The Ends For Which Holy Mass Was Instituted By Christ, And Is Offered By Our Holy Mother The Church, May Serve For Entertainment During The Same

Angel with a Lamb as a Symbol of Christ's Sacrifice 

The Ends For Which Holy Mass Was Instituted By Christ, And Is Offered By Our Holy Mother The Church, May Serve For Entertainment During The Same

Our Lord's Spirit was that of an entire sacrifice. There are four sorts of sacrifices.

The first of a Holocaust, purely to adore, worship, and praise the sovereign greatness and goodness of God,

The second of Thanksgiving, for the continual graces and favours received.

The third of Impetration, to crave and obtain such graces and gifts as we stand in need of.

The fourth of Propitation, for the forgiveness of sins.

Our Saviour instituted the Sacrifice of the Mass for these ends, that he might render to God and infinite honor proportionable  to his greatness: Give him thanks answerable to his benefits: Satisfy in all rigour of justice for all the sins of mankind, and obtain for us all we want and request.

Our dependence on God lasting every moment, we should every moment adore and glorify him. H bestowing continually new benefits upon us, we should always and each moment offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to him. Our wants being continual, each moment of our lives would also require an impetratory Sacrifice. Our offences being every moment with an uncertainty, whether any past ones are remitted; each instant of our lives would also exact from us a propitiatory Sacrifice.

Any one of these duties is impossible to us, and much more all of them. In this then consists the admirable blessing of Holy Mass; Christ our Lord fulfilling by it all our obligations to his eternal Father: and that in an infinitely perfect manner beyond all that the saints and angels could do, during  whole eternity.

Our Saviour then offering for us those four Sacrifices in each Mass, it is our duty to offer them with him, either ll at once, or one at a time, as may best suit with our present disposition. 

As to the fist, which is a Holocaust, or Sacrifice of Praise, wholly to adore and worship the greatness and goodness of God.

Sacrifices were established to honor God only, who being infinite in all kinds, contains in himself all greatness, and all excellency, which to honor worthily, should be with the destruction and sacrifice of all that has a being; they ought to annihilate themselves before him as nothing in his presence. Bur it not being convenient that mankind should be destroyed, and yet necessary that God should be honored with the greatest honor possible, and that daily, Christ, as head and chief, performs this for us, annihilating and sacrificing himself on our Altars, and putting himself into our hands to be offered in sacrifice to his eternal Father; that hereby we may render to him all the honor we owe him, and all he deserves, or can possibly exact.

This was Christ's first and principal design in instituting this adorable mystery, to render his eternal Father an infinite honor and homage, justly due to so excellent a Being; and knowing it impossible for men to pay God the honor he deserves, though all mankind together, with all other creatures, should immolate themselves in sacrifice: since all men together are no more than an atom, in regard of the infinite greatness of God, he is pleased to do it, offering himself continually in sacrifice to pay the homage we owe, and cannot satisfy without him.

It is certain that the adorable Sacrifice of Mass renders an infinite glory to God because the victim that is offered is of an infinite dignity, being God. It follows then, that though we should offer all the sacrifices that have ever been immolated to the Divine Majesty, from the creatures of the world, till Christ's incarnation; we should not render him so much glory as we do by assisting devoutly at Holy Mass, in which we offer to Almighty God his only Son by the hands of the Priest.

Hence it follows, that God receives more glory and honor by one only Mass, than he receives in heaven from all the Saints and Angels, who continually praise him, though the glory they being but pure creatures but in the Mass it is a God that sacrifices and annihilates himself, which renders the Almighty an infinite honor. And all that assist at it, and share in that Sacrifice, joining themselves to those adorations which Christ renders, and offering them up to his eternal Father, thereby perform an action more glorious to God, and in some measure more profitable to themselves, than if they were in heaven singing his praises.

What comfort for a soul that truly desires to glorify God and to pay him due honor? How careful should this make us to assist thereat? God, on his side, is so good as to join our interest so with his own, that we cannot promote his glory without advancing our own good: Would you believe, says St. Augustin, that God, even in the sacrifice he ordains for his glory, seems to consider his own advantage less than ours?

Lady Lucy Herbert (1668-1744), later Prioress of the English Austin Canonesses at Bruges 


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