Dom Prosper Guéranger (1805-1875) devoted himself to liturgical scholarship, polemics, and the establishment of Benedictine communities in France.
The Holy Mass is Guéranger’s most extensive treatment of the heart of the liturgy and firmly established him as a leading liturgist. By turns devotional, exegetical and historical, this is therefore a timely publication of one of the great treasures of Catholic liturgical spirituality.
Preface to the Original Edition
The Great Bishop of Poitiers, Mgr. Pie, in his funeral Oration on our Father, Dom. Guéranger, said: “You have long been feasting at a royal board, where you were daily regaled with the most delicate and varied food. Those Conferences on the Christian Life and Virtues, and that incomparable Commentary on your Rule,—you have no right to keep them to yourselves.”
Notwithstanding so pressing an invitation on the part of so competent a judge, as was this devoted friend of our Father, we have hesitated long before yielding up to public gaze the secret of our family treasure. It seemed to us that such notes as these would only do for his own sons, eager of paternal instructions and never likely to carp at either the simplicity of the form, or at the incorrectness of the language.
But so very many friends, assiduous readers of Dom Guéranger’s Liturgical Year, by their repeated solicitations and earnest appeals, have succeeded at length in dissipating our first fears. They are fully aware that they cannot expect to find once more the eminent writer himself, in mere notes, jotted down at the time, almost on the sly, and afterwards hastily put together in a form, the faultiness and inexactitude of which can never be imputed to any one, save to the more or less faithful copyists. But there is one thing they are sure to find in these pages,—the Teacher and the Father, who in intimacy with his friends or his monks, ever with lavish hand, distributed that sure and luminous doctrine which leads souls to God.
We here open our proposed publications, by a short commentary on the Ceremonies of Holy Mass, incomplete though we certainly know it to be, in many points, and characterised, as were all our Father’s Conferences, by a total absence of all pretension to erudition: we have not, therefore, presumed to change or add anything. Yet, mere notes, as these are, they seem to us calculated to do good of no little importance.
In order to render them of more practical utility, we have given, in the Appendix, the Ordinary of the Mass, interspersed with the same paraphrase, which has already appeared in the Liturgical Year of Dom Guéranger.
Thus will the Faithful be provided, in this small work, with an efficient means of uniting themselves with the Priest in an enlightened manner, and be helped to derive more fruit from their assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
On the welcome accorded to this first attempt at giving publicity to our family treasures, will depend our future decision as to the opportuneness of continuing the proposed series of this Collection of Notes.