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may at the same time be offered by his holy angel (by which is meant our Lord himself) on the altar on high, that is, before God in heaven, and that as many as partake of the sacrament may be filled with every grace and blessing.
Then the Priest says the Memento for the dead. Prayers are offered for the living before the sacrifice, because they can unite in the offering; prayer is made for the dead after the sa. crifice, because they can only participate in its fruits and effects by our prayers. First, he prays for any who have in particular been commended to him; and then for all who “ sleep in Christ," that the merits of this most efficacious sacrifice may be communicated to them, for their refreshment, light, and peace. At this time we should commend to God those of our relations and friends who have died, and particularly those, if any, whom we may have injured by our bad example or neglect.
Having prayed for the dead, the Priest, striking his breast, in token of humility and unworthiness, prays for himself and all present, that they may have their portion and fellowship with the apostles, martyrs, and saints, and be admitted at last into their company in heaven, through Christ our Lord, by whom we receive all blessings, and with and through whom we ascribe all honour and glory to God, for ever and ever, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. He says these last words aloud. Every one will join in the prayer, either in the same or similar words. This concludes that part of the Mass which we have called the Sacrifice. The Priest now prepares himself for the communion, which is the next division.
First, he says the Lord's Prayer aloud, and expands the last petition, “deliver us from evil,” into another prayer, which he concludes with the words, per omnia sæcula sæculorum, aloud. Then breaking the Host, or consecrated wafer, in half, and breaking off a small particle from one half, he makes the sign of the cross with it over the chalice, saying, Pax Domini (The peace of the Lord be always with you); and the clerk answers, And with thy spirit. He then puts the particle into the chalice, saying the prayer, Hæc commixtio, &c. (May this mixture, &c.).
Then Jesus Christ is addressed three times as the “ Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world ;” twice we implore Him to “have mercy upon us ;' and, lastly, to “ give as peace," that peace which He promised to his disciples before He left the world, and with which He saluted them on his
resurrection. Each time the Priest says the Agnus Dei, he strikes himself on the breast. There cannot be a more beautiful and touching devotion than this. The full heart can find no better way of relieving itself than by these words and this action.
In Masses for the Dead, instead of, Miserere nobis (Have mercy upon us), is said, Dona eis requiem (Give them rest).
The Priest then, fixing his eyes reverently upon the sacred Host, says three prayers of preparation for receiving the holy communion, addressed to that “Lord Jesus Christ” whom then he holds in his hands, and on whom he is then looking. These three prayers are earnest petitions that he may receive the same body and blood of Christ, not to his condemnation but salvation, that he may be delivered thereby from all sin and evil, and be never separated from his Lord and God. Then taking the Host in his hand, he says, Panem cælestem, &c. (I will take the bread of heaven, &c.). During these prayers, and at this time, we may unite ourselves in spirit with the Priest, and prepare to receive Jesus Christ spiritually, although we may not intend to communicate really. If we intend to communicate, no better prayers can be used at this time.
The Priest then says three times, striking his breast each time, Domine, non sum dignus, &c. (Lord, I am not worthy, &c.); and then reverently receives the Host, saying, Corpus Domini nostri, &c. (The body of our Lord, &c.). Then, after a short meditation on the stupendous mystery, he uncovers the chalice, and adores the sacred blood, gathers up the smallest fragments that may be on the corporal in the paten, and puts them into the chalice. Then taking the chalice in his hands, and saying the words of the psalm, Quid retribuam. Domino, &c. (What shall I render unto the Lord, &c.), and Sanguis Domini nostri (The blood of our Lord, &c.), he receives the blood of our Saviour.
At the Domine, non sum dignus, the bell is rung, and all who intend to communicate go up to the rail or steps of the altar. The clerk repeats the Confiteor for them; the Priest opens the tabernacle, adores, and then takes out the ciborium (which is the vessel in which the consecrated particles for communicants are reserved); he then says the absolution, and taking one of the particles in his finger and thumb, he holds it up, saying, Ecce Agnus Dei, &c. (Behold the Lamb of God, &c.); and afterwards, Domine, non sum dignus (Lord, I
am not worthy, &c.) three times, descending the steps the last time; and then he communicates the people, giving to each one the sacred Host, and saying, Corpus Domini nostri, &c. (The body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve thy soul unto everlasting life. Amen.) Then he returns to the altar, replaces the ciborium in the tabernacle, and proceeds with the ablutions. First, he takes a little wine into the chalice, and drinks it, saying, Quod ore sumpsimus, &c. (Grant, O Lord, that what we have taken with our mouth, &c.). Next, wine and water is poured over his fingers and thumbs into the chalice, and he drinks that also. From the time that he first touches the consecrated Host until this time, he never disjoins his fingers and thumbs. Having drunk the wine and water, he wipes his fingers and the chalice with the napkin, and then covers the chalice with the pall, as at first; and here ends the fifth part of the Mass, or the Communion.
If we do not communicate ourselves, we may occupy our time from the beginning of the Priest's communion until now in making a spiritual communion, or in making acts of faith, hope, love, and contrition, or in repeating the Litany of the Blessed Sacrament, or in any other suitable devotion.
The sixth part of the Mass, or the thanksgiving, begins with the Communion, so called because formerly it was the custom to sing it while the Communion was being administered. It consists of a verse, generally taken from the Psalms, and varies with the day or season.
After having read the Communion, the Priest returns to the middle of the altar, kisses it, and turning to the people, says, Dominus vobiscum. Then he returns to the book, and reads the Post-Communion, so called because it was first read immediately after Communion, as a thanksgiving to God for the inestimable blessing of having participated in the sacred mysteries, and to ask for the fruits of the same. This is the last prayer of the Mass ; after which the Priest shuts the book. He then returns to the centre of the altar, kisses it, and says again, Dominus vobiscum ; after which he adds, Ite, missa est (Go, the Mass is ended). Then first saying the prayer, Placeat tibi (O Holy Trinity, let, &c.), he gives the blessing, Benedicat vos, making the sign of the cross over the people at the name of the Holy Trinity.
The first chapter of St. John's Gospel is generally read after Mass. It declares, in terms of the greatest simplicity and sublimity, the great mystery of the Incarnation, — the
mystery of mysteries, with which all others are connected, and out of which they spring; and of which the mystery of transubstantiation is at once the symbol and chief fruit. All speculative difficulties concerning this last mystery disappear when we consider the former. They who truly believe that, will find no difficulty in this, but will see in the one a sort of natural consequence and confirmation of the other. Well, therefore, may we meditate on this Gospel at the conclusion of the Mass; and with what better thoughts can we occupy ourselves at this time than with these : “ THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH, and dwelt among us. He was in the world, and the world knew Him not. The Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God." Deo gratias. Thanks be to God.
When a saint's day falls on a Sunday, the Gospel for the saint's day is read in the Mass, and the Gospel for the Sun. day is substituted for that of St. John.
Receive, O holy Trinity, one God, the holy sacrifice of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which I, thy unworthy servant, desire now to offer unto thy divine Majesty by the hands of this thy minister, with all the sacrifices which have ever been or are to be offered unto thee, in union with that most holy sacrifice offered by the same our Lord at the last supper, and on the altar of the cross. I offer it unto thee with the utmost affection of devotion, out of pure love for thine infinite goodness, and according to the most holy intention of the same our Lord, and of our holy mother Church:
1. To the great and eternal glory and love of thy divine Majesty.
2. In acknowledgment of thy sovereign excellence and supreme dominion over us, and of our subjection to thee, and dependence upon thee.
3. In perpetual commemoration of the passion and death of the same Christ our Lord.
4. For the honour and increase of glory of the blessed Virgin, and of all the saints triumphant.
5. In eternal thanksgiving for all thy benefits, conferred upon the most sacred humanity of our Lord, upon the blessed Virgin his mother, upon the saints my patrons; and for all the benefits hitherto or yet to be conferred upon all the blessed and predestinated, and upon me, the most unworthy of all.