A reader of ours from Africa recently commented favorably on this article, which we posted in September 2017. When I posted it, it was largely ignored, but I hope that perhaps with this repost, more will see its beauty.
Some time ago, several readers asked for an article or two about the Mass. Today, we offer a few excerpts from an essay that appeared in 1935, written by a little known Jesuit, Father John Sexton Kennedy.
At Mass With Mary
A glory of new stars, downward flung
And forged into seven swords, has stung
The heart of the Woman whom I pass
On my way to the altar for morning Mass.
There is no shrill crowd, there are no hoarse cries,
But I meet One bearing a cross in her eyes.
Those people who twenty centuries ago were present on Calvary because they hated Jesus Christ paid more attention to the sacrifice of the cross than do most of us who are Sunday after Sunday present at Mass because we love Jesus Christ. This is a fact at once startling and sobering. …
What is most difficult is to keep well focused the basic truth that the Sacrifice of the Mass is really the same sacrifice as that of Calvary. In the absence of glittering spears, strained and distorted faces, hideous cries, a grim cross we utterly forget that we attend the crucifixion of Christ.
Could we but sufficiently appreciate the fact, our problem of keeping attentive, devout at Mass would be solved. As a means to this end, a means not indeed perfect but if earnestly tried quite effective, we are suggesting the effort to hear Mass with Mary. The lessons which we can learn from Our Blessed Lady are quite beyond numbering; none of them is simpler or of greater value than that of worthy assistance at holy Mass. Herein we shall consider first the thorough excellence of Mary’s following of the first Mass, and then the value to us of her exceptional example.
Union Of Intentions
No one of us countless Christians who have come after her has ever heard Mass as well as Mary did on Calvary. No one of us has ever heard Mass under precisely the same circumstances as she. True the sacrifice of our altars is the same as that of the great, gaunt cross; but the rending of the body she had borne, delivered, nursed at her breast, the spilling of the Precious Blood which had had its fountain source in the quiet places of her heart were not screened from Mary’s eyes, as they are from ours, by the appearances of bread and wine. They were present to her in brutal, unescapable reality. However this fact contributed least to the perfection of Our Blessed Lady’s participation in the holy sacrifice. Contributing infinitely more were acts of her mind and of her will.