The Happy Priest On The Mass: The Greatest Act on the Face of the Earth
let us ask ourselves on this Holy Thursday about our attitudes and dispositions regarding the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
The Catholic Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the greatest act that takes place on this earth.Even more important than cell phones going off during Mass, let us ask ourselves on this Holy Thursday about our attitudes and dispositions regarding the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the awesome gift of the Eucharist?
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - American conductor and violinist Alan Gilbert is currently the music director of the New York Philharmonic. Back in January, he was conducting Mahler's Ninth Symphony when all of a sudden a cell phone went off during the final page of the astonishing composition.
A classical music enthusiast sitting in the front-row had forgotten to turn off his cell phone which pealed through the symphony hall during the Philharmonic's magnificent climax.
While the mortified spectator tried to turn off the iPhone marimba ringtone, something happened that he could not turn off his phone. The conductor was frustrated to no end.
Gilbert stopped the orchestra, turned to the man with the out of control cell phone and said "Are you finished?" The stunned man could not answer the maestro audibly, causing Gilbert to finally say "Fine, we'll wait."
The famous conductor received assurance that the cell phone would not go off again. He then spoke directly to the audience, "I apologize. Usually, when there's a disturbance like this, it is best to ignore it, because addressing it is sometimes worse than the disturbance itself. But this was so egregious that I could not allow it."
According to news reports, the concert hall erupted into applause as the Philharmonic Orchestra continued Mahler's Ninth Symphony without any other interruptions.
My dear friends, the Catholic Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the greatest act that takes place on this earth. It is far greater than any symphony.
Even more important than cell phones going off during Mass, let us ask ourselves on this Holy Thursday about our attitudes and dispositions regarding the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the awesome gift of the Eucharist?
Do we miss Mass on Sundays? How do we dress for Mass? Do we pay attention during Mass? Are we late for Mass? How are our genuflections? Do we receive the Eucharist worthily?
On this Holy Thursday night let us reflect upon the words of one of the most famous modern converts to the Catholic Faith, Dr. Scott Hahn:
"Then one day, I made a 'fatal blunder' - I decided that it was time for me to go to Mass on my own. Finally I resolved to darken the doors of Gesu, Marquette University's parish. Right before noon, I slipped quietly into the basement chapel for daily Mass. I wasn't sure what to expect; maybe I'd be alone with a priest and a couple of old nuns. I took a seat as an observer in the back pew."
"All of a sudden lots of ordinary people began coming in off the streets; rank-and-file type folks. They came in, genuflected, knelt and prayed. Their simple but sincere devotion was impressive."
"Then a bell rang and a priest walked out toward the altar. I remained seated; I still wasn't sure if it was safe to kneel. As an evangelical Calvinist, I had been taught that the Catholic Mass was the greatest sacrilege that a man could commit - to re-sacrifice Christ - so I wasn't sure what to do."
"I watched and listened as the readings, prayers and responses - so steeped in Scripture - made the Bible come alive. I almost wanted to stop the Mass and say, 'Wait. That line is from Isaiah; the song is from the Psalms. Whoa, you've got another prophet in that prayer'. I found numerous elements from the ancient Jewish liturgy that I had studied so intensely."
"All of a sudden I realized, this is where the Bible belongs. This was the setting in which this precious family heirloom was meant to be read, proclaimed and expounded. Then we moved into the Liturgy of the Eucharist, where all my covenant conclusions converged."
"I wanted to stop everything and shout, 'Hey, can I explain what's happening from Scripture? This is great!' Instead I just sat there, famished with a supernatural hunger for the Bread of Life."
"After pronouncing the words of consecration, the priest held up the Host. I felt as if the last drop of doubt had drained from me. With all of my heart, I whispered, 'My Lord and my God. That's really you! And if that's you, then I want full communion with you. I don't want to hold anything back" (Rome Sweet Home, pp. 87-88).
As I wrote in my book Get Serious! A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics, what would happen if you were in a prolonged situation where you did not have the regular availability of a priest? What would happen if even Sunday Mass was no longer accessible?
Many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world experience these kinds of terrible situations. One example can be found in the life of Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan.
Francis was a Catholic priest from Vietnam. He became a bishop in 1975 and later was chosen to be a cardinal. Only a few months after he became a bishop, he was arrested by the Vietnamese government and imprisoned for thirteen years. Nine of those thirteen years were spent in solitary confinement!
During the Jubilee Year 2000, Pope John Paul II invited the Cardinal Van Thuan to direct the annual Lenten spiritual exercises for himself and the Roman Curia. The collection of meditations that were delivered make up an amazing book entitled Testimony of Hope.
In one of the meditations, Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan movingly describes what it was like not to have the Eucharist readily available and what he had to do to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
"When I was arrested, I had to leave immediately with empty hands. The next day, I was permitted to write to my people in order to ask for the most necessary things: clothes, toothpaste.I wrote, 'Please send me a little wine as medicine for my stomach ache.' The faithful understood right away.
"They sent me a small bottle of wine for Mass with a label that read, 'medicine for stomachaches.' They also sent some hosts, which they hid in a flashlight for protection against the humidity. The police asked me, 'You have stomach aches? Yes. Here's some medicine for you.'
"I never will be able to express my great joy! Every day, with three drops of wine and a drop of water in the palm of my hand, I would celebrate Mass. This was my altar, and this was my cathedral! It was true medicine for soul and body, 'Medicine of immortality, remedy so as not to die but to have life always in Jesus', as St. Ignatius of Antioch says."
Father James Farfaglia is the Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, TX. Check out Father's updated website to learn more about his books, homilies and audio podcasts."
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Lent / Easter News
- Contemplatives in the World: Learning to Pray During the Forty Days of Lent
- Ash Wednesday: Turn Away From Sin and Turn Toward the Lord
- Fr Dwight Longenecker on the Practical Practice of Fasting
- Deacon Fred Bartels: Ash Wednesday As a Moment of Decision
- Fr Randy Sly: 'Fat Tuesday' - Mardi Gras Meant to Be More than a Party
- This Ash Wednesday, take Lent to the next level
- What are YOU DOING this Lent?
- On the Fast Track: Approaching Lent with Living Faith
- Making a Good Lent: A Time to Choose
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?
More Easter / Lent
'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead' - Luke 24:46
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption. continue reading
Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels. (Mark 11:1.11, Matthew 21:1.11, Luke 19:28.44, and John 12:12.19) ... continue reading
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him and laying down palm leaves before him. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week... continue reading
HOLY THURSDAY is the most complex and profound of all religious observances. It celebrates his last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover ... continue reading
On Good Friday, each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord ... continue reading
Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year ... continue reading
For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the United States as elsewhere. Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk. 5:35). continue reading
Everything answered from when does lent end, ashes, giving something up, stations of the cross and blessed palms. The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple: Baptism... continue reading
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. First Station: Jesus is condemned to death... pray the stations now
What did you give up for Lent?
From the humorous to the bizarre, people have had interesting Lenten experiences. Tell us about what you are going to give up for this Lenten Year.
What others gave up »
Deacon Keith Fournier - Catholic Online, 3/7/2014
The prayer of Jesus opened the heavens, brought provision to the hungry, gave Him clarity for making decisions and brought the glory of heaven to earth and earth to heaven. Prayer still does all ...Continue Reading
Deacon Keith Fournier - Catholic Online, 3/6/2014
Every Lent is also a reminder to us of our own mortality. "Remember you are dust and to dust you will return" is a time for us to pause and reflect. In an age drunk on self worship, a reminder of ...Continue Reading
Fr Dwight Longenecker - Catholic Online, 3/5/2014
Put very simply--Jesus commands us to fast and pray. The saints take fasting seriously and the church commands us to make fasting part of our life. Why not take up this discipline with a new ...Continue Reading
Deacon F.K. Bartels - Catholic Online, 3/5/2014
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season, a season that ends at the start of the Mass of the Lord´s Supper in the evening on Holy Thursday. During this penitential season, we are ...Continue Reading
On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption.
In the symbol of the Cross we can see the magnitude of the human tragedy, the ravages of original sin, and the infinite love of God. Learn More
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.
The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. Learn More
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion.
ACT OF CONTRITION. O my God, my Redeemer, behold me here at Thy feet. From the bottom of my heart... Pray the Stations
'Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed' Lk. 5:35
Abstinence. The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted.
Fasting. The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday (Canon 97) to the 59th Birthday (i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday) to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal.
Learn More »