Of The End, For The Which Mass Is Said or Heard. And Of The Great Devotion And Attention, Wherewith The Priest Is to Celebrate The Same.

Crucifixion (detail) 


Of The End, For The Which Mass Is Said or Heard. And Of The Great Devotion And Attention, Wherewith The Priest Is to Celebrate The Same.

1. The end, for which the Mass, is to be said or heard, is most high and excellent: yea so high, that a higher or greater cannot possible be invented or imagined. The Chief & principal end, is only one the other are divers. The first is, the honor of God who being the last and final end of all things, of good right, willeth and ordaineth, that all things, be done and referred, to his honor.

2. The better to understand this point, it is to be noted, that Sacrifice is, an act of worship, adoration, or honor, the which is due only to God, with pain of death to all those who shall attribute the same to any other. Sacrificium Dues erudicabitur, nisi Domino soli. Exod.22. He that shall sacrifice to gods, but only to our Lord, shall be rooted out. The Mass therefore is, and ought to be both said and heard, chiefly to honor God, by, and with so divine a Sacrifice.

3. The other ends, are divers, for the which the same may either be said, or heard. As for the preservation, of the universal Church: the propagation, of the Catholic Religion: for the Popes holiness: for all Bishops, Pastors, and religious Persons, for peace and concord amongst Christian Princes, for our parents, friends, and benefactors, for thanksgiving to God for all his benefits, for the preservation of the fruits of the earth, and for our temporal substances, and generally for all manner of necessities, either of soul or body.

4. In saying of Mass, There is required of the Priests part, a singular attention and devotion: be it either in regard of the thing that is offered, or in regard of him to whom the same is offered, which is almighty God himself, who is Rex regum, & Dominus Dominatium, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Before his presence, even the highest powers of Heaven do shake and tremble.

5.  This St. Chrisostome, seriously pondering and weighing with himself, saith: he who is a Legate to treat for a whole City, what speak I of a City? yea of the whole world. and is an intercessor  to almighty  God, that he may become propitious unto all men, not only to the living, but also to the dead, what manner of man I pray you ought he to be? Truly I cannot think the confidence of Moses or Elias, to be sufficient to dispatch such an embassage or supplication lib.6. de Sacerdotio, And again, in the same place, he further saith: what hands ought they to be, that do administer it? what the tongue that pronounce such Divine words? How pure and clean, ought that soul to be, that doth received so worthy a Lord? Thus St. Chrysostom.

6. For further proof and confirmation hereof, the holy Scripture recounteth a fearful example, of the two children of Helie the Priest, who were punished by death for that they did not perform the office of Priesthood, duly as they ought: what then may we think, shall be the punishment of such Priests, as should now approach unworthily to the Altar of our Lord?

7. It is written of St. Mark the Evangelist, that he had so great reverence of  this holy Sacrifice, and so greatly feared his own insufficiency, that he cut off his own thumb, Io the end he might be incapable, and unfit to be made a Priest, which yet was afterwards restored unto him by miracle, as is to be read Canon si quis a med. dist.55.

8. It is also testified, of the glorious Father St. Francis, that being only a Deacon, & purposing to be made Priest, one appeared unto him, holding in his hand a vial of water, of most admirable cleanness, and said unto him: Francis, seest thou this water? And the blessed Father having answered, that he did. He Further added. He that will be a Priest, must be like unto this in purity: which words struck into the Holy man such a deep impression and such a fear and respect, of that sacred function, that he never afterwards would permit himself to be made a Priest.

A Devout Exposition Of The Holy Masse 1622 

By John Heigham