Skip to content

The Happy Priest On The Mass: The Greatest Act on the Face of the Earth

By Fr. James Farfaglia
4/8/2012 (5 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

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?

Highlights

P>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."

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for JULY 2017
Lapsed Christians.
That our brothers and sisters who have strayed from the faith, through our prayer and witness to the Gospel, may rediscover the merciful closeness of the Lord and the beauty of the Christian life.


Comments



More Lent & Easter


'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead'

Luke 24:46

Lent Event

Importance

Ash Wednesday

March 1, 2017

Image of Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting... continue reading

Palm Sunday

April 9, 2017

Image of Palm Sunday Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels... continue reading

Holy Week

April 9 - 15, 2017

Image of Holy Week 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... continue reading

Holy Thursday

April 13, 2017

Image of Holy Thursday 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

Good Friday

April 14, 2017

Image of Good Friday 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... continue reading

Easter Sunday

April 16, 2017

Image of Easter Sunday Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I calls it the greatest feast, and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter... continue reading

Stations of the Cross

Every Friday

Image of Stations of the Cross Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion... continue reading

Fasting and Abstinence

Every Friday

Image of Fasting and Abstinence 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... continue reading

Image of 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... continue reading

Ascension of Our Lord

Thursday May 25, 2017

Image of Ascension of Our Lord The Ascension of Our Lord, a Holy Day of Obligation, celebrates the day that Christ, in the presence of His apostles, ascended bodily into Heaven. The Ascension occurred on the 40th day of Easter, a Thursday... continue reading

Pentecost

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Image of Pentecost Pentecost Sunday is one of the most ancient feasts of the Church, celebrated early enough to be mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (20:16) and Corinthians (16:8)... continue reading

Image of Lent FAQ's 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... continue reading

Mardi Gras

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Image of Mardi Gras In France, the people feasted on foods that would be given up during the forty days of Lent. Meats, eggs, and milk were finished off in one day, giving the holiday its French title of 'Mardi Gras' which means Fat Tuesday... continue reading

Image of Transformed by Easter The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community... continue reading

Image of Appearances He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. - Matthew 28:6. Learn more about the Post-Resurrection Appearances of Jesus Christ... continue reading

Image of Easter Gifts CatholicShopping.com offers a variety of Easter gifts & Easter treats for all ages! Choose a gift for someone special and celebrate the joy of Easter... continue reading

Easter / Lent News

Inspire: Easter Beyond the Octave. Why Do We Celebrate for Fifty Days?

Image of Christ my hope is risen, and he goes before you into Galilee.

While Easter is a Solemnity and an octave feast, it is also a 50 day season until Pentecost.The Season of Easter is not just about His ... continue reading


Reflecting on the Resurrection: Why did Jesus Rise with Wounds?

Image of The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths point to us that Jesus is physically alive.  His crucified body has been transformed.  What lesson is he teaching us by keeping his wounds intact?

What lesson is the Lord teaching us by keeping his wounds intact? Perhaps we can better answer this question by turning to our own wounds. ... continue reading


I Am Dismas and This Is My Story

Image of

As a teenager I ran into someone who introduced me to the finer points of the occupation. We fell into the tried and proven method of ... continue reading


HOLY SATURDAY: The Whole Earth Keeps Silence Watch

Image of The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.

Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence ... continue reading


On the Friday We Call Good, the Whole World Stands Still Watch

Image of

Today as we contemplate the Passion we also plumb the mystery and meaning of the Church. We are members of His Body. She was born ... continue reading


The Lent and Easter Season... by CatholicOnline.shopping

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.