Tag Archives: Mass

The Over-Intellectualization of the Catholic Faith

I have only been a priest for seven years. About halfway through that period, I switched from the Novus Ordo to the Traditional Latin Mass and sacraments. It was also during this time that I stopped saying a line that I was famous for in seminary: “We do not have a crisis of sacraments. We have a crisis of catechesis.” I used to say this because I knew how many people received Holy Communion in this country without knowing Who they were receiving. In fact, I put my money where my mouth was:  As a young priest, I taught a Eucharistic class just off-campus of Colorado State University, a school with 33,000 students. I called my class “Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist” after this excellent book by Dr. Brandt Pitre. Most weeks I had about 50 CSU students attending that class. Their hunger and faithfulness was my proof that “we do not have a crisis of sacraments but a crisis of catechesis.” And the students responded with fervor and a greater Eucharistic love.

Programs like Catholic Formed now flood the American parishes of younger priests and more orthodox older pastors. Formed is a new video program of catechesis designed to invite the ordinary Sunday Catholic into a deeper formation of video catechesis. These movies include good information on the sacraments, moral teaching, salvation history and Catholic Church history. Formed features the common lineup of orthodox lay Catholic celebrities who have gained their fame in apologetics and chastity topics. They really do a good job at tackling our current crisis of catechesis. But do we really have a crisis of catechesis instead of the sacraments as I had said for most of my priesthood?

Since switching to the Traditional Latin Mass, I have seen that most of our modern catechetical methods are geared exclusively towards the intellect. For example, the average rich, suburban American parish now has a small handful of devoted Catholics who would not have believed in the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist had they not read a Scott Hahn book. And God bless Scott Hahn for his great intellectual work.

But notice that in the previous paragraph I purposely used the word “rich, suburban parish.” By and large, these are the decent parishes which (thankfully!) have moved past the 1970s catechesis of exclusively-social-justice materials.  Formed and That Man is You and Scott Hahn “book clubs” are all great for budding intellectuals who don’t have to work 80 hours a week on a Louisiana oil barge. But what happens to the run-of-the-mill poor Catholic? How does the blue collar worker (who might be too busy to read a book by Tim Staples) receive catechesis on the sacraments?

The answer is that for thousands of years, the catechesis happened by kneeling at Holy Mass.  I do not mean that Mass is enough to catechize ourselves.  I mean that the serious Catholic learned and prayed during the week as best he could.  Then on Sunday, everything he learned or offered was forged in a mysterious and powerful ritual that incorporated all his senses, his intellect, his will. He would have have to kneel for most of the Mass. There was no question in his mind that he had to be “set apart” in baptism and grace to do something as strange as receive Holy Communion, even in poor mission countries of the illiterate.  He might wonder:  Why did he have to kneel at an altar rail? He stuck his tongue out while the priest blessed him with the Son of God. If not a sign of the majesty of God…if not a sign of the chasm between Creator and creature…this ritual was simply too weird for a non-Catholic to approach the ancient ritual! In other words, the Traditional Latin Mass engenders catechesis because it engenders automatic reverence and intimacy (or total rejection if one finds it “weird.”) The average illiterate Catholic learned that Jesus was truly present by simply attending Mass. He did not need a book tailored to a bourgeois intellectual group to tell us the Mass is still “valid” even if it doesn’t appear to be so:


It would take a PhD from the University of Dallas to accurately explain how this this is the sacrifice of Calvary.

On the other hand, an exhausted marine is easily forced to his knees with his head down at the Traditional Latin Mass in Saipan during the Pacific Theatre of World War II:

My sister and her husband are raising their children in a Byzantine Rite of the Catholic Church. My niece began prostrating at the age of 18 months at the right time of the Divine Liturgy. She had learned by a full-body experience that she is not God. She learns to adore God and to prostrate before him even before she learns the term “transubstantiation” (a term she may never learn in the East.) But she already knows that her Mom is not allowed to hand out the Holy Eucharist in that Divine Liturgy.  There is an iconostasis separating everyone from the Holy of Holies, the Eucharist.  That teaches a lot.

For nearly 2,000 years, the ancient liturgies of both East and West had catechesis built-in in a way that was not hyper-intellectualized. Catholicism needs to be accessible to the illiterate (as much as to the Christendom College grad student.) The above picture of the soldiers kneeling for the Traditional Latin Mass is the perfect example of this. Catechesis was a full-body experience of the majesty of God. For centuries, Catholic learning was done in all five senses: The sight of the priest facing God, the smells of the incense, the sounds of angelic Gregorian chant. Yes, all of these can be done in the Novus Ordo, but it is not just the externals of the Mass.  Rather, I am talking about the substance of tradition that was passed on within every sacrament, and substituted only 50 years ago. For example, when I used to do the new anointing of the sick, I put a little oil put on the head and then I moved on to the next hospital room. Now, in extreme unction, I anoint the mouth, the nose, the ears, the eyes, the feet, the hands and the forehead. It’s not my personal catechesis of the sacrament. It is required in the rite, probably anointing all those body parts since the time that St. James wrote about it in the Bible.

Everything in these sacraments (which can be traced back to the 6th century at the latest) taught man and woman that there exists a chasm between Creator and creature. The illiterate Catholic learned about the majesty of God and the evil of his own sin by simply hearing that he had to have his sins forgiven, those he had committed with his eyes, ears, hands, even nose, as the old rite extreme unction strangely says. (What sins can be committed by smell!?)  And yet, it is not strange. It is beautiful, for the ancient prayers for the commendation of the dying call more frequently on God’s mercy than anything I have seen in the new anointing books.

Yes, the rich Catholics of America now have a library of books by Steubenville grads. And I like these books. But they are all a replacement of what Catholicism taught by it’s very nature: A full-bodied, full-person experience of the majesty of God. The intellectual side was not as emphasized. The reason the Novus Ordo rites invite an over-intellectualization of the Catholic faith is first of all because the author of these rites, Archbishop Bugnini, actually consulted with five or six Protestants to write it. (Remember, faith for Protestants is a Credal and emotional act, where for Catholics, the Faith is best summarized in the book of Romans as “the obedience of faith.”) But because the new rites do not carry much physical actions, the lacunae must be filled by lay apologists. God bless them, but they should know that their jobs are a concessionary existences for what we priests and the ancient rites used to carry in our very being.

Maybe the best would be to keep producing the Steubenville books but return to all the 1962 sacraments.  That way, the new presentation practiced by the Church Fathers could be forged in the very sacraments of the Church Fathers (erroneously named the “Tridentine Mass,” since the Traditional Latin Mass was nearly-fully crystallized between 350 AD and 380 AD.)  By contrast, the changes of the past 50 years to the liturgy present us some sad challenges, especially since we live in a era that has little time for intellectual or aesthetical learning on the mysteries of God:

The challenge becomes more difficult because one of the peculiarities of the old rite is that it makes itself accessible only slowly—unless the uninitiated newcomer to this ancient pattern of worship is a religious genius. One has never ‘learned everything there is to learn’ about the Roman Rite, because in its very origin and essence this enduring and truly extraordinary form is hermetic, presupposing arcane discipline and rigorous initiation…The great damage caused by the liturgical revolution after Vatican II consists above all in the way in which the Church lost the conviction with which all Catholics—illiterate goatherds, maids and laborers, Descartes and Pascal—naturally took part in the Church’s sacred worship. Up until then, the rite was among the riches of the poor, who, through it, entered into a world that was otherwise closed to them. They experienced in the old Mass the life to come as well as life in the present, an experience of which only artists and mystics are otherwise capable.”—Martin Mosebach, Return to Form, Crisis Magazine.

I experienced what Mosebach writes about during my mission trips to poor nations around the world. During my second trip to India, I lived with some lay American missionaries in Kolkata. One night, a mix of Americans and Indians were having a conversation about the Catholic Church. A 45 year old Indian was very thankful that Vatican II opened to Indians a deeper understanding of the Mass, now that they understood the language of the service. When posed with the question “Why do you go to Holy Mass?” he and I both agreed that most young Catholics from both the United States and India would say “To receive Jesus in the Eucharist.” We were both content that this is a better answer than the 1970s answer: “I go to Mass because of the community.”

However, I then reminded my new Indian friend about the history of Indian Catholicism. I reminded him about the missions of St. Francis Xavier and I said: “Any of your ancestors evangelized by St. Francis Xavier would have described the Mass with one word that your friends and my missionary friends would not use: Sacrifice. An illiterate 16th century Indian farmer or a little girl in Chicago in the 1940s Catholic school system would give the same description: ‘The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.’ Why wouldn’t your friends or my missionary friends in the United States use that word ’sacrifice’?”  I suspect that the absence of this term (even among relatively-orthdox young Catholics) is because the New Mass no longer looks like a Jewish priest at a Jewish sacrifice. It no longer feels like that. That is why people think they have to receive Holy Communion at Mass, no matter what, even if they’re in mortal sin.  The True Presence is all they have.

I don’t mean to downplay the beauty of the answer, “The True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.” But the liturgical reality of “sacrifice” is still of supreme importance to the most proletariat of Sunday-Mass goers. Current liturgical theology maintains that the Eucharist is confected by the priest, but rarely is it mentioned by even orthodox CCD teachers that this happens within the very sacrifice of Calvary re-presented. Never have I heard it mentioned from a “JPII-generation Catholic” or even a professor at my seminary what constitutes the nature of the sacrifice of the Mass:  The separation of the body and blood of Jesus, under the species of the double consecration of bread and wine.  In fact, one “very conservative” nun who taught us sacramental theology mocked this theology as merely devotional.  She did not want to hear me point out that this was what was taught by everyone from St. Gregory Nazienzen to the Council of Trent to Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

Even if you don’t remember the above reasons for why the Mass is a sacrifice, remember this: Sacrifice is key to explaining the Mass. You can’t just say “Jesus is really present in the Eucharist.” Why? Because the presence of God without sacrifice is Protestantism. The Franciscan University grads will talk all day about the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but rarely will they speak of the sacrifice of the Mass. Perhaps that is why their divorce rate is the nearly the same as they rest of the nation: They want presence without sacrifice. 1

Our Faith is founded on the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary, which is the same as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. For somewhere between 1500 years and 2000 years, Western Rites Catholics were always seen kneeling for about 75% of the duration of the Mass. All this kneeling taught something important to their children, children who could be found worshipping on their knees throughout the old Roman Empires, in Los Angeles in 1925 or off a river in Goa in 1540. Yes, children would have knelt before a sacrifice of Calvary that took place at the hands of St. Francis Xavier who baptized hundreds of thousands with those very same hands.  They knew Who was in his hands was somehow even greater than the saint, for the saint himself would kneel before the King of Kings (even if a Jesuit comrade to follow him would not kneel before the Eucharist five hundred years later.)

The conversation with that 45 year old Indian man continued in some different directions that night. About 20 minutes after the above conversation, he started explaining to me how important religion is in India. He said whenever there is a religious event, dizzying myriads of worshippers show up: Be it Hindu, be it Muslim, Be it Sikh, Be it Christian, there are hundreds of thousands or even millions of people who come to worship in pilgrimage. He told me about how 100,000 Catholics will frequently show up at a devotional event that has only one altar. Thus, the 8am Mass (on that single altar) will be in Tamil for 10,000 Catholics. The 9am Mass will be in Bengali for another 10,000 pilgrims. The 10am Mass will be in Hindi and the noon Mass will be in English. The 45 year old Indian had just forgotten about our mild debate on Vatican II just 20 minutes earlier, but I wanted to gently bring him back to that discussion on Vatican II. So, I broached the subject lightly by asking him: “And what did all Indian Catholics do before Vatican II?” The good Indian man hung his head a little. He quietly replied: “We all worshipped together.”


  1. I brought this well-repeated but undocumented statistic of FUS divorce to a friend who used to work for the development department of Franciscan University of Steubenville. I immediately believed he would balk at it, but to my surprise, he admitted it was true. To this day, I do not have statistics to back this up. However, several reputable sources have told me that this is true. This means that the national divorce rate is about 50%. The national Catholic divorce rate is about 50%. The divorce rate for FUS would therefore also be about 50%. However, this was told to me about 10 years ago, so I hope things have changed. I imagine that the rate has lessened, since most FUS grads are at least intellectually (there’s that word again!) against contraception.  But for Catholics who live a life without contraception, the divorce rate is 3% in all studies averaged.  That 3% is the average of numerous studies that are all statistically significant, including large populations sampled.

Sacred Heart in the Eucharist

One of the reasons I love the Traditional Latin Mass is because the Collect (the beginning prayer to God after the Introit and the Kyrie) usually links heaven and earth. For example, the collect of the votive Mass of St. Joseph reads:

Oh God, who in Thine unspeakable Providence didst vouchsafe to choose blessed Joseph for Thy most holy Mother’s spouse, grant we beseech Thee, that we who revere him as our protector upon earth, may become worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven.

I have wondered for a few years why the old Mass always ties heaven to earth in the opening prayer. It has to be for more than saccharinely-sweet reasons of saintly piety. It is probably because the prayers of everyone are collected and given to the Blessed Trinity through the sacred humanity of Jesus Christ who is fully God and fully man. God the Son is everywhere on the planet, but only in Catholic and Orthodox tabernacles can we find Jesus of Nazareth in His humanity. The hypostatic union is the ancient teaching that Jesus Christ is one Divine Person subsisting in two natures, human and divine, and so both must be included in the collect.

So, look again at the prayer of St. Joseph above. Heaven and earth do not meet in St. Joseph, but they do meet in Jesus Christ, and St. Joseph participates in this. Thus, we ask Joseph’s protection on earth by being an intercessor in heaven. This collect launches us into the frightful but awesome reality we approach later in the Mass: We are transported outside of time to be at the foot of Calvary where Jesus was murdered.  Remember that Jesus is 100% God and 100% man.

Many heretics in the days of the early Church believed that Jesus was God, but doubted that He lived a full experience on earth as man (the heresy of docetism.) Other heretics in the early Church believed that Jesus died but was not God (Arianism—still around.) But the opening collects of the old Mass prevent this way of thinking: By connecting heaven and earth, we begin to see the reality of the hypostatic union in the Eucharistic sacrifice: God dies—not as God—but as a man, and the Mass is this very separation of His body and blood, comprising His death. Later, we receive His resurrected body and blood in every host!

Besides adoration, thanksgiving, reparation and petition, there is something comforting about the hypostatic union that we approach at Mass, beginning at the opening collect.  Start with this:  Think about your favorite interaction with Jesus and someone in the Gospel.  Maybe it’s Mary Magdalene. Maybe it is Peter. Maybe it is the woman whose daughter has a demon. Jesus could look at any person and at that moment, He immediately knew that only He could die for that person because Jesus was the only one more hurt by sin than that individual was. This is because He is God.

But as man, Jesus had His heart pierced. On the Cross, present in the Eucharist, His Divine-human heart was already bursting in pain and sorrow and longing for every human that has ever lived or was living or will live—you and me. He knew outside of time every one of your thoughts, dreams, pains, sins, merits, joys and sufferings. In the offertory of the Mass, we bring our best intentions and our broken hearts. And at the consecration, we on earth are lifted to heaven, but we are not out of place any more: To have our tiny human hearts stretched and broken for the life of the world—this is what it means to console the heart of Jesus Christ.

Sacred Heart And The Eucharist

In suspected Eucharistic miracles, the Eucharistic host in question is brought to secular histologists (experts of human tissue.)  What looks like bread, tastes like bread and smells like bread is always found to be cardiac tissue just like the above miracle of Lanciano, revealing still-incorrupt human tissue, even though it started as bread in a doubting priest’s hands over 1000 years ago.  This means that the Eucharist is the fullness of Christ, but the Eucharist is especially the physical heart of Jesus of Nazareth whom we receive. 

Only Jesus’ heart is fully God and fully man.

Reparation Appeal

host

This Spanish “artist,” named Abel Azcona, stole 242 consecrated Eucharistic hosts from various Masses, and has put the body and blood of Jesus in a blasphemous art display in Pamplona.  The full story is here, but I would ask anyone who reads about this to offer your meatless-Friday or a Holy Hour before the Tabernacle in reparation for such unspeakable crimes against Jesus.

The bishop in Spain denounced it, but once again we see that Holy Communion in the Hand (and/or without kneeling) leads to yet more and more blasphemies and sacrileges in the Mass.  Of course, the Traditional Latin Mass has no such option, but bishops and pastors in the Novus Ordo (Mass in English or Spanish) also have a clear-cut path:  A 2004 document from the Vatican makes every pastor and bishop prohibit the reception of Holy Communion by hand in such times as these:  1

Azcona_810_500_55_s_c1

Azcona stealing Holy Communion for blasphemous purposes, as displayed on his own FB page.

 


  1. “If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.”—Redemptionis Sacramentum #92

Eucharistic Procession 2015

Friends helped me make this 1 minute video of our Eucharistic Procession on the boardwalk of Virginia Beach.  This Eucharistic Procession was spearheaded by my pastor and continued by him and many others the past few years.  Special thanks to Mike Cistola, Keith Forrest and especially John and Rich at Tele-Video Productions of Virginia Beach.  Our goal is to see these in every city, especially on the East Coast, so please post this on social media and share it with your pastors.  It’s great evidence what one pastor can do to fire up a whole city.

Make sure to watch it in HD.

Transgender in the Catholic Church

My first blog post ever was called Family Roles and the Sacrifice of the Mass.  In it, I show that the Sacrifice of the Mass or the Divine Liturgy is actually a complimentary male-female microcosm of the temple, the family, and even the universe.   The complimentarity of man and woman is so vital to life (both natural and supernatural), that no species on this planet is either recognizable nor sustainable without the physical, genetic and even psychological differences that amount to the wholeness of life via these complimentary structures.  This is true in the spiritual as much as the physical.

Satan’s whole plan will be the opposite of God’s plan.  He will oppose Natural Law after he has denigrated Divine Law.  Satan’s penultimate attack against humanity may be horizoned upon androgyny, as seen in Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, where Satan is essentially transgender, equalizing the field of the life-giving aspect of humanity:

satan

Those who are truly born androgynous have a beautiful and heavy cross which—if carried heroically—will conform them fully to Christ-crucified and bring them to share His glory (Rom 8:17.)  So, let me repeat:  There’s no moral evil to being born androgynous.

But recently I came across a picture of “Caitlyn Jenner” and his mutilated men who the media described as “beautiful women”:

transgender women

Still, I didn’t feel any anger.  I didn’t feel any judgment towards them.  I promise you that I only felt compassion.  I felt similar compassion in my first encounter with a transgender patient when I was a Denver Paramedic.  He was a small hispanic teen, just off Colorado Boulevard with his friends about 12 years ago.  He had overdosed on cocaine sometime after midnight.  I took care of him as best as I had been trained.  He lived.

But, I saw both times that Satan had tricked humanity to hurt themselves and deny their life giving powers, because Satan himself is death.  I’m no saint, but saying “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do” is very easy to pray when people truly have been so terribly deceived into harming their own bodies.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a patient person, that I’m no Mother Teresa, but I really only feel Divine Mercy for these poor people.

But I feel less palpable compassion for the Catholic priests who encourage girls to play “dress up” at Mass as men:

ag
The cassocks above are small and red, but they are mens’ cassocks.  If this sounds too extreme, please read three short things:

1. The Church has held that putting on a cassock (above in red, but you can see girls in the black cassock in almost every diocese of the USA except Lincoln, NE) was exclusively for the priest, with the one exception before Vatican II being an extremely limited use (within the Church building ) to male acolytes and sacristans who had been highly trained in the Traditional Latin Mass (which takes more memorization to serve than does the Novus Ordo a priest to offer.)  Every day after I shave, the cassock is what I wear on the streets.  It is not just “to dress up to play Mass” like most Americans treat the idea of a priest who would dare to prohibit altar girls.  The cassock is the most ancient sign of a priest, of a man.  How is it sexist to say girls shouldn’t play “man”?  If fact, the opposite seems highly sexist—to assume we priests have cornered the market of holiness.  I’m pretty sure the priest scandals of 2001 disproved that.

2. The male-exclusive calling to the altar shouldn’t ruffle so many feathers, since the contemplative role of women as human beings is higher than being human doings, as seen in the squabble of Martha and Mary 1

3. How many of you would let your son go to Mass dressed up like a nun?  These girls are literally dressed up like men at the most sacred event that takes place in the world every Sunday.  I’m serious:  How many of you would let your son go to Mass dressed up like a nun?

I don’t blame the girls.  I blame the men who begged the Vatican 20 years ago to allow cross-dressing on the altar of God.  Is that too extreme?  I’ll stick by that sentence based on the three part apologia above.

This has enormous bearing upon current events.  As we brace for the Vatican’s upcoming “Synod on the Family,” the German bishops have a new webpage called “Love Counts” which is simply a promotion of gay-marriage for the Catholic Church.   We should not be surprised at this, considering how male and female have been conflated in the Mass for 50 years, as seen in the above picture.  Pope Francis has promoted the anti-marriage bishops in the synod (See above posts) so it will take a miracle at this point.

The only surprising thing to me in all this mess is to hear of socially conservative priests who preach against transgender surgeries, but then turn around and allow altar girls at Mass.  It’s no wonder the critics of the Catholic Church call us “hypocrites.”

How can we expect the world to live the physical outplaying of the reality of man and woman if we as Catholic priests are promoting the termination of the life-giving complimentary spiritual-outplaying within the most important thing that happens every day?  That is, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  If we can’t get this right, we then have no right to judge the world, the flesh, or even the devil.

There’s only one way to win this spiritual war:

g kelly


  1.  Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”—Luke 10:38-42

Offertory

byz comm

A friend recently e-mailed me and he said that reading my blog  is “like drinking sparkling water while pulling nose hairs.”

Well, this is going to be one of those sparkling water ones without the pulling of nose hairs.  Despite the seemingly-boring topic of this post, the Offertory of the Mass, I’m going to make a tall promise: What I show you on the Offertory of the Mass will transform your weekly worship into something new, interpersonal, meaningful and even thrilling if you enact it, as Mega-Churchy as that promise sounds.

The offertory is the part of the Mass after the homily when the priest prepares the altar for the sacrifice. In sung Masses, the offertory prayer is sung.  In the sung Latin Mass (TLM) the offertory prayer is sung by the choir and whispered by the priest.  In the vernacular Mass (Novus Ordo, say, in English) it’s sung by the priest.  

Then, the altar is prepared.

Normally, people see the offertory as essentially the “intermission ” of the Mass. That’s why you use this time to talk quietly about the homily, scratch your wife’s back, read the bulletin, check your texts, use the bathroom, correct your kids, wonder if you should give 1% or a 2% of your income in the offertory basket.  Ok, one nose-hair part.  

If we only knew what was really about to happen. The Mass is the re-presentation of the entire Last Supper and murder on Golgotha to the point that every Mass is as real as if you took a time machine back to Calvary at the consecration. This is true, whether there’s good or bad music/homilies. Yes, the consecration is indeed the most underrated part of the Mass.

But the second most underrated part of the Mass is the Offertory. Here’s why: The Mass is also an entire ecosystem of death and new life in the supernatural organism of the mystical body of Christ (the Church) for the life of the world—everyone from your family to a pagan you’ve never met.

There’s a modern day mystic (and possibly stigmatist) in Bolivia named Catalina Rivas. I believe her private revelations from Jesus and Mary have the approbation (or at least allowance) of the Bishops of South America. Mary, the Mother of God, walks Catalina through the Mass, and today I want to highlight what Mary shows Catalina about the Offertory. It’s worth reading the long quote, with Mary’s quotes in bold font:

A moment later the Offertory arrived, and the Holy Virgin said: “Pray like this: (and I repeated after Her) Lord, I offer all that I am, all that I have, all that I can do. I put everything into Your Hands. Build it up, Lord, with the little thing that I am. By the merits of Your Son, transform me, God Almighty. I petition You for my family, for my benefactors, for each member of our Apostolate, for all the people who fight against us, for those who commend themselves to my poor prayers. Teach me to lay down my heart as if on the ground before them so that their walk may be less severe. This is how the saints prayed; this is how I want all of you to do it.”

Thus, this is how Jesus asks us to pray, that we put our hearts as if on the ground so that they do not feel its severity, but rather that we alleviate the pain of their steps.

Suddenly some characters, whom I had not seen before, began to stand up. It was as if from the side of each person present in the Cathedral, another person emerged, and soon the Cathedral became full of young, beautiful people. They were dressed in very white robes, and they started to move into the central aisle and, then, went towards the Altar.

Our Mother said: “Observe. They are the Guardian Angels of each one of the persons who are here. This is the moment in which your guardian angel carries your offerings and petitions before the Altar of the Lord.”

At that moment, I was completely astonished, because these beings had such beautiful faces, so radiant as one is unable to imagine. Their countenance was very beautiful with almost feminine faces; however, the structure of their body, their hands, their height were masculine. Their naked feet did not touch the floor, but rather they went as if gliding. That procession was very beautiful.

Some of them were carrying something like a golden bowl with something that shone a great deal with a golden-white light. The Virgin Mary said: “They are the Guardian Angels of the people who are offering this Holy Mass for many intentions, those who are conscious of what this celebration means. They have something to offer the Lord.”

Offer yourselves at this moment; offer your sorrows, your pains, your hopes, your sadness, your joys, your petitions. Remember that the Mass has infinite value. Therefore, be generous in offering and in asking.”

Notice this shortened version of the prayer that Mary asks us to pray at the Offertory:

Lord, I offer all that I am, all that I have, all that I can do. I put everything into Your Hands. Build it up, Lord, with the little thing that I am. By the merits of Your Son, transform me, God Almighty.

This is why this is the most interpersonal time during the Mass.  As the priest is setting up the chalice, simply think or pray onto that altar every part of your life:  every hope, every dream, every disappointment, every friend, every family member, every enemy, every act of love, every betrayal, every son, every daughter, every neighbor, everyone in prison, every Christian in Syria, everyone in ISIS, everyone working on Sundays, everyone who cut you off in traffic, everyone you learned about on the news, every circumstance at work, every medical problem, every financial problem, every mission, every marriage, every upcoming dentist appointment, every fearful anticipation, every hopeful anticipation, every physical suffering, every psychological suffering, everything you have, everything you are, everything you’re called to be, everyone you want to follow Christ.  Think big.  Your guardian angel can handle it.  

As the priest is at the offertory, so also should you be.  After you have thought of all those things, memorize now so you can say Lord, I offer all that I am, all that I have, all that I can do. I put everything into Your Hands. Build it up, Lord, with the little thing that I am. By the merits of Your Son, transform me, God Almighty.

Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen said those who have nothing to offer become “parasites on the body of Christ” when they receive Holy Communion.

But for those who take the Offertory seriously, here’s the final great news:  At the consecration, not only is the bread and wine transformed, but so also everything else you prayed onto the altar:  every suffering, every hope, every family member.  This is the mystery of the immolation not only of the physical body of Christ, but the transformation of the Church—the mystical body of Christ.

If you want to change the world via the Mass, you don’t need to be an extraordinary “minister” of Holy Communion.  You can live your baptismal, common priesthood for the glory of God and the salvation of countless souls if you pray the offertory ardently as you give your whole life to your guardian angel, who in turns presents it to the Blessed Trinity for the miraculous transformation of evil into good, and good into glorious.
Seraphim1