The Holy Mass is the Work of God

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Painting: Saint Jean-Marie Viannney and Saint Peter Julian Eymard

Eymard_painting1.jpg

The Preacher Belongs to the Word

The Word does not belong to the preacher; the preacher belongs to the Word. This was true of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, it was true of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, and it is true of today’s saint, the holy parish priest Jean-Marie Vianney. The Curé of Ars stands in a long line of preachers possessed by the Word, and compelled to speak it without compromise.

Incendiary Preaching

The Lord said to Jeremiah, “Behold, I am making my words in your mouth a fire, and this people wood, and the fire shall devour them” (Jer 6:14). Holy preaching is, necessarily, incendiary. Jean-Marie Vianney was not particularly eloquent; he preached in a cracked and broken voice, but his words communicated the fire of the Holy Spirit. Even the greatest preacher of the nineteenth century, the Dominican Père Lacordaire, fell silent before the charism of holy preaching in Jean Marie Vianney.

John Paul and Jean-Marie

When the Curé of Ars spoke of the Sacrament of the Altar, he glowed. He communicated to his hearers the Eucharistic fire that burned in his own heart. Twenty-one years in ago in 1986, Pope John Paul II devoted his Holy Thursday Letter to Priests to Saint Jean–Marie Vianney. I think that today we can read that letter as one saint talking about another. This is what Pope John Paul II said:

The Eucharist was at the very center of Saint Jean Vianney’s spiritual life and pastoral work. He said: "All good works put together are not equivalent to the Sacrifice of the Mass, because they are the works of men and the Holy Mass is the work of God." It is in the Mass that the sacrifice of Calvary is made present for the Redemption of the world. Clearly, the priest must unite the daily gift of himself to the offering of the Mass: "How well a priest does, therefore, to offer himself to God in sacrifice every morning!"(15) "Holy Communion and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are the two most efficacious actions for obtaining the conversion of hearts."(16)

Thus the Mass was for John Mary Vianney the great joy and comfort of his priestly life. He took great care, despite the crowds of penitents, to spend more than a quarter of an hour in silent preparation. He celebrated with recollection, clearly expressing his adoration at the consecration and communion. He accurately remarked: "The cause of priestly laxity is not paying attention to the Mass!"

The Curé of Ars was particularly mindful of the permanence of Christ's real presence in the Eucharist. It was generally before the tabernacle that he spent long hours in adoration, before daybreak or in the evening; it was towards the tabernacle that he often turned during his homilies, saying with emotion: "He is there!" It was also for this reason that he, so poor in his presbytery, did not hesitate to spend large sums on embellishing his Church. The appreciable result was that his parishioners quickly took up the habit of coming to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, discovering, through the attitude of their pastor, the grandeur of the mystery of faith.

Dear brother priests, the example of the Curé of Ars invites us to a serious examination of conscience: what place do we give the Mass in our daily lives? What care do we take in preparing for it? And in celebrating it? In praying before the Blessed Sacrament? In encouraging our faithful people to do the same? In making our Churches the House of God to which the divine presence attracts the people of our time who too often have the impression of a world empty of God?

A Prophetic Message

Like Saint Alphonsus and Saint Peter Julian, Saint Jean–Marie Vianney is a saint for today. His message was prophetic. His whole being spoke not only in the pulpit, but also in the confessional, and on his knees before the Blessed Sacrament. Not everyone welcomed his message, especially at first. There were those who disdained him, those who murmured against him, those who criticized and maligned him.

Eucharistic Holiness

In every age, the Holy Spirit raises up prophets: saints in whose hearts burns a fire capable of renewing the priesthood and the Church. Saint Jean-Marie Vianney, the third figure in this week’s triptych of Eucharistic holiness, was one of these. After having listened this week to Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Saint Peter Julian Eymard, and the Curé of Ars, how can we not respond generously to Christ who in the mystery of the Eucharist waits to show us His Face and desires to draw us to His Heart?

Il est là!

Great intentions solicit our prayer: peace in the world; persecuted Catholics in China; the tragic plight of fallen priests; the spiritual needs of priests suffering temptation, loneliness, and discouragement; the return of fallen–away Catholics to the sacraments; the many baptized children and young people whom no one has prepared for their First Holy Communion; the rekindling of a Eucharistic fire in every parish, community, monastery, and family; the suffering souls of the departed. Linger today in the presence of Our Lord. Who knows? You may even hear the cracked and broken voice of the Curé of Ars saying to you with indescribable sweetness, “Il est là! Il est là! He is there! He is there!”

7 Comments

THE EUCHARIST IS THE CENTER OF MY LIFE.IT IS THE BREATH OF MY BEING.I COULD NOT GET THROUGH MY DAY WITHOUT IT.WHEN I MAKE THAT COMMITTMENT TO MEET MY LORD IN THE EUCHARIST,HE DOES EVERYTHING FOR ME.EVERYTHING!

Yes, of course, the holy parish priest of Ars is a great saint. Like is said above his preaches were INCENDIARY (in my opinion this word is weak). Every Catholic faithful should come back to read this preaches, but I am afraid that such preaches would not be welcome among today's clerics: They are too compelling. They are not at all trendy

I used to feel the preasence of God at Mass and the great joy of His unbelievable compassion for us.But I did not go to daily Nass. Then one day the Holy Spirit told me (in no uncertain terms) to go to Mass every day. Ihave been doing this ever since,but I now have a "dry spell", which means I no longer feel God's presence and it has becone routine,except for one time after Mass on Tuesday when the picture of Jesus in the garden became alive to me. He looked at me and put in my mind, "Reag My mind". I again felt agreat compassion. My wish now is that Mass will not seem routine to me.

My spiritual life has benefitted greatly from reading the life of this Holy Priest. How pure, how good and how holy each and every Priest has to be but what a reward comes from it! Let us pray unceasingly for Holy Priests.

i am delighted to read this article. After being at knock shrine on saturday feast of saint john vianney my favourite saint for the irish annual cenacle for marian movement of priests. the theme for the cenacle was to go back to adoring jesus truly present in all tabernacles throughout the world. And also continous adoration.implore his divine mercy and make reparation for all sins in the world.so let us all start to adore our king more. thank you for this lovely article on our saints.

'...today we can read that letter as one saint talking about another. This is what Pope John Paul II said:
"Dear brother priests, the example of the Curé of Ars invites us to a serious examination of conscience: what place do we give the Mass in our daily lives? What care do we take in preparing for it? And in celebrating it? In praying before the Blessed Sacrament? In encouraging our faithful people to do the same? In making our Churches the House of God to which the divine presence attracts the people of our time who too often have the impression of a world empty of God?"'
Jurek

I love the Lord in the Holy Mass. Many times I receive Him with deep love and contrition. I often receive His Blood mingled with my own tear on my lips. Starting out with the Sign of the Cross, I press the Amen with my hand onto my heart and say, "My God and my All!" Only love that He demands, only with love and contrition, His Sacrifice at Mass is made effective intercessory petition for the Divine Grace to the whole world.

Dal

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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