Monday, October 28, 2013
Prayers of the Old Mass
I was reading through the prayers of the extraordinary form of the Mass yesterday as I made my spiritual communion.
There’s one prayer that often makes me melt. It’s in the prayers after the consecration; in the little red Latin-English missal it’s under the heading “For Blessings”. It says:
Humbly we beseech Thee, almighty God, to command that these our offerings be carried by the hand of Thy holy Angel to Thine Altar on high, in the sight of Thy divine Majesty, so that those of us who shall receive the most sacred Body and Blood of Thy Son by partaking thereof from this Altar may be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing: Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
I love thinking about the holy Angel carrying our offerings up to Heaven, right into the sight of King of the Universe. I love thinking about “every grace and heavenly blessing”, because if you really think about what that prayer if saying, the immensity of it boggles the mind!
Also from the little red book is an after-Mass prayer from St. Bonaventure. I especially like the first part:
Dearest Lord Jesus, pierce the inmost depths of my being with the sweet and wholesome pang of Thy love, with true and tranquil and most holy apostolic charity, so that from sheer melting love and desire of Thee my soul may ever faint with longing, yearning for Thee and for Thy dwelling-place, asking only to be released from the flesh and to be with Thee.
Today when I read that, I thought also about how we must always strive to keep our souls cleansed of sin by confession and penance, because if we are released from the flesh, we want to go to Heaven quickly, with a minimum amount of time in Purgatory. And thinking about that made me think about the sins I had already committed that day, and inspired me to beg forgiveness for them.
It also made me think about all of the sins I’ve committed in my life – some of them pretty egregious – and the fact that God has forgiven me for all of them, since I have freely confessed them. I do know better than to dwell on past sins, tormenting myself about them. That’s not what I’m talking about; I’m talking about remembering that God is so great and merciful that He has forgiven those sins and cleansed and purified me each time I’ve gone to confession - provided, of course, that I can move myself to contrition and perform the prescribed penance. That is really something, when you stop to consider it! How much more, then, should I forgive the little grievances I hold against others.
The prayers of the old Mass, I think, lead us into that kind of thinking and that kind of appreciation for God, which then helps us to worship Him as He deserves and demands.