Traditional Mass

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


37--How should Mass be heard in order to satisfy the precept?

1. In full. That is from beginning to end.
It is a venial sin to miss voluntarily a non-essential part of the Mass. For instance, from the beginning to the Offertory exclusively; or else everything after Communion. Or, again, if one should miss at the same time everything before the Epistle and after the Communion.
It is a mortal sin to miss voluntarily an essential part of the Mass. For example: if a person were to omit everything before the Offertory and at the same time everything after the Communion; or, again, all of the mass from the commencement to the Offertory exclusively; or else all the part of the Canon up to the Elevation; or from the Consecration to the Pater Noster; or else the Consecration alone.
Whoever misses through his own fault an important part of the mass, is bound to make up this missing part at another Mass heard the same day.

Legitimate excuses. A person is excused from hearing Mass for a weighty or important motive (as would be the case of serious personal illness, or the risk to oneself or to others of spiritual or temporal injury being brought about by illness, distance from church, the duties of one's state in life, etc.) In such a case, the person should unite himself in mind and heart with the Masses being celebrated all over the world, and offer himself through Christ to the Most Holy Trinity.

2. Physically. This means my actual, bodily presence in the place where the Sacrifice is being offered. Thus, I may not satisfy my obligation by following Mass on the radio or my television set. Why not? Because the obligation is one of exterior and social worship, entailing by its nature that the required act should be public. Celebrant and worshipers should form an ensemble, a congregation; in such a way as to enable one to follow the Mass at least in its main divisions.

3. With devotion. The ideal would be to possess the same interior dispositions as Our Lady had on Calvary--to be a"host with the Host," a victim with the Victim! Mary's greatest sacrifice was her consent to the death of her only Son, and what a Son! She did not try to drive back the executioners, the way St. Peter did in a gesture of natural compassion; for she knew that the Crucifixion was the Father's will for His Son. Mary simply conformed to that will! Standing at the foot of the Cross, she endured in her heart all that her Divine Son suffered in His flesh. That is how she became Co-Redemptrix with Christ. . . . If we accept our crosses as the expressed will of our Heavenly Father, we also through the Mass, may become pleasing to God; and like Jesus and Mary, "saviors of souls."

We should show great reverence in our comportment during Mass. We should avoid all conversation, curiosity, or distractions.
We should observe modesty in dress. The church is not a place for staging a style show, still less for displaying unsuitable dress.
Always be punctual.
It is better to wait a few minutes for Mass to begin, than to arrive late. A woman who has invited gusts for dinner, always finds it annoying to see the scrolling in sometimes after the soup has been served! The Church has her "etiquette" too, requiring that the faithful should not be distracted by latecomers.

We should cherish thoughts of love and faith in our hearts. Our Lord is sacrificing Himself for the glory of His Father and for us. He is the Mediator between us and the Father. What confidence we should have in Christ's all-powerful mediation!

Knowledge of God's omnipotence ought to strengthen our trust in Him. And how it should increase at the thought that our Heavenly Father, besides being all-powerful, loves us with boundless love! And who can doubt it? We have but to glance at the Crucifix to find proof of God's incomprehensible love for men! Now Jesus is present during Mass with the same loving sentiments toward His Father and toward each one of us. How great our ingratitude, should our hearts remain cold and insensible!
[From 'Your Mass and Your Life,' to be continued . . .]