October 8-14, 2001
volume 12, no. 151

The Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar

Part Twelve: The Proper Manner of Assisting at Holy Mass

    The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered every hour somewhere in the world. Where he is, a Catholic knows that whatever he may be doing, he can join spiritually in the Holy Sacrifice.

    We should assist at Mass with reverence, attention, and devotion.

    We should remember that we are present at the Holy Sacrifice of Jesus Christ's Body and Blood. Whispering, laughing, and looking about during Mass are out of place and irreverent.

    When we are conversing with anyone, we give him all our attention, and do not even think of other people. At Mass we are in the Real Presence of God. We should fix our attention on Him, and forget everything else. It is the practice to kneel during Mass, at least from the beginning to the Offertory, and from the Sanctus till after the Communion, standing for the Gospels.

    One should not come to Mass overdressed. It is a distraction for others to see people entering in the height of fashion. However, in the past forty years congregants have gone to the other extreme and 'underdressed' for Mass, wearing shorts, sleeveless blouses, revealing clothing or grunge clothing, t-shirts and jeans. Hardly the type of apparel one would wear when going to meet a King!

    Some women seem to go to church only at attract attention by their clothes, their new hairdressing, their paint. The church is not a fashion parade.

    It need not be said that one does not hear Mass outside the church, but inside. Too often men stand outside and talk together while Mass is going on, and go in only if they feel like doing so. These people do not hear Mass However, if one goes to hear Mass and finds the church packed, he really hears Mass so long as he prays and unites himself with the Sacrifice, even though he could not see from behind a post. Of course, this was written when churches were packed every Sunday and there were many Masses on Sunday. Since the reforms of Vatican II churches are not teeming with parishioners as they once were.

    It is related of St. John the Almoner, Patriarch of Alexandria in the 7th century, that he observed some of his parishioners on Sundays and holydays had formed the habit of standing about the churchyard and talking together instead of entering the church to hear Mass. The good Bishop determined to put an end to this bad habit.

    One Sunday, instead of saying Mass in the church, he went outside and stood with the idlers. They looked at him in surprise. He said, "You wonder what I am doing here. But remember where the flock is, there the pastor must be. If you enter the church, I shall also go in," Shamed into their right senses, the idlers went in at once and from that time never again "heard Mass" outside.

    We should try to give the Holy Sacrifice all our attention and devotion. We should keep away from our minds all distractions as far as possible, and unite ourselves with Jesus in His Sacrifice, especially in the principal parts of the Mass.

    In ancient days the Jews offered thousands of victims at sacrifice in the Temple, all in silence. The early Christians remained motionless at Mass, kneeling in reverence throughout the Holy Sacrifice.

    The best method of assisting at Mass is to unite with the priest in offering the Holy Sacrifice, and to receive Holy Communion worthily - always in the state of Sanctifying Grace. To receive Our Lord while our soul is stained with Mortal Sin is a blasphemy of the highest order.

    The best way of uniting ourselves in offering the Holy Sacrifice is by following the prayers of the Mass from a Missal, and meditation on the mysteries presented therein. If we have no Missal, we should devoutly meditate, especially at the principal parts, on Our Lord's Passion; the Mass is a reenactment of the sacrifice on the cross, a commemoration of Christ' death.

    Sadly today this focal point of the Mass has been lost with the emphasis on communal participation and the 'Lord's Supper' - a most Protestant concept that flies in the face of the Traditional Catholic Mass. Features like everyone standing during the Consecration, joining hands at the Our Father and the Kiss of Peace only add to the fraternal aspect of the brotherhood of man with Christ quite forgotten - for the vast majority believe they are becoming Christs by participating in the manner they are told. Reverence has given way to mob rule.

    Those who say vocal prayers must be careful not to whisper so loud as to disturb others. At the principal parts of Mass, we should always suspend our private devotions and meditate on the particular mystery presented: at the Offertory uniting our intentions with the priest, at the Consecration welcoming Jesus by saying to ourselves "My Lord and my God" and at the Communion inviting Him into our hearts and thanking Him for the consummation of His sacrifice.

    We should also unite ourselves with the rest of those who hear the Mass, and with all Christians throughout the world, for whom Christ died as well as for us. In the early days of the Church, Christians heard Mass in congregation, answering to the priest parts said now by the server.

    A similar practice that was introduced during the reign of Pope Pius XII in the Missa recitata, was wherein the congregation spoke out loud the responses at Mass. When younger people hear Mass, it is well to have a little singing, too. Sacred songs are in themselves prayer. Our Lord and His Apostles sang a hymn at the Last Supper. In the New Order everyone chimes in with whatever they are comfortable with, rubrics and reverence are sacrificed in order to showcase the talents of the parish no matter what musical instrument they play. No matter how badly one may be offkey, he is coerced into singing along or else. Nevermind his or her own sense of oneness with Christ. That must be put aside for the good of the community.

    It is a great honor and privilege to be allowed to serve Mass. Up until the liberals pressured, cajoled and stole, this privilege was reserved to boys and men for the acolyte is the first step to the priesthood. Before the 'femininists' invaded the sanctuary, girls and women were permitted to answer the Mass prayers, like acolytes, but they were never permitted to enter the sanctuary. Every boy was encouraged to avail himself of the opportunity when it offered itself. He was taught that when mingled with the angels in the sanctuary he obtained special graces for his service. Parents were encouraged to see to it that their boys joined the Altar Boy Society of the parish.

    Before the liberal reforms, a young boy just 7 or 8 years old was encouraged to become accustomed to serving Mass. He was encouraged to learn the Mass prayers well, pronounce them distinctly, and understand their meaning when he was sufficiently advanced. He was taught that he should be recollected in manner, remembering where he was and in what holy ceremony he was taking part.

    All that went the way of the dinosaur when they turned the altars around, took out the tabernacles, and allowed the women to flood the sanctuaries and the feminist agenda to outmuscle and demasculate the 'Altar Boy' and all he stood for. If everybody cannot serve Mass at least everybody cannot serve Mass, at least everybody, man, woman, or child, can unite himself with the priest in offering the Holy Sacrifice; and everybody who has reached the age of reason and has been properly prepared can receive Communion.

    Mass is usually said in Latin because Latin is the official language of the Western Church. To the surprise of many, it still is. The use of Latin, a dead language, has many advantages. It insures unity and uniformity in faith and practice. There can be no change from one church to another using the same Latin rite. Because Latin is a dead language, the words do not change their meaning and the interpretation is always uniform. At least it was up until the modernists sacked the Traditional Catholic Mass, inserting a Protestant rite and ransacking the Latin translations to fit their modus operandi. Before that you could go anywhere in the world in a Latin rite Mass and feel instantly at home in the universal Church.

    In the Catholic Eastern Churches, Mass is said in several other ancient languages. In some rites Mass is said in vernacular, as in the Siro-Malankara rite in Kerala, South India.

    The Church may give permission on having different parts of the Mass said or sung in the vernacular as she has given permission to have the sacraments administered in vernacular, with the exception of a few formulas. At least that was the norm until Vatican II reforms threw out the baby with the bathwater by changing everything, leaving each presider (that is what they call priests today) to make up his own rules with liberal interpretation by his bishop.

    It is not necessary to hear the Mass prayers as pronounced by the priest, as they are generally pronounced in a very low tone of voice. The prayers are not supposed to be addressed to people, but to God. Mass is not instruction, but sacrifice. We repeat that last part. Mass is not instruction, but SACRIFICE. When was the last time you heard that emphasized in your pulpit? Today everyone calls it the "Eucharistic Celebration" - totally downplaying the Sacrifice of the Altar and worship of Christ for there are no altars anymore; they are all 'tables of the Lord.'

    The people by means of their prayer books, can follow the movements of the priest, and offer the Mass. Missals for the laity have all the prayers read by the priest, translated from the Latin. Those who still have their Latin Missals from before Vatican II truly have a treasure for so many have been discarded. Those who still have their Latin Missals, we encourage you to compare the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to what today passes as 'The Eucharist'. You will truly see how so much has been deleted, twisted and devalued. This has been enabled by the modern 'brainwashing' of the Missalette which has drummed the need to sacrifice self for the good of the community, rather than sacrificing self for the immolated Lamb of God. He died for us, but we are unwilling to do the same for Him. Rather, we are insisting that He make life easier for us by our dictating that we skip Calvary altogether and go right to the Resurrection - a theme emphasized in so many parishes today and reinforced in the throw-away Missalettes.

October 8-14, 2001
volume 12, no. 151
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