Rorate Caeli

"Just" the Mass?...

The readings for Matins in the Roman Breviary introduce the book of the Apocalypse (Revelation) of Saint John this week - and in this awe-inspiring piece of Holy Writ, a Catholic can see it everywhere: from the Blood and Sacrifice, to the martyrs and the omnipresence of the Lamb. It is the Mass, the center of human history, re-presenting the Sacrifice of the Son of God, prefiguring the time when History will be no more, when eternity finally sets in for all, those who remain with the Lamb, and those who forever remain far from Him.

How often have we, Traditional-minded Catholics, heard that "it is not just about the Mass," "this struggle is about more than the Mass," "do not focus 'only' on the Mass"?... Yet, is it "only" the Mass? 

Even for those living in critical personal situations, this world is materially more comfortable than what most of our ancestors ever knew. How can so much material well-being be so empty? Our comfortable world is a spiritual wasteland: in this desert, there is one source of true solace, the living waters and the aspersion of Blood flowing from the Lamb. 

Yes, it is all about the Mass, it is about doing our best so that others may know it and love it, the treasure preserved by our forefathers, as we do; we must "take the blood" of the Lamb "and put it upon our forehead", as Saint Catherine of Siena said. May the Holy Sacrifice be our mark, no effort should be spared in making more people aware of the real presence of the slain Lamb upon our altars through the tireless action of His Priests in its clearest and most unequivocal form in the Latin Church, the Traditional Latin Mass.

Therefore I say to you, keep your eyes ever open, and fasten them fixedly on the Lamb that was slain, in order that you may never fall into ignorance. (St. Catherine of Siena, Letter to M. Giovanna di Corrado)

We should not use a foolish humility, as do secular men of the world. I say, it befits us to receive that sweet Sacrament, because it is the food of souls without which we cannot live in grace. Therefore no bond is so great that it cannot and must not be broken, that we may come to this sweet Sacrament. A man must do on his part as much as he can, and that is enough. How ought we to receive it? With the light of most holy faith, and with the mouth of holy desire. In the light of faith you shall contemplate all God and all Man in that Host. Then the impulse that follows the intellectual perception, receives with tender love and holy meditation on its sins and faults, whence it arrives at contrition, and considers the generosity of the immeasurable love of God, who in so great love has given Himself for our food. Because one does not seem to have that perfect contrition and disposition which he himself would wish, he must not therefore turn away; for goodwill alone is sufficient, and the disposition which on his part exists.

Again I say, that it befits us to receive as was imaged in the Old Testament, when it was commanded that the Lamb should be eaten roasted and not seethed; whole and not in part; girded and standing, staff in hand; and the blood of the Lamb should be placed on the stone of the threshold. Thus it befits us to receive this Sacrament: to eat it roasted, and not seethed; for were it seethed there would be interposed earth and water-- that is, earthly affections and the water of self-love. Therefore it must be roasted, so that there shall be nothing between. We take it so when we receive it straight from the fire of divine charity. And we ought to be girt with the girdle of conscience, for it would be very shocking that one should advance to so great cleanliness and purity with mind or body unclean. We ought to stand upright, that is, our heart and mind should be wholly faithful and turned toward God; with the staff of the most holy Cross, where we find the teaching of Christ crucified. This is the staff on which we lean, which defends us from our foes, the world, the devil, and the flesh. And it befits us eat it whole and not in part: that is, in the light of faith, we should contemplate not only the Humanity in this sacrament, but the body and soul of Christ crucified, wrought into unity with Deity, all God and all Man. We must take the Blood of this Lamb and put it upon our forehead--that is, confess it to every rational being, and never deny it, for pain or for death. Thus sweetly it befits us to receive this Lamb, prepared in the fire of charity upon the wood of the Cross. (St. Catherine of Siena, Letter to Ristoro Canigiani)