My Dear Friends,
Last week, I shared with you the prayers that are supposed to be prayed by the priest as he vests for Mass. They are very powerful reminders for me and for all the priests as we prepare to offer Mass. There are also two other prayers in the Roman Missal that a priest prays before Mass that also reminds him what he is about to do. The first prayer is to the Blessed Mother. "O most blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of tenderness and mercy, I, a miserable and unworthy sinner, fly to you with all the affection of my heart and I beseech your motherly love, that, as you stood by your most dear Son, while he hung on the Cross, so, in your kindness, you may be pleased to stand by me, a poor sinner, and all Priests who today are offering the Sacrifice here and throughout the entire holy Church, so that with your gracious help we may offer a worthy and acceptable oblation in the sight of the most high and undivided Trinity. Amen."
The second prayer is the formula of intent for the priest. "My intention is to celebrate Mass and to consecrate the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Rite of Holy Roman Church militant, for all who have commended themselves to my prayers in general and in particular, and for the welfare of Holy Roman Church. Amen. May the almighty and merciful Lord grant us joy with peace, amendment of life, room for true repentance, the grace and consolation of the Holy Spirit and perseverance in good works. Amen."
As you see, between the vesting prayers and these prayers for preparation for the celebration and offering of the Holy Mass, a priest who prays these prayers cannot but help to grow in his understanding of who he is and why he does what he does. It is a reminder for me that Mass is not a show but an offering to the Father and the glory of the most Holy Trinity. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the most importance act a priest can perform every day. Without the Mass a priest ceases to know and understand what sacrifice is, and a priest who does not sacrifice is not a priest, for a priest by definition is one who offers sacrifice. In our Roman Catholic Church, this interior sacrifice of the priest is shown inBACK TO LIST