Several Excellent Methods of Hearing Mass
By Lady Lucy Herbert
A Method of Hearing Mass, For the Souls in Purgatory.
The Offering and Intention.
The Offering and Intention.
Most Adorable Trinity, it is in your name, and for your honour, that I desire to unite myself, not only with the priest who ascends to your altar, but also with the Priest of priests, Jesus our Mediator with you. I desire to offer you, with him and by him, the sacrifice of his body and blood, to render your supreme greatness all the homage that is due to you; to thank you for all your benefits, natural and supernatural, which you daily bestow upon me, notwithstanding my unworthiness, and obtain of your infinite mercy the pardon of innumerable sins; as also to draw down your benedictions upon the whole Church, especially upon my parents, benefactors, friends, enemies, and above all, upon my unworthy self.
But my God, it is not only this which calls me now to assist at, and offer this great sacrifice, it is also charity to the poor souls; the sad state they are in obliges me to concern myself for their relief, and to offer this great sacrifice for them, which I do, in honour and memory of our Saviour’s passion suffered for them; to be that the merits thereof may be applied to them; to give worthy thanks for the saviours granted them, of having departed this life in your grace and love, to satisfy for the punishment due to their sins, and to implore their speedy deliverance out of Purgatory.
Another motive, which excites me to assist the poor souls, is to repair the glory which I have so often robbed you of by my sins; and this I think I cannot better perform than by endeavoring to procure the release of some soul out of Purgatory, that going to heaven it may burn in your love, and render you the due honour and glory which my wicked life has deprived you of.
At the Beginning of the Mass
Consider how desirous the angel Guardians of the poor souls are, that you should succour their pupils; and how attentive they are, to see with what fervour and devotion you treat with Almighty God concerning their deliverance.
At the Confiteor
Bowing down with the priest, cast the eyes of your soul to the bottom of Purgatory, and there discover how the tormented souls, with joined hands, beg the assistance of your prayers. Join your voice with theirs, and cry for mercy in their behalf, by the repeated petitions to the Sacred Trinity, of Kyrie Eleyson, Christe Eleyson. Think how highly it grieves those faithful departed, that ever they offended God. Make an act of contrition for them.
At the Epistle
Reflect, how faith teaches us, that all the faithful, who die in the grace of God, are not always so pure, but that there remains some debt to God’s justices which must be satisfied, either in this world or the next. Now how few are there who have had either the courage or the time to expiate, by a sever penance, the many mortal and venial sins which they have commited? They are then obliged, by God’s justice, to expiate them in Purgatory, from which they will not be released till they have entirely satisfied for them.
My God! Who those souls are, your secret and impenetrable judgment permits me not to know; but I may and ought to believe that there are many in that rigorous prison, whom the most indispensable duties of nature and religion allows me not to abandon without relief. Many, perhaps, may be my ancestors, may relations, friends, well-wishers, and benefactors, who, in this world, were zealous for my good. Others also, who through the ill example I gave them of a soft and unfortified life, or by my too great compliance with them, or theirs with me, have contracted faults for which they have been long, and are still detained in those devouring flames.
O my God! Though I should have no particular obligation to those friends of yours, so cruelly tormented, and so worthy of compassion, burning in fire and flames, ten thousand times hotter than any in this world; though I should no ways have contributed to their sufferings, and the retardment of their happiness, yet they being your children and elect, and your glory requiring it, I most heartily beg their deliverance, that they may ascend to heaven, and there see, bless, and praise you; where their love for your Divine Majesty will be more pure and ardent than ‘tis possible for any upon earth to have. Dear Lord! Put a speedy end to their pains, that they may be translated to the State of Glory, which you eternally designed them; and give me the advantage of procuring them that happiness, that I may gain those blessed souls for my powerful intercessors to your Divine Majesty.
At the Offertory.
Reflect, that for certain, the most efficacious succour we can procure for the Souls in Purgatory, is to offer, for their deliverance, the immaculate Lamb of God, whose infinite virtue is most efficacious for the living and the dead.
My God! What victim can I offer you, proper to appease your Justice, but your only Son? It is him I offer with my whole heart, and with an entire confidence, though sensible of my own unworthiness. I beg and conjure you to cast your eyes upon this adorable Holocaust, your only Son, who is going to be offered to you in the of sweetness! It is not only a lively representation of the bloody Sacrifice, which disarm’d your anger, and made you recall the sentence of condemnation you had pronounced against us, but it is in substance and virtue the same Sacrifice.
Divine Jesus! Host of propitiation for the living and the dead: I adore you, and return you millions fo thanks, for having confided to us this offering of your Divine Body and precious Blood, for the solace of the Souls in Purgatory. I acknowledge the equity of your judgments, I admire the excess of your charity! And as you are Redeemer, I implore your merits for the release of those you punish as judge; especially N. N. for whom I offer this Mass.
Give, dear Lord, a fresh proff of your infinite bounty to those suffering souls, by drawing them from the devouring flames; and give me the grace to prevent your justice, by a Purgatory of love and grief, which may exempt me from ever undergoing that of your rigour. Amen.
When you hear Mass for your Parents, say:
My God, you have commanded me to honour my Father and Mother, and by a singular mercy you allow me to the means of testifying my love and gratitude to them after their death, by offering the Sacrifice of Holy Mass for them. I with all my heart beg their solace and deliverance, and desire the same for all the faithful, whom your justice retains in Purgatory. I wish to love you, and to detest all sin for them. Grant I may, with them and with your Saints, see and enjoy you for all eternity. Amen.
At the Sanctus.
Consider those poor souls surrounded with flames of fire, like so many prisoners loaden with chains. See how they endeavour to get free, and fly to heaven to the living God. Beg their solace and deliverance heartily of him; saying:
Merciful Creator, let one drop of that precious Blood which fell from the wounds of your dear Son and my Saviour, be applied to the suffering souls in Purgatory; since it was shed for them, so let it solace, comfort, and release them.
And grant me the grace to blot out my offences in this life by contrition and penance, to avoid the rigour of your justice in the next; and to purify my soul for the heavenly bliss, where none can enter with the least spot or stain.
At the Elevation.
Behold Christ, when lifted up, as on the tree of the Cross; and reflect that in the midst of his torments, turning to the good thief, he said, This day you shall be with me in Paradise. Beg him to say the same to the poor souls, now he is in his kingdom, and confide that through the merits of this Sacrifice he will do so.
O Eternal God! Behold here on this altar, as on the Cross, your only Son the worthy object of your complacence, who only merits to be heard. He sacrifices to you, not another’s flesh but his own body and blood; that body which was torn with stripes, and all covered with wounds, to repair and satisfy for all offenses committed against you. That blood, which was shed to blot out the sins of the world, is here offered; he immolates himself with the same love and charity now as he did on the Cross. Let one drop of his most precious blood be applied to the poor souls, it being more than sufficient to quench their flames, and free them from the pains of Purgatory.
Can you, my God, refuse to hear the voice of your dear Son, infinitely sweet, and equally powerful and strong, which demands of you mercy? It is not, my God, to your justice that we address ourselves, I know that those souls for which we presume to plead for deserves all the pains they suffer for their having offended you, and for their having had too little zeal for your glory, and not sufficiently revenging and punishing the offenses and injuries they had done you, having too much spared themselves upon earth, they justly suffer more rigours pains than penance would have required of them.
But remember, O Great God! Infinitely merciful, that Jesus Christ, their charitable Mediator, did not spare himself for their salvation; all his blood was shed for them; his heart was plunged in sorrow for them; their redemption is not only abundant but superabundant; let them find in those treasures of his immense satisfactions wherewithal to discharge all their debts.
I bet and conjure you, dear Jesus, whom I believe as really present on this altar as you are in Heaven, to speak in favour of those souls who, though designed for your kingdom, yet will be long excluded from it, if you do not intercede for them.
At the Pater Noster.
Say it with the priest as a most efficacious prayer to obtain relief for the poor souls, and believe that every word you pronounce with fervour, is a great solace to them.
At the Agnus Dei.
Reflect that on the altar is the same Lord, who heretofore assured his Apostles, that all they should ask his Father in his name, he would grant them. Believe it, because he said it, and say:
O Eternal Father! Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world; I humbly beseech you, for his precious Blood and sufferings, that you will be merciful to the poor souls for whom I hear this Mass, and grant them their deliverance, or an abatement of their pains.
Dear Jesus! Those souls burn more by the ardour of their charity, and the desire of seeing you, than by the activity of the flames which purify them. They suffer a most violent thirst, and there is none but you, O amiable and merciful Jesus, that can open to them the source of living Water, which they so ardently sigh after. You only can put an end to their banishment, of which each day seems an age; be then, dear Saviour, their powerful Mediator.
Pie Jesu Domine dona eis Requiem. Amen.
At the Communion.
Dear Saviour, although I am most unworthy, yet I desire to receive you, and that to obey your will, to glorify your name, and to be united to you, and render the merits of your passion efficacious both for my own soul, and the souls for whom I offer this Mass. Grant, dear Lord, that the effect of this communion may be eternal life to my soul and theirs.
Great is my hope and confidence, since I hope for no less than yourself, my God, with everlasting life and glory; and that the poor souls, through your mercy, may be speedily translated to the fruition of your beatifying presence, there to love, bless, and praise you for eternity.
At the Last Blessing.
Receive the priest’s blessing, and beg the blessed Trinity to bless the suffering souls created to his image and designed for his glory. Say:
Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, bless all the poor souls, and bring them to eternal bliss. Amen.