Saturday, May 26, 2018

Time After Pentecost

The History of the Time After Pentecost

The Solemnity of Pentecost and its Octave are over, and the progress of the Liturgical Year introduces us into a new period, which is altogether different from those we have hitherto spent. From the very beginning of Advent, which is the prelude to the Christmas festival, right up to the anniversary of the descent of the Holy Ghost, we have witnessed the entire series of the Mysteries of our Redemption; all have been unfolded to us. The sequel of Seasons and Feasts made up a sublime drama, which absorbed our very existence; we have but just come from the final celebration, which was the consummation of the whole. And yet, we have got through but one half of the year. This does not imply that the period we have still to live is devoid of its own special mysteries; but, instead of keeping up our attention by the ceaseless interest of one plan hurrying on its completion, the sacred Liturgy is about to put before us an almost unbroken succession of varied episodes, of which some are brilliant with glory, and others exquisite in loveliness, but each one of them bringing its special tribute towards either the development of the dogmas of faith, or the furtherance of the Christian life. That year’s Cycle will thus be filled up; it will disappear; a new one will take its place, bringing before us the same divine facts, and pouring forth the same graces on Christ’s mystical body.

This section of the Liturgical Year, which comprises a little more or a little less than six months, according as Easter is early or late, has always had the character it holds at present. But, although it only admits detached solemnities and Feasts, the influence of the moveable portion of the Cycle is still observable. It may have as many as twenty-eight, or as few as twenty-three weeks. This variation depends not only upon the Easter Feast, which may occur on any of the days between the 22nd of March and 25th of April, inclusively; but, also, on the date of the first Sunday of Advent, the opening of a new Ecclesiastical Year, and which is always the Sunday nearest the Kalends of December.

In the Roman Liturgy, the Sundays of this series go under the name of Sundays after Pentecost. As we shall show in the next Chapter, that title is the most suitable that could have been given, and is found in the oldest Sacramentaries and Antiphonaries; but it was not universally adopted by even all those Churches which followed the Roman Rite; in progress of time, however, that title was the general one. To mention some of the previous early names:—in the Comes of Alcuin, which takes us back to the 8th Century, we find the first section of these Sundays called Sundays after Pentecost; the second is named Weeks after the Feast of the Apostles (post Natale Apostolorum); the third goes under the title of Weeks after Saint Laurence (post Sancti Laurentii); the fourth has the appellation of Weeks of the Seventh Month (September); and, lastly, the fifth is termed Weeks after Saint Michael (post Sancti Angeli), and lasts till Advent. As late as the 16th Century, many Missals of the Western Churches gave us these several sections of the Time after Pentecost, but some of the titles varied according to the special Saints honored in the respective dioceses, and which were taken as the date-marks of this period of the Year. The Roman Missal, published by order of Saint Pius the Fifth, has gradually been adopted in all our Latin Churches, and has restored the ancient denomination to the Ecclesiastical Season we have just entered upon; so that the only name under which it is now known amongst us is, The Time after Pentecost (post Pentecosten).

The Mystery of the Time After Pentecost

That we may thoroughly understand the meaning and influence of the Season of the Liturgical Year upon which we have now entered, it is requisite for us to grasp the entire sequel of mysteries, which holy Church has celebrated in our presence and company; we have witnessed her Services, and we have shared in them. The celebration of those mysteries was not an empty pageant, acted for the sake of being looked at. Each one of them brought with it a special grace, which produced in our souls the reality signified by the Rites of the Liturgy. At Christmas, Christ was born within us; at Passiontide, He passed on and into us his sufferings and atonements; at Easter, he communicated to us his glorious, his untrammelled life; in his Ascension, he drew us after him, and this even to heaven’s summit; in a word, as the Apostle expresses all this working, Christ was formed in us.

But, in order to give solidity and permanence to the image of Christ formed within us, it was necessary that the Holy Ghost should come, that so he might increase our light, and enkindle a fire within us that should never be quenched. This divine Paraclete came down from heaven; he gave himself to us; he wishes to take up his abode within us, and take our life of regeneration entirely into his own hands. Now, it is during the period called, by the Liturgy, The Time after Pentecost, that there is signified and expressed this regenerated life, which is to be spent on the model of Christ’s, and under the direction of his Spirit.

Two objects here offer themselves to our consideration: the Church and the Christian soul. As to holy Church, the Bride of Christ, filled as she is with the Paraclete Spirit, who has poured himself forth upon her, and, from that time forward, is her animating principle,—she is advancing onwards in her militant career, and will do so till the second Coming of her heavenly Spouse. She has within her the gifts of Truth and Holiness. Endowed with Infallibility of Faith, and Authority to govern, she feeds Christ’s flock, sometimes enjoying liberty and peace, sometimes going through persecutions and trials. Her divine Spouse abides with her, by his grace and the efficacy of his promises, even to the end of time; she is in possession of all the favors he has bestowed upon her; and the Holy Ghost dwells with her, and in her, forever. All this is expressed by this present portion of the Liturgical Year. It is one wherein we shall not meet with any of those great events which prepared and consummated the divine work; but, on the other hand, it is a season when holy Church reaps the fruits of that holiness and doctrine, which those ineffable mysteries have already produced, and will continue to produce, during the course of ages. It is during this same season, that we shall meet with the preparation for, and, in due time, the fulfillment of, those final events which will transform our Mother’s militant life on earth into the triumphant one in heaven. As far, then, as regards holy Church, this is the meaning of the portion of the Cycle we are commencing.

As to the faithful soul, whose life is but a compendium of that of the Church, her progress, during the period which is opened to her after the Pentecostal Feasts, should be in keeping with that of our common Mother. The soul should live and act according to that Jesus, who has united himself with her by the mysteries she has gone through; she should be governed by the Holy Spirit, whom she has received. The sublime episodes, peculiar to this second portion of the year, will give her an increase of light and life. She will put unity into these rays, which, though scattered in various directions, emanate from one common center: and, advancing from brightness to brightness, she will aspire to being consummated in him whom she now knows so well, and whom death will enable her to possess as her own. Should it not be the will of God, however, to take her as yet to himself, she will begin a fresh year, and live, over again, those mysteries which she has already enjoyed in the foregoing first half of the Liturgical Cycle, after which, she will find herself, once more, in the season that is under the direction of the Holy Ghost; till at last, her God will summon her from this world, on the day and at the hour which he has appointed from all eternity.

Between the Church, then, and the Soul, during the time intervening from the descent of the divine Paraclete to the consummation, there is this difference,—that the Church goes through it but once, whereas the Christian soul repeats it each year. With this exception, the analogy is perfect. It is our duty, therefore, to thank God for his providing thus for our weakness, by means of the sacred Liturgy, whereby he successively renews within us those helps, which enable us to attain the glorious end of our creation.

Holy Church has so arranged the order for reading the Books of Scripture during the present period, as to express the work then accomplished, both in the Church herself, and in the Christian soul. For the interval between Pentecost and the commencement of August, she gives us the Four Books of Kings. They are a prophetic epitome of the Church’s history. They describe how the kingdom of Israel was founded by David, who is the type of Christ victorious over his enemies, and by Solomon, the king of peace, who builds a temple in honor of Jehovah. During the centuries comprised in the history given in those Books, there is a perpetual struggle between good and evil. There are great and saintly kings, such as Asa, Ezechias, and Josias; there are wicked ones, like Manasses. A schism breaks out in Samaria; infidel nations league together against the City of God. The holy people, continually turning a deaf ear to the Prophets, give themselves up to the worship of false gods, and to the vices of the heathen; till, at length, the justice of God destroys both Temple and City of the faithless Jerusalem: it is an image of the destruction of this world, when Faith shall be so rare, as that the Son of Man, at his second Coming, shall scarce find a vestige of it remaining.

During the month of August, we read the Sapiential Books,—so called, because they contain the teachings of Divine Wisdom. This Wisdom is the Word of God, who is manifested unto men through the teachings of the Church, which, because of the assistance of the Holy Ghost permanently abiding within her, is infallible in the truth.

Supernatural truth produces holiness, which cannot exist, nor produce fruit, where truth is not. In order to express the union there is between these two, the Church reads to us, during the month of September, the Books called Hagiographic; these are, Tobias, Judith, Esther, and Job, and they show Wisdom in action.

At the end of the world, the Church will have to go through combats of unusual fierceness. To keep us on the watch, she reads to us, during the month of October, the Book of Machabees; for there we have described to us the noble-heartedness of those defenders of the Law of God, and for which they gloriously die; it will be the same at the last days, when power will be given to the Beast, to make war with the Saints, and to overcome them.

The month of November gives us the reading of the Prophets: the judgments of God impending upon a world which he is compelled to punish by destruction, are there announced to us. First of all, we have the terrible Ezechiel; then Daniel, who sees empire succeeding empire, till the end of all time; and, finally, the Minor Prophets,,/em> who, for the most part, foretell the divine chastisements, though the latest among them proclaim, at the same time, the near approach of the Son of God.

Such is the Mystery of this portion of the Liturgical Cycle, which is called The Time after Pentecost. It includes also the use of green Vestments; for that color expresses the hope of the Bride, who knows that she has been intrusted, by her Spouse, to the Holy Ghost, and that he will lead her safe to the end of her pilgrimage. St. John says all this in those few words of his Apocalypse: The Spirit and the Bride say: Come!

Practice for the Time After Pentecost

The object which holy Church has in view by her Liturgical Year, is the leading her Christian soul to union with Christ, and this by the Holy Ghost. This object is the one which God himself has in giving us his own Son, to be our Mediator, our Teacher, and Redeemer, and in sending us the Holy Ghost to abide among us. It is to this end that is directed all that aggregate of Rites and Prayers, which we have hitherto explained: they are not a mere commemoration of the mysteries achieved for our salvation by the divine goodness, but they bring with them the graces corresponding to each of those mysteries; that thus we may come, as the Apostle expresses it, to the age of the fulness of Christ.

As we have elsewhere explained, our sharing in the mysteries of Christ, which are celebrated in the Liturgical Year, produces in the Christian what is called, in Mystic Theology, the Illuminative Life, in which the soul gains continually more and more of the light of the Incarnate Word, who, by his examples and teachings, renovates each one of her faculties, and imparts to her the habit of seeing all things from God’s point of view. This is a preparation which disposes her for union with God, not merely in an imperfect manner, and one that is more or less inconstant, but in an intimate and permanent way, which is called the Unitive Life. The production of this Life is the special work of the Holy Ghost, who has been sent into this world that he may maintain each one of our souls in the possession of Christ, and may bring to perfection the love whereby the creature is united with its God.

In this state, in this Unitive Life, the soul is made to relish, and assimilate into herself, all that substantial and nourishing food which is presented to her so abundantly during The Time after Pentecost. The mysteries of the Trinity and of the Blessed Sacrament, the mercy and power of the Heart of Jesus, the glories of Mary and her influence upon the Church and souls,—all these are manifested to the soul with more clearness than ever, and produce within her effects not previously experienced. In the Feasts of the Saints, which are so varied and so grand during this portion of the year, she feels more and more intimately the bond which unites her to them in Christ, through the Holy Spirit. The eternal happiness of Heaven, which is to follow the trials of this mortal life, is revealed to her by the Feast of all Saints; she gains clearer notions of that mysterious bliss, which consists in light and love. Having become more closely united to Holy Church, which is the Bride of her dear Lord, she follows her in all the stages of her earthly existence, she takes a share in her sufferings, she exults in her triumphs; she sees, and yet is not daunted at seeing, this world tending to its decline, for she knows that the Lord is nigh at hand. As to what regards herself, she is not dismayed at feeling that her exterior life is slowly giving way, and that the wall which stands between her and the changeless sight and possession of the sovereign Good is gradually falling to decay; for, it is not in this world that she lives, and her heart has long been where her treasure is.

Thus enlightened, thus attracted, thus established by the incorporation into herself of the mysteries, wherewith the sacred Liturgy has nourished her, as also by the gifts poured into her by the Holy Ghost, the soul yields herself up, and without any effort, to the impulse of the divine Mover. Virtue has become all the more easy to her, as she aspires, it would almost seem, naturally, to what is most perfect; sacrifices, which used, formerly, to terrify, not delight her; she makes use of this world, as though she used it not, for all true realities, as far as she is concerned, exist beyond this world; in a word, she longs all the more ardently after the eternal possession of the object she loves, as she has been realizing even in this life, what the Apostle describes, where he speaks of a creature’s being one spirit with the Lord, by being united to him in heart.

Such is the result ordinarily produced in the soul, by the sweet and healthy influence of the sacred Liturgy. But if it seem to us, that, although we have followed it in its several seasons, we have not, as yet, reached the state of detachment and expectation just described, and that the life of Christ has not, so far, absorbed our own individual life into itself,—let us be on our guard against discouragement on that account. The Cycle of the Liturgy, with its rays of light and grace for the soul, is not a phenomenon that occurs only once in the heaven of holy Church; it returns each Year. Such is the merciful design of that God, who hath so loved the world, as to give it his Only Begotten Son; of that God, who came not to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him. Such, we say, is the Design of God; and holy Church is but carrying out that design, by putting within our reach the most powerful of all means for leading man to his God, and uniting him to his sovereign Good; she thus testifies the earnestness of her maternal solicitude. The Christian who has not been led to the term we have been describing by the first half of the Cycle, we still meet, in this second, with important aids for the expansion of his faith and the growth of his love. The Holy Ghost, who reigns, in a special manner, over this portion of the Year, will not fail to influence his mind and heart; and, when a fresh Cycle commences, the work, thus begun by grace, has a new chance for receiving that completeness, which had been retarded by the weakness of human nature.

Morning and Night Prayers for the Time After Pentecost

During this second part of the Year, the Christian, on waking in the morning, will unite himself with holy Church, who, every day, in her Office of Lauds, hails the return of light, making use of these words of the Royal Prophets:

Deus, Deus meus, ad te de luce vigilo.

O God, my God, unto thee do I watch at break of day.

He will profoundly adore the Son of God rising from the tomb, and surrounded with the dazzling rays of His grand triumph. He will hail Him with delighted joy, as being the divine Sun of Justice, who rises on the world that He may rescue it from the darkness of sin, and illuminate it with the light of grace. It is with these ideas deeply impressed upon his mind, that he must perform the first acts of religion, both interior and exterior, wherewith he begins the day. The time for morning prayer having come, he may use the following method, which is formed upon the very prayers of the Church:—

Morning Prayer

First, praise and adoration of the Most Holy Trinity:—

℣. Benedicamus Patrem et Filium, cum Sancto Spiritu:

℣. Let us bless the Father and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

℟. Laudemus et su perexaltemus eum in sæcula.

℟. Let us praise him and extol him above all, for ever.

℣. Gloria Patri et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto;

℣. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

℟. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

℟. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Then, praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ:

℣. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi;

℣. We adore thee, O Christ, and bless thee;

℟. Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

℟. Because, by thy holy Cross, thou hast redeemed the world.

Thirdly, invocation of the Holy Ghost:

Veni, Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love.

After these fundamental acts of Religion, recite the Lord’s Prayer, uniting your intentions with those which your Savior had when he gave it to you. First, then, raise up your thoughts and desires to the interests of his glory, while you say the first three petitions; and in the last four, humbly put before him the favors you yourself stand in need of:

The Lord’s Prayer

Pater noster, qui es in cœlis, sanctificetur nomen tuum: adveniat regnum tuum: fiat voluntas tuas sicut in cœlo, et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie: et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris: et ne nos inducas in tentationem: sed libera nos a malo. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name: thy kingdom come: thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us: and lead us not into temptation: but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Then address our Blessed Lady, using the words of the Angelical Salutation. While saying it, think of the share she took in the mysteries, whereby we have been saved, and united to God. Think, too, of the immense power given to her by her divine Son, and of the maternal love she bears for us mortals.

The Angelical Salutation

Ave Maria, gratia plena: Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.

Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Sancta Maria, Marter Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostræ. Amen.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

After this, you should recite the Creed, that is, the Symbol of Faith. It contains the dogmas we are to believe, and which we have seen, in such living reality, by means of the Liturgy which has celebrated them, each in its turn. Faith is the first bond which unites us to God. It is Faith that gives us to know him, and reveals to us the object of our hope and our love. Our Faith should be dearer to us than our life, and we should be ever praying for its increase.

The Apostles’ Creed

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, creatorem cœli et terræ. Et in Jesum Christum Filium ejus unicum, Dominum nostrum: qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus: descendit ad inferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis: ascendit ad cœlos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis: inde venturus est judicare vivos et mortuos.

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and buried; he descended into hell, the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.

Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, sanctam Ecclesiam Catholicam, Sanctorum communionem, remissionem peccatorum, carnis resurrectionem, vitam æternam. Amen.

I believe in the Holy Ghost: the Holy Catholic Church; the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

After having thus made the Profession of your Faith, unite with Holy Church, who hails, each morning, the rising of the day-star, who is her Jesus, who is the Light of the World, and the Sun of Justice. To this end, you may recite the following beautiful Hymn, composed by St. Ambrose:


Splendor Paternæ gloriæ,
De luce lucem proferens,
Lux lucis, et fons luminis,
Diem dies illuminans.

O Brightness of the Father’s glory! bringing Light from the Light! Thou Light of Light, and Fount of Light, and Day that illuminest the day!

Verusque sol illabere,
Micans nitore perpeti:
jubarque Sancti Spiritus
Infunde nostris sensibus.

O thou true Sun! pour forth thy rays on us, shining upon us with unfading splendor! O Radiance of the Holy Ghost, be thou infused into our senses and powers.

Votis vocemus et Patrem,
Patrem perennis gloriæ,
Patrem potentis gratiæ,
Culpam releget lubricam.

Give us, also, to invoke the Father,—the Father of eternal glory, the Father of mighty grace,—that he would drive from us sin and its allurements.

Confirmet actus strenuos,
Dentes retundat invidi:
Casus secundet asperos,
Donet gerendi gratiam.

May he give energy to our deeds and strengthen them; may he break the teeth of the envious serpent; may he support us when we rudely fall, and give us the grace to act.

Mentem gubernet et regat,
Casto, fideli corpore;
Fides calore ferveat,
Fraudis venena nesciat.

May he govern and rule our mind, in a chaste and faithful body; may our faith be fervent in warmth, void of the poisons of error.

Christusque nobis sit cibus,
Potusque noster sit fides:
Læti libamus sobriam
Ebrietatem Spiritus.

May Christ be our food, and Faith our drink; may we, in gladness, quaff the sober inebriation of the Spirit.

Lætus dies hic transeat,
Pudor sit ut diluculum,
Fides velut meridies,
Crepusculum mens nesciat.

May this day be one of joy; modesty its dawn, Faith its noon; and no night to dim the mind.

Aurora cursus provehit,
Aurora totus prodeat,
In Patre totus Filius,
Et totus in Verbo Pater.

The aurora is swift advancing; O may the full Aurora come, the whole Son in the Father, and the whole Father in his Word!

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Ejusque soli Filio,
Cum Spiritu Paraclito,
Et nunc, et in perpetuum.

To God the Father, and to his Only Son, and to the Paraclete Spirit, be glory for ever and ever.



After having thus paid your homage to your divine Mediator, next made a humble confession of your sins, reciting, for this purpose, the general formula made us of by the Church.

The Confession of Sins

Confiteor Deo Omnipotenti, beatæ Mariæ semper Virgini, beato Michaeli Archangelo, beato Joanni Baptistæ, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, et omnibus sanctis, quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo, et opere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, beatum Michaelem Archangelum, beatum Joannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, et omnes sanctos, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum.

I confess to Almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and to all the saints, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed: through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore I beseech the blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, to pray to our Lord God for me.

Misereatur nostri omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis nostris, perducat nos ad vitam æternam. Amen.

May Almighty God have mercy on us, and, our sins being forgiven, bring us to life everlasting. Amen.

Indulgentiam, absolutionem, et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus. Amen.

May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, absolution, and remission of our sins. Amen.

This is the proper place for making your Meditation, as no doubt you practice this holy exercise. It may be the case, with some souls, that their assiduous application to the mysteries of the Holy Liturgy has produced upon them, this among other effects,—that it has opened to them the way of Prayer properly so called. Let, then, each one commune with God, under the influence of the Holy Spirit. During this long period, which never lasts less than six months, the Christian is free to choose the subject of his communings with God, for he has been enlightened, as to all things, by the words and works of his Lord, who came down from heaven to earth that he might teach us all truth. So that, whether he stay to ponder over the mysteries which have been revealed to him, according to the attraction which he feels for them; or fix his attention upon the perfections of that divine Model, in whom there are, so resplendently, all the marks of the Second Adam come down from heaven; or our Lord point out to him those miseries and imperfections which are in him, and keep him still so far from his Model; all will tend to enlighten him, to inflame him, and to unite him with his God. When a soul is continually being influenced by her contact with the Church through the Liturgy, it is impossible for the spirit of Prayer not to grow within her, and, either imperceptibly, or suddenly, produce in her a transformation into Him who, being God, has united himself to our nature, in order that, through him, we might be united with God.

Your Meditation of Prayer ended, on account of your not having leisure to make it at this hour of the morning, you will next address this prayer to God, begging him to grant you the grace to avoid, during this day, every kind of sin, and to perform all manner of good works. Say, then, this prayer of the Church, for her prayers are the best:

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.

℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

Domine, Deus omnipotens, qui ad principium hujus diei nos pervenire fecisti, tua nos hodie salva virtute, ut in hac die ad nullum declinemus peccatum, sed semper ad tuam justitiam faciendam nostra procedant eloquia, dirigantur cogitationes et opera. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Almighty Lord and God, who has brought us to the beginning of this day, let thy powerful grace so conduct us through it, that we may not fall into any sin, but that all our thoughts, words, and actions may be regulated according to the rules of thy heavenly justice, and tend to the observance of thy holy law. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

During the day, you will do well to use the instructions and prayers which will find in this volume, for each day of the Season, both for the Proper of the Time, and the Proper of the Saints. In the Evening, you may use the following Prayers:—

Night Prayers

After having made the sign of the Cross, adore that Sovereign Lord, who now offers you repose after the labors of the day. Beg his protection on these hours of sleep and night; and, to this end, you may recite this beautiful hymn of St. Ambrose, which was so great a favorite with St. Augustine, his disciple.


Deus, Creator omnium
Polique rector, vestiens
Diem decoro lumine,
Noctem spooris gratia,

O God, Creator of all things, and Ruler of the heavens, ’tis thou that clothed day with beautiful light, and night with the boon of sleep.

Artus solutos ut quies
Reddat laboris usui,
Mentesque fessas allevet,
Luctusque solvat anxios;

’Tis sleep that restores our wearied limbs to the toil of work. Sleep gives repose to the mind when tired, and takes away the anxious-making grief.

Grates, peracto jam die,
Et noctis exortu, preces,
Voti reos ut adjuves,
Hymnum canentes, solvimus.

The day is spent, and night is come; we offer thee our thanks and prayers, singing our hymn, that thou mayst help us, thy servants.

Te cordis ima concinant,
Te vox sonora concrepet,
Te diligat castus amor,
Te mens adoret sobria.

May our imnost heart sing thy praise, and tuneful voices sound forth thy name; may our chaste affection love, and our sober mind adore, thee.

Ut, cum profunda clauserit
Diem caligo noctium,
Rides tenebras nesciat
Et nox fide reluceat.

And when the night’s deep gloom shall shut out the day, may our faith know nought of darkness, and the very night be day by faith.

Dormire mentem ne sinas,
Dormire culpa noverit;
Castos fides refrigerans
Somni vaporem temperet.

Let not our soul, but only sin feel sleep; let faith keep us chaste, and, by its refreshing power, check the vapors of sleep.

Exuta sensu lubrico
Te cordis alta somnient;
Nec hostis invidi dolo
Pavor quietos suscitet.

May our heart’s deepest self, unshackled by the allurements of sense, dream of thee: nor let the fear of the enemy, whose envy is ever laying snares, disturb us when at rest.

Christum rogemus et Patrem,
Christi Patrisque Spiritum:
Unum, potens per omnia,
Fove precantes, Trinitas.

Let our prayer ascend to Christ, and to the Father, and to the Spirit of that Christ and Father: O Trinity, one in essence, and all-powerful, be merciful to us, who pray to thee.



After this Hymn, say the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Apostles’ Creed, as in the Morning.

Then, make the Examination of Conscience, going over in your mind all the faults you have committed during the day. Think how opposed sin is to that new life which we ought now to be leading with our risen Lord: make a firm resolution to avoid sin for the time to come, to do penance for it, and to shun the occasions which might again lead you into it.

The Examination of Conscience concluded, recite the Confiteor (or I confess with heartfelt contrition, and then give expression to your sorrow by the following Act, which we have taken from the Venerable Cardinal Bellarmine’s Catechism:—

Act of Contrition

O my God, I am exceedingly grieved for having offended thee, and with my whole heart I repent for the sins I have committed: I hate and abhor them above every other evil, not only because, by so sinning I have lost Heaven and deserve Hell, but still more because I have offended thee, O infinite Goodness, who art worthy to be loved above all things. I most firmly resolve, by the assistance of thy grace, never more to offend thee for the time to come, and to avoid those occasions which might lead me into sin.

You may then add the Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity, to the recitation of which Pope Benedict the Fourteenth has granted an indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines for each time.

Act of Faith

O my God, I firmly believe whatsoever the holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church requires me to believe: I believe it, because thou hast revealed it to her, thou who art the very Truth.

Act of Hope

O my God, knowing thy almighty power, and thy infinite goodness and mercy, I hope in thee that, by the merits of the Passion and Death of our Savior Jesus Christ, thou wilt grant me eternal life, which thou hast promised to all such as shall do the works of a good Christian; and these I resolve to do, with the help of thy grace.

Act of Charity

O my God, I love thee with my whole heart and above all things, because thou art the sovereign Good: I would rather lose all things than offend thee. For thy love also, I love and desire to love my neighbor as myself.

Then say to our blessed Lady the following solemn Anthem, which the Church says, in her honor, till Advent.

Anthem to the Blessed Virgin

Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiæ; vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy; our Life, our Sweetness, and our Hope, all hail!

Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Hevæ;

To thee we cry, poor banished children of Eve;

Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrymarum valle.

To thee we send up our sighs, weeping and mourning in this vale of tears.

Eia ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte.

Turn, then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us;

Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exsilium ostende;

And, after this our exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus;

O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria!

O merciful, O kind, O sweet Virgin Mary!

℣. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genetrix,

℣. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,

℟. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

℟. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

Omniptens sempiterne Deus, qui gloriosæ Virginis matris Mariæ corpus et animam, ut dignum Filii tui habitaculum effici mereretur, Spiritu sancto cooperante, præparasti: da, ut cujus commenoratione lætamur, ejus pis intercessione ab instantibus malis, et a morte perpetua liberemur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

O almighty and everlasting God, who, by the cooperation of the Holy Ghost, didst prepare the body and soul of Mary, glorious Virgin and Mother, to become the worthy habitation of thy Son; grant that we may be delivered from present evils, and from everlasting death by Her gracious intercession, in whose commemoration we rejoice. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

You would do well to add the litany of our Lady. An indulgence of three hundred days, for each time it is recited, has been granted by the Church.

The Litany of the Blessed Virgin
Kyrie, eleison. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christe, eleison. Christ, have mercy on us.
Kyrie, eleison. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christe, audi nos. Christ, hear us.
Christe, exaudi nos. Christ, graciously hear us.
Pater de cælis Deus, miserere nobis. God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
Fili Redemptor mundi Deus, God, the Son, the Redeemer of the world,
Spiritus Sancte Deus, God, the Holy Spirit,
Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, Holy Trinity, one God,
Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis. Holy Mary, pray for us.
Sancta Dei Genetrix, Holy Mother of God,
Sancta Virgo virginum, Holy Virgin of virgins,
Mater Christi, Mother of Christ,
Mater Ecclesiæ, Mother of the Church,
Mater Divinæ gratiæ, Mother of divine grace,
Mater purissima, Mother most pure,
Mater castissima, Mother most chaste,
Mater inviolata, Mother inviolate,
Mater intemerata, Mater undefiled,
Mater amabilis, Mother most amiable,
Mater admirabilis, Mother most admirable,
Mater boni Consilii, Mother of good counsel,
Mater Creatoris, Mother of our Creator,
Mater Salvatoris, Mother of our Savior,
Virgo prudentissima, Virgin most prudent,
Virgo veneranda, Virgin most venerable,
Virgo prædicanda, Virgin most renowned,
Virgo potens, Virgin most powerful,
Virgo clemens, Virgin most merciful,
Virgo fidelis, Virgin most faithful,
Speculum iustitiæ, Mirror of justice,
Sedes sapientiæ, Seat of wisdom,
Causa nostræ lætitiæ, Cause of our joy,
Vas spirituale, Spiritual vessel,
Vas honorabile, Vessel of honor,
Vas insigne devotionis, Singular vessel of devotion,
Rosa mystica, Mystical rose,
Turris Davidica, Tower of David,
Turris eburnea, Tower of ivory,
Domus aurea, House of gold,
Fœderis arca, Ark of the covenant,
Ianua cæli, Gate of heaven,
Stella matutina, Morning star,
Salus infirmorum, Health of the sick,
Refugium peccatorum, Refuge of sinners,
Consolatrix afflictorum, Comforter of the afflicted,
Auxilium Christianorum, Help of Christians,
Regina Angelorum, Queen of Angels,
Regina Patriarcharum, Queen of Patriarchs,
Regina Prophetarum, Queen of Prophets,
Regina Apostolorum, Queen of Apostles,
Regina Martyrum, Queen of Martyrs,
Regina Confessorum, Queen of Confessors,
Regina Virginum, Queen of Virgins,
Regina Sanctorum omnium, Queen of all Saints,
Regina sine labe originali concepta, Queen conceived without original sin,
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
parce nobis, Domine.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the
spare us, O Lord.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
exaudi nos, Domine.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the
graciously hear us, O Lord.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
miserere nobis.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the
have mercy on us.
Christe, audi nos. Christ, hear us.
Christe, exaudi nos. Christ, graciously hear us.
℣. Ora pro nobis, Sancta Dei Genitrix,
℟. Ut digni efficamur promissionibus Christi.
℣. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
℟. That we may be made worthy of the promises
of Christ.
Oremus.—Concede nos famulos tuos, quæsumus, Domine Deus, perpetua mentis et corporis sanitate gaudere: et gloriosa beatæ Mariæ semper virginis intercessione, a præsenti liberari tristitia, et æterna perfrui lætitia. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Let us pray.—Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we thy servants may enjoy constant health of body and mind: and by the glorious intercession of Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, be delivered from all present affliction, and come to that joy which is eternal. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Here invoke the Holy Angels, whose protection is, indeed, always so much needed by us, but never so much as during the hours of night. Say with the Church:

Sancti angeli, custodes nostri, defendite nos in prælio, ut non pereamus in tremendo judicio.

Holy angels, our loving guardians, defend us in the hour of battle, that we may not be lost at the dreadful judgment.

℣. Angelis suis Deus mandavit de te.

℣. God hath given his angels charge of thee.

℟. Ut custodiant te in omnibus viis tuis.

℟. That they may guard thee in all thy ways.

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

Deus qui ineffabili providentia sanctos angelos tuos ad nostram custodiam mittere dignaris: largire supplicibus tuis, et eorum semper protectione defendi, et æterna societate gaudere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

O God, who in thy wonderful providence hast been pleased to appoint thy holy angels for our guardians: mercifully hear our prayer, and grant we may rest secure under their protection, and enjoy their fellowship in heaven forever. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Then beg the assistance of the Saints by the following antiphon:

Ant. Sancti Dei omnes, intercedere dignemini pro nostra omniumque salute.

Ant. All ye Saints of God, vouchsafe to intercede for us and for all men, that we may be saved.

And here you may add a special mention of the Saints to whom you bear a particular devotion, either as your Patrons or otherwise; as also of those whose feast is kept in the Church that day, or who have been at least commemorated in the Divine Office.

This done, remember that necessities of the Church Suffering, and beg of God that He will give to the souls in Purgatory a place of refreshment, light, and peace. For this intention recite the usual prayers.

Psalm 129

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine: Domine, exaudi vocem meam.

From the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice.

Fiant aures tuæ intendentes: in vocem deprecationis meæ.

Let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.

Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine: Domine, quis sustinebit?

If thou wilt observe iniquities, O Lord: Lord, who shall endure it?

Quia apud te propitiatio est: et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.

For with thee there is merciful forgiveness; and by reason of thy law I have waited for thee, O Lord.

Sustinuit anima mea in verbo ejus: speravit anima mea in Domino.

My soul hath relied on his word; my soul hath hoped in the Lord.

A custodia matutina usque ad noctem: speret Israel in Domino.

From the morning watch even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.

Quia apud Dominum misericordia: et copiosa apud cum redemptio.

Because with the Lord there is mercy, and with him plentiful redemption.

Et ipse redimet Israel: ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.

And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine.

Eternal rest give to them, O Lord.

Et lux perpetua luceat eis.

And let perpetual light shine upon them.

℣. A porta inferi.

℣. From the gate of hell.

℟. Erue, Domine, animas eorum.

℟. Deliver their souls, O Lord.

℣. Requiescant in pace.

℣. May they rest in peace.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.

℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

Fidelium Deus omnium Conditor et Redemptor, animabus famulorum famularumque tuarum, remissionem cunctorum tribue peccatorum: ut indulgentiam, quam semper optaverunt, piis supplicationibus consequantur. Qui vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

O God the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, give to the souls of thy servants departed the remission of their sins: that through the help of pious supplications, they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

Here make a special memento of such of the Faithful departed as have a particular claim upon your charity; after which, ask of God to give you His assistance, whereby you may pass the night free from danger. Say, then, still keeping to the words of the Church:

Ant. Salva nos, Domine, vigilantes, custodi nos dormientes: ut vigilemus cum Christo, et requiescamus in pace.

Ant. Save us, O Lord, while awake, and watch us as we sleep: that we may watch with Christ, and rest in peace.

℣. Dignare, Domine, nocte ista.

℣. Vouchsafe, O Lord, this night.

℟. Sine peccato nos custodire.

℟. To keep us without sin.

℣. Miserere nostri, Domine.

℣. Have mercy on us, O Lord.

℟. Miserere nostri.

℟. Have mercy on us.

℣. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos.

℣. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us.

℟. Quemadmodum speravimus in te.

℟. As we have hoped in thee.

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.

℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

Visita, quæsumus, Domine, habitationem istam, et omnes insidias inimici ab ea longe repelle: angeli tui sancti habitent in ea, qui nos in pace custodiant, et benedictio tua sit super nos semper. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Visit, we beseech thee, O Lord, this house and family, and drive from it all snares of the enemy: let thy holy angels dwell herein, who may keep us in peace, and may thy blessing be always upon us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

And finally, as a close to the day, you may recite those words, which were the last uttered, by our Redeemer, on the Cross. The Church offers them to God, each day, at Compline.

In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum.

Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my soul.

On Hearing Mass, During the Time after Pentecost

Of all the good acts wherewith a Christian can sanctify his day, there is not one which bears comparison with that of assisting at the holy Sacrifice of Mass. It is in that Sacrifice, which is the supreme act of Religion, that are centered all the homage due from man to his Creator; and it is, also, from the same Sacrifice, that God pours out upon his creature Man every sort of blessing, and profusely. That very Son of God is really present there; there he is offered up to his Father, and the offering is always well-pleasing; and they who assist at this divine immolation, with faith and love, receive into their souls graces of a far richer kind than are given by ordinary means.

The assistance at Mass, if completed by the real participating with the divine Victim, unites man to God in an ineffable way, by the renovation of his whole being, for it produces an intimate communion between him and the Word Incarnate. But if the Christian, who is assisting at the holy Sacrifice, goes no further than the uniting his intentions with those of the divine Victim, even so, his mere presence at so great an Act includes a true participation in the supreme worship offered, by this earth of ours, to the Majesty of God, in Christ, and by Christ. So, too, he solemnly consecrates to God, by that same holy Act, the day he has just begun.

We have devoted the days within the Octave of Corpus Christi to the giving our Readers the fullest instruction regarding the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. As to the dispositions wherewith they should assist at it, they are given in the present Chapter, in which we explain briefly, and yet, as we believe, completely, the meaning of each ceremony and expression. While thus endeavoring to initiate the Faithful into these sublime mysteries, we have not given them a bare and indiscreet translation of the sacred formulæ, but have taken, what seemed to us so much better a plan, of suggesting such Acts as will enable those, who hear Mass, to enter into the ceremonies and spirit of the Church and the Priest. The conclusion to be drawn from this is one of the great importance: it is, that, in order to derive solid profit from the assisting at the Holy Sacrifice, the Faithful must attentively follow all that is being done at the Altar, and not stand aloof, as it were, by reading Books which are filled with devotions of a private and unseasonable character.

On the Sundays, if the Mass, at which the Faithful assist, be the Parochial, or, as it is often called, the Public Mass, two solemn rites precede it, and they are full of instruction and blessing;—the Asperges, or sprinkling of the Holy Water, and the Procession.

During the Asperges, let them unite with the intentions of the Church in this venerable rite, and pray for that purity of heart, which will fit them for admission into that Stable of Bethlehem, wherein the Word Incarnate first appeared to his creatures.

Antiphon of the Asperges

Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo, et mundabor: lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.

Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, O Lord, and I shall be cleansed; thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.

Ps. Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.

Ps. Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy.

Gloria Patri, etc.

Glory, etc.

Ant. Asperges me, etc.

Ant. Thou shalt sprinkle me, etc.

℣. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam, alleluia.

℣. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy, alleluia.

℟. Et salutare tuum da nobis, alleluia.

℟. And grant us the Savior, whom we expect from thee, alleluia.

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.

℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.

℣. The Lord be with you.

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℟. And with thy spirit.

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

Exaudi nos, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus: et mittere digneris sanctum angelum tuum de cœlis, qui custodiat, foveat, protegat, visitet atque defendat omnes habitantes in hoc habitaculo. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Graciously hear us, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: and vouchsafe to send thy holy angel from heaven, who may keep, cherish, protect, visit, and defend all who are assembled in this place. Through Christ our Lord.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

The Procession, which, in many Churches, immediately precedes the Mass, is a prelude to the great Act which is about to be accomplished. It originated from the practice used in Monasteries, of going through the Cloisters, every Sunday, while chanting certain appointed Responsories; and during which, the Hebdomadarian went through all the Conventual Places, blessing each of them. The practice is still in use.

But see, Christians, the Sacrifice begins! The Priest is at the foot of the altar; God is attentive, the Angels are in adoration, the whole Church is united with the Priest, whose priesthood and action are those of the great High Priest, Jesus Christ. Let us make the sign of the Cross with him.

The Ordinary of the Mass

In nome Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti. Amen.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

℣. Introibo ad altare Dei.

℟. Ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

I unite myself, O my God, with thy Church, who comes to seek consolation in Jesus Christ thy Son, who is the true altar.

Judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me.

Like her, I beseech thee to defend me against the malice of the enemies of my salvation.

Quia tu es, Deus, fortitudo mea: quare me repulisti? et quare tristis incedo, dum affligit me inimicus?

It is in thee that I have put my hope; yet do I feel sad and troubled at being in the midst of the snares which are set for me.

Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam: ipsa me deduxerunt et adduxerunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua.

Send me, then, him who is light and truth; it is he who will open to us the way to thy holy mount, to thy heavenly tabernacle.

Et introibo ad altare Dei: ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

He is the Mediator and the living altar; I will draw nigh to him, and be filled with joy.

Confitebor tibi in cithara Deus, Deus meus: quare tristis es anima mea? et quare conturbas me?

When he shall have come, I will sing in my gladness. Be not sad, O my soul! why wouldst thou be troubled?

Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi: salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus.

Hope in his coming: he who is thy Savior an;d thy God, will soon be with me.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui sancto.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

℣. Introibo ad altare Dei.

℟. Ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

I am to go to the altar of God, and feel the presence of him who consoles me!

℣. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.

℟. Qui fecit cœlum et terram.

This my hope comes not from any merits of my own, but from the all-powerful help of my Creator.

The thought of his being about to appear before his God, excites, in the soul of the Priest, a lively sentiment of compunction. He cannot go further in the holy Sacrifice without confessing, Listen, with respect, to this confession of God’s minister, and earnestly ask our Lord to show mercy to him; for the priest is your father; he is answerable for your salvation, for which he every day risks his own. When he has finished, unite with the Servers, or the Sacred Ministers, in this prayer:

Misereatur tui omniptens Deus, et dimissis peccatis tuis, perducat te ad vitam æternam.

May almighty God have mercy on thee, and, forgiving thy sins, bring thee to everlasting life.

The priest having answered Amen, make your confession, saying with a contrite spirit:

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, beatæ Mariæ semper Virgini, beato Michæli Archangelo, beato Ioanni Baptistæ, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, et omnibus Sanctis, quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo et opere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, beatum Michælem Archangelum, beatum Ioannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, et omnes Sanctos, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum.

I confess to almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and to all the saints that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed: through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore, I beseech blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Receive with gratitude the paternal wish of the priest, who says to you:

Misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis vestris, perducat vos ad vitam æternam.

May almighty God be merciful to you, and, forgiving your sins, bring you to life everlasting.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

Indulgentiam, absolutionem, et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus.

May the almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, absolution, and remission of our sins.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

Invoke the divine assistance, that you may approach to Jesus Christ.

℣. Deus, tu conversus vivificabis nos.

℣. O God, it needs but one look of thine to give us life.

℟. Et plebs tua lætabitur in te.

℟. And thy people shall rejoice in thee.

℣. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam.

℣. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy.

℟. Et salutare tuum da nobis.

℟. And give us the Savior whom thou hast prepared for us.

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.

℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

The priest here leaves you to ascend to the altar; but first he salutes you:

℣. Dominus vobiscum.

℣. The Lord be with you.

Answer him with reverence:

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℟. And with thy spirit.

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

He ascends the steps, and comes to the Holy of Holies. Ask, both for him and for yourself, deliverance from sin.

Aufer a nobis, quæsumus Domine, iniquitates nostras; ut ad Sancta sanctorum puris mereamur mentibus introire. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Take from our hearts, O Lord, all those sins, which makes us unworthy of thy visit; we ask this of thee by thy divine Son our Lord.

When the priest kisses the altar, out of reverence for the relics of the Martyrs which are there, say:

Oramus te, Domine, per merita sanctorum tuorum quorum reliquiæ hic sunt, et omnium sanctorum: ut indulgere digneris omnia peccata mea. Amen.

Generous soldiers of Jesus Christ, who have mingled your own blood with his, intercede for us that our sins may be forgiven; that so we may, like you, approach unto God.

If it be a High Mass at which you are assisting, the Priest censes the Altar in a most solemn manner. This white cloud, which you see ascending from every part of the Altar, signifies the prayer of the Church, who addresses herself to Jesus Christ; and which this Divine Mediator then causes to ascend, united with his own, to the throne of the majesty of his Father.

The Priest then says the Introit. It is a solemn opening-anthem, in which the Church, at the very commencement of the Holy Sacrifice, gives expression to the sentiments which fill her heart.

It is followed by nine exclamations, which are even more earnest, for they ask for mercy. In addressing them to God, the Church unites herself with the nine choirs of angels, who are standing round the altar of heaven, one and the same as this before which you are kneeling.

To the Father:
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
To the Son:
Christe eleison.
Christe eleison.
Christe eleison.
Christ, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!
To the Holy Ghost:
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!

Then, mingling his voice with that of the heavenly host, the Priest intones the sublime Canticle of Bethlehem, which announces glory to God and peace to men. Instructed by the revelations of God, the Church continues, in her own words, the Hymn of the Angels.

The Angelic Hymn

Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonæ voluntatis.

Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace to men of good will.

Laudamus te: benedicimus te: adoramus te: glorificamus te: gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam.

We praise thee: we bless thee: we adore thee: we glorify thee: we give thee thanks for thy great glory.

Domine Deus, Rex cœlestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.

O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father almighty.

Domine, Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe.

O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son.

Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris.

O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father.

Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Qui tollis teccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram.

Who takest away the sins of the world, receive our humble prayer.

Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis.

Who sittest at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.

Quoniam tu solus sanctus, tu solus Dominus, tu solus altissimus, Jesu Christe, cum sancto Spiritu, in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.

For thou alone art holy, thou alone art Lord, thou alone, O Jesus Christ, together with the Holy Ghost, art most high, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

The priest turns towards the people, and again salutes them, as it were to make sure of their pious attention to the sublime act, for which all this is but the preparation.

The follows the Collect or Prayer, in which the Church formally expresses to the divine Majesty the special intentions she has in the Mass which is being celebrated. You may unite in this prayer, by reciting with the priest the collects which you will find in their proper places: but on no account omit to join with the server of the Mass in answering Amen.

After this, comes the Epistle, which is, generally, a portion of one or other of the Epistles of the Apostles, or a passage from some Book of the Old Testament. While it is being read, give thanks to that God, who not satisfied with having spoken to us, at sundry times, by his Messengers, deigned, at last, to speak unto us by his well-beloved Son.

The Gradual is an intermediate formula of prayer between the Epistle and Gospel. It again brings to our attention the sentiments which were expressed in the Introit. Read it with devotion, that so you may enter more and more into the spirit of the mystery proposed to you by the Church.

The son of praise, the Alleluia, is next heard. Let us, while it is being said,unite with the holy Angels, who are, for all eternity, making heaven resound with that song, which we on earth are permitted to attempt.

The time is now come for the Gospel to be read. The Gospel is the written word; our hearing it will prepare us for the Word, who is our Victim and our Food.

If it be a High Mass, the Deacon, meanwhile, prepares to fulfill his noble office,—that of announcing the Good Tidings of salvation. He prays God to cleanse his heart and lips. Then kneeling, he asks the Priest’s blessing; and having received it, he at once goes to the place where he is to sing the Gospel.

As a preparation for hearing it worthily, you may thus pray, together with the Priest and Deacon:

Munda cor meum, ac labia mea, omnipotens Deus, qui labia Isaiæ prophetæ calculo mundasti ignito: ita me tua grata miseratione dignare mundare, ut sanctum Evangelium tuum digne valeam nuntiare. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Alas! these ears of mine are but too often defiled with the world’s vain words; cleanse them, O Lord, that so I may hear the words of eternal life, and treasure them in my heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dominus sit in corde meo, et in labiis meis: ut digne et competenter annuntiem Evangelium suum: In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti. Amen.

Grant to thy ministers thy grace, that they may faithfully explain thy law; that so all, both pastors and flock, may be united to thee for ever. Amen.

You will stand during the Gospel, as though you were awaiting the orders of your Lord; at the commencement, make the sign of the cross on your forehead, lips, and breast; and then listen to every word of the priest or deacon. Let your heart be ready and obedient. “Whilst my Beloved was speaking,” says the bride in the Canticle, “my soul melted within me.” If you have not such love as this, have at least the humble submission of Samuel, and say: “Speak, Lord! Thy servant heareth.”

After the Gospel, if the priest says the Symbol of faith, the Credo, you will say it with him. Faith is that gift of God, without which we cannot please Him. It is Faith that initiates us into the sublime Easter Mysteries, which divinize our whole life, and put us in possession of the good things of eternity. Like the holy women at the Sepulcher, let us believe with a lively and simple faith. Let us not wait for experience, as Thomas did; for our Lord has said: “Blessed are they that have not seen and have believed.” Let us, then, say with the Catholic Church, our Mother:

The Nicene Creed

Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem cœli et terræ, visibilium omnium et invisibilium.

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum. Et ex Patre natum ante omnia sæcula, Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero. Genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri: per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines, et propter nostram salutem, descendit de dœlis. Et incarnatus est de Spiritu sancto, et homo factus est. Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus, et sepultus est. Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas. Et ascendit in cœlum; sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria judicare vivos et mortuos; cujus regni non erit finis.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God. And born of the Father before all ages: God of God, light of light; true God of true God. Begotten, not made; consubstantial with the Father: by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven. And became Incarnate by the Holy Ghost, of the Virgin Mary; and was made man. He was crucified also for us, under Pontius Pilate, suffered, and was buried. And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures. And ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of the Father. And he is to come again with glory, to judge the living and the dead: of whose kingdom there shall be no end.

Et in Spiritum sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre Filioque procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur, et conglorificatur; qui locutus est per prophetas. Et unam sanctam Catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum Baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi sæculi. Amen.

And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son. Who, together with the Father and the Son, is adored and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And one holy Catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the remission of sins. And I expect the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The priest and the people should, by this time, have their hearts ready: it is time to prepare the offering itself. And here we come to the second part of the holy Mass: it is called the Oblation, and immediately follows that which was named the Mass of Catechumens, on account of its being formerly the only part at which the candidates for Baptism had a right to be present.

See, then, dear Christians! bread and wine are about to be offered to God, as being the noblest of inanimate creatures, since they are made for the nourishment of man; and even that is only a poor material image of what they are destined to become in our Christian sacrifice. Their substance will soon give place to God Himself, and of themselves nothing will remain but the appearances. Happy creatures, thus to yield up their own being, that God may take its place! We, too, are to undergo a like transformation, when, as the apostle expresses it, that which in us is mortal shall put on immortality. Until that happy change shall be realized, let us offer ourselves to God as often as we see the bread and wine presented to Him in the holy sacrifice; and let us prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus, who will transform us, by making us partakers of the divine nature.

The priest again turns to the people with the usual salutation, as though he would warn them to redouble their attention. Let us read the Offertory with him, and when he offers the Host to God, let us unite with him, and say:

Suscipe, sancte Pater, omnipotens æterne Deus, hanc immaculatam hostiam, quam ego indignus famulus tuus offero tibi Deo meo vivo et vero, pro innumerabilibus peccatis et offensionibus et negligentiis meis, et pro omnibus circumstantibus, sed et pro omnibus fidelibus christianis vivis atque defunctis; ut mihi et illis proficiat ad salutem in vitam æternam. Amen.

All that we have, O Lord, comes from thee, and belongs to thee: it is just, therefore, that we return it unto thee. But how wonderful art thou in the inventions of thy immense love! This bread which we are offering to thee, is to give place, in a few moments, to the sacred Body of Jesus. We beseech thee, receive, together with this oblation, our hearts, which long to live by thee, and to cease to live their own life of self.

When the priest puts the wine into the chalice, and then mingles with it a drop of water, let your thoughts turn to the divine mystery of the Incarnation, which in a few days is to be manifested to the world; and say:

Deus qui humanæ substantiæ dignitatem mirabiliter condidisti, et mirabilius reformasti: da nobis per hujus aquæ et vini mysterium, ejus divinitatis esse consortes, qui humanitatis nostræ fieri dignatus est particeps, Jesus Christus Filius tuus Dominus noster: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

O Lord Jesus, who art the true vine, and whose Blood, like a generous wine, has been poured forth under the pressure of the cross! thou hast deigned to unite thy divine nature to our weak humanity, which is signified by this drop of water. Oh! come, and make us partakers of thy divinity, by showing thyself to us in thy sweet and wondrous visit.

The priest then offers the mixture of wine and water, beseeching God graciously to accept this oblation, which is so soon to be changed into the reality, of which it is now but the figure. Meanwhile, say, in union with the priest:

Offerimus tibi, Domine, calicem salutaris, tuam deprecantes clementiam: ut in conspectu divinæ majestatis tuæ, pro nostra et totius mundi salute, cum odore suavitatis ascendat. Amen.

Graciously accept these gifts, O sovereign Creator of all things. Let them be fitted for the divine transformation, which will make them, from being mere offerings of created things, the instrument of the world’s salvation.

After having thus held up the sacred gifts towards heaven, the priest bows down: let us, also, humble ourselves, and say:

In spiritu humilitatis, et in animo contrito suscipiamur a te, Domine; et sic fiat sacrificium nostrum in conspectu tuo hodie, ut placeat tibi, Domine Deus.

Though daring, as we do, to approach thy altar, O Lord, we cannot forget that we are sinners. Have mercy on us, and delay not to send us thy Son, who is our saving Host.

Let us next invoke the Holy Ghost, whose operation is about to produce on the altar the presence of the son of God, as it did in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, in the divine mystery of the Incarnation:

Veni, Sanctificator, omnipotens æterne Deus, et benedic hoc sacrificium tuo sancto nomini præparatum.

Come, O divine Spirit, make fruitful the offering which is upon the altar, and produce in our hearts him whom they desire.

If it be a High Mass, the Priest, before proceeding further with the sacrifice, takes the thurible a second time. He then censes first the bread and wine, which have just been offered, and then the altar itself; hereby inviting the faithful to make their prayer, which is signified by the incense, more and more fervent, the nearer the solemn moment approaches. St. John tells us that the incense he beheld burning on the altar in heaven is made up of the prayers of the Saints; let us take a share in those prayers, and with all the ardor of holy desires.

But the thought of his own unworthiness becomes more intense than ever in the heart of the priest. The public confession which he made at the foot of the altar is not enough; he would now at the altar itself express to the people, in the language of a solemn rite, how far he knows himself to be from that spotless sanctity, wherewith he should approach to God. He washes his hands. Our hands signify our works; and the Priest, though by his priesthood he bear the office of Jesus Christ, is, by his works, but man. Seeing your father thus humble himself, do you also make an act of humility, and say with him these verses of the Psalm:

Psalm 25

Lavabo inter innocentes manus meas: et circumdabo altare tuum, Domine.

Ut audiam vocem laudis: et enarrem universa mirabilia tua.

Domine, dilexi decorem domus tuæ, et locum habitationis gloriæ tuæ.

Ne perdas cum impiis, Deus, animam meam, et cum viris sanguinum vitam meam.

In quorum manibus iniquitates sunt: dextera eorum repleta est muneribus.

Ego autem in innocentia mea ingressus sum: redime me, et miserere mei.

Pes meus stetit in directo: in ecclesiis benedicam te, Domine.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui sancto.

Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

I, too, would wash my hands, O Lord, and become like unto those who are innocent, that so I may be worthy to come near thy altar, and hear thy sacred canticles, and then go and proclaim to the world the wonders of thy goodness. I love the beauty of thy house, which thou art about to make the dwelling-place of thy glory. Leave me not, O God, in the midst of them that are enemies both to thee and to me. Thy mercy having separated me from them, I entered on the path of innocence, and was restored to thy grace; but have pity on my weakness still: redeem me yet more, thou who hast so mercifully brought me back to the right path. In the midst of these thy faithful people, I give thee thanks. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The priest, taking encouragement from the act of humility he has just made, returns to the middle of the altar, and bows down full of respectful awe, begging of God to receive graciously the sacrifice which is about to be offered to Him, and expresses the intentions for which it is offered. Let us do the same.

Suscipe, sancta Trinitas, hanc oblationem, quam tibi offerimus ob memoriam Passionis, Resurrectionis, et Ascensionis Jesu Christi Domini nostri: et in honorem beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis, et beati Joannis Baptistæ, et sanctorum apostolorum Petri et Pauli, et istorum, et omnium sanctorum: ut illis proficiat ad honorem, nobis autem ad salutem: et illi pro nobis intercedere dignentur in cœlis quorum memoriam agimus in terris. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

O holy Trinity, graciously accept the sacrifice we have begun. We offer it in remembrance of the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. Permit thy Church to join with this intention that of honoring the ever glorious Virgin Mary, the blessed Baptist John, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, the martyrs whose relics lie here under our altar awaiting their resurrection, and the saints whose memory we this day celebrate. Increase the glory they are enjoying, and receive the prayers they address to thee for us.

The priest again turns to the people; it is for the last time before the sacred mysteries are accomplished. He feels anxious to excite the fervor of the people. Neither does the thought of his own unworthiness leave him; and before entering the cloud with the Lord, he seeks support in the prayers of his brethren who are present. He says to them:

Orate, fratres: ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptabile fiat apud Deum Patrem omnipotentem.

Brethren, pray that my sacrifice, which is yours also, may be acceptable to God, our almighty Father.

Scarcely has he uttered the first words, than he turns again to the altar, and you will see his face no more, until our Lord Himself shall have come down from heaven upon that same altar. Assure the priest that he has your prayers, and say to him:

Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis, ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostram totiusque Ecclesiæ suæ sanctæ.

May our Lord accept this sacrifice at thy hands, to the praise and glory of his name, and for our benefit and that of his holy Church throughout the world.

Here the priest recites the prayers called the Secrets, in which he presents the petition of the whole Church for God’s acceptance of the sacrifice, and then immediately begins to fulfill that great duty of religion,—Thanksgiving. So far he has adored God, and has sued for mercy; he has still to give thanks for the blessings bestowed on us by the bounty of our heavenly Father, the chief of which, during this Season, is his giving us his Only Begotten Son, to be our Mediator by his Blood. The Priest, in the name of the Church, is about to give expression to the gratitude of all mankind. In order to excite the faithful to that intensity of gratitude which is due to God for all His gifts, he interrupts his own and their silent prayer by terminating it aloud, saying:

Per omnia sæcula sæculorum!

For ever and ever!

In the same feeling answer your Amen! Then he continues:

℣. Dominus vobiscum.

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℣. Sursum corda.

℣. The Lord be with you.

℟. And with thy spirit.

℣. Lift up your hearts!

Let your response be sincere:

℟. Habemus ad Dominum.

℟. We have them fixed on God.

And when he adds:

℣. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.

℣. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

Answer him with all the earnestness of your soul:

℟. Dignum et justum est.

℟. It is meet and just.

Then the Priest:
The Preface:

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus; per Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem majestatem tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates; C&oeli;gli cœlorumque Virtutes, ac beata Seraphim, socia exsultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostra voces, ut admitti jubeas deprecamur, supplici confessione dicentes.

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God; through Christ our Lord; by whom the Angels praise thy majesty, the Dominations adore it, the Powers tremble before it; the Heavens and the heavenly Virtues, and the blessed Seraphim, with common jubilee, glorify it. Together with whom, we beseech thee that we may be admitted to join our humble voices, saying

Here unite with the priest, who, on his part, unites himself with the blessed spirits, in giving thanks to God for the unspeakable gift. Bow down and say:

Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus sabaoth!

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts!

Pleni sunt cœli et terra gloria tua.

Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.

Hosanna in excelsis!

Hosanna in the highest!

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.

Blessed be the Savior who is coming to us in the name of the Lord who sends him.

Hosanna in excelsis!

Hosanna be to him in the highest!

After these words commences the Canon,—that mysterious prayer, in the midst of which heaven bows down to earth, and God descends unto us. The voice of the Priest is no longer heard; yea, even at the altar, all is silence. Let a profound respect stay all disctractions, and keep our senses in submission to the soul. Let us fix our eyes on what the Priest does in the Holy Place.

The Canon of the Mass

In this mysterious colloquy with the great God of heaven and earth, the first prayer of the sacrificing priest is for the Catholic Church, his and our mother.

Te igitur, clementissime Pater, per Jesum Christum Filium tuum Dominum nostrum, supplices rogamus ac petimus, uti accepta habeas, et benedicas hæc dona, hæc munera, hæc sancta sacrificia illibata, in primis quæ tibi offerimus pro Ecclesia tua sancta Catholica: quam pacificare, custodire, adunare, et regere digneris, toto orbe terrarum, una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro N., et antistite nostro N., et omnibus orthodoxis, atque catholicæ et apostolicæ fidei cultoribus.

O God, who manifestest thyself unto us by means of the mysteries which thou hast entrusted to thy holy Church, our mother; we beseech thee, by the merits of this sacrifice, that thou wouldst remove all those hindrances which oppose her during her pilgrimage in this world. Give her peace and unity. Do thou thyself guide our holy Father the Pope, thy vicar on earth. Direct thou our bishop, who is our sacred link of unity; and watch over all the orthodox children of the Catholic apostolic Roman Church.

Here pray, together with the priest, for those whose interests should be dearest to you.

Memento, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarum N. et N., et omnium circumstantium, quorum tibi fides cognita est, et nota devotio; pro quibus tibi offerimus, vel qui tibi offerunt hoc sacrificium laudis, pro se, suisque omnibus, pro redemptione animarum suarum, pro spe salutis et incolumitatis suæ; tibique reddunt vota sua æterno Deo, vivo et vero.

Permit me, O God, to intercede with thee in more earnest prayer for those, for whom thou knowest that I have a special obligation to pray: … Pour down thy blessings upon them. Let them partake of the fruits of this divine sacrifice, which is offered unto thee in the name of all mankind. Visit them by thy grace, pardon them their sins, grant them the blessings of this present life and of that which is eternal.

Here let us commemorate the saints: they are that portion of the body of Jesus Christ, which is called the Church Triumphant.

Communicantes, et memoriam venerantes, in primis gloriosæ semper Virginis Mariæ, Genitricis Dei et Domini nostri Jesu Christi: sed et beatorum apostolorum ac martyrum tuorum, Petri et Pauli, Andreæ, Jacobi, Joannis, Thomæ, Jacobi, Philippi, Bartholomæi, Matthæi, Simonis, et Thaddæi: Lini, Cleti,Clementis, Xysti, Cornelii, Cypriani, Laurentii, Chrysogoni, Joannis et Pauli, Cosmæ et Damiani, et omnium sanctorum tuorum, quorum meritis precibusque concedas, ut in omnibus protectionis tuæ muniamur auxilio. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

But the offering of this sacrifice, O my God, does not unite us with those only of our brethren who are still in this transient life of trial: it brings us closer to those also, who are already in possession of heaven. Therefore it is, that we wish to honor by it the memory of the glorious and ever Virgin Mary; of the apostles, confessors, virgins and of all the saints; that so they may assist us, by their powerful intercession, to become worthy to contemplate thee, as they now do, in the mansions of thy glory.

The priest, who up to this time has been praying with his hands extended, now joins them, and holds them over the bread and wine, as the high-priest of the Old Law did over the figurative victim: he thus expresses his intention of bringing these gifts more closely under the notice of the Divine Majesty, and of marking them as the material offering whereby we profess our dependence, and which, in a few instants, is to yield its place to the living Host, upon whom are laid all our iniquities.

Hanc igitur oblationem servitutis nostræ, sed et cunctæ familiæ tuæ, quæsumus, Domine, ut placatus accipias: diesque nostros in tua pace disponas, atque ab æterna damnatione nos eripi, et in electorum tuorum jubeas grege numerari. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Vouchsafe, O God, to accept this offering which this thy assembled family presents to thee as the homage of its most happy servitude. In return, give us peace, save us from thy wrath, and number amongst thy elect, through him who is coming to us, thy Son our Savior.

Quam oblationem tu Deus in omnibus quæsumus, benedictam, adscriptam, ratam, rationabilem, acceptabilemque facere digneris; ut nobis Corpus et Sanguis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi.

Yea, Lord, this is the moment when this bread is to become his sacred Body, which is our food; and this wine is to be changed into his Blood, which is our drink. Ah! delay no longer, but send to us this divine Son our Savior.

And here the priest ceases to act as man; he now becomes more than a mere minister of the Church. His word becomes that of Jesus Christ, with all its power and efficacy. Prostrate yourself in profound adoration; for the Emmanuel, that is God with us, is coming upon our altar.

Qui pridie quam pateretur, accepit panem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas: et elevatis oculis in cœlum, ad te Deum Patrem suum omnipotentem, tibi gratias agens, benedixit, fregit, deditque discipulus suis, dicens: Accipite, et manducate ex hoc omnes. Hoc est enim Corpus meum.

What, O God of heaven and earth, my Jesus, the long-expected Messias, what else can I do at this solemn moment, but adore thee, in silence, as my sovereign Master, and open my whole heart to thee, as to its dearest King! Come, then, Lord Jesus, come!

The Divine Lamb is now lying on our Altar! Glory and love be to him forever! But he is come, that he may be immolated. Hence, the Priest, who is the minister of the will of the Most High, immediately pronounces over the Chalice those sacred words, which will produce the great mystical immolation, by the separation of the Victim’s Body and Blood. The substances of bread and wine have ceased to exist: the species alone are left, veiling, as it were, the Body and Blood, lest fear should keep us from a mystery, which God gives us in order to give us confidence. Let us associate ourselves to the Angels, who tremblingly look upon this deepest wonder.

Simili modo postquam cœnatum est, accipiens et hunc præclarum Calicem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas: item tibi gratias agens, benedixit, deditque discipulis suis dicens: Accipite et bibite ex eo omnes. Hic est enim Calix Sanguinis mei, novi et æterni testamenti: mysterium fidei: qui pro vibis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum. Hæc quotiescumque feceritis, in mei memoriam facietis.

O precious Blood! thou price of my salvation! I adore thee! Wash away my sins and give me a purity above the whiteness of snow. Lamb ever slain, yet ever living, thou comest to take away the sins of the world! Come also and reign in me by thy power and by thy love.

The priest is now face to face with God. He again raises his hands towards heaven, and tells our heavenly Father that the oblation now on the altar is no longer an earthly offering, but the Body and Blood, the whole Person, of His divine Son.

Unde et memores, Domine, nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta, ejusdem Christi Filii tui Domini nostri tam beatæ Passionis, necnon et ab inferis Resurrectionis, sed et in cœlos gloriosæ Ascensionis: offerimus præclaræ Majestati tuæ de tuis donis ac datis Hostiam puram, Hostiam sanctam, Hostiam immaculatam: Panem sanctum vitæ æternæ et Calicem salutis perpetuæ.

Father of infinite holiness, the Host so long expected is here before thee! Behold this thy eternal Son, who suffered a bitter Passion, rose again with glory from the grave, and ascended triumphantly into heaven. He is thy Son; but he is also our Host, Host pure and spotless, our meat and drink of everlasting life.

Supra quæ propitio ac sereno vultu respicere digneris: et accepta habere, sicuti accepta habere dignatus es munera pueri tui justi Abel, et sacrificium patriarchæ nostri Abrahæ, et quod tibi obtulit summus sacerdos tuus Melchisedech, sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam.

Heretofore thou didst accept the sacrifice of the innocent lambs offered to thee by Abel; and the sacrifice which Abraham made thee of his son Isaac, who, though immolated, yet lived; and lastly, the sacrifice, which Melchisedech presented thee, of bread and wine. Receive our sacrifice, which is above all those others. It is the Lamb of whom all others could be but figures: it is the undying Victim: it is the Body of thy Son, who is the bread of Life, and his Blood, which, while a drink of immortality for us, is a tribute adequate to thy glory.

The priest bows down to the altar, and kisses it as the throne of love on which is seated the Savior of men.

Supplices te rogamus, omnipotens Deus: jube hæperferri per manus sancti angeli tui in sublime altare tuum, in conspectu divinæ Majestatis tuæ: ut quotquot ex hac altaris participatione, sacrosanctum Filii tui Corpus et Sanguinem sumpserimus, omni benedictione cœlesti et gratia repleamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

But, O God of infinite power, these sacred gifts are not only on this altar here below; they are also on that sublime altar of heaven, which is before the throne of thy divine Majesty. These two altars are but one and the same, on which is accomplished the great mystery of thy glory and our salvation. Vouchsafe to make us partakers of the Body and Blood of the august Victim, from whom flow every grace and blessing.

Nor is the moment less favorable for making supplication for the Church suffering. Let us therefore ask the divine liberator, who has come down among us, that He mercifully visit, by a ray of His consoling light, the dark abode of purgatory, and permit His Blood to flow, as a stream of mercy’s dew, from this our altar, and refresh the panting captives there. Let us pray expressly for those among them who have a claim on our suffrages.

Memento etiam, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarm N. et N., qui nos præcesserunt cum signo fidei, et dormiunt in somno pacis. Ipsis, Domine, et omnibus in Christo quiescentibus, locum refrigerii, lucis et pacis, ut indulgeas, deprecamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Dear Jesus! let the happiness of this thy visit extend to every portion of thy Church. Thy face gladdens the elect in the holy city: even our mortal eyes can see beneath the veil of our delighted faith; ah! hide not thyself from those brethren of ours, who are imprisoned in the place of expiation. Be thou refreshment to them in their flames, light in their darkness, and peace in their agonies of torment.

This duty of charity fulfilled, let us pray for ourselves,—sinners, alas! who profit so little by the visit which our Savior pays us. Let us, together with the priest, strike our breast, saying:

Nobis quoque peccatoribus famulis tuis, de multitudine miserationem tuarum sperantibus, partem aliquam et societatem donare digneris cum tuis sanctis apostolis et martyribus: cum Joanne, Stephano, Mathia, Barnaba, Ignatio, Alexandro, Marcllino, Petro, Felicitate, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucia, Agnete, Cæcilia, Anastasia, et omnibus sanctis tuis; intro quorum nos consortium, non æstimator meriti, sed veniæ, quaæsumus, largitor admitte. Per Christum Dominmum nostrum. Per quem hæ omnia, Domine, semper bona creas, sanctificas, vivificas, benedicis, et præstas nobis: per ipsum, et cum ipso et in ipso, est tibi Deo Patri omnipotenti, in unitate Spiritus sancti, omnis honor et gloria.

Alas! we are poor sinners, O God of all sanctity! yet do we hope that thy infinite mercy will grant us to share in thy kingdom, not, indeed, by reason of our works, which deserve little else than punishment, but because of the merits of this sacrifice, which we are offering to thee. Remember, too, the merits of thy holy apostles, of thy holy martyrs, of thy holy virgins, and of all thy saints. Grant us, by their intercession, grace in this world, and glory eternal in the next: which we ask of thee, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son. It is by him thou bestowest upon us thy blessings of life and sanctification; and by him also, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, may honor and glory be to thee!

While saying these last few words, the priest has taken up the sacred Host, which was on the altar; he has held it over the chalice, thus reuniting the Body and Blood of the divine Victim, in order to show that He is now immortal. Then raising up both chalice and Host, he offers to God the most noble and perfect homage which the divine Majesty could receive.

This sublime and mysterious rite ends the Canon. The silence of the mysteries is broken. The priest concludes his long prayers, by saying aloud, and so giving the faithful the opportunity of expressing their desire that his supplications be granted:

Per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

For ever and ever.

Answer him with faith, and in a sentiment of union with your holy mother the Church:


Amen! I believe the mystery which has just been accomplished. I unite myself to the offering which has been made, and to the petitions of the Church.

It is time to recite the Prayer, which our Savior himself has taught us. Let it ascend to heaven together with the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. How could it be otherwise than heard, when He Himself who made it for us is in our very hands now while we say it? As this prayer belongs in common to all God’s children, the priest recites it aloud, and begins by inviting us all to join in it; he says:

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

Præceptis salutaribus moniti, et divina institutione formati, audemus dicere:

Having been taught by a saving precept, and following the form given us by a divine instruction, we thus presume to speak.

The Lord’s Prayer

Pater noster, qui es in cœlis, sanctificetur nomen tuum: adveniat regnum tuum: fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cœlo, et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum dan nobis hodie: et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris: et ne nos inducas in tentationem.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name: thy kingdom come: thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread: and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us: and lead us not into temptation.

Let us answer with a deep feeling of our misery:

Sed libera nos a malo.

But deliver us from evil.

The Priest falls once more into the silence of the holy mysteries. His first word is an affectionate Amen to your last petition—deliver us from evil—on which he forms his own next prayer: and could he pray for anything more needed?Evil surrounds us everywhere, and the Lamb on our altar has been sent to expiate it and deliver us from it.

Libera nos, quæsumus Domine, ab omnibus malis, præteritis, præsentibus, et futuris: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beatis apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque Andrea, et omnibus sanctis, da propitius pacem in diebus nostris: ut ope misericordiæ tuæ adjuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab omni perturbatione securi. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus,

How many, O Lord, are the evils which beset us! Evils past, which are the wounds left on the soul by our sins, and which strengthen her wicked propensities. Evils present, that is,t he sins now at this very time upon our soul; the weakness of this poor soul; and the temptations which molest her. There are also future evils, that is, the chastisement which our sins deserve from the hand of thy justice. In presence of this Host of our salvation, we beseech thee, O Lord, to deliver us from all these evils, and to accept in our favor the intercession of Mary the Mother of Jesus, of thy holy apostles Peter and Paul, and Andrew. Liberate us, break our chains, give us peace: through Jesus Christ, thy Son, who with thee liveth and reigneth God,

The priest is anxious to announce the Peace, which he has asked and obtained; he therefore finishes his prayer aloud, saying:

Per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

World without end.



Then he says:

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.

May the peace of our Lord be ever with you.

To this paternal wish reply:

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℟. And with thy spirit.

The mystery is drawing to a close; God is about to be united with man, and man with God, by means of Communion. But first, an imposing and sublime rite takes place at the altar. So far, the Priest has announced the death of Jesus; it is time to proclaim His Resurrection. To this end, he reverently breaks the sacred Host, and having divided it into three parts, he puts one into the Chalice, thus reuniting the Body and Blood of the immortal Victim. Do you adore, and say:

Hæc commixtio et consecratio Corporis et Sanguinis Domini nostri Jesu Christi fiat accipientibus nobis in vitam æternam. Amen.

Glory be to thee, O Savior of the world, who didst, in thy Passion, permit thy precious Blood to be separated from thy sacred Body, afterwards uniting them again together by thy divine power.

Offer now your prayer to the ever-living Lamb, whom St. John saw on the altar of heaven “standing though slain:” say to this your Lord and King, who has taken upon himself all our iniquities, in order to wash them away by his Blood::

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, give us peace.

Peace is the grand object of our Savior’s coming into the world: He is the Prince of peace. The divine Sacrament of the Eucharist ought therefore to be the mystery of peace, and the bond of Catholic unity; for, as the apostle says, all we who partake of one bread, and are all one bread and one body. It is on this account that the Priest, now that he is on the point of receiving in Communion the sacred Host, prays that fraternal peace may be preserved in the Church, and more especially in this portion of it which is assembled round the altar. Pray with him and for the same blessing:

Domine Jesu Christe, qui dixisti apostolis tuis: Pacem relinquo vobis, pacem meam do vobis: ne rescpicias peccata mea, sed fidem Ecclesiæ tuæ: eamque secundum voluntatem tuam pacificare, et coadunare digneris. Qui vivis et regnas Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst to thy apostles, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:” regard not my sins, but the faith of thy Church, and grant her that peace and unity which is according to thy will. Who livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

If it be a High Mass, the Priest here gives the kiss of peace to the Deacon, who give it to the Subdeacon, and he to the Choir. During this ceremony, you should excite within yourself feelings of Christian charity, and pardon your enemies, if you have any. Then continue to pray with the Priest:

Domine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi, qui ex voluntate Patris, co&odiar;perante Spiritu sancto, per mortem tuam mundum vivificasti: libera me per hoc sacrosanctum Corpus et Sanguinem tuum, ab omnibus iniquitatibus meis, et universis malis, et face me tuis semper inhærere mandatis, et a te nunquam separari permittas. Qui cum eodem Deo Patre et Spiritu sancto vivis et regnas Deus in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who, according to the will of thy Father, through the cooperation of the Holy Ghost, hast by thy death given life to the world; deliver me by this thy most sacred Body and Blood from all my iniquities, and from all evils; and make me always adhere to thy commandments, and never suffer me to be separated from thee, who with the same God the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

If you are going to Communion at this Mass, say the following Prayer; otherwise, prepare yourself for a Spiritual Communion:

Perceptio Corporis tui, Domine Jesu Christe, quod ego indignus sumere præsumo, non mihi proveniat in judicium et condemnationem: sed pro tua pietate prosit mihi ad tutamentum mentis et corporis, et ad medelam percipiendam. Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Let not the participation of thy Body, O Lord Jesus Christ, which I, though unworthy, presume to receive, turn to my judgment and condemnation; but through thy mercy may it be a safeguard and remedy both to my soul and body. Who with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

When the Priest takes the Host into his hands, in order to receive it in Communion, say:

Panem cœlestem accipiam, et nomen Domini invocabo.

Come, my dear Jesus, come!

When he strikes his breast, confessing his unworthiness, say thrice with him these words, and in the same disposition as the Centurion of the Gospel, who first used them:

Domine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meum: sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea.

Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof; say it only with one word of thine, and my soul will be healed.

While the priest receives the sacred Host, if you also are to communicate, adore profoundly your God, who is ready to take up His abode within you, and again say to Him with the bride: “Come, Lord Jesus, come!”

But should you not intend to receive sacramentally, make here a spiritual Communion. Adore Jesus Christ who thus visits your soul by His grace, and say to Him:

Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam æternam. Amen.

I give thee, O Jesus, this heart of mine, that thou mayst dwell in it, and do with me what thou wilt.

Then the priest takes the Chalice in thanksgiving and says:

Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus, quæ retribuit mihi? Calicem salutaris accipiam, et nomen Domini invocabo. Laudans invicabo Dominum, et ab inimicis meis salvus ero.

What return shall I make to the Lord for all he hath given to me? I will take the chalice of salvation, and will call upon the name of the Lord. Praising I will call upon the Lord, and I shall be saved from mine enemies.

But if you are to make a Sacramental Communion, you should, at this moment of the priest’s receiving the precious Blood, again adore the God who is coming to you, and keep to your canticle: “Come, Lord Jesus, come!”

If, on the contrary, you are going to communicate only spiritually, again adore your divine Master, and say to Him:

Sanguis Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam æternam. Amen.

I unite myself to thee, my beloved Jesus! do thou unite thyself to me! and never let us be separated.

It is here that you must approach to the altar, if you are going to Communion. The dispositions suitable for holy Communion, during the Time after Pentecost, are given in the next section.

The Communion being finished, and while the priest is purifying the chalice the first time, say:

Quod ore sumpsimus, Domine, pura mente capiamus: et de munere temporali fiat nobis remedium sempiternum.

Thou hast visited me, O God, in these days of my pilgrimage; give me grace to treasure up the fruits of this visit for my future eternity.

While the priest is purifying the Chalice the second time, say:

Corpus tuum, Domine, quod sumpsi, et Sanguis quem potavi, adhæreat visceribus meis: et præsta ut in me non remaneat scelerum macula, quem pura et sancta refecerunt Sacramenta. Qui vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Be thou for ever blessed, O my Savior, for having admitted me to the sacred mystery of thy Body and Blood. May my heart and senses preserve, by thy grace, the purity which thou hast imparted to them; and thus fit me for that glorious light of thy coming, that I may not then be confounded.

The Priest, having read the Antiphon called the Communion, which is the first part of his Thanksgiving for the favor just received from God, whereby He has renewed His divine presence among us,—turns to the people with the usual salutation; after which, he recites the prayers, called the Postcommunion, which are the completion of the thanksgiving. You will join him here also, thanking God for the unspeakable gift He has just lavished upon you, of admitting you to the celebration and participation of mysteries so divine.

As soon as these Prayers having been recited, the Priest again turns to the people; and, full of joy at the immense favor he and they have been receiving, he says:

Dominus vobiscum.

The Lord be with you.

Answer him:

Et cum spiritu tuo.

And with thy spirit.

Ite, Missa est.

Go, the Mass is finished.

℟. Deo gratias.

℟. Thanks be to God.

The Priest make a last prayer, before giving you his blessing; pray with him:

Placeat tibi, sancta Trinitas, obsequium servitutis meæ, et præsta ut sacrificium quod oculis tuæ majestatis indignus obtuli, tibi sit acceptabile, mihique, et omnibus pro quibus illus obtuli, sit, te miserante, propitiabile. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Eternal thanks be to thee, O adorable Trinity, for the mercy thou hast shown to me, in permitting me to assist at this divine sacrifice. Pardon me the negligence and coldness wherewith I have received so great a favor, and deign to confirm the blessing, which thy minister is about to give me in thy name.

The Priest raises his hand, and thus blesses you:

Benedicat vos omniptens Deus, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus sanctus.

May the almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, bless you!

He then concludes the Mass by reading the first fourteen verses of the Gospel according to St. John, which tell us of the eternity of the Word, and of the mercy which led Him to take upon Himself our flesh, and to dwell among us. Pray that you may be of the number of those, who, now that he has come unto his own, receive him, and are made the sons of God.


Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to St. John.

Cap.i. Ch. i.

In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum. Hoc erat in principio apud Deum. Omnia per ipsum facta sunt: et sine ipso factum est nihil, quod factum est. In ipso vita erat, et vita erat lux hominum: et lux in tenebris lucet, et tenebræ eam non comprehenderunt. Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomen erat Joannes. Hic venit in testimonium ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine, ut omnes crederent per illum. Non erat ille lux, sed ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine. Erat lux vera, quae illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum. In mundo erat, et mundus per ipsum factus est, et mundus eum non cognovit. In propria venit, et sui eum non receperunt. Quotquot autem receperunt eum, dedit eis potestatem filios Dei fieri, his qui credunt in nomine ejus: qui non ex sanguinibus, neque ex voluntate carnis, neque ex voluntate viri, sed ex Deo nati sunt. Et Verbum caro factum est, et habitavit in nobis: et vidimus gloriam ejus, gloriam quasi unigeniti a Patre plenum gratiæ et veritatis.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him. He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light. That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

℟. Deo gratias.

℟. Thanks be to God.

On Holy Communion, During the Time after Pentecost

If, in the early stages of the Liturgical Year, in Advent, at Christmas, and during the periods of Septuagesima and Lent, when there was question of nothing beyond a preparation for the divine Mysteries which wrought our salvation,—if, in the name of holy Church, we then invited the Faithful to have recourse to the Sacrament of our Lord’s Body, as being the heavenly nourishment that would support them in the glorious career on which they had entered: now, that the work is done, that they have risen again with their Redeemer, that they have followed him, by their desires and their hopes, even to the very summit of heaven; now, that the Holy Ghost has come down upon this earth, that he might complete within them the work of their union with God;—surely, nothing could profit them more, than that they nourish themselves, and even more frequently than before, with the Bread of Life, which came from heaven, that he might give Life to the World.

From our first entrance into the new season, which we are now passing through, holy Church has, by the great Feast of Corpus Christi, brought us face to face with the august Mystery, which is both the Sacrifice whereby God receives the honor due to him, and the Sacrament containing within himself the nourishment of our souls. We have now a clearer understanding of the unspeakable gift, which our Savior vouchsafed to bestow upon us, the night before his Passion. We now see more plainly the nature and greatness of the homage which earth gives to its Creator, by the ceaseless offering of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We now know, so much better than formerly, what that deifying relation is, which is made to exist between God and the soul, by means of the participation of the Sacred Host. The Holy Ghost has shed his light upon all these truths; he has opened out of us the very depths of the mystery shown to us from the outset, the mystery, that is, of the Emmanuel, or God with us. Now that we are so fully initiated into the whole of God’s work, we the better understand that great text of the Gospel, which says: The Word was made Flesh, and dwelt among us. We grasp the meaning more completely; we can give it a more literal, and equally faithful, translation, and say: the Word was made Flesh, and took up his dwelling within us.

All this has increased in the Christian the desire of assisting at the Holy Sacrifice. He says to himself, as did the Patriarch of old: “Truly, the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not; my faith was sound, but I did not perceive, as I do now, the immensity of what our Lord did at his Last Supper.” In the same way, having now a clearer knowledge of the union, which is brought about, even in this present world, between God and the soul that is nourished with the living Bread, whereby that soul is transformed into its Creator,—having this clearer knowledge, the Christian longs more ardently than ever for the enjoyment of that Lord, who, even during this mortal life, gives us, by means of the Eucharistic Bread, not only a foretaste, but the very reality, of that which awaits us in heaven. We may truly assert, that the keeping up of that state, which we have already described in the Third Chapter, and which is the state both of the Church herself and of the faithful soul, during this period of the Liturgical Year, is the joint work of the Holy Ghost, who abides within us, and of the Eucharistic gift, in which the Son of God ceases not to act for the preservation, increase, and development of the divine life, which he came to bring us, and of which he thus speaks: I am come, that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.

We will here, as in the preceding Volumes, give Acts which may serve as preparation for holy Communion during this Season of the Year. There are souls that feel the want of some such assistance as this; and, for the same reason, we will add a form of Thanksgiving for after Communion.

Before Communion
Act of Faith

Now that I am about to unite myself to thee in the mystery of thy love, I must first profess that I believe it to be truly thyself, O my God, thy body, thy soul, thy divinity, that thou art going to give me. The first duty thou askest of me, now that thou art coming to me, is the act of my Faith in this deep mystery; I make it; and my understanding is happy at thus bowing itself down before thy sovereign word. Thou, O Jesus, art the Truth; and when presenting to thy disciples the bread changed in to thy Body, thou saidst to them: This is my Body! I believe thy word; I adore the living Bread, come down from heaven to give life to the world. The grace of the Holy Ghost, whom thou hast sent me, enables me to relish this marvel of thy all-powerful love. This love of thine was not satisfied with uniting thee to the human nature, which thou assumedst in Mary’s womb; it would, moreover, prepare for each one of us, by means of the heavenly food of thy sacred flesh, a real and mysterious union with thee, which none but thou could have planned, none but thou could have achieved. For its accomplishment, thou first demandedst, as thou hadst all right to do, that we should have an unlimited confidence in the truth of thy word. When thou wast upon the Cross, thy divinity was veiled from view; in the sacred Host, thy very humanity is hid from our eyes; but, I believe, O my God, both thy divinity and humanity present under the cloud which shrouds them from all mortal sight. I have been taught by thine Apostle, O light inaccessible, that it is by faith alone that we can approach thee, while we are in this present life. I believe, then, O Lord! but help thou mine unbelief.

Act of Humility

Taught, as I have been, by thy words, O my God, I know, and with a certainty which my reason and my senses could never have given me, that, in a few moments, I shall be in closest union with thine infinite Majesty. Thou hast said it: He that eateth my Flesh, abideth in me, and I in him! My whole being thrills at these words. I, a sinner, all marked with the sores of my iniquities, and still fighting with passions but half subdued, I am to abide in thee! And thou, that art infinite Being and infinite Holiness, thou art coming to abide in me, in me who am but nothingness and sin! At such a tiding as this, what else can I, than cry out, with the Centurion of thy Gospel: Lord! I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof! And yet, I hear thee saying, also, these other words: Unless ye eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, ye shall not have life in you. This life I would have, O Jesus! And didst thou not come, didst thou not work all thy mysteries, in order that we might have life, and more and more of that life? I have no desire to shun it. What, then, can I do, but take shelter in the depths of humility, think of mine own vileness, be mindful of the fuel of sin that exists within me, and acknowledge the infinite distance there is between myself and thee, O my Redeemer and my Judge? I know that then thou wilt have pity on my misery, and wilt say but one word, and my soul shall be healed. Say, I beseech thee, that word, which is to comfort my heart. Till thou sayst it, I dare not raise up mine eyes towards thine altar; I can but tremble at the approach of that moment, when a poor creature, like myself, is to be united with its Creator, from whose eyes nought is hid, and who judges even our justices.

Act of Contrition

Ever since that day whereon thy Spirit, O Lord, came down upon us, in order that he might the more deeply imprint upon our souls the divine mysteries thou wroughtest, from thy merciful Incarnation to thy glorious Ascension, thou vouchsafest to invite me more frequently to thy table. And I have learned, too, since that same coming, better than I knew before, how it behooves me to prepare myself, with all possible diligence, for each of thy visits. I have been renewing my faith, by accepting, with increased ardor, the truth of thy presence in the Sacrament of the Altar. As I see thy dread Majesty advancing towards me, I have professed, and with sincere humility, my utter nothingness, for I have acknowledged my extreme unworthiness;—but all this does not put me at rest. There is something beyond all this:—it is, that I am a sinner; I have offended Thee; I have rebelled against thee; I have turned thy very benefits into occasions of outrage against thee; to say it in all its enormity, I have caused thy death upon the Cross! The Holy Ghost, having vouchsafed to give me light, has taught me the malice of sin; he has given me to understand, more fully than formerly, how detestable have been my audacity and ingratitude. I have had revealed to me, by the grand Mysteries of the first portion of the Year, how much I cost thee on that Day, whereon Justice and Mercy united in the Sacrifice which saved mankind. The more thou hast heaped thy favors on me, O Lord, the more keenly do I feel the injury of my sins; and I beseech thee to bestow on me the signal grace, the grace which will ensure every other,—of keeping up within me the spirit of compunction and penance. I offer to thee, O my God, at this hour when thou art about to give thyself to me, I offer to thee the expression of my sorrow; and from my deepest soul, I say to thee those words of the Publican: Have mercy on me, O God, for I am a Sinner!

Act of Love

And now, O my Lord, permit me to turn my thoughts upon the happiness of a soul, to whom thou givest thyself in the Sacrament of thy love! As to that familiarity, into which thine ineffable goodness leads some souls, who approach thee without reflecting upon the greatness of thy majesty, oh! I shudder at such impertinence; and yet, I long to be united with thee; and, until thou art come into me, my soul panteth after thee. Thy Mysteries, which I have been celebrating with thy Church, have enkindled within me a fire which nothing can quench,—a fire to which thy divine Spirit delights to be ever adding heat. Thy delight, so thou hast told us, is to be with the children of men; and is it not true, also, that with such of the children of men as know thee, thy love is the very nourishment on which their own hearts live? In order to maintain them in this love which is their life, thou hast made thyself present in the sacred Host; thou givest them to live in thee, just as thou livest in them, as often as they eat of this Living Bread, which hath come down from heaven. This Charity, this Love, which hath been poured forth into our hearts by the Holy Ghost, is nourished at thy holy Table, O Lord! and there is it increased; for it is in the divine Sacrament, which thou institutedst the night before thy Passion, that we are united to thee. Love tends to be united with the object it loves; therefore do I, in spite of all the conviction of my unworthiness, long for the blissful moment of thy coming into me. Everything that thou hast done, my Lord, has been done to make me love thee? Thou hast loved me first; who will blame me, that my heart hungers for thee? Thou hadst pity, one day, on the people who had followed thee into the desert. I have compassion, thou saidst, on this multitude; and then, straightway, thou gavest them to eat as much as they would. Ah! Lord, my poor heart and flesh, long after thee; and thou alone canst satisfy the hunger which gnaws me, for thou art the Sovereign Good, thou art true Life; and it was that I might enjoy that Sovereign Good, and live that heavenly Life, that thou createdst me. There was a time, when this heart of mine was dull; darkness was upon me, and I could not see the light; but now that thy Mysteries have enlightened and regenerated me, I sigh after thee with all the earnestness of my soul. Come, then, Lord Jesus! Withhold thyself no longer from my soul, that awaits thy visit!

After Communion
Act of Adoration

Thy presence within me, O Lord, is joy and sweetness to me; and yet, before indulging in the delight it brings, I feel impelled to prostrate my entire being before thy Sovereign Majesty. I must, I will, first adore thee, for thou art the great God of heaven and earth. Thou standest in no need of me, and yet thou comest down to this my nothingness. Where, then, shall I begin, if it be not in humbling myself profoundly before thee, and acknowledging that thou art Lord, the Only Begotten and Consubstantial Son of the Father; that thou art He by whom all things were made, the Eternal, the Infinite, and the supreme Judge of the living and the dead. Thy Seraphim, who see thee in thy unveiled majesty, and drink their fill of everlasting happiness from thy divine essence, those glorious Spirits, as thy Prophet tells us, cover their faces with their wings; they tremble before thee, as the Church tells us; and yet, while trembling in thy presence, their love is as ardent and as tender as though they were nothing but love. I would follow their example, O my God; I would offer thee, at this moment, the creature’s first duty to its Creator,—adoration. Thou art so nigh to me, at this happy moment, that my being feels renovated and almost lost in thine; how then can I be otherwise than overwhelmed by the weight of thy glory? Yes, I do adore thee, O Eternal, Infinite, Immense, All-powerful! before whom all created beings are as though they were not. I confess, before thee, my own nothingness; I acknowledge thine absolute dominion over me, and over everything which thy power and goodness have produced in creation. King of ages! Immortal and Invisible in thine essence! Glory be to thee! Accept this first homage of a soul to which thy love has deigned to unite thee.

Act of Thanksgiving

There is another homage which I owe thee, O my God!—it is gratitude. Thou often invitest me to partake of the divine gift, wherewith thou, before leaving this earth, didst enrich us. But, woe to me, if, because I can easily and often have it, I value so much the less its greatness! Wretched familiarity, which blunts the sentiment of gratitude, and deadens faith, and takes all ardor from love; may thy grace, O Lord, preserve me from its vile influence. For thousands of years, the human race was in expectation of the favor, which thou hast just been bestowing upon me, Abraham, the father of believers; Moses, thy much loved friend; David, the inspired chanter of thy mysteries; none of these received thee: and this Bread of Angels has come down from heaven for me! Oh! unheard of goodness of a God incorporating himself with his creature! Who is there that could measure its length and breadth, or scan its height, or fathom its depth? These expressions of thine Apostle, regarding the mystery just given to me, teach me what is the value of the wondrous gift thou hast bestowed upon mankind. With what humble and lively gratitude, then, should it not be received! Thou hast not been deterred, either by my nothingness, or the coldness of my feelings, or my infidelities; be thou blessed, then, my Lord, for that out of thy desire to give thyself to me, thou hast overstepped every limit, and removed every obstacle. I give thee thanks for this, and for every Communion thou hast hitherto so graciously given me. Deign to enlighten me more and more, as to the magnificence of thy gift; deign to cherish within me the sentiment of love; that thus my longings for thy visit may be increased; and that I may know how to honor, as I ought, thy presence within me, and that I may never dare to approach thee out of custom, or without my conscience assuring me that I am bringing with me the profound respect due to thee.

Act of Love

Now will I rest me in thee, O my Sovereign Good, that hast come down to me, and entered into me, in order to content the desires of my heart by thy presence. A few moments ago, I was longing after thee; and now that longing has been satisfied. What is there on this earth that I could now desire? The very happiness of heaven, is it not the possessing thee? and thou, my Lord, assurest me, that he, who eats my sacred Flesh, abideth in thee, and thou in him. The union, then, to which love aspires, is now consummated. This happy moment of thy presence within me unites thy sovereign majesty to my lowliness; thou livest in me, and I live in thee. Divine charity has conquered every difficulty; and the life, which now circulates through my being, is not the life of time, but of eternity. I at once profit of it, to assure thee, O Lord, that thou hast my love. Thy presence within me lasts but a short time; in a few moments, there will be but the grace left by the visit thou art now paying me. At present, I can say in all truth: I have found Him, whom my soul loveth. Accept, then, O Lord, the homage of my heart, and all its affections. Make this heart faithful and ardent in the love of thee; for love is the end of the whole Law; and when thou vouchsafest to incorporate thyself with us by means of the Bread of Life, thine aim is to strengthen and increase Charity within us. May this contact with thee, O Lord, destroy that love myself, which, hitherto, has so often stifled, or at least, retarded, the love which is due to thee. Let my heart become more and more purified; may its affections be set free from, and raised above, created objects, and center in the unity of thy love, which includes all, and is enough for all.

Act of Oblation

When I thus assure thee of my love, O my God, I hear within me a voice telling me, that, henceforth, the rule of my conduct must be—thy good-pleasure. Then only shall I know that my protestations are sincere, when I give up mine own will, to follow thine in all things. Thou wilt not only require me to keep from all sin, but thou wouldst have me resolutely walk in the path of humility,—humility which repels pride, thy chief enemy. Thou commandest me to keep my senses under restraint, lest the weakness of the flesh should get the mastery over my spirit, which is prompt, but fickle. In order to make surer of a soul that is dear to thee, thou often sendest it trials; for thou hast said, that whosoever ambitions to follow thee, must make up his mind to carry the Cross. Thou hast warned thy disciples, that they must be on their guard against the world and its maxims, or that they would perish together with the world. These are the conditions which thou layest on them that would enlist under thy banner, dear Jesus! Renovated as I have been by thy precious visit, I offer myself to thee as one quite resolved to fulfill every duty of thy service. Give me thine aid, O my Lord, and King! Thy sacramental presence, which is soon to quit me, will leave me an increase of thy grace. Increase my faith, and my docility to the teachings of thy holy Church, from whose hands I have just received thee. Give me to use this world, as though I did not use it; give me to live, at once, by desire, in that abode where I hope to enjoy thee, and without shadow or veil, for all eternity.

O Mary, Queen of heaven! watch over me thy humble servant, whom the blessed Son of thy chaste womb has vouchsafed to nourish with his adorable Flesh, and which he received from thee. Present him the oblation I now make him of myself, in return for the unspeakable gift he has just been bestowing upon me.—Holy Angels! bless and protect this poor child of earth, who has been feasting on that very Bread, whereon you feed in heaven.—All ye Saints of God! who, when in this world, did eat of the heavenly Bread of the Christian pilgrim, pray and obtain for me, that It may keep with me to the end of my journey through this life, and may lead me to Him, who ceases not to be the nourishments of his elect, when in glory. Amen.


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