Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Mission Book of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer

A few weeks ago I corresponded with a young man on Reddit, who ended up sending me several old religious books, one of which is the "New Mission Book", released by the Congregation for the Most Holy Redeemer. This copy that I have was printed in 1911 or earlier. I can't say for sure because the first couple pages have fallen out. The book itself has seen better days, but as far as I'm concerned that just adds to its charm. It's quite small, about 3''x4.5'', and just shy of 500 pages. It's divided into sections: basic instruction for Catholics, prayers during Mass, various devotions to the Eucharist, the Child Jesus, the Cross, the Via Crucis, instructions on sacramental devotions, with a focus on Communion and Confession, devotion to Mary, and to the saints, instructions on sickness, the Decalogue, marriage, parenthood, young Catholics, etc..

On the back cover is a little bit of writing. As far as I can tell it says "Mrs. James Lynch. Callis. Minn. Mission June 19th 1911. Not sure what the Callis. Minn. is referring to. Perhaps a town in Minnesota?

Overall it's a very lovely, charming book. It has the very best of the 'old book smell'. In fact, I'm sitting here with the book open beside me, and it feels like the whole room smells like an old archive or library.
I wish there were more books like this being published. They're simple and easy to use, but theologically they're nearly always solid and traditional. I've decided to start collecting, slowly, over perhaps the rest of my life, vintage Catholic prayer books and missals like this one.

Anyway, since I have a bit of spare time on my hands, I want to type up a couple sections from this little book. If I get through this one, I have a few other books like this that I can work through as well.

Page 151

Considerations On Holy Communion

1. The Holy Eucharist is a most precious Gift.

It is, according to St. Augustine, a gift so excellent, that Jesus Christ, though He is all-powerful, cannot bestow on us a more precious gift. What greater treasure can we receive or desire than the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ? If our divine Redeemer had not bestowed this gift on us, who would dare think of such a gift? Who would venture to say to Jesus: Lord, if Thou wishest to convince us of Thy love, remain with us under the species of bread, and permit us to receive Thee as our food! The very thought of such a favor looks like madness. "Does it not look like foolishness," says St. Augustine, "for a God to say to His creatures- Eat My flesh and drink My blood?"
When our loving Redeemer first spoke of giving us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink, many of His hearers left Him, saying: "How can this man give us His flesh to eat? - This saying is hard, and who can hear it?" (John 6. 53, 61.) But what man could not imagine, the great love of Jesus Christ has invented and executed.
St. Bernardine says that our divine Savior has left us this Sacrament as a memorial of the love He has shown us in His passion. This is in accordance with the saying of Jesus Christ Himself: "Do this for a commemoration of Me." (Luke 22. 19.) Our Redeemer's love for us not only prompted Him to sacrifice His life for our salvation, but even constrained Him to bequeath to us the greatest gift in His power - His own divine self. In the Eucharist, according to the declaration of the council of Trent, Jesus Christ "has poured out all the riches of His love for man." In that Sacrament of love the Son of God gives us not only His body and blood, but also His soul and divinity. "He bestowed on us" says St. Thomas, "all that He has and all that He is." Now since the Lord gives Himself entirely to us in the Blessed Eucharist, how can we fear that He will refuse us the graces we ask of Him. "How hath He not also with Him given us all things?" (Rom. 8. 32.)


O my Jesus, what has induced Thee to give Thyself entirely to me? After this gift, what more remains for Thee to give me? Ah, Lord! enlighten me and make me understand the excess of Thy love. Since Thou givest Thyself entirely to me, it is but just that I should give my whole being to Thee. O my loving Redeemer, how could I offend Thee, who lovest me so tenderly, who hast done so much to win my love? For my sake Thou didst become man and suffer death; Thou has even become my food. What more couldst Thou do for me? I love Thee, O infinite Goodness! I love Thee, O inifnite Love! Lord, come often into my soul. Inflame my heart with Thy love. Grant that I may forget all things, and think only of Thee. O most holy Mary, pray for me. By the intercession, make me worthy to receive thy divine Son frequently in holy Communion. Amen.

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