By Lady Lucy Herbert
A Method of Hearing Mass,
By considering it as Representation of our Saviour’s Passion
When the priest comes to the altar, represent to yourself how the Jews, after having taken out Saviour loaded him with chains, and dragged him to Jerusalem, and from tribunal to tribunal.
Reflect a little, that had not love first captivated His heart, His enemies could never have bound Him. Consider Him as a victim going to be sacrificed for your salvation. Compassionate Him the affronts He suffers, and follow him in spirit with a resolution never more to forsake him.
O Charity! how strong and powerful are your bonds, since they captivate a God! O may they bind me so fast to Him, that nothing may ever more separate me from Him.
From the Epistle to the Offertory.
Reflect on the many false accusations that the Jews brought against our Saviour. First, as to His doctrine; though he is the way and the truth, who neither can deceive nor be deceived. Then as to His works, though most holy, just, irreproachable.
Learn from the silence and meekness of Jesus, in this occasion, to suffer without murmuration or complaint, whatever injury, false accusation, censures, or malicious interpretations of your doings, or sayings, though innocent and well meant.
From the Offertory to the Elevation.
Consider Jesus offering Himself to His eternal Father, His body for stripes, His head for throns, and hands and feet for nails.
Return most humble thanks for the same, and for the blood He shed from all those parts; to make, thereof, not only a bath to wash away the stains of sin from your soul, but also a sovereign balm to fortify the strengthen you in your pains, labours, and temptations. Beg the grace to make use of it in all such occasions.
Offer the sacrifice of Mass for the same intention, for which Christ offered the bloody Sacrifice of Mount Calvary to His eternal Father, and for the intentions He now offers the unbloody one.
Fro the exaltation of our Holy Mother the Church; and for the sanctification and accomplishment of all God’s designs in His Elect.
To beg that union and peace may ever be in this family, and that each one of it may be so happy as to praise His mercies for a whole eternity.
And that He would please to grant our Bishop and Superiors, and all that have the charge of us, what is necessary for their own sanctification, and that of the persons committed to their care.
Besides these intentions, add one of the these following ones, according to the days of the week.
On Sundays, for the conversion of heretics and infidels throughout the whole world, especially in England.
On Mondays, for obdurate sinners.
On Tuesdays, for all that are in or near their agony.
On Wednesdays, for the conversion of England.
On Thursdays, for peace.
On Fridays, for all those that labour for the conversion of souls.
On Saturdays, for our family, and for all its necessities spiritual and temporal, and to obtain a happy death for each them.
From the Elevation to the Division of the Host.
Consider Christ as the Sovereign High Priest, who on the Altar, as on the Cross, offers Himself in sacrifice to His Eternal Father, for to appease his just anger, and satisfy for our sins; blotting out the decree of our condemnation, and signing with His blood a new alliance between His Father and us.
Look on him in the hands of the Priest, as in the arms of the Cross. Your heart must be of stone if the spectacle does not penetrate it with tender sentiments of love and gratitude.
This sacrifice being the same, and of as great value and virtue now as when offered on Mount Calvary, your affections ought to be the same. With what respect, devotion, and confidence to obtain what you ask, ought you to assist thereat?
Approach the Cross of your Saviour with respect, and remember, that when he prays for His enemies and persecutors, it is for you He prays. Beg His pardon for all your offenses, and grace to amend.
Then offer Him to His Eternal Father, saying:
O my God! Father of my Lord Jesus Christ: I offer you the heart of your beloved Son as He offers it Himself: receive it for me with all its affections, and all the acts proceeding from it, for they are all mine, since it is for me that He sacrifices Himself. Receive them with all His merits, in satisfaction for all my sins, in thanksgiving for all your graces favours. Receives them that thereby you may grant me all necessary graces for my salvation and perfection; and especially the grace of a happy death. In short, receive the affections of that sacred heart, as so many acts of love, adoration, and praise from me: for it is only by means of your Son that we can worthily love, praise, and glorify you.
At the Division of the Host.
When the priest parts the Host, call to mind the cruel separation of our Saviour’s sacred soul from His body. Conceive, if possible the enormity of sin, which could no other ways be worthily repaired than the death of the God-Man.
Weep bitterly for those you have committed; and resolve rather to die than to deprive Christ of the fruit of His passion which He only suffered to exterminate sin.
At the Priest’s Communion.
Reflect how the soul of Jesus Christ, as soon as separated from His body, descended into Limbus to comfort with His presence the souls of the Faithful there detained; and by that Divine presence, of a hell He made it a heaven.
Beseech Him to do the same in your soul, by spiritual Communion, if you are not allowed to receive Him sacramentally: but dispose your self for it by an act of humility, and of contrition, and a great desire to receive Him, that you may be united to Him: for which effect say,
O my God: I do most ardently desire to receive you, and to have all the dispositions necessary for that effect; but I acknowledge myself a sinner, and therefore very unworthy of it. On this account, I dare not presume to receive you, who are my Lord and my God: but I offer you the devotion and charity, wherewith you were received by your most blessed Mother, and by all your Saints; and the faith and devotion with which all your servants in the state of grace throughout the whole world, do this day receive you.You can, dear Lord, work in me, without my receiving you sacramentally all that you can operate with it; say then the word, and my soul shall be sanctified and saved. Make me a partaker of all the affections and devotions wherewith the just receive you today; and of all the effects which you by this Adorable Sacrament work in their souls; and of those effects for which you instituted and ordained this Holy Sacrament for the everlasting glory of the Divine Majesty.
Never fail to communicate spiritually at every Mass: for though it be not of so great value as Sacramental Communion, yet it is of great advantage if well performed, and the best preparation for Sacramental Communion.
After which imagine you have received Him, and entertain Him in your heart, as you would do if you had really received Him.
Then descend with Him in Spirit into Purgatory, and beseech Him to comfort and release those souls, by applying to them the merits of His life and death, and the fruits of Holy Mass.