Continuation of the booklet “The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” by Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey:
“Love and you will understand”
“This is the place to appreciate a saying popular among the Saints: “Love and you will understand.” If you really wish to penetrate the obscurity of this great Mystery, to contemplate the incomprehensible in the drama of the holy Altar, then love, love, love passionately, and you will understand! In the divine light kindled by an immense love, you will see what Mary, the Queen of Sorrows saw on Golgotha.
How calm Mary was! How full of sweet and unchanging peace as She watched the deicide accomplished by the executioners. She neither cried out nor made indignant protest. Yet, she suffered an agony, for She is the Mother, a unique Mother in the sublime nobility of Her divine and virginal motherhood. See how she stands fearless in the midst of the unutterable suffering, yet filled with unchangeable peace. Her weeping is like a wounded dove, and Her moaning like the strains of a hymn, a Magnificat, enrapturing the Angels.
How can we explain this incomprehensible attitude of Mary on Calvary? Her peace comes from the depth of her Heart, for She loved us as no other here below has ever loved. Love leads Her to penetrate the Mystery of the wisdom and folly of the Cross! She is undisturbed and calm because She sees.
Yes, She sees and wonderfully comprehends the Mystery of Calvary because She loves with the heart of a queen, a virgin and a martyr. She is the Mother of fair love!
Let us pray to Her that She may obtain for us, together with a light of great understanding, a fire of immense love. Then, like Her, we will penetrate the Mystery of the Cross and the Altar! Love and you will understand! Saints like the Cure of Ars, Phillip Neri, Vincent de Paul and John Bosco, certainly possessed this science of charity: they loved with a love as strong as death. They is why they are the Specialist-Saints of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
How many great masters in theology would receive a high rating were they to submit to an examination on this thesis given by the Cure of Ars! We have floods of electric light, but it is cold and harmful to the eyes of the soul. Such is the electric brilliance of a student who reads much but prays little. He keeps his eyes open, for he would see. But, unconsciously, he suffers a spiritual cataract, for he has no time for meditation. He is unfortunate in not loving with a great love.
The Altar is the height which attains the throne of the Most High. Only these learned men reach this height who are Saints – Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, Bellarmine, Contardo Ferrini. For Holy Mass, as someone has said, is the official ecstasy of the Church, a higher degree of contemplation than that of St. Paul.
Yet, withal, there are many humble little people who can relish with pleasure the mystery of the Holy Sacrifice. They truly have the privilege of lifting the veil and, should we ask them how they explain the Holy Mass relative to God’s glory and the salvation of souls, we would indeed be greatly admonished at their answer. As you listened to them with wonder, you would appreciate with deep feeling why the Savior, trembling with joy, cried out: “I give Thee thanks, O Father, because thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones.” (Luke 10:21)
Let us then love Jesus Christ. Let us love Him with a heart ablaze with a holy joy. Then, to reward us for our love, He will lead us into the sanctuary of His Heart, there to tell us the secrets which the Father confided to Him, the Splendor of His Majesty and His well-beloved Son. Let us love, and He Who called Himself “the Light of the world,” He who is the Mediator and High Priest of the Holy Sacrifice, will give us the key of understanding which He reserves for His friends, like St. John, the privileged Apostle of the cenacle and Calvary.
If we love with an immense charity, as the Saints alone know how to love, we will then understand even they understood the precious and delightful fruit of their love. Love and you will understand! During the adoration and prayer of the faithful, while the celebrant offers the Divine Victim to the Father in this, the greatest of actions, the Angels and Saints of Heaven sing out with, “God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son.” (Jn. 3:16) Contemplate Him at the altar. He is indeed a Victim of His love for the Father, but also the Victim of the Love, which moves Him to give His whole self to us creatures with no grateful return.
The Mission of the Holy Spirit
Often, as I preached and, again in this little book, I have stated that the reason for our ignorance of so many simple and sublime truths in the Mystery of the Altar, is that the Holy Spirit is not loved. With the exception of the most fervent Catholic circles, He is scarcely invoked. How few are they who habitually have recourse to the Paraclete, substantial Light and uncreated Love! Nearly everywhere the sun of Pentecost is shrouded in a deep fog of cold indifference. The Paraclete is an unknown God. Yet, at the same time, the Paraclete alone has been given the mission in the Church to enlighten souls, to enkindle and sanctify them. He alone is the Sanctifier.
It is not at all surprising, then, that the Mass is so little appreciated after twenty centuries of Christianity. The greater part of the faithful, while they might be in good faith, have not the full faith, the true faith.
The seven gifts of the Holy Ghost are so many candles for us to keep burning before the Altar, that the celebrant and faithful may enter the Holy of Holies filled with the sweet majesty of the Lord. Since the veil of the Temple was rent from top to bottom on that first Good Friday, all of us have the right to enter therein: the Son of God calls us and waits for us there! Now, with the protecting influence of the Holy Spirit, let us discover how we can enkindle in ourselves and others the flame that should consume us with the most holy Victim of the Mass.
In the first place, resolve to make a thorough study of the Holy Sacrifice. This is a thesis of the greatest theological and spiritual value. There are so many works on the subject that a choice is difficult. However, a “must” in our study is the Canon of the Mass itself. The prayers contained in the Canon form a mosaic of the most ancient prayers of the Church. We are told that it contains the gold dust of the Mass of the catacombs and that some parts go back to St. Irenaeus.
Secondly, do not be satisfied with mere bodily presence at Mass. Take an active part in the Mass, offering it with the priest by following the liturgical prayers and ceremonies with a Missal. Your own private prayers would be satisfactory as long as they are in the spirit of the Holy Sacrifice.
We should adore, praise and implore the Most High, through Jesus Christ Our Lord, in perfect union with Holy Church. Offer the Holy Sacrifice through Him, with Him and in Him. In His Arms, and on His adorable Heart mount to the Father. At the time of Holy Mass, the Father finds all his pleasures in the Son Who pontificates at the Altar.
Finally, promise sincerely never to miss a single Mass through your own fault. Make a resolution to go to daily Mass and Communion, in so far as your duties will allow. Christ, the Mediator, is the ladder of Jacob by which we go to the Father, for no one goes there except through the Son.”
To be continued…
~Damsel of the Faith