord, and of His greatness there is no end." f 
To form some idea of God's greatness, let us remember that 
although this world of ours is only one of a vast system of 
planets, yet it is twenty-seven thousand miles in circumfer- 
ence, and it would take two years and a half to traverse it 
completely at the rate of thirty miles a day. 

The sun being nearly three millions of miles in circum- 
ference, could not be traversed at the same rate of speed in 
less than two hundred and seventy-four years ; yet this sun, 
so immeasurably greater than our universe, is supposed to 
be immeasurably less than certain of the fixed stars. Let us 
reflect again that the sun is distant from us at least ninety- 
five millions of miles. It is impossible to conceive in the 
mind so vast a space. Yet there are planets twenty times 
farther removed from us than the sun, and even their dis- 
tance is nothing, humanly speaking, in comparison with 
that of the fixed stars. The light of some of those stars, ac 
cording to the opinion of astronomers, has not yet reached 
us, althougli it has been travelling towards us at the rate of 
twelve millions of miles a minute since the creation of the 
w^orld. And each of those stars is the centre of a planetary 
system vastly greater than our OAvn. 

Now, what are those millions of worlds that bewilder cal- 
culation or even conception when compared to God, their 
wonderful Maker ! " Do I not fill heaven and earth, saith 
the Lord." I Thus, all of us, according to our mode of under- 
standing, are nothing but so many miserable atoms existing 
in this immense ocean of the essence of the Godhead. " In 
Him we live, move, and be." § 

All men, all the monarchs of the earth, and even all the 

* Ps. xxsiv. 10. f Ps. cxliv. 3. X Jerem. xxiii. 24. § Acts xvii.. 28. 


saints and angels of heaven, confronted with the infinite 
greatness of Jesus Christ, are like or even smaller than a 
grain of sand in comparison with the earth. "Behold," 
says the projDhet Isaias, "the Gentiles are as a drop of a 
bucket, and are counted as the smallest grain of a balance; 
behold, the islands are as little dust. All nations are before 
Him as if they had no being at all." * 

It is an utter impossibility for any human or angelic un- 
derstanding to conceive an adequate idea of the Mass. 
All we can say is that its dignity and sanctity are infinite. 
Indeed, in this sacrifice there is nothing to be seen but 
the Infinite; the Priest is God, and the Victim is God. For 
this reason, "All the good works together "as the saintly 
Cure of Ars says, "are not of equal value with the Sacrifice 
of the Mass, because they are the w^orks of men, and 
the holy Mass is the work of God. Martyrdom is nothing 
in comparison ; it is the sacrifice that man makes of his life 
to God ; but the holy Mass is the sacrifice that God makes 
of His Body and Blood for man." So sublime is this sacri- 
fice that in order to establish it, our Lord Jesus Christ had 
to die. To redeem the world it was not necessary that He 
should die. A single drop of His sacred Blood, a single 
tear, a single prayer of His would have sufficed for that pur- 
pose ; but to leave to His holy religion a fitting sacrifice, a 
victim pure, undefiled, worthy of God, He had to die, as in 
the whole Universe not any victim nor High Priest could be 
found of equal worth with Himself. 

Hence the inestimable dignity and sanctity of this Sacri- 
fice are such that it can only be offered to God; for though 
it is customary to say Mass in honor of the saints, yet it is 
not to the saints that this sacrifice is offered. The priest 
says not, I ofi'er to you, St. Peter, or I ofier to you, St. Paul; 
but, I offer to Thee, Lord, rendering thanks to God for 
those crowns and victories which the saints have obtained by 
the assistance of His grace, and begging their protection, that 

* Isaias xl. 15, 17. 


those -whose memory we celebrate on earth may vouchsafe to 
intercede for us in lieaven. 

Awful, indeed, are the mysteries of the altar. "Fearful 
and most awful," exclaims St. John Chrysostom when speak- 
ing on tlie dignity and sanctity of the Mass, " w^ere the things 
that were before the times of grace; but if one inquire into 
those that are tinder the times of grace, he will find those 
fearful and awful things under the Old Law trifling indeed. 
Imagine with me Elias before thine eyes, and a countless 
crowd surrounding him, and the sacrifice lying on the stones 
and the prophet alone in prayer, whilst all the rest are in 
profound silence; then of a sudden the flame of fire cast 
down from heaven upon the sacred victim. These things 
are admirable and wonderful. 

"^Then pass thence to the things now consummated on our 
altars, and thou wilt not only see things wonderful, but that 
surpass all wonder." For " when the moment of consecra- 
tion is arriving," says St. James the Apostle in his Litui-gy 
of the Mass, "every one should be silent, and trembling 
with reverential awe ; he should forget everything earthly, 
remembering that the King of kings and the Lord of lords 
is coming down upon the altar as a Victim to be offered to 
God the Father and as food to be given to the faithful ; He 
is p^'eceded by the angelic choirs, in full splendor, with 
their faces veiled, singing hymns of praise with great joy." 
"Then it is," says St. John Chrj^sostom, " that a fountain is 
opened which sends forth spiritual rivers — a fountain round 
which the angels take their stand, looking into the beauty 
of its streams, since they more clearly see into the power and 
sanctity of the things that lie to open view, and their inac- 
oessible splendors." 

This mysterious fountain is tlie paradise of the true 
Christian ; it is his life, his happiness, his rapture ; the cen- 
tre of his religion, the heart of devotion, and the soul of 
piety. From this mysterious fountain gush forth upon the 
entire Church torrents of benediction, life, and abundaace. 


It is this fountain to which the martyrs came to inlUime 
their charity, the doctors to draw thence science and liglit, 
and the anchorites tlieir life of contemplation and love. lb 
is to this fountain that the king comes from his throne, the 
beggar from his hovel, the professor from his study, the sim- 
ple peasant from his labor, the merchant from his store, the 
mechanic from his work-shop, the soldier from tlie tented 
field, and the mariner from the billowy sea: all, all draw 
from this ever-flowing fountain of spiritual riches in propor- 
tion to the measure of their faith, confidence, fervor, and de- 
votion. To this fountain of healing water the poor walk 
free and favored as in presence of nature ; they can approach 
it as near as kings, and can enjoy equally with the pomp 
and glory of nobility, the splendor and loveliness of the altar 
of God ; here ends the land of malediction. No more of its 
restrictions, of its conventional barriers, of its miscalled 
social forms ; here the ceremonies of the secular court would 
be a profanation. No one marshals you, no one heeds you ; 
here you may kneel and weep in secret, or lie prostrate before 
the Good Shepherd and the Lamb of God in the Blessed 
Sacrament; here each sun that rises will find you more con- 
soled, with healthier looks, less pale; here the workings of 
an uneasy conscience arc sanctified, or rather, here it is that 
you find time and opportunity for reconciliation with God. 

Here the poor sinner is assisted to enter u})on the way of 
salvation ; here he is supplied with that living water, of 
which those who drink shall never more feel thirst; here 
God is your Father; the angels and saints your friends ; 
here you find what is most sublime in nature, most beauti- 
ful in the whole universe. Here you can feed yourself, soli- 
tary and unobserved by any eyes save those of your angel 
guardian who watches over you; here, before the Sacramen- 
tal Presence, you behold your one, ancient, and ever-con- 
stant friend — the friend of your childhood, the friend of 
your youth, your friend for eternity. Oh ! how mysterious 
and solemn a thing is it thus to be as a disembodied spirit, 


as it were, in the presence of the Lord of Lords, thirsting 
after justice and the streams of a happier world! 

Since the opening of this fountain — the institution of the 
Mass — Paradise blooms again, the heavens wax purple, the 
angels shine in white, and men are exhilarated. This sub- 
lime and profound mystery which scandalizes the obstinate 
unbelievers, and arouses the pride of Protestants, is never- 
theless that which renews the face of the earth, satisties the 
justice of God, redeems man unto salvation, opens heaven, 
sanctifies the world, and disarms hell. It is this mystery 
which has engendered a more holy religion, a more spiritual 
worship, and a purer virtue, because it is more interior ; 
from it springs the most efficacious Sacrament, more abun- 
dant graces, more sublime ceremonies, more perfect laws ; it 
is that which is substituted for the more ancient alliance 
founded upon servile fear, the tender adoption of men as 
children of God. This mystery is the striking manifesta- 
tion of all the truths, and the censure of all errors ; all vices 
find their condemnation therein, all virtues their principle, 
all merits their recompense; it is, in short, the foundation of 
faith, the support of hope, and the most powerful motive for 
the love of God. 

Prom this mystery proceeds the instruction of the igno- 
rant, the science of doctors, the efficacy of preaching, the 
courage of martyrs. It restores those who are overcome 
with fatigue ; it gives strength to the weak, purifies those 
who are defiled, enriches the poor, grants liberty to cap- 
tives, health to the sick, and life to the dead. It is a power- 
ful defence for those assailed by temptation ; it gives 
consolation to the afflicted, and hope to those who hoped no 
longer. It is in this mystery that sinners obtain pardon, the 
cowardly encouragement, and the indifi'erent fervor. Through 
this mystery the saints attain perfection, the just perse- 
verance, and the elect their crown. 

This mystery of the Mass is truly called the Pasch, or 
transitusy that is, the passage. What is this transit ? Whence 


and whither is this passage ? Who is it that passes ? Whence 
and whither does He pass ? Christ our Lord passed from 
this world to the Father, from death to life, from shame to 
glory, from^ervitude to a kingdom, from insults to honor, 
from the floods of the world to the port of heaven, from be- 
ing between tw^o thieves to the throne of His Father. 

We, too, have passed ; for Christ is our Pasch, our passage 
— Christ is immolated. Whither then have we passed ? 
From what distance ? From twofold perdition to twofold 
salvation of body and of soul, from the devil to God, from 
an enemy to our Father, from a tyrant who is neither God 
nor man, to our king who is both God and man. We have 
passed from darkness to light, from weariness to rest, from 
lamentations to canticles of joy, from nakedness to clothing, 
from poverty to opulence, from guilt to grace, from pain to 
glory. The holy Mass is tlie Sun of Christianity, and the 
summary of all that is grand and magnificent and most pro- 
digious, both in the triumphant and in the militant church 
of God. The angels almost envy us this divine Sacrifice. 
Protestants and infidels may say with a sneer that it is the 
pomp and glitter of our ceremonies and altars. that draw 
the faithful to the church. Not so. Our fickle nature can- 
not be charmed long by such transitory things. Our al- 
tars indeed we adorn, we decorate our churches, we embel- 
lish the priestly vestments, we display the gorgeous ceremo- 
nies of the church, but not to attract the people. Simply 
because our Lord Jesus Christ is present there — our Saviour 
and our God, surrounded by countless myriads of angels. 
This is the grand source of the magnificence of our archi- 
tecture, the gorgeousness of our vestments, the diversity of 
our ornaments, the sound of our organs, the religious har- 
mony of our voices, and the grandeur and order of all our 
ceremonies, both in the consecration and dedication of our 
churches and in the solemn celebration of the Mass. 

This is the reason why we adorn ourselves with our gayest 
uttire, why we rifle the gardens of their sweetest and choicest 


flowers to decorate our altars, and scatter tliem in lavish 
profusion before the feet of our sacramental King. This is 
the reason why our sacred altars glitter and sparkle with 
cheerful lights, while clouds of sweet-smelling license float 
up and around the sacred Victim. This is also the very 
reason why we read in the Apostolic Constitutions : " Let 
some of the deacons walk about in the church, and watch 
the men and the women, that no noise be made, that no one 
nod, or whisper, or slumber; and let the deacons stand at 
the doors of the men, and the sub-deacons at the doors of the 
women, that no one go out, nor a door be opened, although 
it be for one of the faithful, at the time of the oUatloii" * 

This, again, is the reason why the primitive Christians 
never entered the churches without washing their hands and 
putting on their cleanest apparel; why kings, on entering 
the same, took ofi" their crowns; why in some countries it 
was even the custom to bare the feet at the threshold; and 
why the very doors of many churches, as at the four Basili- 
cas of Rome, are literally worn down with the kisses of the 

Again, it is precisely on account of the infinite Dignity of 
Jesus Christ, Our High Priest, and the unspeakable Sanctity 
of the Lamb of God, Our Victim at Mass, that the Fathers 
of the Church denounce so severely all those students who 
become priests from worldly motives ; that they so unmerci- 
fully condemn the hasty and inconsiderate ordination of 
priests, asking, " Who is he that thus fashions, as if it were 
an ephemeral thing of clay. Truth's guardian, him that shall 
take his stand with angels, that shall give glory with arch- 
angels, and that shall send up the sacrifice to the altar on 
high, that shall share in the priestly oftice together with 
Christ, and, to say something greater still, shall be a God 
and the maker of a God." 

The Church, during eleven centuries, excluded from this 

* Lib. viii. c. 13. 


holy state eiery one who had committed eyen one mortal sin 
after baptism ; and if any one, after having received Holy 
Orders, fell into a mortal sin, he was deposed forever from 
his sacred office, for the simple reason that he who is not 
holy should not touch what is holy. 

This severe discipline of the Church, it is true, has been 
greatly mitigated ; but it has always been required that he 
who in his past life had become guilty of grievous sius, and 
desired to receive Holy Orders, should first lead a pure life 
for some time previous to his ordination. It would certainly 
be a mortal sin to receive any of the Holy Orders while still 
addicted to a sinful habit. '- If I consider your vocation," 
says St. Bernard, " I am seized with horror, especially if I 
see that no true penance has preceded your ordination." 

And should a priest know himself to be in a state of utter 
nnworthiness to say Mass, the Church obliges him, under 
pain of mortal sin, to go to confession previous to the cele- 
bration of the holy Sacrifice, for " Thou dost not dare," says 
St. John Chrysostom, " to touch with unwashed hands the 
sacred Sacrifice, however great the necessity that urges thee ; 
approach not, therefore, with an unwashed soul." 

" He who is to act as priest," says the same Father of the 
Church, " must needs be as pure as though he stood in 
heaven itself, in the midst of those heavenly powers." 

No wonder that many saints would never consent to re- 
ceive Holy Orders. To escape Ordination, St. Ephrem 
feigned derangement of mind; St. Mark cut off his thumb, 
St. Aramonis his ears and nose, and when the people still 
insisted upon his being ordained priest, he threatened to cut 
out even his tongue. 

St. Francis of Assifeium once beheld, in a vision, a crystal 
vase filled with most limpid water. God revealed to him 
that the soul of a priest must be as pure as this crystal vase. 
This vision made such a deep impression upon him, that he 
could never afterwards be prevailed upon to accept the dig- 
nity of the priesthood. 


The Abbot Theodore had received the Order of Deacon. 
One day he beheld a fiery column, and heard, at the same 
time, a voice saying : " If thy heart be as fiery as this colnmn, 
thou mayest exercise the functions of thy sacred Order." 
He would never afterwards consent to exercise the sacred 
functions of his office. Every one, even the most wicked 
man, feels naturally that the candidate for the priesthood 
should be holy ; the least fiiult in him is considered un- 

No wonder, then, if we read in the lives of holy priests 
that they were so careful to prepare themselves in the best 
manner possible for the celebration of the tremendous Sac- 
rifice of the Mass, and on that account were often visited 
with most extraordinary favors during the oblation of the 
sacred mysteries. St. Leonard of Port Maurice said Mass 
every day. He prepared himself for this tremendous Sac- 
rifice by confessing twice in the day. He never approached 
the altar without being girt with hair-cloth, and having 
first ofiered thirty- three times to the Eternal Father the most 
sacred Blood of Jesus Christ, praying Him to grant, by 
virtue of His Sacrifice, that his heart might be always pure 
and clean, free from every stain of sin. In going to the altar, 
he pictured to his mind the awful scene of Calvary, and saw 
with the eye of faith the Holy Trinity, surrounded by angels 
and saints, ready to receive the sacrifice he was abo ut to 
offer. His deportment was that of a man raised above the 
world, recollected and absorbed in contemplating his God. 
If sometimes he was told that he was a Ions: time in cele- 
brating Mass, he used to reply : " Do you not know that my 
greatest consolation is to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice, and 
my great sorrow is to see some priests celebrate it with 
so much haste. If all had a lively faith, they would be 
unwilling to leave the altar." In fact, so strong was his 
faith, that he found his greatest delight in offering the 
Divine Son to the Eternal Father, especially in the conse- 
cration, when he appeared quite inflamed with love and 


joy, and during the whole time of Mass he seemed in an 

The great and famous Archbishop of Cologne, St. Herbert, 
^vas touched with such devotion in saying Mass, that his 
face, which bore habitually marks of the virtues with which 
his. holy soul was adorned, became then so luminous and 
resplendent, that he seemed an angel rather than a man. 

What were the transports and sentiments of St. Lawrence 
Justinian ? His body became, as it were, immovable, and 
had only suflBcient motion to serve his soul, which was 
totally taken up with this most sublime action ; his face 
shone with angelic modesty, his eyes distilled tears, and his 
mind was transported by the force of his ravishments. 

John of Alvernia, whilst one day saying Mass, was so 
wrapt in a divine and ineffable sense of God, that he was 
hardly able to proceed. After he had pronounced the words 
of consecration, he became, as it were, unconscious of him- 
self, being wholly lost in the divinity of the mysteries which 
he was performing. 

The Abbot Euthymius used to tell in private conversation 
that often, while saying Mass, he saw troops of angels who 
stood around. 

We read of St. Thomas Aquinas that, in saying Mass, he 
seemed to be in raptures, often quite dissolved in tears, and 
melting with love in contemplation of the immense charity 
of Jesus Christ. 

Severus relates that while St. Martin was saying Mass, a 
fiery globe used to appear above his head. 

St. Euthenius used to see a great fire and light coming 
down from heaven, and enveloping him and his assistant to 
the end of the holy Sacrifice.! In the same manner the Holy 
Ghost came upon St. Anastasius, and surrounded him in the 
form of a fiery flame whilst celebrating the sacred Mys- 
teries. J 

* His Life, f His Life, by H. Cyrillus. t His Life, by St. Basil. 


" Yes, the priest stands at the altar," exclaims St. John 
Chrysostom, when considering these sublime mysteries : " the 
priest stands there and makes a long supplication, not in 
order that fire from heaven may consume the things that lie 
to open view, but that grace, lighting on the Sacrifice, 
may thereby inflame the souls of all, and show them brighter 
than silver purified in the fire. Art thou ignorant that the 
soul of man could never bear this fire of the Sacrifice, but 
that all would be utterly consumed, were not the aid of the 
grace of God abundant ? For if one would but consider how 
great a thing it is for a mortal, and one still clothed with 
flesh and blood, to be enabled to be nigh to that blessed and 
immortal nature, he would then see how great an honor the 
grace of the Spirit has vouchsafed to priests. For through 
them both these things are done, as also others, nowise in- 
ferior to them, which concern both our dignity and our sal- 
vation." * 

Can we wonder if the holy Sacrifice of the Mass has ever 
been, and still is, the delight and the glory of truly Chris- 
tian souls, of hearts devoted to Jesus Christ ! Indeed, this 
holy Sacrifice ought to be the incessant study of every 
Christian, but especially of every Eoman Catholic priest. 
Happy shall we be if, in applying our minds to it, we also 
fix our hearts upon it. "Where thy treasure is, there is thy 
heart also." f 

« T. I. L Ui. de Sacerd. n. 4, 5. f Matt, vi 21. 


satak's hateed foe the mass. 

Before the coming of our Redeemer, mankind was groan* 
mg nnder the tyranny of the devil. He was lord, and eyen 
caused himself to be worshipped as God, with incense and 
with sacrifices, not only of animals, but even of children and 
human lives. And what return did he make them ? He 
tortured their bodies with the most barbarous cruelty, he 
blinded their minds, and by a path of pain and misery led 
them down to torment everlasting. It was to overthrow 
this tyrant, and release mankind from its wretched thraldom 
that the Son of God came ; that the unfortunate creatures, 
freed from the darkness of death, rescued from the bondage 
of their eternal enemy, and enlightened to know the true 
way of salvation, might serve their real and lawful Master, 
who loved them as a Father, and from slaves of Satan wished 
to make them His own beloved children. The prophet 
Isaias had long ago foretold that our Redeemer should de- 
stroy the empire which Satan held over mankind: "And 
the sceptre of their oppressor Thou hast overcome." * "Why 
does the prophet call Satan oppressor ? It is because this 
heartless master exacts from the poor sinners who become his 
slaves, heavy tribute in the shape of passions, hatreds, dis- 
orderly affections, by means of which, while he scourges, he 
binds them in a still faster servitude. 

Our Saviour came to release us from the slavery of this 
deadly foe ; but in what manner did he efiTect this release ? 
By offering His sufferings and death in satisfaction to the 

* Isaias. ix. 4. 


divine justice for the pimishment due to our sins ; by the 
sacrifice of His life upon the Cross He overthrew the empire 
of Satan over mankind. 

The holy Evangelists tell us tliat after Jesus left Jerusalem 
on the eve of His Passion to go to the Mount of Olives, He 
crossed the torrent of Cedron. The Cedron flows at the 
eastern extremity of a valley which separates Jerusalem from 
the Mount of Olives. In this valley was a thigk forest, which 
the superstition of the degenerate Jews, according to St. 
Jerome, had consecrated to Moloch. To such an excess of 
stupid impiety and barbarous folly had this nation come, 
that fathers went there in crowds to sacrifice their little 
children to an infamous idol, and burn them alive in its 
honor; and lest they should be moved by the cries of 
those innocent victims, they were careful to drown their 
voices in the noise of drums and other instruments. Tlie 
ashes of the horrible sacrifice they cast into the waters 
of the torrent, which for this reason was called Cedron, sig- 
nifying Mack and obscure, because of the remains of the 
blackened corpses which were thrown into its waters. 

This place, then, was the most corrupt in the whole 
world ; the very seat, as it were, of the empire of Lucifer on 
earth, where he received, even from the people of God, and 
within sight of the Temple of the Lord, divine honor and 
worship, in whicli atrocity was added to sacrilege. 

All these circumstances explain why our Lord was desir- 
ous of commencing His Passion near the torrent in this 
same valley ; why He chose by preference so infamous a 
place, solemnly to devote Himself to death. Our Saviour 
wished to attack the devil in the very centre of his sacrile- 
gious empire ; and, therefore, crossing Cedron, and repairing 
to the opposite shore, the Redeemer goes forward to face Lu- 
cifer, in order to humiliate, confound, and disarm him ; to 
overthrow his power by His agony and sufferings, as a gen- 
erous and magnanimous warrior who descends the first into 
the arena to meet his enemy, confident of conquering and 


trill mpliing over him. During the whole course of the life 
of Jesus Christ, our sovereign Lord, divine Providence never 
permitted the demons to recognize Him to be .God and the 
Eedeemerof the world. Lucifer remained in his blindness 
to the last; for although, from the splendor of His miracles, 
he sometimes suspected that Jesus might be God, yet again, 
seeing Him so poor and humble he could not believe it. 

"At the moment when our Lord received His beloved 
Cross,*' said the Blessed Virgin to blessed Mary of Jesus 
d'Agreda, " Lucifer and his demons lost all strength ; they 
were vanquished and enchained, and the end of their chains 
placed in the hands of His Mother, that by the virtue of her 
divine Son she might hold him and his legions in subjec- 
tion. They tried to precipitate themselves into the abyss, 
but were constrained by tlie great Queen to witness the end 
of those mysteries and to remain around the Cross. 

"When Jesus Christ began to speak upon the Cross, He 
willed that the demons should hear Him, and understand 
the sense of His words and the profound mysteries expressed 
in them. Hearing Him pray to His Eternal Father for His 
executioners, they clearly understood that He w^as the Mes- 
siah, and were filled with rage at His infinite charity. When 
He promised Paradise to the good thief, they understood the 
virtue of His redemption, and Lucifer being unable to en- 
dure that sight, humbled his pride so far as to supplicate our 
great Queen to allow him and his legions to precipitate them- 
selves into the infernal abyss, but he was refused in order 
to add to his greater torment. When Jesus, in recommend- 
ing His Mother to St. John, called her * woman,' they clearly 
understood that she was that great woman who had been 
shown to them after their creation, and that it was she who 
was to crush the head of Lucifer, as had been foretold him 
in the terrestrial paradise. 

" At the fourth word, which testified the desolation of 
Jesus, they learned His incomprehensible charity, which led 
Him to complain to the Eternal Father, not because He was 


Buffering, but because He wished to undergo even more agony, 
to save mankind. But at the words '1 thirst/ they were 
filled with rage, because they saw that He complained not 
of bodily thirst, but that ardent desire which He felt in His 
soul for man's salvation. 

" At the sixth mysterious word, ' All is consummated,' 
they received a clear knowledge of the mystery of Eedemp- 
tion, which was already accomplished to their eternal shame 
and confusion. The reign of Jesus was established and the 
empire of Satan overthrown. 

"When Jesus pronounced the words, * Father, into Thy 
hands I commend my spirit/ and bowing His head, expired, 
the ground opened, and the demon, with all his companions, 
was in a terrific manner swallowed in the bottomless pit of 
hell, more quickly than a fiash of lightning passes through 
the air. He fell, disarmed and vanquished, and his head was 
crushed beneath the feet of Jesus and His Mother." 

Each Mass is the same sacrifice as that which Jesus Christ 
offered to His heavenly Father on Mount Calvary for the 
overthrow of Satan's power over mankind. Hence, each 
Mass shakes the very foundations of the devil's empire in 
this world; it causes him to tremble and take flight, giving 
him unspeakably great pain. 

When St. Bridget was assisting at Mass one day, she saw 
at the moment of consecration how all the powers of heaven 
were set in motion ; she saw how numbers of angels came 
down, and the devils commenced to tremble and take to flight 
in the greatest confusion and terror.* 

St. Augustine relates the following: "We have amongst u3 
a Tribune, Hesperius, who has a farm called Zubedi, in the 
district of Fussalse. Having learned that his house there, 
besides the tormenting of his cattle and servants, was suffer- 
ing under the noxious violence of malignant spirits, he re- 
quested of our priests in my absence, that some one of them 

* Lib. viii. c. 56. 


eliould proceed thither, at whose prayers these spirits might 
give way. One went thither ; he offered up there the Sacri- 
fice of the body of Christ, praying to the best of his power 
that the annoyance might cease. At once by the mercy of 
God, it ceased."* 

Presbyter of Africa relates this story as having fallen under 
his own observation : "An Arabian girl was, in consequence 
of a sin against purity, given over to the evil spirit, and was 
unable, for a considerable time, to partake even of ordinary 
food. She was admitted into a nunnery. Having remained for 
a fortnight without food, a priest going thither with me to 
offer as usual the morning sacrifice there, the superior of the 
nunnery led the girl to the altar. There, by the noise of her 
weeping, she moved all who were present to tears and sighs. 
The people implored the Lord to remove from her so great 
an evil. A certain deacon suggested that the priest should 
apply the saving chalice to her throat. No sooner was 
this done than the devil, by the command of our Saviour, 
left the place he had besieged, and the girl cried out 
with praise of the Redeemer. Then followed universal 
joy; another Mass was said for the girl, in thanksgiving 
for the favor she had received.f " 

No wonder, then, that Satan has ahvays borne an implacable 
hatred to the Mass as to the most powerful weapon against 
all his evil machinations. It is for this reason that ever 
since the institution of the holy Sacrifice he has repeatedly 
tried to destroy this impregnable fortress of the Catholic 
Church by undermining the faith in the Real Presence, be- 
ing fully persuaded that a complete success in this point is 
the only means for him of opening the way to the introduc- 
tion of idolatry. It took Satan more than fifteen hundred 
years to gain any great victory over the faith in the Real 
Presence among European nations. Meanwhile his en- 

* T. vii. Lib. xxii. c. viii. Col. 1063. 

f De Promiss. et Praedie. Dei. T. I. c. vi. p. 193. 

480 Satan's hatred 

deavor to re-establish his fallen empire was untiring. Not 
being able to reconstruct it on the same basis of idolatry — • 
the worship of himself — he has, at all times, endeavored to 
indemnify himself by the introduction of new sects and 
heresies, such as the erroneous and infernal doctrines of 
Arius, Pelagius, Luther, Henry VIIL, and other wicked here-' 
siarchs. In this undertaking he has succeeded admirably 
among many nations who had renounced idolatry and em- 
braced the only true doctrine of the Catholic Church, but 
afterwards listening to perverse men — the agents of Satan, 
in the reconstruction of his empire on eartli — apostatized 
and fell into heresy or false doctrines — a finer and more 
subtle species of idolatry, according to what holy Scripture 
says : " It is like the sin of witchcraft to rebel, and like the 
crime of idolatry to refuse to obey" * the voice of the Lord 
speaking through His representatives, St. Peter and -all his 
lawful successors — upon whom Jesus Christ built His 
Church, and of whom He has said : " He who heareth you 
heareth me, and he who despiseth you despiseth me," and, 
therefore, such a one shall be damned. 

The great and long hoped-for day arrived for Satan at 
last; the hour had struck in which he found two men ac- 
cording to his heart — men who listened most attentively to 
all his crafty suggestions, and carried out most faithfully 
all his malicious designs. These men were M^lrtin Luther, 
an apostate priest of the Catholic Church in Germany, and 
Henry VIIL, King of England. By those two agents and 
their associates Satan succeeded in depriving their numerous 
followers of the faith in the Real Presence in the holy Sacrifice 
of the Mass. It is, however, a well-known fact that Luther, 
even after his apostasy from the Church, adhered for some 
time to his faith in the Real Presence of our Lord in the 
Blessed Sacrament. He condemned all who denied the Real 
Presence. He says : " That no one among the Fathers, nu- 

* I Kings, XV. 23. 


meroiis as they are, slionld have spoken of the Eucharist as 
these men do, is truly astonishing. Not one of them speaks 
tlius : 'There is only bread and luine; ' or, ' the lady and Hood 
of Christ are not present! And when we reflect how often 
the Fathers of the Church treat of this subject and repeat 
it, it ceases to be credible — it is not possible, that not e^en 
once such words as these should not haye dropt from some 
of them. Surely it was of moment thafc men should not be 
drawn into error — still they all speak with such precision, 
evincing that they entertained no doubt of the presence of 
the body and blood. Had not this been their conviction, 
can it be imagined that, among so many, the negative opinion 
should not have been uttered on a single occasion ? But 
our sacramentarians, on the other hand, can proclaim only 
the negative or contrary opinion. These men, then, to say 
all in one word, have drawn their notions neither from the 
Scriptures nor the Fathers." * But as an evil spirit came 
upon King Saul, because he had left the Lord and assumed 
the ofiSce of the priest of the Most High, in like manner 
one of the worst of evil spirits came upon Luther, because 
he left Jesus Christ by turning his back upon the Vicar of 
Christ and His Church. This evil spirit caused him to 
change his language speedily as to the Keal Presence. 

Previous to his apostasy, Henry YHL, King of England, 
had entered the lists with Luther in defence of the Sacrifice 
of the Mass. But now the apostate monk replied: " To es- 
tablish this sacrifice Henry has recourse at last to the words 
of the Fathers. Heaven well knows that I care not if a 
thousand Austins, a thousand Cyprians, or a thousand other 
such were against me." f Such is the impious language of 
Luther. No longer caring for the Chief of Pastors, for the 
centre of Christian faith and unity, the learned Doctor 
and founder of Protestantism carried his ravings so far as to 

* Defensio verborum Cajnae, T. vii., p. 391. Edit. Wittembergae, 1557. 
\ Contra Regem. Aiigliae. T. II. p. 334. 


482 Satan's hatred 

pretend to have been taught by the devil, to boast of it, to 
found new doctrines on so powerful an authority, and to 
leave us in his works the evidence of his interview with 
Satan. Certainly it is impossible to carry fanaticism far- 
ther than to boast of having had such a master. Luther 
tells us himself that he had many colloquies with the devil. 
I. M. V. Audin informs us, in his Life of Luther, how one 
night at the Wartburg the devil appeared to this apostate 
monk, and shook a bag of nuts which had been presented to 
him. Luther, growing impatient, roared out: "Begone!" 
but the devil was not to be dislodged so easily. He changed 
himself into a fly, and by his buzzing annoyed the acute 
hearing of the monk, who at length took his inkstand and 
threw it at the wings of the insect. ]^ow, whenever visitors 
came to the AVartburg, the keeper of the chateau would 
point out to them the place at which Luther threw his ink- 
stand, saying : " See, this is the stain of the ink which time 
has not been able to efface." But worthy of attention above 
all, is the vision in which, as he relates in the most serious 
manner, Satan by his arguments compelled him to proscribe 
private Masses. He gives us a lively description of this ad- 
venture. He wakes suddenly in the middle of the night; 
Satan appears to him. Luther is seized with horror ; he 
sweats; he trembles; his heart beats in a fearful manner 
Nevertheless the discussion begins: ''Listen to me, learned 
doctor," says he. " During fifteen years you have daily 
celebrated private Masses. What if all those Masses have 
been a horrible idolatry ? What if the body and blood of 
Jesus Christ be not present there, and that yourself adored, 
and made others adore, bread and wine ? What if your or- 
dination and consecration were as invalid as that of the 
Turkish and Samaritan priests is false and their worship 
impious ? How, then, could you consecrate at Mass, or really 
celebrate it, since you had not the power of consecrating, 
which, according to your own doctrine, is an essential de- 
fect? What a priesthood is that! AVhat a consecration! 


What a Mass ! What sort of a priest are you ? And you 
make your Mass a propitiatory sacrifice before God ? 
abomination, Avhich surpasses all other abominations ! 

" I maintain, then, that you have not consecrated at Mass, 
and that you haye offered and made others adore simple 
bread and wine. In your Mass is wanting a person who has 
the power to consecrate. You stand there by yourself as an 
ignorant and faithless monk. If, then, you are not capable 
of consecrating, and ought not to attempt it, what do you 
do while saying Mass and consecrating, but blaspheme and 
tempt God ? You are not a real priest, nor do you really 
consecrate the body of Jesus Christ. And you, who are an 
impious and incredulous man, are no more capable of re- 
ceiving the sacrament than the bell is capable of receiving 
baptism. Show me where it is written that an impious and 
incredulous man can ascend the altar of Jesus Christ, conse- 
crate, and make the sacrament ? If no one can administer 
any of your sacraments to himself, why do you wish to re- 
serve this sacrament for yourself alone ? " 

The devil having said these and many other things to 
shake Luther's faith in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, said 
finally : " You are not ordained, you have only offered bread 
and wine, like the Pagans. What an unheard of abomina- 
tion ! " * 

Luther acknowledges, at the close of this conference, that 
he was unable to answer the arguments of Satan. The 
devil, like a good disputant, pressed him so hard with his 
arguments, that he left him without reply. Luther is con- 
quered, which fact ought not to astonish us, since he tells us 
that the logic of the devil was accompanied with a voice so 
alarming that the blood froze in his veins. " I understood," 
says he, " how it often happens that people die at the break of 
day ; it is because the devil is able to kill or suffocate men, 
and without going so far as that, when he disputes with 

* Audin's Life of Luther, chaps, xix. and xx. 

484 Satan's hatred 

them, he places them in such embarrassment that he can 
thns occasion their death. I have often experienced this 

Immediately after, he wrote to Melancthon, his fellow- 
laborer in the vineyard of the devil, " I will not again cele- 
brate private Masses forever." * It was the devil who intro- 
duced idolatry, or devil-worship, into the world ; he it is 
who tries to keep it np and promote it everywhere to the 
best of his power. In the discussion which he held with 
Luther, he tried to persuade the learned doctor, as he mock- 
ingly calls him, not to say Mass any longer, in order that he 
who said it, and others who assisted at it, should not con- 
tinue to commit the abominable crime of idolatry. But 
Luther was perfectly blinded, or else he would have an- 
swered : " If to say Mass and to assist at it is to commit the 
sin of idolatry, why is it then that you persuade me to 
aboli&h Mass? Why is it that you Avish me to abolish your 
own worship ? to destroy your own empire on earth ? You 
are certainly no such fool; you only wish to deceive me; 
you know too well that Mass is that mighty Sacrifice by 
which your strength has been crushed; it is this great 
power which prevents you from spreading your kingdom as 
you please, from exercising that power which you held over 
mankind previous to the coming of Christ. This is the very 
reason why you wish me to be your agent in abolishing 
Mass, the interpreter and executor of your will and evil de- 
signs ! Begone, Satan ! for you are a great deceiver and a 

Had Luther but known his catechism well he could have 
easily refuted all the objections of the devil, and proved to 
him that he was a deceiver and a liar. But the great " Re- 
former " was too mild with his adversary, too obedient a dis- 
ciple to his master; so he never again said a private mass. 

No wonder if from henceforward Satan succeeded with 

* Letter to Melanctlion, August 1, 1521. 


all who followed Lutlier's fandamental principle of " priyato 
judgment^' in religious matters, which private judgment 
ended in their renouncing all belief in the Eeal Presence. 
Thus, for instance, Zuinglius, the founder of Protestantism 
in Switzerland, tells us that while he was in great perjolexity 
and deep meditation how to explode the doctrine of the 
Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, he was fur- 
nished with an argument for that purpose by a nocturnal 
monitor, " whether black or white he did not remember.''* 

Every one knows that the first duty of man is to adore 
God. No sooner was man created than this necessary hom- 
age became due. All know likewise that the perfect way of 
expressing this homage is by sacrifice : the mode of adora- 
tion revealed by the Almighty Himself to man. We find it 
prevalent wherever man exists. JSTo nation, however barba- 
rous, no religion, however false or idolatrous, but has had its 
sacrifices. From the foundation of the world, no age or na- 
tion ever pretended to adore God without a sacrifice, until 
Luther, Calvin, Zuingiius, Henry VIII., King of England, 
and other heresiarchs with their followers came up as the 
first sectarians among Christians to deprive the Almighty 
of this right of worship. 

On the day when Luther and jnen of the same stamp de- 
nied the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Mass, and suc- 
ceeded by means of the civil authority to abolish this holy 
Sacrifice, they deprived all their followers of the greatest 
gifts and consolations that God, in His infinite power, wis- 
dom, and love, had bestowed upon the world. The hearts 
of their fellow-men they left utterly void ; they flung back 
Christianity, as far as their tenets obtained, two thousand 
years into the realms of Judaism ; they stripped the Chris- 
tian altar bare, and left it poorer than the altar in the tem- 
ple of Jerusalem, for man had no longer the comfort nor 
the help of a visible Sacrifice. 

Lib. de subsidio Eucliar. 

48G Satan's hatred 

The domain of Protestantism presents indeed in its bleak 
and dreary waste a sad proof of what the absence of the life- 
giving Lamb of God really is. 

Until Protestantism appeared to casta blight on worship, 
who ever heard of a religion, Christian or Pagan, whose 
very essence did not consist in an external sacrifice ? In 
this respect the Reformation has protested against the unan- 
imous voice of mankind, and therefore the Protestant ser- 
vice is as contracted in its nature as it is meagre in its de- 
tails, as it is cold and unimpressive in its general effect. In 
the Protestant service almost everything is for the ear, and 
scarcely anything for the eye and the heart. Protestants, 
those in Germany even, lately began to understand and to 
deplore this desecration and desolation of God's holy sanc- 
tuary. Isidore, Count Von Loebeu, considering the splen- 
did old Catholic worship, exclaimed: "Admirable ceremo- 
nial, replete with harmony ! It is the diamond that glitters 
on the crown of faith ! " * Elsewhere he says : " The 
Catholic Church, with its ever-open door, with its undying 
lamps, its joyful and mournful strains, its hosannas or its 
lamentations, its hymns, its Masses, its festivals and reminis- 
cences, resembles a mother who ever holds forth her arms 
to receive the prodigal child. It is a fountain of sweet wa- 
ter, around which are assembled multitudes to imbibe vigor^ 
health, and life." f 

Leibnitz J; breaks forth into this exclamation: "How 
beautiful is the music of the Catholic Church ! How it ad- 
dresses both mind and sense! Those melodious notes and 
voices, those canticles which breathe so pure a spirituality, 
those clouds of incense, those chimes which a disdainful 
philosophy condescends to despise; all these please God. 
Architects and sculptors, you have acted wisely and en- 
nobled your art, by raising churches to the Divinity ! Enter 
their portals, and 3'our soul expands with the presence of 

* In lus Lotos Blatter, 1817. f Ibid, p. 1. t Syst. Theol., p. 205. 


God; you involuntarily exclaim: ^ Truly this is the house 
of God, and the gate of heaven ! ' " It is related of Ered- 
erick II., King of Prussia, that after having assisted at a 
solemn High Mass celebrated in the Church of Breslau by 
Cardinal Tringendorf, he remarked: "The Calvinists treat 
God as an inferior, the Lutherans treat Him as an equal ; 
but the Catholics treat Him as God." Yes indeed, it is only 
the Catholic Church that is the home for our dear Saviour. 
His Presence fills her halls to overflowing with joy and glad- 
ness. Her propitiatory altars are the anchors of hope for 
the sinner ; her sanctuaries the ante-chambers of heaven. 
Take away the Blessed Sacrament, and you take away her 
Saviour. Give her the Blessed Sacrament and you give her 
a glory, an honor, a triumph the greatest possible this side 
of Paradise. Her altars are the altars of joy, because they 
are the altars of the Saving Victim for the sins of the world, 
for which reason the robed priest begins the tremendous 
Sacrifice with the antiphon ; " 1 will go unto the altar of 
God, to God who rejoiceth my youth." 

" Salutaris Hostia ! 
Bella premunt hostilia. 
Da robur, fer auxilium!" 
** Oh Saving Host ! Our foes press nigh ; 
Thy strength bestow, Thine aid supply 1 " 

"Who can fail to be impressed by the grandeur, the solem- 
nity, and the noble dignity of the Catholic ceremonial ? 
Who has not felt a sentiment of reverence and of awe creep 
over him, when at the most solemn part of the service the 
peal of the organ ceases, the voice of music is hushed, and, 
Avhile clouds of incense are ascending, the priests, the minis- 
ters, and the people, fall prostrate in silent prayer before the 
altar in which the Lamb is present " as it were slain I " Who 
has not felt a thrill of rapturous emotion, when, after this 
solemn moment has passed, the music again peals forth, 
mingling joyous with solemn notes, and pouring out a 


stream of delicious melody over the soul! "Who lias nob 
been struck with the pathetic simplicity, the unction and 
the massive grandeur of the Gregorian chant, especially in 
the Preface and the Pater IST oster ! And who has failed to 
mark the reverential awe with wiiich Catholics are wont to 
assist at the service, as well as the general respect they pay 
to the Church of God ! 

Is it not an evident demonstration of the Eeal Divine 
Presence which presides over the celebration of the Mass, to 
mark the universality of that intense devotion, reverence, 
and respect of Catholics during the divine Sacrifice? "In 
our time," writes a convert to our faith, " after such a suc- 
cessive diminution Of truth, affecting both the spiritual and 
temporal hierarchy of society, nothing can be more monot- 
onous than an assembly of Protestants. There are the rich, 
cuirassed in egotism, initiated in no other rites but those 
of Bacchus, bred up with the same feeling of disdain for 
every outward manifestation of piety and fervor: there are 
the poor, parked in from all observation or contact with the 
rich, thoroughly subdued and moulded into one form of ser- 
vile respect. But in our churches, during the celebration of 
the divine mysteries, it is a very different picture. "What do 
Ave find here amidst the pious throng ? We find the simple 
peasant come from his woods, the shepherd from the moun- 
tains, the young and thoughtful clerk, the solemn religious 
man, the devout student, whom nothiug but the divine ser- 
vice could tear from his books, the holy recluse, who may be 
looked for elsewhere in vain, the laboring youth, with joy 
and triumph in their looks, the innocent ciiild with its bap- 
tismal robe unsullied, the penitent sinner who has atoned, 
or who is atoning, for having stained the purity of hia 

"x\t times, indeed, may be discovered some awful figure, 
who seems moved and yet unable to call on Heaven for 
mercy — one like those we read about in legendary tales, from 
whose eye no tear can fall, and at whose heart there seems to 


lie an icy coldness, nnrelieyed, thongli ever so inany voices 
join to raise the solemn hymn, and hearts are thrilled, and 
eyes are filled with tears, by that full harmony. 

" There we find the female sex, gifted with great faith and 
ardent devotion, who turn their steps, or at least their hearts, 
to the Catholic altar, whether in joy or sorrow, in sickness 
or in health, like the innocent child, who always runs thither 
for help where he trusts most — here the poor pilgrim wearied 
with fatigue, kneels down on the altar-steps to thank Him 
w^ho has watched over him during a long and perilous jour- 
ney ; here a distracted mother comes into the temple to pray 
for the recovery of her son, whom the physicians have given 
over ; all persons dissimilar in habits, in disposition of mind, 
in the cultivation and direction of their intelligence, and yet 
who have one centre and bond of union — Jesus Christ in the 
Eucharistic Sacrifice." 

Thus there is a common sacrifice, but there are particular 
wants ; and therefore, wiiile the priest chants aloud at the 
altar, the internal desires of innumerable hearts are sent up 
to Heaven. And here it is that fine arts have been lavish of 
their tribute to religion and to God, speaking with silent 
eloquence of Christ, of His Mother, of His Apostles, and of 
His Saints. Let us cast one more contemplative look npon 
the wondrous and tender scene. What an assembly is pres- 
ent! This is the blessed vision of peace. Here the race of 
men seems amiable. Here we feel how near we are to God, 
who thus showers down His mercy upon us in His temple. 

" Yes, sweet is the air of temples to those who have en- 
dured the thirst of the Babylonian exile, to those who have 
wandered sufiSciently long in the land of malediction, as to 
discover how tasteless are its fruits, and how void of per- 
fume its most gorgeous flowers. At the first step on enter- 
ing this garden of God, it is as if one emerged from a with- 
ering atmosphere to feel the healthful and delicious breeze 
of mountains. What a glow of charity suddenly transports 
the heart and revives the fancy, though joy and hope had 

490 satak's hatred 

before seemed dead. Iso distrustful, or malignant, or in- 
quisitive looks cause you to feel yourself a stranger, for it 
seems to be here, as it is in Paradise, where the blessed hail 
each new arrival, crying, ^ Lo, one arrived to multiply our 

"Ah! how blind, therefore, were oar reformers," exclaims 
Fessler, f when openly censuring the intemperate vandalism 
of the reformers in destroying the most beautiful portions 
of Catholic worship. " Kay," exclaims the famous Novalis, 
" Luther knew nothing of the spirit of Christianity." 
" What is more natural for man," says Father Burke, 0. P., 
" than that he should seek His God ! God has stamped this 
desire upon Catholics and non-Catholics alike. No matter 
how keen the pleasure of the world ; no matter how joyous 
the cup of life may be; no matter how bright. the promise 
of youth; how serene the mature pleasures of the man of 
old age — there is in the heart of the non-Catholic, as well as 
of Catholics, one secret chamber which God alone can enter 
and fill. Hence it is that he who had tasted all pleasures — 
St. Augustine — exclaimed : * Thou hast made me, God, for 
Thyself, and my heart was uneasy within me until it found 
its rest in Thee.' 

" What says another one of the greatest men of our age, a 
man upon whom God had showered every human gift, the 
poet Byron ? He sought to feed his soul upon every plea- 
sure of sense, and Avhen he was thirty years of age he sat 
down to write, and this is what he wrote : 

' My days are in the yellow leaf ; 

The fruit, the flower of life are gone ; 
The worm, the canker, and the grief, 
Are mine alone.' 


And why ? Because God was not there." 
One day, a certain Irishman, who, at the time of great 
famine in Ireland, had turned Protestant for the sake of 
* Dante. f Theresia 2, p. 101. 


food and raiment, came to Father Thomas Burke, 0. P., and 
pnt himself into his hands, truly repentant, and sincerely 
sorrowful for what he had done. The good Father, who had 
the pleasure to receive him back into the Church, asked that 
man a question ; and the answer made is interesting. He 
said to him, " Tell me this : you were two years amongst 
them ? " "I was, your reverence, God bless you." " Now 
what sort of feeling had you — what impression did the Prot- 
estant religion make upon you ? " " Well, your reverence, 
I felt like as if it were not natural-like. I went in of a 
Christmas morning ; there was a sermon. I went in on 
Easter Sunday ; and there was a sermon ; and there was no 
difference at all between one day and another; and I felt 
even if it were a true religion, as if it were not natural, as if 
it would not hel}) a man." There was a man who had his 
natural cravings-who had his natural feelings, and he could 
find nothing harmonious with those cravings and feelings 
the moment he left the Catholic church. 

Indeed, the Protestant service in itself is neither inviting 
nor impressive ; it has nothing in it to stir up the fountains 
of feeling ; to call forth the music and poetry of the soul ; to 
convey salutary instruction, or to awaken lively interest ; it 
possesses no single trait of grandeur or sublimity'; it has 
certainly not one element of poetry or pathos. Generally 
cold and lifeless, it becomes warm only by a violent effort, 
and then it runs into the opposite extreme of intemperate 
excitement and sentimentalism ; nay, it is no exaggeration to 
say that religiousness among the greater part of Protestants 
in our day and country seems to have well nigh become ex- 
tinct. They seem to have lost all spiritual conceptions, and 
no longer to possess any spiritual aspiration. Lacking as 
they do the light, the warmtli, and the life-giving power of 
the sun of the Catholic church — the holy Mass — they seem 
to have become or to be near becoming wiiat our world would 
be if there were no sun in the heavens. Having boldly de- 
nied and lost faith in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in 

492 satak's hatred 

the Blessed Sacrament, tbey gradually began to deny with 
the same boldness almost all the Gospel truths. Why should 
the one who cares not for Jesus Christ upon the altar, be ex- 
l^ected to care for Jesus Christ in heaven, and for all that He 
has taught us ? For this reason is it that Protestants are 
so completely absorbed in temporal interests, in the things 
that fall under their senses, that their whole life is only ma- 
terialism put in action. Lucre is the sole object on which 
their eyes are constantly fixed. A burning thirst to realize 
some profit, great or small, absorbs all their faculties — the 
whole energy of their being. They never pursue anything 
with ardor but riches and enjoyments. God — the soul — a 
future life, — they believe in none of them, or ratlier, they 
never think about them at all. If they ever take up a moral 
or a religious book, or go to a meeting-house, it is only by 
way of amusement — to pass the time away. . It is a less 
serious occupation than smoking a pipe, or drinking a cup 
of tea. If you speak to them about the foundations of faitli, 
of the principles of Christianit}^ of the importance of salva- 
tion, the certainty of a life beyond the grave — all these 
truths which so powerfully impress a mind susceptible of re- 
ligious feeling, — they listen with a certain pleasure, for it 
amuses them, and piques their curiosity. In their opinion all 
this is "true, fine, grand." They deplore the blindness of 
men who attach themselves to the perishable goods of this 
world; peril ajis they will even give utterance to some fine 
sentences on the happiness of knowing the true God, of 
serving Him, and of meriting by this means the reward of 
eternal life. They simply never think of religion at all ; 
they like very well to talk about it, but it is as of a thing 
not made for them — a thing with which personally they 
have nothing to do. This indifference they carry so far^ 
religious sensibility is so entirely withered or dead within 
them — that they care not a straw whether a doctrine is true 
or false, good or bad. Religion is to them simply a fashion, 
which those may follow who have a taste for it. By-and-bye, 


all in good time, they say — one should never be precipitate ; 
it is not good to he too enthusiastic ; no donbt the Catholic 
religion is beautiful and sublime ; its doctrine explains with 
method and clearness all that is necessary for man to know. 
Whoever has any sense will see that, and Avill adopt it in his 
heart in all sincerity; but after all, one must not think too 
much of these things, and increase the cares of life. 'NoWy 
just consider we have a body, how many cares it demands. 
It must be clothed, fed, and sheltered from the injuries of 
the weather ; its infirmities are great, and its maladies are 
numerous. It is agreed on all hands that health is our most 
precious good. This body that we see, that we touch, must 
be taken care of every day, and every moment of the day. 
Is not this enough without troubling ourselves about a soul 
that we never see ? The life of man is short and full of 
misery ; it is made up of a succession of important concerns 
that follow one another without interruption. Our hearts 
and our minds are scarcely sufficient for the solicitudes of the 
present life — is it wise then to torment oneself about the 
future ? Is it not far better to live in blessed ignorance ? 

Ask them what would you think of a traveller, who, on 
finding himself at a dilapidated inn, open to all the winds and. 
deficient in the mo*t absolute necessaries, should spend all his 
time in trying how he could make himself most comfortable 
in it, without ever thinking of preparing himself for liis de- 
parture, and his return into the bosom of his family ? Yv^ould 
this traveller be acting, in a wise and reasonable manner? 
" No : " they will reply ; " one must not travel in that way ; 
but man, nevertheless, must confine himself within proper 
limits. How can he provide for two lives at the same time? 
I take care of this life, and the care of the other I leave to 
God." If a traveller ought not regularly to take up his abode 
at an inn, neither ought he to travel on two roads at the 
same time. When one wishes to cross a river, it will not do 
to have two boats, and set a foot in each ; such a proceeding 
would involve the risk of a tumble into the water, and 


drowning oneself. Such is the deep abyss of religious indif- 
ferentism into which so many Protestants of our day have 
fallen ; and from which they naturally fall into one deeper 
still — infidelity. 

It is a well-known fact that, before the Keformation, infi- 
dels were scarcely known in the Christian world. Since that 
event they liave come forth in swarms. It is from the writ- 
ings of Herbert, Hobbes, Bloum, Shaftesbury, Bolingbroke, 
and Boyle, that Voltaire and his party drew the objections 
and errors which they have brought so generally into fashion 
ia the world. According to Diderot and d'Alembert, the 
first step that the untractable Catholic takes is to adopt the 
Protestant principle of private judgment. He establishes 
himself judge of his religion, leaves it and joins the reform. 
Dissatisfied with the incoherent doctrines he there discovers, 
he passes over to the Socinians, whose inconsequences soon 
drive him into Deism. Still pursued by unexpected diffi- 
culties, he finds refuge in universal doubt ; but still haunted 
by uneasiness, he at length resolves to take the last step, and 
proceeds to terminate the long chain of his errors in infidel- 
ity. Let us not forget that the first link of this chain is at- 
tached to the fundamental maxim of private judgment. It 
is, therefore, historically correct that the- same principle that 
created Protestantism three centuries ago, has never ceased 
since that time to spin it out into a thousand difiTerent sects, 
and has concluded by covering Europe and America with 
that multitude of free-thinkers and. infidels who phice these 
countries on the verge of ruin. And wliat is easier, from 
this state of irreligion and infidelity, than the passage to 
idolatry ? 

This assertion may seem incredible to some at this day, 
and may be esteemed an absurdity; but idolatry is expressly 
mentioned in the Apocalypse as existing in the time of An- 
tichrist. And, indeed, our surprise will much abate, if we 
take into consideration the temper and disposition of the 
present times. When men divest themselves as they seem to 


do at present, of all fear of the Supreme Being, of all respect 
of their Creator and Lord; when they surrender themselves 
to the gratification of sensuality ; when they give full free- 
dom to the human passions and direct their whole study to 
the pursuits of a corrupt world, with a total forgetfulness of 
a future state ; when they give children a godless education, 
and have no longer any religion to teach them, may we not 
say that the transition to idolatry is easy ? When all the 
steps leading up to a certain point are taken, what wonder if 
we arrive at that point? Such was the gradual degeneracy 
of mankind in the early ages of the world that brought on 
the abominable practices of idol-worship. 

Of course it will be said that we have the happiness of 
living in the most enlightened of all ages; our knowledge 
is more perfect, our ideas more developed and refined, the 
human faculties more improved and better cultivated than 
they ever were before ; in fine, that the present race of man- 
kind may be reckoned a society of philosophers, when com- 
pared to the generations that have gone before. How is it 
possible then that such stupidity can seize upon the human 
mind as to sink it into idolatry ? 

This kind of reasoning is more specious than solid. For, 
allowing the present times to surpass the past in refinement 
and knowledge, it must be said that they are proportionately 
more vicious. Refinement of reason has contributed, as 
every one knows, to refine upon the means of gratifying the 
human passions. 

Besides, however enlightened the mind may be supposed 
to be, if the heart is corrupt the excesses into which a man 
will run are evidenced by daily experience. 

If the philosopher is not governed by the power of relig- 
ion, his conduct will be absurd and even despicable to the 
most ignorant individual of the lowest rank. 

A Socrates, a Cicero, a Seneca, are said to have been ac- 
quainted with the knowledge of one supreme God , but they 
had not courage to profess His worship, and in their public 

49G 5 AT A is 'S HATRED 

conduct basely sacrificed to stocks and stones with the vul- 
gar. ^\'hen men have banished from their heart the sense 
of religion, and despise the rights of justice (and is this not 
the case with numbers ?) will many of them scruple to offer 
incense to a statue, if by so doing they serve their ambition, 
their interest, or wiiatever may be their favorite passion ? 
Where is the cause for surprise then, if infidelity and irre- 
ligion be succeeded by idolatry ? That pride alone, when in- 
flamed with a constant flow of prosperity, may raise a man 
to the extravagant presumption of claiming for himself di- 
vine honors, we see in the example of Alexander, the cele- 
brated Macedonian conqueror, and of several emperors of 
Babylon and ancient Rome. From suggestions of that same 
principle of pride, it will happen, that Antichrist, elevated 
by a continued course of victories and conquests, will set 
himself up for a God. And as at that time the propagation 
of infidelity, irreligion, and immorality will have become 
nniversal^this defection from faith, disregard for its teach- 
ers, licentiousness in opinions, depravity in morals, will so 
far deaden all influence of religion and cause such degen- 
eracy in mankind that many will be base enough even to 
espouse idolatry — to yield to the absurd impiety of worship- 
ping Antichrist as their Lord and God ; some out of fear 
for what they may lose, others to gain what they covet. 

Let it be remembered that Satan will succeed in intro- 
ducing idol-worship universally through Antichrist, because 
the great poAver in his way will then have been removed — 
the holy Sacrifice of the Mass will not be offered for three 
years and a half Then will it become evident that, as our 
dear Saviour had St. John the Baptist as His forerunner, to 
prepare the hearts of men by penance for Ilis reception, so 
Antichrist had Luther, Calvin, Henry VIH., and men of the 
same stamp as his forerunners to abolish Mass, and thus pre- 
pare the hearts of their followers by pride, arrogance, want 
of submission to Christ's Vicar, irreligion, infidelity, and im- 
morality, to follow and worship him — the sou of perdition — 


as their sovereign Lord and God. During that dreadful 
time, the sun shall rise only to show that the altar has been 
torn down, the priest banished, the lights put out ; it will 
be a time of calamity, of darkness and sorrow for. the faith- 
ful worshippers of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. 
When there shall be no Mass any more, when sacrifice and 
libation are cut off from the House of God, when Jesus 
Christ shall not be allowed to be worshipped on our altars 
In the Eucharistic Sacrifice, then the tie between earth and 
heaven shall have been broken ; then will the heavens over 
our head be brass and the earth nnder foot iron ; then the 
power and blessings of the Mass will be better known and 
understood than ever before. 

The description in the Apocalypse of the time of Anti- 
christ paints it in colors leaving no room for doubt that it 
will be the most turbulent, the most calamitous, and the 
most persecuting of all periods. How alarming and how 
terrible those extraordinary and unnatural signs in the sun, 
moon, and stars, the earthquakes, the enormous swelling and 
roaring of the sea, the bloody wars and battles. Our Saviour 
in the Gospel and St. John in the Apocalypse give us to un- 
derstand the impression these calamities will make on man- 
kind, by saying that "men will sink away for fear, and call 
upon the mountains to fall upon them and cover them." 
How dreadful will be the destruction made by the army of^ 
Antichrist! How cruel and bloody his persecution, lasting 
for three years and a half! What degree of • fortitude will 
therefore be requisite to support those that are faithful on so 
trying an occasion. 

Who are those that will remain firm in their faith in those 
days of unheard-of tribulation ? Who will not be conquered, 
but will fight the good battle of the Lord ? They will be 
those especially who, in the course of their life, assisted reg- 
ularly at Mass with fervor and devotion. We have seen how 
the early Christians prepared themselves for their severe 
trials, by assisting at, and partaking of, the sacred myste- 

498 Satan's hatred 

lies. Tb ey knew that it was only from the Lamb of God, 
sacrificed on the altar, that they could receive that heroic 
courage which was requisite to sacrifice all, even their own 
lives, for the sake of Him who sacrificed Himself upon their 
altars. In like manner Catholics who will live in the days 
of Antichrist and have heard Mass regularly, will be en- 
dowed with a strength supernatural to baffle all the eff'orts 
of the son of perdition and his infernal agents to make them 
apostatize and to pass over to his army. 

It might be well for parents and pastors to begin to incul- 
cate this lesson upon those who are committed to their care ; 
for if we consider the general decay of religion which now 
prevails, if we see how little the practice of morality is at- 
tended to, how little even religion is thought of, we cannot 
help thinking that mankind has already made gigantic prog- 
ress towards that apostasy, as St. Paul calls it, or towards 
that general defection from the faith and that degeneracy 
of morals which will take place before Antichrist, the great 
minister of Satan, appears. How swift indeed must be the 
decline of true faith, while free-thinking, religious indifier- 
cntism, infidelity, and godless education of the young grow 
at such a pace ? While every one seems to accept as a fixed 
principle to believe nothing more than his reason comprehends 
or what coincides with his own private humor. What prac- 
tice of morality can be expected from people who are im- 
mersed in worldly pleasures, or in pursuits of private inter- 
ests, in the gratification of their shameful passion of lust; 
who never spend a thought about eternity, or scarce ever 
address their God and Creator in a short prayer? Is 
not this the general course of life of the present genera- 
tion of mankind ? Certainly, then, due care should be 
taken to prevent as many of the rising race as possible from 
being infected with this pestiferous corruption, and to prepare 
them to be enrolled in the list of the few elect of the ap- 
proaching time. When a tide of irreligion and infidelity 
has broken in, and is seen to swell in volume day by day, 


what wonder if the period approach when God will bring 
all to the test, and try them as metal in the fiery furnace in 
order to discriminate between the good and the bad, and to 
separate the sound from the unsound grain ? The few that 
will remain firm and staunch under all temptations and per- 
secutions, will shine with great lustre in those days, when 
the bulk of mankind sniffer themselves to be so far seduced 
as to go oyer to Antichrist, adore him as a god, and re- 
nounce their Creator, their religion, and their own convic- 
tion. Notwithstanding the great power of Antichrist, and 
his faculty of performing surprising wonders, the small body 
of the faithful will bear away the palm of victory by their 
constancy in maintaining the cause of God at the expense 
of their lives, and by their fortitude in not yielding to prom- 
ises, threats, or torments. And thus the fruit of their per- 
severance will be to see their victory completed and the cause 
of religion fully vindicated by the just judgments of God 
upon the impious, when He will annihilate before their eyes 
that Satanic man, Antichrist, with his associates, extirpate 
idolatry from the earth, and restore peace to the Church, so 
that it shall shine with greater lustre than in all preceding 



The celebration of Mass and the administration of the 
sacraments in the Latin tongue form for some Protestants a 
subject of surprise, for others of complaint ; as if there were 
something unnatural or wrong in the practice. Among 
Catholics it never excites either surprise or complaint; they 
never think themselves in the slightest degree aggrieved by 
it. If strangers to the Catholic religion think otherwise, their 
complaints proceed from ignorance. 

AVhen a Protestant goes to church he generally seems to 
consider the principal acts of religion to consist in reading, 
2)raying, or 2^reacMng ; nay, he seems to attach most im- 
portance to tlie last office. He seems to look upon his clergy- 
man merely as a teaclier of morality, as one whose chief busi- 
ness is to read prayers in an audible tone for the people, so 
that all may join in. His character Jacks that sacredness 
which arises from the sublime duty of offering sacrifice ; 
preaching and praying are the two great acts of his ministry^ 
the former of which any clever man without the help of 
ordination, may perform as well as he; and for the latter any 
good reader is equally capable. For a religion like this, 
which acknowledges nothing more sublime in its ministry, a 
foreign language, or an unlcnoivn tongue, as it is commonly 
called, would certainly not be very appropriate in public 
service ; hence proceeds the error of judgment so common to 
Protestants when they conclude it is equally unfit for Catho- 
lic worship. 

How different are such ideas from ours and from the truth ! 
We venerate in our priests a character of a much higher 


order, and an office infinitely more exalted. We look upon 
them as the representatives and vicegerents of Jesus Christ, 
our great High Priest; as having power, by virtue of their 
ordination, to consecrate and offer sacrifice, and to adminis- 
ter sacraments; thus divinely commissioned, to become, as 
St. Paul expresses it in admirable terms, " the ministers of 
Christ, and dispensers of the mysteries of God," 

The Catholic looks upon his priest as a minister of Christ, 
whereas the Protestant considers his preacher more as a 
minister of tlie people. When the Catholic priest stands at 
the altar, he stands there as a mediator between God and the 
people ; he has an office to perform in which they have nothing 
to do ivith him, or for him, as assistants or coadjutors ; in a 
word, he has a sacrifice to offer, which is an act that passes 
between God and himself alone, to complete which, or to ren- 
der it more acceptable, no assistance of the people is necessary. 
He offers it indeed /or the people, and in company with them, 
but not that they have any part in offering it in the strict 
sense of the word. For the character of a priest is essentially 
distinct and separate from that of a layman, and nothing 
marks this distinction so absolntely as the power of offering 
sacrifice, which is his exclusive right. 

Taking, then, this view of the subject, can it in itself he a 
matter of any consequence at all what is the language in 
which the Almighty is addressed at the time ? Cannot He 
who is the Author of all, equally understand any language? 
And if the priest understands the language in which he is 
addressing the Almighty what more is required ? The words 
by which sacrifice is offered are addressed to God, not to the 
people, nor by the people, and if he who addresses them and 
he to whom they are addressed understand them, every use- 
ful object is attained, and nothing more can be wanting. 
This is the casein the Mass, and for this reason all the essen- 
tial parts of the Mass — the Offertory, the Consecration, and 
the Communion — are performed in secret or in silence. 

It is true that both prayers and instructions accompany 



the essential .parts of a sacrifice, and these are spoken aloud 
so that all may hear them; but the fruits and blessings of 
the Mass are not the consequence of these prayers, nor pro- 
duced by them, but by the essential act of the sacrifice alone. 
In like manner the administration of the sacraments is prop- 
erly performed in Latin, for though these also are sometimes 
accompanied by prayer and instruction, or ceremonies, which, 
when properly understood, may affect the minds and excite 
the devotion of the people, yet the effect is not produced by 
any of these means, but by the actions rightly performed 
and the words properly pronounced by the priest, as ordained 
by Jesus Chrigt. In both these instances of sacrifice and 
sacraments, the priest is performing the highest oflSces ever 
given to man to perform — offices totally and incoramunica- 
bly peculiar to himself, to which an unchangeable and a 
dead language is expressly and justly assigned. If the Mass 
or the sacraments were nothing but a common prayer, read 
for the people, then perhaps the common language of each 
country would be the most proper to use; but then, also, 
would religion lose its chief character of Divinity, and the 
priesthood be stripped of the only character wiiich distin- 
guishes its members from the laity. We do