Friday, February 03, 2012

St. Francis de Sales on How to Participate at Mass


From INTRODUCTION TO THE DEVOUT LIFE by St. Francis De Sales

CHAPTER XIV. Of Holy Communion, and how to join in it. (Or “The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass)

(Note: The number and title of the chapters varies by edition. The book is divided into parts and can be found in Part 2.)

In order to join in this rightly, whether actually or mentally, you must give heed to several things:  

  1. In the beginning, and before the priest goes up to the Altar, make your preparation with his—placing yourself in God’s Presence, confessing your unworthiness, and asking forgiveness.

  1. Until the Gospel, dwell simply and generally upon the Coming and the Life of our Lord in this world. 

  1. From the Gospel to the end of the Creed, dwell upon our Dear Lord’s teaching, and renew your resolution to live and die in the faith of the Holy Catholic Church. 

  1. From thence, fix your heart on the mysteries of the Word, and unite yourself to the Death and Passion of our Redeemer, now actually and essentially set forth in this holy Sacrifice, which, together with the priest and all the congregation, you offer to God the Father, to His Glory and your own salvation.

  1. Up to the moment of communicating, offer all the longings and desires of your heart, above all desiring most earnestly to be united for ever to our Saviour by His Eternal Love. 

  1. From the time of Communion to the end, thank His Gracious Majesty for His Incarnation, His Life, Death, Passion, and the Love which He sets forth in this holy Sacrifice, intreating through it His favour for yourself, your relations and friends, and the whole Church; and humbling yourself sincerely, devoutly receive the blessing which our Dear Lord gives you through the channel of His minister.


If, however, you wish to follow your daily course of meditation on special mysteries during the Sacrifice, it is not necessary that you should interrupt yourself by making these several acts but it will suffice that at the beginning you dispose your intention to worship and to offer the holy Sacrifice in your meditation and prayer; since every meditation includes all the above named acts either explicitly or implicitly.

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