By l'Abbé Bérenger Saunière, priest of Rennes-le-Château 1885-1909
and exposition of the Most Holy Sacrament at 10.30 a.m..
This Sung Mass has been paid for by 200 francs from the Casual Offerings.
-- We dine in the garden with Mother and Marie-Louise. -
In the evening at 2.00 [sic] Catechism, at 3.00 Vespers, Collection, Blessing, Rosary.
Instruction for High Mass.
On the origin and establishment of the Mass for protection from hail-storms. - What attracts these plagues to us - What we can do to keep them at bay - (See the sermon given at the Cross on Saturday May 10).
I have had neither the time nor the presence of mind to delve into the files of your church to find out the precise origin of the Mass against hail-storms but probably, many years ago, following the terrible hail-storms that devastated the country for one or more years and the famine that followed them our ancestors, whose faith was keener and whose piety was greater than ours; our ancestors, who believed in the power and effectiveness of prayer and who looked upon these terrible plagues as a means of revenge which a beneficent God uses to punish wrongdoers; our ancestors, I say, wanting to mollify the celestial anger and the ire of Heaven and to save their land forever from such misfortunes, made a resolution, a vow to celebrate an annual mass on the anniversary of the storms in order to prevent any continuation of similar calamities and to attract the graces and the blessings of God upon their famines, their flocks and their harvests. - This wish, formulated in days gone by your forefathers, has been perpetuated from generation to generation and so on down to us, and in our turn, every year, we make a pious duty of remaining faithful to it by celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for this purpose.
In order to enter into the spirit of this festival, let us ask ourselves how our ancestors prepared for it. Undoubtedly by prayer, meditation, confession and communion. They felt obliged to make of this day a veritable crusade of prayers and supplication; all because they believed that God could grant to them whatever they asked for. Guided by their example, my brethren, we must prepare for this festival not with dissipation and misbehaviour but with prayer, confession and communion. The power of God is the same; His arm has not been shortened, and what He granted our ancestors He can, if He wishes, grant to us also; but our prayers must be said properly. We must pray with concentration, trust and perseverance.
But prayer alone is not enough: we must combine it with a fleeing from sin, with the practice of virtue, and with respect for the Holy Name of God and sanctification of the Sabbath. - Our first parents in the earthly paradise. - The Jews under the leadership of Moses. - Our poor humanity today Why so many plagues, why so much misfortune, why so many calamities etc., storms, tempests, hail, frost, drought, floods, earthquakes? Because man has forgotten his God and his commandments.
Some history. - Our Lady of La Salette. Salette is a village of 800 inhabitants located at 1124 metres above sea level. The people of this wild and desolate country were, before the appearance of the Blessed Virgin, without faith or law, they were irreligious and malicious people.
The appearance of the Virgin took place one Saturday, on the feast-day of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, at around 1 p.m., to two young children, a boy and a girl, both shepherds, in the canton of Cors.
Maximin Giraut, the son of a cartwright, was eleven years old. He was scatter-brained and ignorant but not entirely without intelligence.
Mélanie Mathieu was 15 years old, sweet but ignorant. The Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Little Catechism that was all she knew. Together they looked after the cows on the mountain-side.
The Appearance of the Blessed Virgin. - The two children had just eaten and were searching for their herd when they saw, a few steps in front of them, a dazzling light, within a lady was seated, her head in her hands, weeping. What was she wearing? A white dress with a crown of roses at the bottom, a head-scarf of the same colour on which there stood out like a collar a chain with the instruments of the Passion, a tall bonnet, a crown of roses, white shoes, roses all around, a gilded apron and shoes. The fear of the children..., "Do not be afraid, come to me".
The speech of the Blessed Virgin: "I can no longer hold up the arm of my son. Why? Because of people working on the Sabbath and because of the profanation of the Name of God. Tell my people that if they change their ways they will reap a rich harvest and will thrive in everything they do, but that if they do not want to change then their corn will turn to dust, their grapes and potatoes will rot, their children will die, and a great famine will destroy them. Do you pray, children?" "Hardly at all, Madam." "You must pray, pray a lot if you have the time, pray little if you do not."
Conclusion: pray, respect the Holy Name of God and the Sabbath and the Lord will bless us and we will flourish.
To begin with, some brief advice on the need for silence and good behaviour in Church; need for respect and piety in the Holy Place. "My house is the house of prayer and you have made a cave of robbers of it " (quote the Gospel).
Of all the Sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ the most necessary, the most essential is baptism; but the greatest, the most majestic and the holiest is indisputably the blessed Eucharist. Indeed, while the other Sacraments merely contain and produce grace, the Eucharist actually contains and communicates to us the very author of grace and the principle of all holiness, which is Jesus Christ.
The word Eucharist comes from the Greek ενχαριστια, thanksgiving (formed from ευ = well and χαρισ = grace). This Sacrament is so-called 1. because Jesus Christ, before instituting it, rendered thanks to His Father; 2. because it is the principal means by which Christians render thanks to God through Jesus Christ for the blessing of the Redemption and for all the favours that He ceaselessly pours down upon us each day.
Is Our Lord Jesus Christ really present in the Holy Eucharist? Yes, the Eucharist is a Sacrament that really and in truth contains the body, blood, heart and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the "species" or appearances of the bread and the wine.
This is a basic truth of the Catholic faith, clearly laid down by the Council of Trent. "If somebody denies that the body and blood of Jesus Christ with His soul and His divinity and, consequently, Jesus Christ in His entirety are contained truly, genuinely and substantially in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist but instead claims that it is present there only as a sign, figure or virtue, then that is anathema."
1. Jesus Christ, in the 6th chapter of St. John's Gospel had promised the Eucharist before actually instituting it:
6:48 I am that bread of life.
6:49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
6:50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you."
2. Realization of the promise. Jesus Christ instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday, the eve of His death, when he said to His Apostles: "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. ...And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Could anything possibly be clearer or plainer?
3. St Paul said: "Qui manducat indigne, judicium sibi manducat et bibit" (1 Corinthians 11.27: "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord".)
4 St Ignatius, martyr, a disciple of the Apostles; St Justin in the 2nd century; St Irenaeus; Tertullian, Origen, St Cyprian, St Cyril, St Amboise, St Chrysostom, St Augustine taught the same thing. Miracles. The Jewish glass-maker in Constantinople and his child*
Conclusion: If Jesus Christ is in the Eucharist, then what do we have to do?.