II. MISTAKES IN THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE HOLY MASS AND LITURGICAL CHANGES
1. Man takes the place of God
St. Padre Pio: I told you about the mystery of the Holy Mass and its individual parts, and now I would like to give you a sense of how the outside world refers to these mysteries, and what is happening during the Holy Mass next to its great mysteries, so very little understood today. I do not want to say that the people of my time all came to church with the consciousness of what was going to happen there, but nevertheless they came to church oriented towards God, looking at God. Now this has changed. Movements arose which seek graces in the Church, supernatural gifts, a union with man, and many other things, but not God in Himself, not God as the mystery hidden in Christ and in Redemption. The first step to getting closer to God and to His mysteries is a genuine sorrow for sin and true humility. This is so sorely lacking today. Among the changes that have taken place and clearly intensified since my departure from the earth, I see above all the rising throne of man in the place of the throne of God, in such a way that the first begins to overshadow the one that is sole and true. It happens in many areas of the Church, but it is especially visible in the changes that have taken place in the Holy Mass from the side of the participation of the faithful. Also, the priest has been moved away from these mysteries and turned towards the side of man.
2. The priest is no longer unconditionally devoted to God
Throughout my entire life, I was looking out for man and tried as much as possible to help him, because this is what Christ demanded of us. The priest gives himself to the service of God in people. For this God he cares, for Him he strives, healing souls and helping them to see and to love this God, which they carry in themselves. But in order to do so, the priest himself must be unconditionally dedicated to God, and not notice man outright, taking care exclusively of the needs of God. For this reason, the priest was relieved of the responsibility for a family, so that he may care only and solely about God. Otherwise, the devil effectively manipulates the feelings of the priest to remove him from the communion with God and weaken his ability to listen to the inspirations of God. The priest serves man for God, but in order to be able to serve man, he must be totally dedicated to God and draw his strength from Him. It’s like human hands. When the eyes and the mind of man stare at God, the hands fold by themselves in an act of humility. As a result of the action of God and of His presence, the knees of man bend on their own and so it is with deeds. When the soul of man is staring at God, the deeds come by themselves and we do good for the well-being of mankind. And this is the result of staring at God, and not at man and his needs, but at God and His love.
3. The church stopped staring at God
Here precisely was made a mistake which takes its toll on the Church. The Church, in order to perform its duty towards man, stopped staring at God; and supposedly to better serve man, began to stare at him and at his needs. The priest turned away from God and turned towards man. It is a symbol contained in the Holy Mass that is striking from the very beginning. Thus, the priest forgets that he celebrates the entire sacrifice of the Holy Mass for God, and begins to do it for man. Pronouncing words addressed to God the Father, he is however staring at man and most often says them altogether unwittingly, judging outright that he celebrates this Sacrifice for man, in order to bring over God for man, so that God may bestow upon him graces. This is a basic error, which entails subsequent ones. The priest performs the Sacrifice for God, to offer to God the Father the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to apologize to God for our sins and the sins of the entire mankind, and especially the sins of those for whom the Holy Mass is celebrated and those who are present at it, but the dimension of the Holy Mass remains the same. The most Holy Sacrifice of Christ is offered by the priest to the Heavenly Father to appease His righteous anger because of our sins. God the Father, accepting this Sacrifice as a result of all the pleas of the Savior on the cross, gives us graces. This is the truth that is immutable. The Holy Mass is a Sacrifice for God.
4. The Holy Mass is celebrated for man – he is the most important
This error, introduced into the thinking of the priests and of the faithful, is already hidden at the very beginning of the Holy Mass. When the priest ascends the steps of the Altar, his face and his thoughts are directed towards people, and not towards God, to Whom he is coming. The greetings that the priest addresses to the faithful should be entirely directed to God, because he did not come here to meet with people, but with God. I repeat it again, because it is very important. To obtain forgiveness and graces for people, the priest must be staring at God and be aware that for his love directed towards God, God will give him graces for the people, and not the other way around. Therefore, greetings should be left until after the Holy Mass, and God should be first. Due to such proceedings of the priests, man also believes that the Holy Mass is for him and that he is the most important in the Church. He expects to be called upon, while God has to wait quietly during this time, until the proper liturgy begins, which still does not give possibility to address man. In order to understand this, we should remember the liturgy of the Tridentine Holy Mass, where the priest, proceeding to the Altar, already addressed God with words of Psalms. While approaching the holy site, he entrusted his soul to God in deep humility. When will he find time for this now ?
5. Diversification of the Word of God
I would also like to speak about the readings and the Psalm, which are the Word of God addressed to man at the right time, when he needs them the most. You have to listen to the Word of God with such a mindset, and immediately apply it to your life; let it reach the mind, the heart, and expose the falsehoods, the lies and all hypocrisy. This is the most important. If, after hearing the Word of God, we are left with a commotion, an anxiety about doing the will of God; it is a blessed anxiety, which shows us where in the soul we are still susceptible to the evil spirit. This anxiety is caused by a discrepancy between the Word of God and our behaviour. It (the anxiety) has to be noticed and dealt with, changing our behaviour in the matter that touched us. The word of God is alive and acts in the soul; it enters as a sword and wounds everything that is not of God. We have to let it act. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to act with power in our souls. The Word of God is perfect in itself, so we should also pay attention not to attempt to diversify it in any way. This is offensive to God, who always gives things in a perfect form.
6. Bringing women to the tabernacle and to church functions
This is why the Word of God should be read in a worthy manner, by worthy persons. The introduction of women to this honor is a mistake and a nod towards the side of man, and not towards the side of God. The Mother of God gave way to the apostles, let alone the holy women, let alone the unholy women. It is not the vocation of women to exercise ecclesiastical functions. The role of women is to surround the Church with love, warmth, and advice, but only if it is God’s will.
- a) The woman should always be a mother
The woman should always act as a mother. Eve stood at the side of Adam, not Adam at the side of Eve. When Eve stepped over this threshold, she left her position beside Adam, and dragged down both herself and him. The same is true of women in the Church. Their role is prayer, suffering and multiplication of God’s wisdom, so that they can be a refuge and strengthening for priests. For this purpose are given to us priests: mothers, sisters and souls of women whom God puts on the path of priests in order to strengthen them through these souls. Many holy priests were supported by the help from the side of women, spiritual help. God likes, apparently, to endue women with His gifts in order to support His Church through them. Christ always in His greatest darkness and suffering, after His Father, immediately turned to His Mother and in Her was looking for consolation. By making the priest a second Christ, God usually also gifts him with a soul, which receives the grace of strengthening him, be it with prayer or council, depending on how great are God’s requirements for this priest. However, the woman who exceeds this role, and God forbid, by herself approaches the Altar, moves away from God and becomes Eve, the first Eve, crossing out the second Eve. Let us make the world in the same way it which Christ sees it. Let us make order along the lines of the order which he introduced, and everything will be in the right place and will perfectly fulfil this role.
- b) The role of the woman – to strengthen, to comfort, to support. Spiritual love
Yesterday we talked about the place of the woman in the Church and her role in the formation of priests. Most holy priests were born to holy mothers. Most holy priests choose Mary as their mother already in childhood. The road to the Heart of God leads through Her maternal Heart. This is the role of the woman – to lead to God, to strengthen, to console and to support with her prayer. Spiritual love, when it is not bound with the body, develops with supernatural strength. God is present in this love, and through His participation in it, transforms a man from flesh and blood into an angel. It seems that (man) forgets about his body and his blood. Spiritual love releases and moulds a higher degree of love, a love wishing to offer itself.
- c) The priest is responsible for the state of the soul of the woman at the Altar
I will not talk anymore about the role of the woman and the gross abuses against it. Of course, if women did not desire ecclesiastical functions, they would not be introduced to them. However, the priests who allow this bear the responsibility for these anomalies. This is unacceptable. A man easily seduces a woman in whom does not live the Spirit of God. And this happens among women who are unaware of what they are doing by moving closer to the mysteries of God, and worse yet, to the Altars. A heavy sin rests upon those who allow this, to the dismay of the faithful. The trust with which people endow the priest weights upon that priest. He assumes the full responsibility for every offence, regardless of his concerns towards his superiors. For this reason, many priests will go to damnation, because they have been guilty of desecration, allowing unclean hands to touch God. The sins against the Eucharist are punished very severely.
7. Lack of thoughtfulness
The offertory. During the offertory, God accepts the Sacrifice of His Son through the prayer of the priest. Jesus prepares Himself for what He will have to live through. He completely surrenders to the Will of the Father and to the cruelty of man. Now begins a slow and prolonged torment of His Soul and body. The more painful are these torments, the longer they seem to last. The priest is preparing to make the Sacrifice. He is also preparing to make an offering of himself. While performing the liturgical actions, he should do them with great thoughtfulness. Always, in every Holy Mass, the daily one and the solemn one, the sacrifice is the same and it is God Himself.
8. Lack of respect for liturgical vessels
The liturgical vessels that he touches are sacred. They must be handled with respect, because they are the property of God. Like the hands of the priest, they are touching Christ during His Sacrifice. Touching them should not be entrusted to altar boys who are not in a state of sanctifying grace. The altar boy, who serves at the Holy Mass and is not in a state of grace, defiles the holy Sacrifice. It is like allowing Satan under the very cross and placing him on par with the angels next to the Lord. Jesus suffers feeling disgust, and having surrendered, He suffers it helplessly. The vessels also cannot be touched by random people, because they already contain in themselves the imprint of holiness, which will never disappear. In the case of desecration, (the vessel) is being profaned, but it still remains sacred. The trade of holy objects present nowadays is an explicit offense to God, a sacrilege. It is forbidden to sell out sacred vessels outside of the Catholic Church. They cannot come out from consecrated hands into unconsecrated hands, let alone in the hands of pagans and godless people. The Church will also pay for this abuse, for selling off holiness, the property of God, as if it was the property of man. During wars, people perished for sacred vessels, so they would not to fall into the hands of infidels. These people received their reward. In the same way, those who are selling the sacred vessels will incur a just punishment. No destitution is great enough to make it worthwhile for man to sell the property of God, which is holy forever, because, if only once, it was used during the holy Eucharist.
9. Loss of the sense of sacrifice
The offertory is also the time of the self-sacrifice of the faithful. Our own sacrifice should be joined with the sacrifice of Jesus. Offering everything to God and counting on His mercy. Christ said that whoever will give Him his life because of Him, will gain eternal life. A Christian today does not die in the arenas, ripped apart by wild animals, but dies every day through a life and death struggle with a world of evil that surrounds him everywhere. Therefore, at the time of the offertory, each man can offer to God his life, offer it every day and loose it every day for Christ, according to His Will, as He wants and when He wants. And yet, the willingness to accept martyrdom, if only it was just a martyrdom of the spirit, is accepted as if that sacrifice had taken place, even if at the end of ends it would not have happened, because a pure heart and a sincere intention are accepted by God; not blood and pain, but the desire to offer oneself and become blood and pain for Him out of love for Him. Therefore, we can offer our lives in sacrifice to God every day. And if it is done with a sincere intention, God accepts it as if we would have suffered martyrdom for Him every day. Our possibilities of offering ourselves in sacrifice to God and giving Him our life out of love for Him are endless for us.
10. Lack of understanding of the Golgotha
After the preface, Christ receives His cross. He walks the streets of Jerusalem, but before He embarks on this painful march, the world will hail Him a traitor worthy of death on the cross. The mouths that he desires to feed, the cheeks from which he desires to wipe off tears, all that is changing into the terrible faces of murderers, who in a blind rage, like ravenous wolves, demand the blood of the Innocent. The crowd of murderers, frightening in the strength of this hatred, terrifies Pilate. He surrenders and hands over innocent blood. The entire Heaven falls on its face, because the verdict has been pronounced and God has been handed over to blasphemers, handed over at the mercy of sinners, so they may torture His poor body and destroy it by all means. O how holy and innocent is the One who has been sentenced, how millions of angels rejoice that He has accepted this suffering and fulfilled the Will of the Father. He will open Heaven to lost souls and bring them back to paradise, but how many more tears will be shed before this occurs.
Christ is glorified to the Heavens, to Heaven raises the adoration and the signing of the soul of the grieving Mother. How great is the One in whom there is no shred of bitterness or sorrow towards the Father, even though He innocently accepts the greatest punishment. Our ”Holy, Holy” should be sung in honor of this King, who embarks in an angelic procession, full of dignity, even though humanly on par with an animal and rushed to an inhumane death. Through this singing, we are joining with the signing of the angels, who admittedly grieving, are worshipping Christ for His innocence and purity with which He accepts the hatred of the whole world, directed against Himself. Our ”Holy, Holy” throws flowers under the feet of the marching Christ, sheets silk under His feet, kisses on the wounded face: the adoration of the Church, His Bride being born in pain.
When Christ is nailed to the cross, our thoughts should be with Him. We should unite with His Sacrifice our own helplessness, in which we are unable to make any move. One more ”fiat” – may Thy Will be done in my infirmity, illness, stupidity, sinfulness, weakness. I surrender all this to You God, and I count on Your mercy, because in the hands of these ”enemies” I am helpless. May the strokes of the hammer be for us strokes into our hearts. May they shake us, so that we do not sleep away our life. After each stroke inflicted to Christ – a silent groan, but perseverance. May the same groan come out of our hearts, but let us never abandon the path of God through suffering, because God will bring relief, only we should ask with confidence.
- a) It is not enough to stand under the cross to be saved
All these events are truly happening, even though we can not see them. We only see the signs through which we enter into these sacred mysteries. Jesus on the cross can not be alone. If we come under the cross, we have to co-suffer with Him, we have to be grateful to Him, and we have to raise our hearts to His Heart in order to cover up before Him the image of the abomination, the blasphemy and the insults of the world. As the Church, we are the consolation of the Blessed Mother, the consolation for the weeping John, Magdalena and holy women, those few under the cross who wept. We have to remember that it is not enough to stand under the cross to be saved. We have to co-suffer, console, sympathize and ask, regret for sins and love, first of all love. Coming to the Holy Mass and standing indifferently towards the dying God, we change into vain onlookers, cruel in their indifference, and increase the suffering of Christ instead of having compassion for Him. And by sinning if only in thoughts, we join the executioners. Being so close to the cross, we have to be the most careful, because here hangs in balance the fate of the world. We are the closest to God’s love and we can hurt it the most. Thus, nobody, like the Church, can comfort or increase the suffering of the Savior, because nobody was allowed closer to the cross and to the Savior.
- b) Deadness and apathy on today’s Golgotha
At this moment, I have to draw your eyes upon you and show you what Jesus sees from His cross. I am not talking here about the crimes of the world, but about you who are standing under the cross. Jesus is looking for friends. He looks around and wants to find any, even the smallest consolation, which will give Him encouragement and strength. Among the few gathered under the cross, He sees only but a few souls, and even this is rare. People, full of obliviousness and disbelief, are thinking about their problems, waiting for the end of the Holy Mass. It is as if they were saying: ”When will He finally die?” The altar boys are poking at each other, the priest confuses the words of the prayer, there is a reverberating squeak, all eyes turn towards the sound, emptiness, deadness, nothingness. At the time of the elevation, Jesus sees all those who pretend to kneel, who crouch for fear of scandal and condemnation from the side of people, who kneel because of people and not because of God. Jesus is looking for and wants to meet the gaze of a soul who loves Him, but no one is looking at Him. Some are soothing children; others bow their heads but forget why they are doing it; others arrange their clothes or try to accommodate their knees so they would not feel discomfort; still others are searching with their gaze something more worthy of interest. The entire church falls into a kind of apathy, knowing that something is happening because of what they should behave distinctively, but actually do not know how. So they wait through this moment, and only come back to life at the words of the priest who calls them to pray ‘’Our Father’’. The priests, tempted by the evil spirit, are often running with their thoughts into the future, planning their duties and goings-on. And when lifting Jesus, they do so mechanically, without love and without faith, not giving Him the opportunity to receive His due glory. It is as if this moment was inconvenient and incomprehensible also for the priest. Even he wishes for this strange moment, during which he does not really know how he should feel and what he should say, to already end.
11. Lack of understanding of the agony of God
The prayer ‘’Our Father’’, which has an enormous strength because it is spoken along with the prayer of Christ on the cross, is sung hastily, without thinking. If everyone focused on at least one request in order to say it from the heart, how great a field of action for Heaven. The moment of death of the Savior goes unnoticed among the faithful, painlessly and without reflection, because the human mind is then turned away from God and directed toward the side of man. During the instant when Christ says goodbye to the world and reaches the summit of His suffering, when His Passion and fear will exceed the threshold of endurance even for God, when He needs the most our prayers and compassion, we turn away from Him in a way so that He remains completely alone, dying in solitude, unnoticed and unglorified.
12. The liturgical reform – to leave God alone
Here is the strength of your reform: to leave Him alone in order to turn towards man, for man and to bow to man. It has never been the Will of Christ that at the time of His death, man would leave Him alone in order to look for approbation and acceptance of men. I am talking about your embraces and handshakes. When your eyes should be directed towards God, then they have been turned away from Him, precisely then. The old liturgy did not provide for the transmission of the ”sign of peace.” And what is this sign? A sign for whom? It is Christ, dying on the cross, who is leaving us His peace. By joining with Christ, we gain peace. At that moment, we can not have any hatred in ourselves, because precisely due to this hatred Christ is dying. We should forgive all offenses and become a vessel of the peace of Christ, receive Christ with His peace into our hearts, because in a moment it will become reality. Thus, the peace in us should be absolute forgiveness and willingness to be Christ, replacing Him among people. When He has already died on the cross, we ought to continue His work when he is leaving this world; but it has nothing to do with the squeezing of hands of all those for whom we feel sympathy. This habit became a nod towards the side of man and an attempt to divert, actually a diversion of the attention from Jesus. The peace should be in the heart and in the will, in reconciliation and in forgiveness. This sign, which was introduced by the reform, has no theological basis and is a yet another attempt to turn man away from God and turn his actions towards man, and not towards God.
13. Driving out of the faith in the presence of Lord Jesus during Holy Communion
The sacrifice of Christ is completed. But not ours. For us begins the time of the miracle for which Christ calls us. To experience this miracle, we have to give everything to Christ, our entire life, and in exchange receive His entire life. We can possess His entire life offered to the Father on the cross by receiving the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus makes present His merits and His life in the Blessed Sacrament. When we receive it, we become united with Jesus through the merits of His Passion towards the Father. The eternal life lost in man returns. Christ invigorates every cell by His Blood, makes us a new creation in the image of Excellence, in order to finally completely transform us into Himself. However, Christ is not intrusive. He will only take as much space in the soul as He will receive. If it will be a scanty corner, he will also be pleased with it, and will be waiting there for more.
- a) It has been forgotten that the Holy Communion fills with God
The more we give ourselves to Christ in the Holy Communion, the more His Sacrifice fills us with God. Receiving the holy Nourishment, we become holy ourselves, filled with light and destined to eternal glory. Man was formed from the breath of God. The dust and powder used by the Creator has to show us that our entire humanity, in its higher essence, comes from God. Man is nothing and God is everything. Just as God the Father, during creation, breathed life into dust and dust became man, so today Christ breathes (new life) into us in the Holy Communion. We stayed dust and powder, but now this dust and powder has gained eternal life and is eternal, having God in itself. Receiving the Holy Communion transforms us into a new creature, a creature according to the design of the Father. Jesus, united with the original design of the Father, realizes His Will in each soul who accepts Him, in His humility giving glory to God through man, from within the human soul.
- b) We ceased to worship God in the Holy Communion
Through the Holy Communion, God is glorified in the most perfect way, because He is glorified by Christ Himself, united with man in the Holy Communion. The act of the Holy Communion is not only a kiss of love of the soul and her Savior, but the closest mystical embrace of the entire Holy Trinity with the human soul. Christ, coming into the soul, purifies it and prepares it for a full union with the Holy Trinity. The essence of love that is contained in this Sacrament is made present and fulfilled through the shared sacrifice: the Sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the soul, who accepts this Sacrifice of God and unites it with her own little sacrifice, made at the measure of her possibilities. But the more generous this sacrifice is, the more it pleases God. The more we give to God, the more He will fill us with Himself, and so He will make our sacrifices similar to His Sacrifice, the Sacrifice of Christ. So much about the Holy Communion, so that you may know its eternal and out of this world dimension.
- c) Maltreated God
As for the Holy Communion, I probably already I told you everything that I wanted to say. I will not speak to you about how people proceed and what they do with this great gift. It is very painful.
14. Loss of the sense of the blessing
I will tell you now about what follows, about the blessing of the priest. People in the church sometimes leave before the blessing; sometimes they do not wait for it at all because they do not desire it. They do not understand what it gives them and why it is provided. You see, Christ, when departing from the earth, blessed it, blessed the apostles, and gave them His peace. This peace, which He left, is the beginning of Heaven. It leaves in the soul a longing for the immaculate, eternal peace.
The peace in God that we achieve on earth is imperfect, because it largely depends on ourselves; but even if we pray for peace during struggle, we will receive it. This concerns the peace of the soul in which one dwells in union with Christ. This peace is stronger than the attacks of the evil spirit, and it can be kept deep within the soul, even when everything around is full of unrest. The earth is not at peace. The more peace there is within us, the more Satan seems to kill this peace. However, the Holy Spirit multiplies this grace within us when we really need it. Christians should not be afraid of any events, because they are embraced by the grace of Christ. This grace, which protects them, strengthens them and makes them independent from the world, flows out from the blessing. Through the sign of the cross that the priest makes over the faithful, the Holy Spirit provides graces at the measure of the opening of the soul to that grace; and depending on the Will of God, it flows in a different way on different souls.
When departing, Jesus blessed the apostles, so they may carry His peace to their homes. This peace is abiding in Him. Only such a peace is durable. The blessing provides us with the grace of the presence of Christ, who acts in this blessing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Without this blessing, we would not be able to do anything. Each blessing that we take away after the Holy Mass, comes out form Heaven into the world and acts, acts by transforming and shaping the world in the image of God.
The road of every blessing is far-reaching in its consequences. It sometimes reaches very far and brings goodness in places where it can not to be expected at all. Thus, always take the blessing and ask for it. The blessing is a direct pull of graces from Heaven for our needs, our miseries and our anxieties. It is the peace of God, which by descending, transforms the world.
I want you to further pass down the blessings that you receive from priests. Not only they can bless. In the Name of God, the Spirit gives Himself to those who believe, and He only seeks souls thirsty for His graces. The blessing surrounds those who ask for it and receive it with love. I bless you daughter. Amen.
Translated from : Tajemnica Mszy świętej według św. Ojca Pio na podstawie Orędzi na Czasy Ostateczne które własnie nadeszły, Grzechynia 2013, p. 25-49