Mysterium Fidei: "Mystery of Faith"


Years ago, I read something that touched my deepest being: St. Francis de Sales resolved that he would spend his whole day preparing to offer Mass, so that if anyone asked what he was doing, he could always answer: "I am preparing for Mass."

The saint understood that the Holy Eucharist is truly the source and summit of the Christian life. Our whole life comes forth from the endless River of Life flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb (Rev. 22), and it ceaselessly returns there, catching up into this God-ward movement every moment of our every day, making it a living liturgy. If anyone asks us at any moment what we are doing, we are meant to be able to say, "I am offering the Mass of my life".

At the end of the Eucharistic liturgy, we are sent forth to continue the Mass in our own lives, no matter what our vocation. The vocation of the Passionist Nuns uniquely expresses this Christian call, for our vocation places us at the heart of the Church to live a thoroughly liturgical life, 24/7, 365 days a year. By reason of our charism centered on the Mystery of Christ with a special focus and emphasis on the Passion and Death of Jesus, we truly continue the Mass as our way of life.

Consequently, throughout nearly 50 years of Passionist life, I have devoted much prayer, reflection and study to the Catholic liturgy. Continually I find how true are the words of Pope John Paul II: "The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church." (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, #1) I would add: this truth recapitulates the heart of the mystery of our Passionist charism.

To the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit: such was the doxology common to all the Churches in the early centuries. St. Paul of the Cross, the founder of the Passionists, was formed by the spirit of this doxology. Through, with and in Jesus Christ and the fire of the Holy Spirit, Paul experienced God as a boundless ocean of divine life, light and love in which he loved to lose himself. He understood that to penetrate deeply into the inexhaustible mystery of the crucified One, is to be reborn to ever new life in the Divine Word and to find oneself at the heart of Passionist spirituality. He knew that no matter how deeply the Father, Son and Holy Spirit open this mystery to a soul, what still remains to be understood and experienced lies in the unfathomable depths of God, beyond the reach of mortal creatures.

He wanted his spiritual sons and daughters of the Passionist family to enter into and experience more and more of this great Passover to the bosom of the Father, through, with and in Christ Jesus.

These truths and so many others motivate me to share in "Mother’s Notebook" some prayers that have flowed from my heart. Perhaps they may help someone somewhere to enter more deeply into the boundless "Mysterium Fidei" (Mystery of Faith) that is the Holy Eucharist, the Mass. Perhaps these prayers may help someone somewhere to make better preparation for Holy Mass or to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. These can also be used while one sits quietly in solitude.

People often say of some fleeting or even trivial experience: "That was awesome." Nevertheless, we Catholics have the greatest and most truly awesome, awe-inspiring Gift and experience. We have the Holy Eucharist in which the Most Holy Trinity give Themselves to us through, with and in the Divine Victim, Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, whose one perfect Sacrifice is made present to us in every Mass.

Now that is truly awesome!!