Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941

------Book 4------


The Voice of the Beloved.

IF thou hadst the purity of an Angel and the sanctity of St. John the Baptist, thou wouldst neither be worthy to receive nor to handle this Sacrament.

For this is not due to man's merits, that a man should consecrate and handle the Sacrament of Christ, and receive for food the Bread of Angels.

Great is the mystery, and great the dignity of priests, to whom is given that which to the Angels is not granted. For, priests alone, rightly ordained in the Church, have the power of celebrating and consecrating the Body of Christ.

A priest, indeed, is the minister of God, using the word of God, by the command and institution of God; but God is there the principal Author and invisible Worker, to Whom all whatsoever He willeth is subject, and all whatsoever He commandeth is obedient.

More oughtest thou, therefore, to credit God, the Omnipotent, in this most excellent Sacrament, than thine own sense or any visible sign. And therefore thou oughtest to approach this work with fear and reverence.

Take heed to thyself, and see what kind of ministry has been delivered to thee by the imposition of the hands of the Bishop.

Behold, thou art made a priest, and art consecrated to celebrate; see now that faithfully and devoutly, in due timE, thou offer up sacrifice to God, and that thou show thyself blameless.

Thou hast not lightened thy burden, but art now bound by a stricter bond of discipline, and art obliged to greater perfection of sanctity.

A priest ought to be adorned with all virtues, and set the example of a good life to others.

His conversation should not be with the popular and common ways of men, but with the Angels in Heaven, or with perfect men upon earth.

2. A priest clad in sacred vestments, is Christ's viceregent, that he may suppliantly and humbly pray to God for himself and all the people.

He hath before and behind him the Sign of the Cross of our Lord, that he may ever remember the Passion of Christ.

Before him he beareth the Cross on the chasuble, that he may diligently behold the footsteps of Christ, and fervently endeavor to follow after them.

Behind him he is marked with the Cross, that he may mildly suffer for God's sake whatsoever adversities befall him from others.

He weareth the Cross before, that he may bewail his own sins; and behind, that through compassion he may lament the sins of others, and know that he is placed in the midst, between God and the sinner.

Neither ought he to grow weary of prayer and the holy Oblation, until he deserve to obtain grace and mercy. When a priest celebrateth, he honoreth God, he rejoiceth the Angels, he edifieth the Church, he helpeth the living, he obtaineth rest for the departed, and maketh himself partaker of all good things.


Of the holy dispositions with which the priest should celebrate Mass, and with which a Christian should assist at it, in order to hear it with advantage.

THE priest, by his ordination, has received the power of consecration, so that, according to St. Augustine, God, as it were, becomes again incarnate, and takes upon Himself a new life, in the hands of the priest by virtue of his word. It is this power which, in some sense, makes him superior to the Angels, and exalts him in dignity above all other creatures.

Such being thine exalted dignity, O priest of the Lord, how great must be thine obligations! Thine endeavor should be to cherish within thee throughout the day the same dispositions with which thou shouldst approach the altar.

 Keep thyself closely united to God, recollected in His presence, faithful to His graces, and diligent in all duties; cherish continually within thy soul, and offer to Jesus Christ, the sentiments and, as it were, the condition of a victim entirely devoted to His glory and the salvation of souls.

When thou celebratest this adorable sacrifice, endeavor, first, to effect within thine own interior what Jesus accomplishes upon the altar, to humble thyself most profoundly, and immolate thyself and thy petitions to God. Secondly, unite the sacrifice of thy soul to that of the Body and Blood of Christ; enter into His sentiments and dispositions, as the minister of the sacrifice which He offers to His eternal Father, by thy means, for the salvation of men; offer thyself a victim of love for that God Who Himself becomes the victim of His love for thee. Cease to be thine own, and become entirely His, as He becomes entirely thine upon the altar, that He may live sacramentally in thy heart, and consummate the great work of thy salvation.

The priest, who feeds upon God, and is every day nourished with His Body and Blood, should live only for God, says St. Augustine; and if the priests of the Old Law were required to live holily, because they offered bread and incense to the Lord, how much more perfect should the sanctity of the priests of the New Law be, who every day offer God to God Himself! "How pure," exclaims St. Chrysostom, "should that hand be which immolates the Body of the Word Incarnate! How spotless that tongue which is purpled with the Blood of Jesus! And how clean that heart into which the infinite purity of a Man God is received, together with all His other attributes!"

Reflect, then, O priest of the Lord, that Jesus Christ, the great High Priest, celebrates Mass in thy person, and that as thou art invested with His power to consecrate upon the altar, so thou shouldst also be animated with His Spirit, and conform thy life to His Divine example. When thou dost pronounce the words of consecration, give thine all, thy heart, and thy whole self, together with the sacred words which thou utterest.

Whilst thou art putting on thy vestments, meditate on the mysteries of Christ's Passion which they represent, and beg pardon for thy sins, which were the cause of all His sufferings.

When going to the altar, reflect that thou art accompanying Jesus Christ in spirit to Calvary, and that thou art going to behold Him, with the eyes of faith, mystically die by thy hands.

At the foot of the altar ask pardon for thy sins and for those of the faithful, whose place thou holdest as their agent and mediator.

At the Gloria in Excelsis, beseech God to bestow upon thee, and upon all who assist at the holy sacrifice, an efficacious will to be saved.

At the Epistle, conceive a holy desire that Christ may be born on the altar, and in the souls of all; such a desire as the Prophets had for the coming of the Messias, and the Apostles to establish Jesus Christ in the hearts of all mankind.

At the Gospel, enliven thy faith and animate thy zeal; thy faith, to believe and to practice the Gospel, and thy zeal, to instill its maxims into others.

At the Credo, beseech the Lord that thy life may be conformable to thy faith.

At the Offertory, offer the sacrifice of the holy Mass to the honor of God, in thanksgiving for His blessings, in atonement for thy sins, to obtain all those virtues necessary for salvation, and for the relief  and consolation of the Souls in Purgatory.

At the Canon, transport thyself in spirit into Heaven: and endeavor there to enter into the dispositions of the Blessed Virgin and of the Apostles, that through thee He may be born again upon the altar, and in the hearts of all the faithful.

At the Consecration, let all yield to God, Who comes upon the altar at thy word, and takes upon Himself, as it were, a new life.

Join thyself to His intentions, pray through His merits, immolate thy whole self to Him; and, overflowing with His love, present Him to His eternal Father for the living and for the dead.

At the Pater Noster, enter into the sentiments of perfect confidence in Jesus Christ.

At the dividing of the Host, which mystically represents the death of Jesus Christ, beseech Him to assist thee in perfectly dying to thyself, in giving thy whole heart and affections to Him, and to bring thee to a holy life, and a good death.

At the Communion, renew thy faith in the God Whom thou receivest, thy confidence in thy Savior, and thy love for thy Father, Who comes to take possession of thy heart, and to give thee Himself as thine inheritance. Say to Him with thy whole soul and all thy powers: "Be Thou the God of my heart, and my portion forever!"

After the Communion, return thanks to Jesus Christ for having given Himself entirely to thee, and beseech Him that nothing may any more separate thee from Him.

In a word, let both priests and people, after having celebrated or after having heard Mass, endeavor, by a life of separation from the vanities and pleasures of the world, by mortifying their passions, and by wholly applying themselves to their duties, to make themselves, as St. Augustine says, the one, priests of the Lord according to the spirit, and His victims according to the flesh; the other, priests, not in character and in power, but in intention, by entering into the views of Jesus Christ upon the altar. Remember how the pagans returned from Calvary, penetrated with a lively faith in Jesus Christ, overwhelmed with sorrow for their sins, and truly changed and converted; and reflect how much more you ought, after having celebrated Mass, which is the same sacrifice as that of Calvary, or, after having heard it, to be filled with contrition for your offenses, and resolved to live henceforth by faith and hope, and as victims of the love of Christ Jesus our Lord.


To obtain from God the grace of saying and of hearing Mass well.

O LORD, Who in the adorable sacrifice of the Mass art Thyself both priest and Victim, immolating Thyself, by the priest's ministry, to the justice of Thy Father for the salvation of men, grant that we may sacrifice our hearts in union with the sacrifice of Thy Body and Blood, and endeavoring to produce in our souls the same that Thou effectest upon the altar, employ ourselves, during the holy Mass, in the exercise of profound humility and prayer, and offer ourselves as victims for Thy people in and by Thee.

We offer up this adorable sacrifice, which is the same as that of Calvary, to Thy honor and glory, in thanksgiving for all Thy benefits, to obtain the virtues necessary for salvation, and to bring down Thy mercy upon us in forgiveness of our manifold offenses. Grant, O Jesus, that the sacramental life which Thou assumest on the altar, may become for us, by real or spiritual Communion, the source of a new life. As Thou takest place of the substances of bread and wine, by their destruction, so do Thou take place of our self-love in our hearts, and, destroying all that is estranged from Thee, establish Thy love in place of our self-love, and let everything give way to Thee.

O adorable Victim of our salvation and love! As Thou makest choice of our hearts for the consummation of Thy sacramental life, be pleased to complete in us the sacrifice of self, which would separate us from Thee; suffer us not, whilst we feed upon the Lamb of God, to live only as men, but enable us to imitate Thee in the practice of those virtues which in the Holy Communion Thou comest to imprint in our souls. Amen.

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