Traditional Mass

Friday, January 12, 2007



5--If we are really to understand the Mass, we must know the place that it occupies in the divine plan. In your opinion, what is that place?

Our knowledge is too often limited to ascertaining the existence of a few isolated, unrelated facts. Hence, the perplexity and confusion of mind that often confronts us in the face of a comparatively clear and simple problem. Many persons have an incredible faculty for raising a difficulty where no difficulty exists!

Placed in its proper setting, however, an object assumes significance. Its meaning becomes luminous and clear.

For instance, show a small child a brick that you have previously plucked from a wall, or a red bean. (The kind you use for making soup.) Then ask yourself what idea the child is going to form of these two unrelated objects, detached from their settings. may he not, perhaps, consider the bean for a fragment of brick? Why not? Both objects are red and hard!

Now take the tot to the wall where you got the brick and put the brick back in the hole. Next go with him to a bean field and open a ripe bean pod in his presence. The child will soon comprehend. (No need to make a long speech.) All that was a mystery to him before, will become dazzlingly clear. How true it is that water becomes more limpid and clear when you go right back to its source.

So it is with the Mass.

For many the Mass is simply another religious devotion; somewhat longer than Benediction, but otherwise not much different. Vespers, Benediction, Mass--all are lumped together in their minds under the general title of "devotions"!

Pope Pius XII, in an address to the Sacred Council of Bishops on July 14, 1941, reminded them of the duty of pastors to exhort the faithful to regular and devout assistance at the Holy Sacrifice. The Holy Father deplored the fact that "a number of faithful" no longer have proper reverence for the Eucharistic Sacrifice; nor the eagerness of former times to have Mass offered for their needs and for those of their departed. "On the contrary," added His Holiness, "many persons often do not hesitate to resort to less salutary practices."

In order to banish prevailing darkness and clarify our thinking, let us go back to the First Source of all things--the Trinity--and discover just where the Mass fits into God's plan.

Here we sound a warning to the reader not to be alarmed at the abstract nature of the subject to be treated! Persevere, follow this study through to the end, and you will be surprised--of this we are sure--at the very clear light that the Holy Spirit will give you on this dogma of our holy Faith.

The texts cited in response to this fifth question are from the pen of Fr. John Francis Motte, O.F.M.

['Your Mass and Your Life', to be continued]