MANNER OF HEARING MASS AT HOME
by Rev. Leonard Goffine, 1871
For those who on account of sickness, old age, or for other proper reasons cannot assist at holy Mass, especially on Sundays and Holidays.
Bear in mind, O Christian soul, that those who would with pleasure be present at the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, if it were possible, such as the sick, the infirm, the aged, fathers and mothers who must remain at home with the little children, and for other reasons, are all included in the holy Sacrifice, that is, take part in the prayers of the Church, in the blessings and merits of the Sacrifice, if they have a sincere desire for it, and, include themselves in the holy Sacrifice.
The holy Sacrifice of the Mass does not belong to any one person, but is offered for all the faithful. As Christ offered Himself for all men on the cross, so He now offers Himself in an unbloody manner for all in the holy Mass, and as He offers the blessing and merits of His sacrifice on the cross to all men, all also have a part in them, who by faith, by hearty desire, by penitent sentiments, and by a life pleasing to God assist at the holy Sacrifice. And if you are kept at home, the priest prays, the Church prays, you Saviour Jesus Christ offers Himself, and the merits and blessing of the holy Sacrifice flow to you, if you only heartily desire it, and unite your prayers at home with the prayers of the priest and the whole congregation. Therefore kneel in spirit before the altar and devoutly make a
My Father and my God, Thou knowest how sincerely I would like to assist at the Sacrifice of Thy beloved Son, my Redeemer, which is now being offered to Thee upon the altar by the hands of the priest; but obstacles as Thou knowest, prevent me. Because I cannot now be present in Thy holy house, do Thou graciously look down upon the desire of my heart, and let me have part in the prayers of Thy holy Church and in the blessing and merits of Thy divine Son, who died for me on the cross, and again offers Himself in an unbloody manner upon the altar. With the same intention with which the priest accomplishes the holy Sacrifice on the altar, I also offer it to Thee for Thy praise and glory, in thanksgiving for all gifts and graces which Thou hast granted me, to reconciliate Thee with me, a poor sinner, and for forgiveness of my sins, and with the most fervent petition, that Thou wilt be to me in my cares and afflictions a gracious Father, and for the sake of Thy Son Jesus not refuse me Thy aid.
O my holy Guardian Angel, do thou stand by my side and unite thy prayers with mine, that they may be acceptable to God's Majesty, and do thou, my beloved Mother Mary, assist me that I may attend in spirit to the unbloody Sacrifice of the Mass with the same intention as thou didst have, when thou didst assist at the bloody Sacrifice of the cross. Amen.
FROM THE COMMENCEMENT OF MASS TO THE GOSPEL.
My Lord and my God! Creator of heaven and earth, the highest Majesty! how can I presume to raise my hands and pray to Thee? Thou art infinite holiness, in whose sight even the angels are not pure, Thou art the Almighty, before whom even the blessed spirits veil their faces, and I, what am I? Nothing but a poor sinner, a little dust and ashes, who long ago deserved punishment. But Thou art also infinitely gracious and merciful. In the spirit of the deepest contrition and humility, behold, I prostrate myself before Thee with the priest and confess my fault, my great fault, my greatest fault. From my inmost heart I grieve for all my sins and crimes, earnestly beseeching Thee, O my good God and Father, to bestow forgiveness upon me. With the priest I penitently call upon Thee, have mercy on me, O Lord, have mercy on me! Thy mercy is indeed infinitely great, and a contrite heart Thou wilt never despise. And if my sorrow and contrition are not sufficient, O Father in heaven, then graciously accept the penitent tears of all the holy penitents, the dolors of my beloved Mother Mary under the cross, and the grief of Thy most tender heart for the sins of men. Graciously accept the homage which the Church offers Thee, to which I also add my poor adoration. To Thee, O God on high, be glory! Would that Thou mightest be everywhere glorified! Would that Thy most holy name might be everywhere honored and praised! For this Thou didst send Thine only begotten Son upon earth, for this, that all men might acknowledge Thee, love Thee, learn to serve Thee; and for this Thy divine Son sent His apostles over the whole earth to lead all men to the truth. O give me the grace to always acknowledge the truth which Thy Son brought to earth, and ever more faithfully observe His sacred precepts, that I may be acceptable to Thee and eternally happy. Amen.
FROM THE GOSPEL TO THE CONSECRATION.
Most heartfelt thanks to Thee, O God! for the Catholic faith in which I was born, and which as a little child I received, without any merit of mine, from Thy hands. O how unfortunate would I be, if like so many others I were left to wander in heresy or unbelief, never finding the light of the true faith, which shines only in the Catholic Church, to lead me to heaven! With joy I profess this my holy faith, and beseech Thee, O my God, with all my heart to grant me the grace to live always in accordance with it. For what would it avail me if I should fully believe every truth the Catholic Church teaches, if I did not also faithfully obey it? O my God, do not permit this ever to happen, do not permit me to give ear to false and evil doctrines, which are everywhere spread by vicious men; do not permit me to become weak in faith, do not permit me to be faithless to the promises I have made Thee in Baptism and holy Communion. I desire to be and to remain a child of Thy holy Church, for in this , Church alone can I be happy; for she only has all the means of grace for happiness, she alone possesses the fountain of all grace, the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in which Thine only Son, Jesus, offers Himself to Thee, in order to bestow upon us all that His blood won for us on the cross. I see now, in spirit, the priest standing on the altar with bread and wine in his hands, praying to the Holy Ghost to bless these gifts, that they may be fitted to be changed into the body and blood of Thy beloved Son. I unite my heart to these consecrated gifts of sacrifice, and lay it upon the altar. I possess nothing which I could give to Thee, but a heart which can and will love Thee. O take this poor heart of mine, purify it from all sins and stains, inflame it with the fire of Thy love, and draw it near to Thee, O infinite Goodness, that it may be never more separated from Thee. At the same time I offer to Thee with my heart all its cares and anxieties. Nothing that weighs upon it, is unknown to Thee, O my God, plain before Thy eyes lie all my heart's desires. O do not permit it to desire anything displeasing to Thee, turn it entirely to Thee, and by Thy grace make it ever one with the most loving heart of Thy most loving Son, who, as long as He was upon earth, sought only that Thy will should be done upon earth as in heaven. Amen.
BEFORE THE ELEVATION.
Holy, holy, holy art Thou, O Triune God, and because Thou art infinitely holy, no offering can please Thee as that infinitely holy Sacrifice of Thy Son Jesus, and because Thou art infinitely just, no other Sacrifice can satisfy Thee but this one stainless Sacrifice, which Thy beloved Son accomplished on the cross, and now in an unbloody manner renews upon the altar. For the sake of this holy Sacrifice now being accomplished on the altar, I beseech Thee, O God in heaven, to graciously look down upon all true Christians and preserve them in the unity of faith and love; permit the light of truth to shine for all unbelievers and heretics, give Thy good Spirit to the *True and valid pope, our common father and head, to the bishops and priests, that they may lead the souls entrusted to them, in the way of salvation to heaven, give the grace of conversion to all poor sinners, console the afflicted, strengthen the weak, guide the erring, steady the wavering, and graciously hear the prayers of those who supplicate Thee. Remember, O best Father, my poor soul, also, bought by Thy divine Son with His blood. I confess in deepest humility and most profund sorrow, that I have often stained that soul with sin and by transgressing Thy holy commandments; give me but one drop of that Most Precious Blood, and it will become pure and pleasing to Thee. Thou knowest my desire to serve Thee with all faithfulness, O give me Thy grace, always to do Thy holy will; assist me, that I may always follow the beautiful virtues of Thy beloved Son, His humility, His peacefulness, and become thus always more and more pleasing to Thee. Do not forsake me, O merciful Father, in my crosses and afflictions, and in the heavy cares which weigh upon my heart. Give me strength to bear them, and cause all to redound to Thy honor and the salvation of my own poor soul. Aid me now, O most blessed Virgin and Mother of God, and all you saints in heaven, in this most solemn hour, when Jesus, the Lamb of God, offers Himself with your petitions, that my prayers may be heard at the throne of God, before which you stand, singing hymns of praise. You have won and are now happy, we must yet suffer and fight, aid us, that through Christ, our Saviour, we may conquer the enemies of our salvation and meet with you in heaven. Amen.
AT THE ELEVATION.
Most merciful Heavenly Father! Thou hast given us Thy beloved Son Jesus, and with Him all. He, Thine only Son, is now my possession, He is now present on the altar, and I presume to draw near to Him, presume to offer Him to Thee for Thy glory, in thanksgiving for all Thy graces, for forgiveness of my sins, and for the obtaining of new graces which I so much need. A thousand thanks to Thee for having given us Thy beloved Son, through whom we poor sinners have access to Thee; through Him, my Jesus, I offer to Thy great Majesty my heart, my body, my soul, everything that I am or have. I offer Thee His infinite merits for my poverty, His infinite virtues for my sinfulness, the holiness of His life upon earth for my crimes, His Most Precious Blood as my appeal for mercy. Have mercy on me, O Father in Heaven, have mercy on me! Forgive me all my offences, and permit to be and remain Thy child. Amen.
AFTER THE ELEVATION.
How infinitely great, O my most loving Jesus, how perfectly incomprehensible is Thy love for us weak men who can do nothing but sin! It was not enough for Thee to die on the cross with unutterable agonies for us, and by that bloody Sacrifice reconcile us sinners with Thy just Father, opening heaven to us, but Thou wouldst daily renew it on our altars, wouldst daily descend from heaven, changing the bread into Thy Sacred Body and the wine into Thy most Precious Blood, presenting to our eyes Thy death upon the cross and giving us all its merits. O who can comprehend this Thine infinite love? And how ungrateful we are to Thee for it! Instead of loving Thee in return, instead of doing everything which is pleasing to Thee, instead of following Thee and becoming always more like Thee, we insult Thee, nail Thee anew by our sins to the cross, drive Thee from us, and follow the broad way of the world, which leads to destruction. I also, O my most loving Saviour, am one of these ingrates; O forgive me, for I am indeed sorry from my whole heart for having acted so ungratefully towards Thee. In deepest humility I fall down before Thee, confessing my offences, give me but a drop of Thy most Precious Blood; that I may be purified. Look upon me with the eyes of Thy boundless mercy, and give me the grace to love Thee with my whole heart and faithfully to serve Thee. Yes, I love Thee, O Jesus, I love Thee, and will always love Thee. Remember also, O most faithful Jesus, those who have departed from this world in faith in Thee and Thy most holy Church, remember my (parents, relations) friends, benefactors; let them share in the merits of Thy most Precious Blood, that they may obtain consolation and comfort in the tortures of purgatory and soon arrive at redemption. Amen.
AT THE PRIEST'S COMMUNION.
O Jesus, how unutterable is Thy love for man! Thou art not only willing to bestow upon him the merits of Thy holy Sacrifice, but desirest to give Thyself entirely to him, to nourish and strengthen his soul by Thy most Sacred Body and Blood, uniting Thyself wholly with him. How infinitely great is Thy condescension to us, Thy poor creatures! Thou who art infinite Holiness, the Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Lord of legions, desirest to come to us and dwell with us! Who could believe it, if Thou hadst not said it? Since it is, then, certain and true, that Thou dost visit us and dwell in our hearts, I will presume, poor sinner though I am, to draw near to Thee, to unite myself with the priest and earnestly pray and beseech Thee, O Jesus! Come to me! I am not worthy, but Thy great goodness, Thy great mercy permits me to hope, that Thou wilt not refuse to deign to come into my poor heart. I cannot, it is true, now actually receive Thee, Thy Sacred Body and Blood, with the priest, but Thou canst come to me with Thy effective grace to console, strengthen, purify, and sanctify my soul. Come, then, O Jesus, sole desire of my heart! Behold, I dedicate my heart to Thee, may it love only Thee! I dedicate my soul to Thee, may it think only of Thee and be acceptable to Thee! I dedicate my body and all its members to Thee, that they may be used only in doing good. Come, O Jesus, and make me entirely Thine, for Thee I desire to live and to die. Amen.
FROM THE COMMUNION TO THE BENEDICTION.
Thou hast now, O most tender Jesus, finished Thy most holy Sacrifice, Thou hast given Thyself for the honor and glory of Thy Heavenly Father, and called at His throne for grace and mercy for us. Thou hast permitted the merits of Thy most holy Sacrifice to flow into our souls. How can I thank Thee enough for it? For if I had the tongues of all the angels, I could not sufficiently praise Thee. Since I have not the power, I offer Thee the praise, adoration, and thanks of Thy holy Mother Mary and of all the saints, earnestly beseeching Thee to supply from Thy own loving heart all that I, in my poverty, cannot give Thee. Thou hast given me the grace, O Heavenly Father, to offer Thee Thy divine Son in union with the priest and the congregation, to adore and praise Thee, and to presume to offer Thee the price of the forgiveness of my sins. Thanks be to Thee for this grace. May I stand always firmly in faith in Thee and in Him, Thy only begotten Son, whom Thou hast sent, may my trust in Thee never become weakened and may I never cease to love Thee as long as I live! Amen.
AT THE BENEDICTION.
May + God the Father, + the Son, and + the Holy Ghost bless me. Strengthened by this blessing, I will seek to-day and at all times to do Thy will, O Holy Trinity. I desire not only to be called Thy child, O Heavenly Father, but to be Thy child, always and at all times to fulfil Thy commandments with filial obedience. I desire not only to be Thy disciple, O Jesus, but to be Thy faithful disciple. I wish to be humble and meek, like Thee, at peace with all men, always preserving purity of body and soul, and merciful to all my fellowmen, friends, and enemies alike. I will cheerfully follow Thy inspirations, O Divine Spirit, faithfully use the graces, with which Thou overloadest me, depart from sin, and live for virtue. O Mary, blessed Mother of my Saviour, pray for me and assist me to keep my resolutions. Take me, and all for whom I am bound to pray and all my friends, under thy protection and lead us to the heaven, where thou livest in splendor, that with thee and the saints we may always love and praise the Triune God. Amen.