Everyone knows that the first duty of man is to adore God. No sooner was man created than this
necessary homage became due. All know likewise that the perfect way of expressing this homage is by
sacrifice: the mode of adoration revealed by the Almighty Himself to man. We find it prevalent wherever
man exists. No nation, however barbarous, no religion, however false or idolatrous, but has had its
sacrifices. From the foundation of the world, no age or nation ever pretended to adore God without a
sacrifice, until Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Henry VIII, King of England, and other heresiarchs with their
followers came up as the first sectarians among Christians to deprive the Almighty of this right of
On the day when Luther and men of the same stamp denied the Real Presence of Jesus Christ
in the Mass, and succeeded by means of the civil authority to abolish this Holy Sacrifice, they deprived
all their followers of the greatest gifts and consolations that God, in His infinite power, wisdom and love,
had bestowed upon the world. The hearts of their fellowmen they left utterly void; they flung back
Christianity, as far as their tenets obtained, two thousand years into the realms of Judaism; they
stripped the Christian altar bare, and left it poorer than the altar in the temple of Jerusalem, for man
had no longer the comfort nor the help of a visible Sacrifice. The domain of Protestantism presents
indeed in its bleak and dreary waste a sad proof of what the absence of the lifegiving Lamb of God really
is. Until Protestantism appeared to cast a blight on worship, who ever heard of a religion, Christian or
pagan, whose very essence did not consist in an external sacrifice? In this respect the Reformation has
protested against the unanimous voice of mankind, and therefore the Protestant service is as contracted
in its nature as it is meager in its details, as it is cold and unimpressive in its general effect.
In the Protestant service almost everything is for the ear, and scarcely anything for the eye and the heart.
Protestants, those in Germany even, lately began to understand and to deplore this desecration and
desolation of God’s holy sanctuary…It is related of Frederick II, King of Prussia, that after having assisted
at a solemn High Mass celebrated in the Church of Breslau by Cardinal Tringendorf, he remarked: “The
Calvinists treat God as an inferior, the Lutherans treat Him as an equal; but the Catholics treat Him as
God.” Yes indeed, it is only the Catholic Church that is the home for our dear Savior. His Presence fills
her halls to overflowing with joy and gladness. Her propitiatory altars are the anchors of hope for the
sinner; her sanctuaries the ante-chambers of Heaven. Take away the Blessed Sacrament, and you take
away her Savior. Give her the Blessed Sacrament and you give her a glory, an honor, a triumph the
greatest possible this side of Paradise. Her altars are the altars of joy, because they are the altars of the
Saving Victim for the sins of the world, for which reason the robed priest begins the tremendous
Sacrifice with the antiphon; “I will go unto the altar of God, to God who rejoiceth my youth.”
O Salutaris Hostia! Bella premunt hostilia, Da robur, fer auxilium!
O Saving Host! Our foes press nigh; Thy strength bestow, Thine aid supply!
Who can fail to be impressed by the grandeur, the solemnity, and the noble dignity of the Catholic
ceremonial? Who has not felt a sentiment of reverence? The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and of awe
creep over him when, at the most solemn part of the service, the peal of the organ ceases, the voice of
music is hushed, and, while clouds of incense are ascending, the priests, the ministers, and the people
fall prostrate in silent prayer before the altar in which the Lamb is present “as it were slain”! Who has
not felt a thrill of rapturous emotion when, after this solemn moment has passed, the music again peals
forth, mingling joyous with solemn notes, and pouring out a stream of delicious melody over the soul!
Who has not been struck with the pathetic simplicity, the unction and the massive grandeur of the
Gregorian chant, especially in the Preface and the Pater Noster! And who has failed to mark the
reverential awe with which Catholics are wont to assist at the service, as well as the general respect they pay to the Church of God!