Something happened at Mass this afternoon and I don't know what it was or why it occurred.
At least five of us in the congregation, choir and serving on the altar independently experienced it.
It was not influenced at all by the music, beautiful as it was; it was felt as soon as Mass started with the Asperges.
The feeling was palpable, as if Christ Himself had suddenly materialised on the sanctuary.
If Christ was present, so were His angels, it was St Augustine who said that:
"When Mass is being celebrated, the sanctuary is filled with countless angels who adore the divine victim immolated on the altar."
They were certainly present today; I have never quite experienced anything similar before.
It was if a voice was saying: "Nothing matters except Me, all will be well "
Now I apologise if this all sounds rather schmaltzy or spiritualist, even. It was nothing like that.
It was a profoundly Catholic experience, I cannot say more than that.
But a friend who was present emailed me with this sentence that goes a long way to summing it up:
"The Mass was so beautiful today; the reverence shown to Our Lord was very moving. The gentle bows in adoration; the pauses in the Gloria Patri...; the genuflections......it was all so lovely. I wanted it to last and last".
Just for the record, this clip is the same Mass (Orbis Factor) that was sung by the Newcastle Emlyn Schola today.
And....a reminder, for me, as to why the Holy Mass is so critical to our welfare
from the Catholic Bible website
"At the hour of death the Holy Masses you have heard devoutly will be your greatest consolation.
By every Mass you can diminish the temporal punishment due to your sins, more or less, according to your fervour.
By devoutly assisting at Holy Mass you render the greatest homage possible to the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord. ...
Through the Holy Sacrifice, Our Lord Jesus Christ supplies for many of your negligences and omissions.
He forgives you all the venial sins which you are determined to avoid. He forgives you all your unknown sins which you never confessed.
The power of Satan over you is diminished.
By piously hearing Holy Mass you afford the Souls in Purgatory the greatest possible relief.
Through Holy Mass you are preserved from many dangers and misfortunes which would otherwise have befallen you. You shorten your Purgatory by every
Through the Holy Mass you are blessed in your temporal goods and affairs.
When you hear Holy Mass devoutly, offering it to Almighty God in honour of any particular Saint or Angel, thanking God for the favors bestowed on him, etc., you afford that Saint or Angel a new degree of honour, joy and happiness, and draw his special love and protection on yourself.
Every time you assist at Holy Mass, besides other intentions, you should offer it in honour of the Saint of the day.
In holy Mass, in obedience to Christ's command, "Do this in remembrance of me," we of the Church offer perfect praise to the heavenly Father, and sanctify ourselves and the world by the power that flows from the priestly office of our eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ.
The benefits of even one holy Mass are infinite and include the whole world. The blood of the new and everlasting covenant was "shed for you and for all."
In every Mass that is offered the Church remembers before God "those who take part in this offering, those here present and all your people, and all who seek you with a sincere heart." In a special way those who have holy Mass offered and those for whom a Mass is offered partake of the grace of the Eucharistic sacrifice.
The Church which offers Mass each day includes not only the faithful on earth, but the saints in heaven, as well as the suffering souls still awaiting entrance into heaven.
It is a pious and praiseworthy custom for the faithful to have Masses offered for their particular intentions, and especially for departed friends and loved ones. It is a laudable Catholic practice when requesting Mass for a special intention to make an offering both for the support of the priest who will celebrate the Mass and to provide for the needs of the altar as well as the materials required for the holy Sacrifice.
It is very sad that so many non-Catholic Christians consider the Mass to be an abomination. It is just the opposite. It is the one-time sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross recreated, through time and space, in an unbloody fashion, just like Jesus did during the Last Supper".