Lord Jesus, drawing nigh with boldness to the throne of grace, we pray thee mercifully to behold and hear our prayer: that thy glory, which in the Sacrament of thy love is outraged perpetually by the blasphemies of wicked men, may by the perpetual worship of thy family be repaired (Collect from the Feast of Reparation of Insults Offered to the Most Holy Sacrament found in the Missae pro Aliquibus Locis).
Movable Masses in Some Places
Turning to the Sacred Liturgy of Holy Mother Church, there is a fascinating list of movable Masses related to our Lord’s Passion that are kept in some places and by some religious orders – but not on the Church’s Universal Calendar. These Masses in some places can be found in the supplement of the traditional Roman Missal under Missae pro Aliquibus Locis and some of the feastdays in the list include:
- The Prayer of Christ (Tuesday after Septuagesima): This was kept by the Dominicans, who had separate feasts for most of the Mysteries of the Rosary not already on the general calendar.
- The Commemoration of the Passion of Christ (Tuesday after Sexagesima): This was a Passionist Feast.
- The Feast of Reparation of Insults Offered to the Most Holy Sacrament (Thursday after Sexagesima)
- The Feast of the Holy Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ Deformed in the Passion (Tuesday after Quinquagesima): Mass said in reparation for the sins of Mardi Gras.
- The Sacred Crown of Thorns (Friday after Ash Wednesday): This was kept at Notre Dame in Paris and also at St Peter’s, which has two of the thorns.
- The Sacred Lance and Nails (Friday after the First Sunday in Lent): This was very popular in late medieval Germany and the Low Countries, under the title “Arma Domini,” but usually kept in Eastertide, on the Friday after Low Sunday.
- The Holy Shroud (Friday after the Second Sunday in Lent): This was kept in Turin, Italy.
- The Five Holy Wounds (Friday after the Third Sunday in Lent)
- The Precious Blood (Friday after the Fourth Sunday in Lent): This was the original date for the Precious Blood Fathers and also for Westminster Cathedral.
Those familiar with the Church’s Liturgy will be aware that the calendars for various Orders and Dioceses will differ, among other reasons, due to different patronal and titular saints observed in each Diocese. While some feasts were always kept on a certain date (e.g., the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Los Angeles kept the Commemoration of All Holy Popes on July 3rd), the above feastdays changed based on the date of Easter each year. As such, most of these movable Masses in some places had a focus on Our Lord’s Passion. And two of the Votive Masses offered in Septuagesima are especially appropriate opportunities for us to make fitting Eucharistic reparation.
Why Eucharistic Reparation Is Earnestly Needed
There is an absolute need for devout Eucharistic Adoration and fervent Communions for the monstrous ways Our Lord is mistreated so openly today.
What are these ways by which He is offended? First and foremost, unworthy Communions (also known as sacrilegious Communions), when someone who is not in the state of grace receives the Blessed Sacrament. The Catechism of the Council of Trent states,
As of all the sacred mysteries bequeathed to us by our Lord and Savior as most infallible instruments of divine grace, there is none comparable to the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist; so, for no crime is there a heavier punishment to be feared from God than for the unholy or irreligious use by the faithful of that which contains the author and source of holiness.
St. Cyril of Alexandria explains further the gravity when he says,
They who make a sacrilegious Communion receive Satan and Jesus Christ into their heart. Satan, that they may let him rule, and Jesus Christ that they may offer Him in sacrifice to Satan.
That’s a sacrilegious Communion. That’s why it is so grave and evil, and truly few sins offend the Lord’s heart as much as this. Indeed, Our Lord told St. Bridget in a vision, “There does not exist on earth a punishment great enough to punish it sufficiently.”
How can we possibly make reparation for the countless sacrilegious Communions taking place every Sunday? How can we possibly make reparation for all irreverent behavior in the presence of the Lord? People talking with each other like they are at a dinner service. Or how many people fail to genuflect to the Lord in the Tabernacle? Or how many people fail to treat the Lord worthily and allow themselves to neglect the Humble Lord who has deigned to come down to be eaten by us?
In the presence of the Lord’s tabernacle, there must be a quiet, reverential silence out of respect for the Lord Who is present before us. And yet how few parishes still maintain this silence in the actual church building where the Lord Himself dwells.
And in our world now, there are even worse things done against the Lord. In a 2011 conference, the Chief Exorcist of Rome talked about how active occult and satanic practices are today. He said that on the Saturday before every major feast and on the day before every Marian feast, these Satanists in Rome gather from midnight until 3 AM (the hours furthest from those during which Our Lord was hanging on the Cross), and they celebrate the most heinous and horrible Black Masses. These Satanists steal consecrated Hosts and offer them to Satan during their diabolical acts. One of our acts of reparation must be specifically to make reparation for these heinous acts.
We must make Eucharistic Reparation, and this Septuagesima we have in the Church’s Liturgy two great opportunities to do so.
Votive Feast of Reparation of Insults Offered
to the Most Holy Sacrament
The Votive Feast of Reparation of Insults Offered to the Most Holy Sacrament is traditionally the Thursday after Sexagesima and represents for us an ideal day to observe Eucharistic Reparation. This year this day will fall on February 24th.
For priests seeking to offer this Mass, or for the faithful who wish to pray the prayers of this Mass at home for devotional and reparatory purposes, an English/Latin guide to the Mass Propers may be found by clicking here. The document includes the Mass chants, which historically featured a Sequence. You will even notice that an Alleluia included, along with a lengthy Tract, so it could be used outside of the time of Septuagesima or Lent.
This is a votive feast that priests should consider offering not just in Septuagesima but throughout the year on ferias when Votive Masses are permitted. For those who would like to pray the Office according to this Votive Feast, a PDF of the Latin prayers from the Breviary may be obtained by clicking here.
Votive Feast of the Holy Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Deformed in the Passion
Each year on the Tuesday after Quinquagesima, this Votive Mass is said in some places as reparation for the sins of Mardi Gras. This is also the origin of the 40 Hours Devotion, which parishes should consider offering at this time for these offenses, for sins against the Eucharist, and for sins against the sacred Lenten fast.
Known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday is a day that has transformed from one final day of fun and merriment and meat eating to a day of public scandal and sin for many. Unfortunately, with so few actually keeping the true Lenten fast, it is a mockery that anyone would celebrate Fat Tuesday who does not commit to an authentically austere Lent. In fact, Our Blessed Lord asked for reparation for sins of Mardi Gras when He appeared to Mother Pierina in 1938:
See how I suffer. Nevertheless, I am understood by so few. What gratitude on the part of those who say they love me. I have given My Heart as a sensible object of My great love for man and I give My Face as a sensible object of My Sorrow for the sins of man. I desire that it be honored by a special feast on Tuesday in Quinquagesima (Shrove Tuesday – the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday). The feast will be preceded by novena in which the faithful make reparation with Me uniting themselves with my sorrow.
The Facebook Page “Restore the ’54” shares the following on the Votive Feast of the Holy Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ Deformed in the Passion:
This Feast is not found in the Missae pro Aliquibus Locis of most editions of the Roman Missal. The Devotion to the Holy Face has its origins in the 12th century, with the relic of the Veil of Veronica kept at St. Peter’s Basilica. The different Masses of the Holy Face used today and throughout history honor this relic which is guarded in the Vatican Basilica.
The Mass for this Feast appears in a Missal from St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, dating from the 1500’s. There is also a Votive Mass of the Holy Face in the Holy Land, which formed the 6th Mass of the ‘Via Crucis.’
In 1889 Leo XIII approved the Confraternity of the Holy Face. Then, in 1910 St. Pius X through an S.R.C. decree approved a Mass for the Holy Face using the Mass ‘Humiliavit’ (used as the Votive Mass of the Passion for Fridays and Tuesday within Sexagesima) along with three specially composed prayers for the Collect, Secret, and Postcommunion.
As Fr. Stefano Pedica, O.S.B. writes, ‘The Mass of the Holy Face of Jesus was permitted by the Holy Pope Pius X, who desired that it might be the same Mass of the Passion, namely the “Missa Humiliavit” with three “appropriate prayers” shedding light upon and determining the liturgical and theological sense of what is proper and due to the Most Sacred Face of the Redeemer…There appears clearly in the prayers the meaning the Holy See desires, about the devotion to the Holy Face. Veronica is not mentioned in them, as in the ancient prayers, nor is there mention of anything which could in the slightest way give cause to critics to oppose that which Holy Mother Church proposes to the faithful, in “lex orandi” and “lex credendi.” The wording taken from the Old and New Testaments, confers a dogmatic rather than historic value to the cult of the Holy Face. The Votive Mass of the Most Holy Face of Jesus has been requested by very many Religious Communities (particularly the Benedictine-Silvestrines) and in various Dioceses throughout the world; showing that the devotion to the Holy Face is always growing and more deeply felt in the souls of the faithful.’
This feast, being one of reparation, also pairs well with the age old custom of having the Forty Hours Devotion in reparation for Carnival, which ends on this day.
The Mass “Propter te sustínui,” which is older than the 1910 prescription for the Missa “Humiliavit,” belongs to the Missals of the dioceses of Fréjus and Marseille (France) and is one of the two Masses used today for the Feast of the Holy Face. Although, with the 1910 decree from the S.R.C., it would be prudent to use the Missa “Humiliavit” with the three proper prayers.
Priests, please offer this Mass on Fat Tuesday this year with a focus on reparation. The propers of this Mass may be found by clicking here. And offer the 40 Hour Devotion in reparation to our Lord. And for the faithful, printing off the Collect from this Mass and saying it throughout the day in the spirit of reparation would be very worthwhile:
Omnipotent and merciful God, deign, we beseech you, grant to all those who honor with us the face of your Christ, disfigured by His Passion for our sins, the grace to see Him for eternity in all the splendor of celestial glory. Through the same Jesus Christ…
Reparation Makes a Difference
Pope Pius XI expressed the importance of reparation when he wrote,
If during His Sacred Passion the soul of Christ became sorrowful unto death because of our sins, which were as yet in the future but were foreseen, it cannot be doubted that then too He derived some comfort from our reparation which was then too foreseen.
He continues, “And so now, in a wondrous yet true manner, we can and ought to console that most Sacred Heart that is continually wounded by the sins of thankless men.”
This is a fitting time for us to pray as a family, or individually, other prayers of reparation to our Lord who is continuously offended by those receiving the Holy Eucharist in a state of mortal sin.
Lastly, while not specific to Septuagesima, request Masses to be said solely for the intention of making reparation to the Lord. And if you can, attend that Mass and receive Communion with the intention of making reparation. The Raccolta specifically mentions an indulgence for such a meritorious act.
Matthew Plese is a Third Order Dominican who resides in Chicago, IL. Matthew is a practicing Certified Public Accountant and Catechist. He is the President of CatechismClass.com, an online based organization whose mission is to make the best in Catholic religious education and Sacramental preparation available for those who need it. Matthew writes a monthly piece on apologetics and catechesis for Catholic Family News and a weekly column for the Fatima Center. He is also the author of Catholic Book Summaries: 54 Traditional and Contemporary Classics; Eschatology: The Catholic Study of the Four Last Things; Understanding the Precepts of the Church, and The Roman Catechism Explained for the Modern World as well as The Definitive Guide to Catholic Fasting & Abstinence. He also blogs at A Catholic Life.