By Lady Lucy Herbert
Mass is the golden key of heaven, God the Father gives it to you, and with it we may have all other blessings if we will. If then we find ourselves poor in virtue the fault must be ours, for God, by this key, opens his treasures to us, and would liberally bestow them upon, did we not hinder him by not disposing ourselves to receive them. If we draw but little advantage from Holy Mass, it is our own fault; if our debts are still great, it is a sign we do not take care to pay them by the means God has so bountifully furnished us with.
St. Chrysostom says that the angels are so well acquainted with the efficacy of the Mass, that they are in expectation till it begins, judging it the most favourable opportunity to obtain favours for us of Almighty God.
All the value and efficacy which was originally in the bloody sacrifice on the corss is entirely translated to the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass, by which sacrifice the former is applied.
Though our sins are forgiven by absolution, there commonly remains some temporal punishemnt to be undergone either here or in Purgatory. Holy Mass, if well made use of, is abundant satisfaction to the Divine Justice for our debts, though ever so great. What a comfort ought this to be to those who, by reason of their natural constitution, are not able to practice many or great austerities; and what return should we make to our Saviour for the same.
If our devotion, in assisting at Mass be great our advantage will be also great; if little, it will be but little. We may gain more by hearing one Mass devoutly than by twenty without devotion.
The Sacrifice of Holy Mass is but the general and particular means to give ourselves entirely to God, and to ask and receive from him all sort of graces. Endeavour daily to assist thereat; first, that you may worthily hounour and adore God in all the extent of his divine perfections, and him for all the graces and favours his mercies have, and do daily bestow upon all his creatures; particularly on yourself and all that relates to you, as each one of his family, and to satisfy his justice for all your own sins, and to obtain of his goodness those gifts and graces necessary not only for yourself, but for all those for whom he has shed his most precious blood.
The reason why we profit so little by Holy Mass is, because we go to it with so little sense of the immense treasures which are communicated to us by means of it: as f the blood of a God were a thing of small account to merit us heaven, to obtain us pardon for our sins, to appease the Divine Justice, and to acknowledge worthily the favours God hath done us, and his love for us in the most blessed Sacrament; all which is performed by the means of Holy Mass.
That you may reap the intended profit for your soul, you must prepare yourself daily for hearing Mass, as if if you were to communicate; that is, with as great purity as you can; and beg our Lord, who instituted this great Sacrifice, to renew the memory of his death and passion, and the efficacy fo it, to grant you the grace, not only to assist at it, but also to partake of this divine mystery according to his merciful designs.
And to partake more fully of the efficacy of Holy Mass, when we consider it as a Sacrifice of propitiation for our sins, we must make acts of sorrow for them.
And when offer it as an impetratory Sacrifice, we must actually request something in general or particular; otherways we let the credit of the Son of God, which is communicated to us, remain useless and unprofitable. For as we all want merits which might find credit with God, we must not omit to offer those which Christ gained by the Sacrifice he offered on the Cross, which he has given to us, and they are applied and communicated to us by the Sacrifice of the Altar.
Whenever we have any thing to ask of Almighty God, the true and best means to obtain it is to request it in consideration of the Masses that are said upon earth, and in respect of the merits of the Son of God, which are applied to us by means of them.
An Oblation of the Sacrifice of Holy Mass, to be made before Mass.
My God, I acknowledge that I merit not so much as the least of your favours, and that I have nothing which can move you to unlock your treasures, or bestow upon me what I stand in need of. But since Jesus my Saviour has made me heir of all the merits of his life and death, and applies them to me by the Sacrifice of Holy Mass; I offer them to you, and by them beg that you will please to grant me all that is necessary for my Sanctification, and the perfection you require of me; together with a perfect contrition which may wash away all my sins; also your love, in which I may live and die; and all virtues that are suitable to my vocation, and those natural and supernatural talents necessary for the amplification of your honour and glory; and the comforts of this life in such a degree as may be necessary for my Salvation.
I also beg the conversion of sinners, the perseverance of the Just, the Sanctification of those that are under my care, the exaltation of our Holy Mother the Church, the extirpation of heresies; the consolation of the afflicted, the prosperity of my parents and relations; the pardon of my enemies: and that you will please to shower down your blessings upon our holy Father the Pope, and all Christian Princes; especially upon our King, Queen, and Prince: and grant that England, and all misbelieving kingdoms, may be converted to the true faith. ‘Tis through the merits of all the Masses that will this day be offered throughout the whole world, that I beg the grant of these my requests. Look not on my unworthiness, but on the merits of your well-beloved Son, which sufficient to render the most unworthy most deserving of your favours.
Shew therefore, O Eternal Father, in this occasion, both your justice, and the efficacy of your Son’s merits: give him that due recompense, which I do not deserve; I ask it in his name, and behold him coming upon this Altar to join his prayers with my petition, therefore your honour is engaged to hear him, and to render yourself favourable to those whom he commands to ask in his name, and to whom he communicates his merits and credit. Behold I am one them: honour him therefore, I beseech you, by granting me what both he and I most earnestly beg of your Divine Majesty, which is my salvation, and all the aforesaid requests, as far as they may conduce to your greater glory.
An Oblation of the Circumstances of Holy Mass, which are the prayers and ceremonies that we may partake thereof.
My God, I unite myself with the priest whom your Church sends as Ambassador to your Divine Majesty; I join myself to all the praises he shall give you, and to all the adorations he shall render you, and prayers he shall address to you; and to all the good desires he shall conceive. And I beg to partake of the spiritual food his is to receive.