A very important characteristic of the apostolic man is his love for the Mass.
'The Mass is long', you say, and I add: 'Because your love is short.'
Isn't it strange how many Christians, who take their time and have leisure enough in their social life (they are in no hurry), in following the sleepy rhythm of their professional affairs, in eating and recreation (no hurry here either), find themselves rushed and want to rush the Priest, in their anxiety to shorten the time devoted to the most holy Sacrifice of the Altar?
'Treat him well for me, treat him well'! Words, mingled with tears, of a certain venerable bishop to the priests he had just ordained.
Would that I had the power, Lord, and the authority to repeat that same cry in the ears and in the hearts of many, many Christians!
How that saintly young priest, who was found worthy of martyrdom, wept at the foot of the altar as he thought of a soul who had come to receive Christ in the state of mortal sin!
Is that how you offer him reparation?
The humility of Jesus: in Bethlehem, in Nazareth, on Calvary. But more humiliation and more self-abasement still in the Sacred Host: more than in the stable, more than in Nazareth, more than on the Cross.
That is why I must love the Mass so much ('Our' Mass, Jesus…)
Going to Communion every day for so many years! Anybody else would be a saint by now, you told me, and I… I'm always the same!
Son, I replied, keep up your daily Communion, and think: what would I be if I had not gone?
Communion, union, conversation, confidence: word, bread, love.
Go to Communion. It doesn't show lack of respect. Go this very day when you have just got over that 'spot of trouble.'
Have you forgotten that Jesus said: It is not by those who are well, but by those who are sick, that the physician is needed?
When you approach the Tabernacle remember that he has been awaiting you for twenty centuries.
There he is: King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, hidden in the Bread.
To this extreme has he humbled himself through love for you.
He has stayed here for you. It is not reverence to omit going to Communion when well disposed. It's irreverence only when you receive him unworthily.
What a source of grace there is in spiritual Communion! Practise it frequently and you'll have more presence of God and closer union with him in your life.
Piety has its own good manners. Learn them. It's a shame to see those 'pious' people who don't know how to attend Mass — even though they go daily, — nor how to bless themselves (they throw their hands about in the weirdest fashion), nor how to bend the knee before the Tabernacle (their ridiculous genuflections seem a mockery), nor how to bow their heads reverently before a picture of our Lady.
Don't buy those 'mass-produced' statues. I prefer a rough wrought-iron figure of Christ to those coloured plaster Crucifixes that look as if they were made of sugar candy.
You saw me celebrate the holy Mass on a plain altar— table and stone, without a reredos. Both Crucifix and candlesticks were large and solid, with wax-candles of graded height, sloping up towards the Cross. The frontal, of the liturgical colour of the day. A sweeping chasuble. The chalice, rich, simple in line, with a broad cup. No electric light, nor did we miss it.
And you found it difficult to leave the oratory: you felt at home there. — Do you see how we are led to God, brought closer to him, by the rigour of the liturgy?