Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mystic Treasures of the Holy Mass






















On the first Wednesday of the month when I volunteer at the Apostleship of Prayer (AoP) I always take a few minutes to browse the library shelves. The AoP recently acquired the books of Fr. Richard Tomasek, SJ who has just passed away this past August, and I've found some real gems among his donations including Mystic Treasures of the Holy Mass by Fr. Charles Coppens, SJ which was written in 1905.

One of the very first posts that I wrote on this blog 2-1/2 years ago was about a pilgrimage that my sisters and I made to Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in La Crosse, WI. It was at this Shrine where I experienced the Latin Mass for the first and only (so far!) time. I had written in that post that I was mystified by the translation that said that the priest offered a "secret" prayer. I wondered what that secret prayer could be and in Mystic Treasures of the Holy Mass, I found the answer to that long ago question.

"The entire series of prayers and ceremonies that make up the Canon are the most solemn that the human mind can conceive. But the words are not heard by the people; for this part of the Holy Mass is called "the Secret," from the "Sanctus" to the "Pater Noster," The silence entered upon by the priest soon spreads over the entire congregation...So during the secret portion of Holy Mass the incense of prayer from the hearts of the priest and people ascends to the throne of God in Heaven."

Sigh...isn't that a beautiful explanation? I also found this suggestion for prayer during the Consecration of the Mass to be especially touching and effective:

"At the most solemn portion of Holy Mass she suggests propriety of individual communing with Christ by the silence of her ministers at the altar. The time is most appropriate for laying our wants and desires before the throne of God's mercy. A practice familiar to many devout persons, one said to have been dear to St. Aloysius, consists in imaging ourselves at that solemn moment to see the crucified Lord, as He was on Calvary, and recommend our principal requests through the bleeding wounds of our Redeemer. By the wounds of his sacred head we may pray for all of our superiors, spiritual and temporal, the Pope, the Bishop, our pastors, rulers, parents, etc. By the wound of the right hand of Christ we beg blessings for our relatives and friends. By that of the left hand for all sinners, and in particular for our enemies, who hate, persecute and calumniate us. In the wound of the right foot of Christ we ask perseverance for all the just; in the wound of the left foot we recommend the souls in Purgatory, those chiefly for whom we have special reasons to intercede. Finally, in the wound of His Sacred Heart we seek a safe refuge for ourselves, enumerating our own personal wants of body and soul, for time and eternity."

4 comments:

  1. The picture and the quotes are beautiful and touching. My only issue is the left wounds are more negative in St. Aloysius's meditation, but maybe that is just because I am the mother of a leftie? :)

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  2. The general rubrics contain two terms in Latin: the first is 'clara voce' and the second is 'secreto'. It just means that some parts should be said 'out loud' and others 'to one's self'.

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  3. Anne, this is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing it...and although I shouldn't say it, I will: Oh why was all of this taken away from us? Who knows these things anymore? Why is there hardly a silent moment during Mass, when instead there is constant singing?

    Long,long ago, as I child, I lived the Mass presented as you describe. Even then, I knew that God was present, that I was participating in a great mystery... I knew before I really had words for what I was feeling...holiness, transcendence.

    Now there is scarcely time to make a quick thanksgiving after Holy Communion. I thank God that I was born in time to at least have these memories.

    Beautiful post!
    Patricia

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  4. I love the prayer suggestion here! Simply reading these words touched me. Beautiful!

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