Qua reverentia II

Second instalment of Cardinal Bona's "Qua reverentia celebrandum sit"
(Here is the First instalment)
Then, to obtain the same reverence, the Priest should carefully meditate beforehand how wisely and exactly Holy Church, divinely taught, has instituted and prescribed the order, regulation and adornment of the whole sacrifice. For first of all, he confesses his sins, asking forgiveness; then he praises and adores God, and gives him thanks for the benefits he has received; he implores divine assistance for himself and others: and he does not omit any kind of office which mortals can exercise in holiness before God.

He joins with these things an external conformity, a deportment of the body which is in the highest degree fitting and religious: he stands or he kneels, always with his head uncovered, his hands are at one time joined, at another extended, and lifted up to heaven: all these things are most suitable for bringing about reverence in the celebrant himself and in those who are present. Nor does he speak to God in any way except the most distinguished: he speaks secretly and as though into the ear, as a friend with a friend. He speaks not in his own name but in that of the whole Church, and he is heard by God as one exercising a public persona, never on his own account, whether he is good or evil. He speaks in the public concourse before the whole court of heaven, and the people who are present. Therefore in the solemn confession which is placed before the Mass, he calls on both the saints and the people, and in the Preface, he prays that God will order their voices to be joined to the voices of the Angels. He speaks with Christ the Lord, who is present in the sacrament and he presents his prayers together with himself to the eternal Father.

Finally, he has not composed with his own ingenuity the words which he speaks: rather, they have either been handed on by Christ, or dictated by the Holy Spirit in the sacred scriptures, or approved by the authority of the Holy Fathers and Councils. Hence, he can say nothing that is not most pleasing to God and most highly acceptable. He should therefore strive with all his strength to exercise such a holy ministry with the greatest reverence and holiness possible; and having cast off the dirt of the earth, he should shine out with angelic purity.
End of chapter

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