Category Archives: sacraments

The Value of Blessed Candles

Blessed Candles are sacramentals. This means that Holy Church by her prayers and blessings makes them sacred articles, which, when used with respect and great faith, bestow countless blessings and graces on all.

On February second, which we call Candlemas, the Church blesses wax candles in a most solemn ceremony. On this day, we honor the Divine Child Jesus as a Light to illumine the Gentiles. At the blessing, on this day, the priest pronounces five beautiful prayers.

In the first prayer, he addresses Almighty God as follows: “O holy Lord, Father Almighty, Eternal God, we humbly beseech Thee that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bless and to sanctify these candles for the service of men, and for the health of bodies and souls, be they on land or water, and wouldst hear from Thy Majesty, the voice of this Thy people, who desire reverently to bear them in their hands and to praise Thee in song: and wouldst show mercy to all that call upon Thee.”

In this blessing, the effects of the blessed candles are briefly stated. The other prayers continue to explain these effects.

If, during the year, the priest is asked to bless candles, he uses the following prayer: “O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, we implore Thee to bless these candles, and through the power of the holy Cross, to bestow upon them Thy heavenly benediction, who has given them to mankind to dispel darkness and may they, through the sign of the holy Cross, obtain such blessing that wherever they be placed the powers of darkness may vanish, trembling and affrighted, with all their aids and accomplices, and be driven from these dwellings, and never again dare disquiet or molest them that serve Thee, Almighty God.”

The above proves to us what rich blessings we derive through the merits of Jesus Christ when we use the blessed candles in a spirit of faith. When we do not make frequent use of blessed candles we lose precious graces.

When and why we should use Blessed Candles

Holy Church prescribes blessed candles to be used at every Holy Mass- in conferring all the Sacraments- in public processions- at Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament- in all solemn functions and around the dead.

The Faithful should make use of them

1. In times of sickness or plague.

2. When storms are raging, on land or sea.

3. In seasons of drought or excessive rains.

4. Every day, at least for a short period, to ask God’s protection in the home and on members of the family.

5. To prevent discord, hatred and ill-will.

6. In times of doubt, distress and anxiety.

7. When a child is born.

8. When in danger from fire or flood.

9. In times of persecution.

10. Burning constantly at the bedside of the dying.

11. For the relief of the Souls in Purgatory.

God Bless BJS!!

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The Prayers of the People’s Communion Lesson 5

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The Priest’s Communion

After the priest has made the three prayers studied in the last lesson, it is almost time for him to recieve Holy Communion.

But first he says: I will take the Bread of heaven and call upon the name of the Lord. Then, bowing before the altar, he prays: Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed. Three times the priest makes this prayer that begins Lord, I am not worthy… Each time he says it he strikes his breast. At this time the altar boy rings the bell three times.

The priest next says: May the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ keep my soul unto life everlasting. Amen.

Then he recieves the Sacred Host. For a short time he thinks about the most Holy Sacrament.

Next, he prays:

What return shall I make to the Lord for all He hath given me? I will take the chalice of salvation, and I will call upon the name of the Lord. Praising, I will call upon the Lord, and I shall be saved from my enemies. May the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ keep my soul unto life everlasting. Amen.

After this prayer the priest receives the Precious Blood of Our Lord. Then he gives Holy Communion to the people.

The Communion of the Faithful

Almost immediately after the bell rings, the people go to the communion rail.

At this time, the Confiteor – I confess – is recited by the altar boy in the name of the people. This prayer tells God, our Blessed Mother, and the saints that we have committed sins. We speak of them because we are sorry we committed them.

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The priest, after receiving the Precious Blood of Our Lord, genuflects and turns to the people. He says the last two parts of the Confiteor:

May almighty God have mercy upon you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to life everlasting.

May the almighty and merciful God grant you pardon, absolution, and full remission of your sins.

As the priest says the second part, he makes the Sign of the Cross over the people.

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Then the priest turns to the altar and genuflects. He takes one of the small Hosts, holds it above the ciborium, and turns to the people again. He says in a voice they can hear:

Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who taketh away the sins of the world. And three times he says: Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

St. John the Baptist first said: “Behold the Lamb of God; behold Him Who taketh away the sins of the world.” Our Lord, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, continues to take away the sins of the world.

It was the centurion, during the life of Our Lord on earth, who went to Him and said: “I am not worthy to have You enter under my roof.” But the same centurion also said: “Only say the word, and my servant will be healed.” Our Lord was pleased with the faith of the centurion. He cured the servant by saying just a word. Knowing that Our Lord has power to cure and to forgive, we make the centurion’s prayer our prayer, as we get ready to recieve Holy Communion.

This is what the priest does as he gives Holy Communion to each person receiving. First, he blesses the person, making the Sign of the Cross with the Sacred Host. Then, as he places the Host on the tongue of the person, he says: May the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ keep thy soul unto life everlasting. Amen.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Offering Prayers After the Consecration Lesson 5

The First Prayer

Mindful, therefore, O Lord, not only of the blessed passion of the same Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord, but also of His resurrection from the dead, and finally His glorious ascension into heaven, we, Thy ministers, as also Thy holy people, offer unto Thy Supreme Majesty, of Thy gifts bestowed upon us, the pure Victim, the holy Victim, the all-perfect Victim; the holy Bread of life eternal and the Chalice of unending salvation.

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In this prayer the priest and people offer Christ Our Lord to God the Father. They do so, thinking about the passion of Our Lord, His resurrection from the dead, and His glorious ascension into heaven.

The priest or priests speak to God of themselves as “Thy ministers.” They speak of the people as “Thy holy people.” The prayer addresses God the Father as “Thy Supreme Majesty.” Our Blessed Lord is spoken of as “the pure Victim, the holy Victim, the all-perfect Victim.”

The prayer also speaks of Our Lord as “the holy Bread of life eternal and the Chalice of unending salvation.” These last words remind us that it is through the graces that come to us in Holy Mass and Holy Communion we will get to heaven. These are the graces we need to live a good life now that we may be happy with God forever in heaven.

The Second Prayer

And this do Thou deign to regard with gracious and kindly attention and hold acceptable, as Thou didst deign to accept the offerings of Abel, Thy just servant, and the sacrifice of Abraham our patriarch, and that which Thy chief priest Melchisedech, offered unto Thee, a holy sacrifice of thanks, and a spotless Victim.

The second offering prayer asks God to look upon our offering with pleasure and, please, to recieve it.

The prayer asks that God will accept our offering as He received with pleasure the sacrifices offered by Abel, Abraham, and Melchisedech.

Jesus, our gift to God the Father, is pure, holy, and all-perfect. These are the words of the first prayer after the Consecration. But we who offer the gift are not holy, or perfect, or free from sin. We know how unworthy we are to make this gift to God. For this reason we pray that God will look upon our offering with kindness, and please recieve it.

The Third Prayer

Most humbly we implore Thee, Almighty God, bid these our mystic offerings to be brought by the hands of Thy holy angel unto Thy altar above, before the face of Thy divine majesty; that those of us who, by sharing in the Sacrifice of Thy Son, may be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

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This prayer asks two things of Almighty God. First, we pray that God will permit His holy angel to give our offering to Him in heaven. The prayer does not mention the name of any particular angel. Then the prayer speaks of those who are about to recieve Holy Communion. It asks that those who shall receive the body and blood of Our Lord, the Son of God, may be filled with every blessing and grace.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Two Offering Prayers Before the Consecration

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Graciously, accept, then, we beseech Thee, O Lord, this service of our worship and that of all Thy household. Provide that our days be spent in Thy peace, save us from everlasting damnation, and cause us to be numbered in the flock Thou has chosen. Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Do Thou, O God, deign to bless what we offer, and make it approved, effective, right, and wholly pleasing in every way, that it may be for our good, the Body and the Blood of Thy dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord.

These two prayers come immediately after the three remembrance prayers. As the priest prays the first of the two offering prayers, he spreads his hands over the bread and wine. It is at this time the bells ring once. The bell tells us that it is time for the Consecration, for the bread and wine to be changed into the body and blood of Our Lord.

In the first offering prayer we again ask God to recieve our gift. The words “this service of our worship” mean the offering of Jesus to His Father. Jesus is our gift.

We know that our gift is most pleasing to God because it is Our Lord Himself. But, at the same time, we know the truth about ourselves. We know we are not worthy to offer this gift. For this reason we ask God “graciously” to recieve it.

In the first offering prayer we pray for peace during our lives on earth, to be saved from the never-ending punishment of hell, and to be happy forever in heaven.

As the priest prays the second prayer of offering, he makes the Sign of the Cross five times over the bread and wine. In this prayer, priest and people ask God that the bread and wine may become the body and blood of His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. A number of different words are used in this prayer to tell God our desires about the offering. We pray that God may bless it, and that it may be pleasing to Him in every way.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Mass of the Faithful: The Cannon; The Preface Lesson 1

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It is indeed meet and just, right and profitable unto salvation, always and everywhere to give thanks to Thee, holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God, who with Thine only begotten Son and the Holy Ghost art one God, one Lord; not in the unity of a single person, but in the trinity of a single nature. For that which we believe from Thy revelation concerning Thy glory, that same we believe of Thy Son, that same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or discrimination. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, we shall adore distinction in persons, oneness in being, and equality in majesty. This the angels and the archangels, the cherubim, too, and the seraphim do praise; day by day they cease not to get out, saying as with one voice:

Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts! Heaven and earth are filled with Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!

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The Canon is the Consecration part of the Mass.

The Preface is the introduction to the Canon. It is a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to the most Blessed Trinity–to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

Before the priest says the Preface, he speaks to the people with the words: “The Lord be with you.”

The altar boys answer: “And with thy spirit.”

Then the priest says to the people: “Lift up your hearts.” And what does that mean? His words say: “Pay very special attention. Let it be loving attention.”

Again the altar boy answers in the name of the people: “We have lifted them up to the Lord.”

Next the priest says to us: “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.”

And again the boy answers for the people: “It is meet and just.” He means that it is the right thing for us to do, to give thanks to Almighty God.

Then the priest recites the Preface. He says it aloud. As he does so, his hands are extended outward. They show that he is begging God to listen.

In the Preface we speak our thanks to God. Our gift of thanksgiving we give to God immediately after the Consecration when we offer Our Lord to God the Father.

The word eucharist means “giving thanks.” To thank God for His many favors is one of the four chief purposes for which the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered.

The Preface, given at the beginning of this lesson, is the one used on almost all Sundays. At certain times parts of the Preface change.

The short prayer after the Preface is called “The Sanctus.” Sanctus is the Latin word for holy. In the Sanctus we use words of the angels in giving praise to our Blessed Lord. He will become present on the altar at the Consecration. At that time He becomes our Gift to God. He becomes the victim of sacrifice.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Offering of the Chalice

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We offer unto Thee, O Lord, the chalice of salvation, humbly begging of Thy mercy that it may arise before Thy divine majesty with a pleasing fragrance, for our salvation and that of all the world. Amen.

It is easy to see the priest offer the wine to God. Before he does so, the people have seen him pour the wine and a little water into the chalice. As the priest offers the chalice to God, he is holding it in his hands.

In the prayer, priest and people offer to God the wine that is to be changed into the blood of Christ. In their prayer they pray not only for all faithful Catholics, but for everyone in the world.

In simple English, the prayer of offering the chalice to God would read something like this: “We offer to You, O God, the wine that is to be changed into the blood of Christ. We know we are not worthy to make this offering, but we pray that it may be pleasing to You. We offer it to You, asking Your help to live a good life here on earth, that we may be happy with You one day in heaven. We ask this same help for everyone in the world. Amen”

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

Mass of the Faithful: The Offertory; The Offering of the Host Lesson 1

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Accept, O holy Father, almighty and eternal God, this spotless host which I, Thy unworthy servant, offer unto Thee, my living and true God, to atone for my numberless sins, offenses, and negligences; on behalf of all here present and likewise for all faithful Christians, living and dead, that it may profit me and them as a means of salvation unto life everlasting. Amen.

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Before The Priest Offers The Host

Long ago, people brought their gifts for the Church to the altar at the beginning of the Offertory of the Mass. During this time the choir sang a Psalm from the Bible. Today, a few sentences are read at the beginning of the Offertory. They contain part of the Psalm that the choir once sang. The priest reads this short prayer from the Missal. It is called the Offertory of the day and changes daily.

After the Offertory prayer the priest is ready to say the prayer offering the host to God. First, he takes the veil off the chalice and puts it on the right side. You already know that the paten is the small gold-like plate on which the priest brought the host to the altar. This is the host which is to be consecrated during Holy Mass.

The priest holds up the paten with the host on it and offers the host to God in the prayer printed at the beginning of this lesson. The prayer reminds us that God is our Father, that He is holy, that He can do all things, and that He always was and always will be.

If you were to put this prayer in simple English it would read like this:

“Recieve, O God the Father, this host which is to be consecrated and offered to You. I know how sinful I am, but I offer this host to You to make up for my sins. I offer it to You for all present in this church. I also offer it to You for all Catholics, living and dead, that it may help me and them to be happy with You forever in heaven.”

This prayer tells us that the priest is offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to atone for his sins, and to pray for all present and for all faithful Christians, living and dead. The prayer reminds us of the love that Christians should have for one another and, first of all, for the people of their own parish.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Introit Lesson 4

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Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a feast in honor of all the Saints, in whose solemnity the angels rejoice, and join in praising the Son of God. Rejoice in the Lord, he just; praise becometh the upright. (Introit for the Feast of All Saints.)

Before the Introit

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Three things, in particular, you will want to remember about the prayers the priest says at the foot of the altar: (1) He expresses his desire to offer the Holy Sacrifice in these words, I will go to the altar of God. (2) He shows confidence in God. You remember this line, For Thou, O God, art my strength. And this line, you also will recall, Our help is in the name of the Lord. (3) He speaks of his sins in the Confiteor, and he asks God’s pardon for himself and for us.

These are three thoughts from the priest’s preparation for Holy Mass that is made at the foot of the altar. We could have no better thoughts in preparing to unite with him in offering the Holy Sacrifice. When the priest goes up to the altar, he kisses it. He does so to show respect for Our Lord and for the relics of the saints that are in it.

The Introit

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After kissing the altar, the priest goes to the Mass book on the right. This is really the beginning of Holy Mass. Everything up to this moment has been in preparation. The priest makes the Sign of the Cross. He reads the first part in the Proper of the Mass. It is called the Introit. You already know that the parts of the Mass that change from day to day are called the Proper of the Mass.

In the Introit there is almost always a sentence from one of the Psalms. Hundreds of years ago the Introits were much longer. Often a whole Psalm was included. The Introits, at that time, were sing by the choir during a procession to the altar before Holy Mass. Today, many Introits are hard to understand because of the parts that are now omitted.

Often the Introit tells something about the feast of the day, as you can see in the Introit at the beginning of this lesson.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Confiteor Lesson 3

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Altar Boy: I confess to almighty God, to blessed Mary, ever virgin, to blessed Michael the archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy apostles, Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to you Father, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grevious fault. Therefore I beseech blessed Mary, ever virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy apostles, Peter and Paul, all the saints, and you, Father, to pray to the Lord our God for me.
Priest: May almighty God have mercy upon you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to life everlasting.
Altar Boy: Amen.
Priest: May the almighty and merciful God grant us pardon, absolution, and full remission of our sins.
Altar Boy: Amen.

After reciting Psalm 42, the priest bends way over. He is praying the Confiteor. This prayer gets it’s name from the first word of the prayer when it is said in Latin. Confiteor means “I confess.” Most children first learn this prayer when they are in second or third grade.

The Confiteor is a prayer that speakers of sorrow for sin. First, the priest recites the prayer. He tells God he has sinned. Then the altar boy says the same prayer. The Confiteor is said as a preparation to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with the priest.

The prayer, as it is given at the beginning of this lesson, is just as the altar boy says it. When the priest makes this act of sorrow for his sins, one word is different. The priest says “and to you, brethren” instead of “and to you, Father.” The priest is telling the people that he has sinned. He wants them to know that he is sorry for having offended God.

When we pray the Confiteor, we want it to mean what it says. If this is true, we must hate our sins. We show God that we are truly sorry when we are determined to try our hardest not to do them again.

It would help us if, when we pray the Confiteor, we would think of the sin we commit which is most displeasing to God and ask His help not to do it again. We prove our sorrow by keeping away from sin.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

Food For Thought – Communion in the Hand…WHY?

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Out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches it but what is consecrated.’

–St. Thomas Aquinas

Have you noticed a change in the way the Catholic Church receives and administers Holy Communion from the way it once was?

Do you remember when Catholics always knelt for Holy Communion?

Do you remember when Catholics received Holy Communion on the tongue only?

Do you remember when only the priest administered Holy Communion?

Do you remember our priests and sisters teaching us it was sacrilegious for anyone but the priest to touch the Sacred Host?

Do you remember when tabernacles were always on the center of the altar as the primary focal point?

Why has kneeling for Holy Communion disappeared?

Why are tabernacles disappearing from the center of the Churches and placed on the side?

Why are people receiving Communion in the hand?

Why are there lay-ministers of the Eucharist?

Why were these things changed?

If things were changed for the sake of “modern times” and “modern men”, has it resulted in record crowds of “modern men” flocking into the Churches to pray and receive the Sacraments?

Do we have record turnouts in our seminaries, monasteries, and convents?

Has the introduction of these new things increased the amount of vocations in the Church?

Has the introduction of these new things increased the amount of converts coming into the Church?

Was there a “vocation crisis” before these essential and fundamental things were changed?

In the rubrics of the Old Rite of Mass, why was there such precaution taken against the desecration of the Sacred Species?

Why did the priest wash his fingers after administering Holy Communion?

Why did the priest scrape the corporal with the paten so as not to allow even the slightest minute particle to fall to the ground and be desecrated?

Why when Holy Communion was dropped, the Host was covered and left on the floor until after Mass, where the priestwould then remove it, and then carefully clean the area where the Sacred Host lay?

Why did these rubrics disappear?

Was there more faith in the Real Presence before the “renewal?”

Was there a deeper and greater understanding and appreciation of the Blessed Sacrament as really and truly being the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity  of Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread and wine?

Were the old rubrics simply “over scrupulous?

“Did the old rubrics and strict laws safeguarding reverence, dignity, and holiness, not express the Catholic Faith regarding the Blessed Sacrament properly?

Do we now understand and believe in it in a different manner, and this is therefore manifested by the actions of first the clergy, then the laity?

Are we afraid to adore the Sacred Host?Are we ashamed to adore the Sacred Host?

Is it any coincidence that Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament began to fade away more and more with the introduction of Communion in the hand and lay ministers of the Eucharist?

Has Catholic teaching changed regarding TRANSUBSTANTIATION, that is, the changing of the bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ during the Sacrifice of the Mass?

If the teaching has not changed, why has attitude, spirit, rubrics and practice changed?

Where did Communion in the hand come from since it is nowhere proposed or even mentioned in the documents of Vatican II?

Why did it still come about on a worldwide scale even after Pope Paul VI in his 1969 letter to the Bishops, “Memoriale Domini” stated “This method, ‘on the tongue’ must be retained?”

If it is supposed to be “optional”, why are the little children in most parochial schools taught no other way than receiving in the hand as “this is the way it is done?”

Why is there a new attitude of “anyone can handle it?”

Have we created a “vicious circle” or a “cause and effect” situation where radical changes are introduced, vocations drop as a result, and then more changes such as “lay ministers of the Eucharist” are introduced appealing to their need because of the “vocation crisis?”

The results of Communion in the hand and the Novus Ordo have caused a major crisis in the Catholic Church. The New York Times reported that when Catholics were asked, in a Times-CBS news poll, what best describes their belief about what happens to the bread and wine at Mass, most chose the answer that the bread and wine are “symbolic reminders of Christ” over the answer that they are “changed into the Body and Blood of Christ”. The official Church teaching, which we must believe in order to be saved, is this: “The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharist species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and the whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ.”

What is the solution to this terrible loss of faith? We must return to the traditional teachings of the Church and to the Traditional Latin Mass as codified by Pope St. Pius V, who declared, by virtue of his apostolic authority, was to last in perpetuity and never at a future date could it be revoked or amended legally. The way we worship is the way we believe (lex orandis, lex credendi)