Whereas amongst other decrees of the holy Council of Trent, We were charged with revision and re-issue of the sacred books, to wit, the Catechism, the Missal and the Breviary; and whereas We have with God's consent published a Catechism for the instruction of the faithful and thoroughly revised the Breviary for the due performance of the Divine Office, We next, in order that the Missal and Breviary might be in perfect harmony, as is right and proper (considering that it is altogether fitting that there should be in the Church only one appropriate manner of Psalmody and one sole rite of celebrating Mass), deemed it necessary to give Our immediate attention to what still remained to be done, namely the re-editing of the Missal with the least possible delay.
We resolved accordingly to delegate this task to a select committee of scholars; and they, having at every stage of their work and with the utmost care collated the ancient codices in Our Vatican Library and reliable (original or amended) codices from elsewhere, and having also consulted the writing of ancient and approved authors who have bequeathed to us records relating to the said sacred rites, thus restored the Missal itself to the pristine form and rite of the holy Fathers. When this production had been subjected to close scrutiny and further amended We, after mature consideration, ordered that the final result be forthwith printed and published in Rome, so that all may enjoy the fruit of this labor; that priests may know what prayers to use, and what rites and ceremonies they are to observe henceforward in the celebration of Masses.
Now therefore, in order that all everywhere may adopt and observe what has been delivered to them by the Holy Roman Church, Mother and Mistress of the other churches, it shall be unlawful henceforth and forever throughout the Christian world to sing or to read Masses according to any formula other than that of this Missal published by Us; this ordinance to apply to all churches and chapels, with or without care of souls, patriarchal, collegiate, and parochial, be they secular or belonging to any religious Order, whether of men (including the military Orders) or of women, in which conventual Masses are or ought to be sung aloud in choir or read privately according to the rites and customs of the Roman Church; to apply, moreover, even if the said churches have been in any way exempted, whether by indult of the Apostolic See, by custom, by privilege, or even by oath or Apostolic confirmation, or have their rights and faculties guaranteed to them in any other way whatsoever, saving only those in which the practice of saying Mass differently was granted over 200 years ago simultaneously with the Apostolic See's institution and confirmation of the church, and those in which there has prevailed a similar custom followed continuously for a period of not less than 200 years; in which cases We in no wise rescind their prerogatives or customs aforesaid. Nevertheless, if this Missal which We have seen fit to publish be more agreeable to these last, We hereby permit them to celebrate Mass according to its rite, subject to the consent of their bishop or prelate, and of their whole Chapter, all else to the contrary notwithstanding. All other churches aforesaid are hereby denied the use of other missals, which are to be wholly and entirely rejected; and by this present Constitution, which shall have the force of law in perpetuity, We order and enjoin under pain of Our displeasure that nothing be added to Our newly published Missal, nothing omitted therefrom, and nothing whatsoever altered therein.
We specifically command each and every patriarch, administrator and all other persons of whatsoever ecclesiastical dignity, be they even Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church or possessed of any other rank or preeminence, and We order them by virtue of holy obedience to sing or to read the Mass according to the rite and manner and norm herein laid down by Us, and henceforward to discontinue and utterly discard all other rubrics and rites of other missals, howsoever ancient, which they have been accustomed to follow, and not to presume in celebrating Mass to introduce any ceremonies or recite any prayers other than those contained in this Missal.
Furthermore, by these presents and by virtue of Our Apostolic authority We give and grant in perpetuity that for the singing or reading of Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal may be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment or censure, and may be freely and lawfully used. Nor shall bishops, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other secular priests, or religious of whatsoever Order or by whatsoever title designated, be obliged to celebrate Mass otherwise than enjoined by Us. We likewise order and declare that no one whosoever shall be forced or coerced into altering this Missal and that this present Constitution can never be revoked or modified, but shall for ever remain valid and have the force of law, notwithstanding previous constitutions or edicts of provincial or synodal councils, and notwithstanding the usage of the churches aforesaid, established by very long and even immemorial prescription, saving only usage of more than 200 years.
Consequently it is Our will, and by the same authority We decree, that one month after publication of this Our constitution and Missal, priests of the Roman Curia shall be obliged to sing or to read the Mass in accordance therewith; others south of the Alps, after three months; those who live beyond the Alps, after six months or as soon as the Missal becomes available for purchase.
Furthermore, in order that the said Missal may be preserved incorrupt and kept free from defects and errors, the penalty for non-observance in the case of all printers resident in territory directly or indirectly subject to Ourselves and the Holy Roman Church shall be forfeiture of their books and a fine of 100 gold ducats payable by that very fact to the Apostolic Treasury. In the case of those resident in other parts of the world, it shall be automatic excommunication and other penalties at Our discretion; and by Our Apostolic authority and the tenor of these presents, We also decree that they must not dare or presume either to print or to publish or to sell, or in any way to take delivery of such books without Our approval and consent, or without express permission of the Apostolic Commissary in the said parts appointed by Us for that purpose. Each of the said printers must receive from the aforementioned Commissary a standard Missal to serve as an exemplar and agree faithfully therewith, varying in no wise from the first impression printed in Rome.
But, since it would be difficult for this present Constitution to be transmitted to all parts of the world and to come to the notice of all concerned simultaneously, We direct that it be, as usual, posted and published at the doors of the Basilica of the Prince of Apostles, at those of the Apostolic Chancery, and at the end of the Campo dei Fiori; moreover, We direct that printed copies of the same, signed by a notary public and authenticated with the seal of an ecclesiastical dignitary, shall possess the same unqualified and indubitable validity everywhere and in every country that would attend the display there of Our present text. Accordingly, no one whosoever is permitted to infringe or rashly contravene this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, direction, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree and prohibition. Should any person venture to do so, let him understand that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.
Given at St. Peter's, Rome, in the year of Our Lord's Incarnation one thousand five hundred and seventy, on the fourteenth day of July in the fifth year of Our Pontificate.
We think we are praying, and through that though process - those exercises - we let down our guard. No wonder satan is having a field day at our expense! No wonder our Lady repeats three times: "PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!" That is truly our battle cry! There can be no other!
Through her Divine Son, Mary knows the enemy; she knows what we are encountering; she realizes how we can be "suckered in" to the point where the poison starts to affect our judgment and viewpoints. Once the evil one has penetrated the first layer, he can feast on suppositions and spiritual pride. From there decay can easily set in. That's why we have to always be aware! We have to condition ourselves. No one is immune!
This editor is no different than anyone else - vulnerable, and even overconfident and complacent at times. We think God will fend off any advances by the evil one. It doesn't work that way. We have to do our part. Our part is to live the Gospel, to live our lives as Jesus did. This is no small task. For Jesus is the epitome of role models. When we truly commit t live as He did, then we also have to realize we must be willing to turn the other cheek and take the torments, rejections and blaspheming monikers that He took; to withstand the gossip and reeking half-truths that can ruin the holiest persons, let alone you and I who go on total faith. We have to realize that this commitment means we, too, will walk our Calvary, and face our own crucifixion. No, we won't experience anything of the horrendous torture Our Lord endured, but we will face obstacles in our daily lives and in our vocations that, to us, will feel very much like the stinging whip of rejection, the nails of betrayal, the thorns of depression. Satan loves it; but Jesus loves us! He manifested that love for each one of us by going through the worst ignominy known to man.
Our Lord could have died instantly, but He, through the Will of the Father, chose to suffer every injury possible - internal or external - to truly show us His love and to illustrate to all that life on this earth is nothing compared to eternity. He never promised us a "picnic" here on earth. He didn't pull punches. He said it plainly and clearly: "And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me, is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:38) and "If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me" (Luke 9:23), and "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For he who would save his life will lose it; but he who loses his life for My sake will find it. For what does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will render to everyone according to his conduct" (Matthew 16: 24-27).
That's where God wants us: on our knees in prayer, in reverence for His goodness, in gratitude for His protection. That's the only way we can checkmate satan. That's the essence of the "devil check!" It's easy to be deceived. But when we are on our knees, we are quieter, more in tune with the Holy Spirit and more contrite and humble.
Yes, we are truly in the age of Spiritual Warfare. Our battle cry is PRAY! PRAY! PRAY! It has to be. But it cannot be just words; it has to be backed up by the Word. St. Paul concluded Ephesians with just that when he says in chapter 6: 18-20: "With all prayer and supplication pray at all times in the Spirit, and therein be vigilant in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints - and for me, that when I open my mouth, utterance may be granted to me fearlessly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; so that therein I may dare to speak as I ought."
Next installment: Part Two of SPIRITUAL WARFARE.
I further understand that in the first several days following Our Lord's Ascension, the eleven Apostles with Mary, the Mother of God, and the holy women accompanied by faithful disciples have lived here in the first Christian community. They have changed, I note, most of these people.
There is a stillness, which has come over them. It is not so much that they speak little, or do they move about with quick, jerky movements. This is an inner stillness, which emanates from their souls and grows more deeply rooted every day.
I am given to understand that it usually the faithful disciples who go out into the city proper to make purchases of food for all the community. Many of these disciples use what little money they have. But the town of Jerusalem does not have blind eyes, and there are some of its citizens who, knowing of the House where the followers of Jesus Christ lodge, bring them alms, be it money or food, and even at times clothing.
Many of the disciples stay for several days, then leave to make room for others, as their own homes are within a day's walk. But on the Sabbath, all are gathered, as many as will fill the House, to remember all that our Blessed Lord instructed them, and to do as He commanded.
Contrary to Jewish custom and law, they commemorate the Last Supper on the day upon which Jesus rose from the dead, thus clearly defining the New Law which Christ brought to earth, and commissioned His Apostles and all who would believe, to spread to the four corners of the world.
Thus, they have made their beginning, and the sense of heavenly Peace permeates the House, as it comes from the heart of all that dwell there.
At these times there must be close to two hundred people jammed into every corner of the House, but always the Apostles look to Peter, their head, for guidance.
Peter has grown greatly in humility, for he who is the first Pope, Christ's Vicar on earth, does not esteem himself worthy of the great task, which he sees before him. So it is that Peter quite often seeks the prayers and counsel of Our Lord's Own Mother, who is ever-patient, filled with love and possessed by the Holy Spirit as these Apostles are not yet filled.
Yet, the Mother prepares them for the coming of the Holy Spirit, the great Paraclete, the Advocate and Sanctifier, Pure and spotless, her soul ever communicates with the Most Blessed Trinity, and guided by the Holy Spirit is the gentle, humble mother who listens and speaks words of Wisdom to all, but particularly to Peter.
As the first days after the Ascension passed, the assembled faithful followers found prayer difficult. Thus, they spoke often and longingly of the Lord, recalling in great detail all He said and did while amongst them. In each one the longing to see Jesus again is evident. But they are not saddened to the point of immobility. Guided by God's graces and the prudent counsel of the Mother of God, the nucleus of Christ's True Church, the Mystical Body, is formed, and thus are Jesus' teachings not only remembered, but lived.
It is thus that after expressing, each in his or her own way, the memories of Our Lord and Savior, they find themselves drawn to a deeper prayer, a wordless prayer of contemplation wherein God prepares them to receive the Holy Spirit, Who shall complete in them that which Jesus began.
There are no words I can use to describe the growing community of these faith-filled people. There is a harmony and peace, which is not superficial, but deep. They are becoming as fine-tuned instruments who live together without strife, quarrel, complaint, or jealousy of any kind. There is a oneness here, as Jesus intended it to be, and always, before their eager eyes, Mary, Our Lord's Mother, gives the perfect example of Christian perfection.
Now, I am given to understand, more than a month has passed since the Resurrection. They have learned to speak little, and to pray much. Often their prayers are individual, but several times a day they gather together and are led in prayer by Peter, who has started to become the 'rock' Christ willed him to be.
And it is through the Blessed Mother that this formation of Peter is secured, for her prayers of intercession are always answered by her Divine Son Who dwells now within her and does not depart, so inseparable are Their hearts.