The Ceremony of the Mass
I was ordained in the Cathedral of Quebec, September, 1833, by the Right Reverend Signaie, first Archbishop of Canada. This delegate of the pope, by imposing his hands on my head, gave me the power of converting a real wafer into the real substantial body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ! The bright illusion of Eve, when the deceiver told her "Ye shall be as gods," was child's play compared with what I felt. My infallible Church placed me, not only on equal terms with my Saviour and God, but in reality above Him! Hereafter I would not only command, but create Him, not in a spiritual and mystical, but in a real, personal and most irresistible way.
The dignity which I had just received was above all the dignities and thrones of this world. I was to be a priest of my God for ever and ever. Christ now so perfectly associated me with Himself as the great and eternal Sacrificer, that I was to renew, every day of my life, His atoning SACRIFICE! At my bidding, the only and eternally begotten Son of my God was now to come into my hands in Person! The same Christ who sits at the right hand of the Father was to come down every day to unite His flesh to my flesh, His blood to my blood, His divine soul to my poor sinful soul, in order to walk, work and live in me and with me in the most perfect unity and intimacy!
I passed that whole day and the greater part of the night in contemplating these superhuman honors and dignities. Many times I fell on my knees to thank God for His mercies towards me. In the presence of God and His angels, I said to my lips and my tongue, "Be holy now; for you will not only speak to your God: you will give Him a new birth every day!" I said to my heart, "Be holy and pure now; for you will bear every day the Holy of Holies!" To my soul I said, "Be holy now; for you will henceforth be most intimately and personally united to Christ Jesus. You will be fed with the body, blood, soul and divinity of Him before whom the angels do not find themselves pure enough!"
Looking on my table, where my pipe, filled with tobacco, and my snuff-box were lying, I said: "Impure and noxious weeds, you will no more defile me! I am the priest of the Almighty. It is beneath my dignity to touch you any more!" and opening the window I threw them into the street, never to make use of them again.
The next day I was to say my first Mass, and work that incomparable miracle which the Church of Rome calls TRANSUBSTANTIATION. Long before dawn I was dressed and on my knees. This was to be the most holy and glorious day of my life! Raised the day before to great dignity, I was now, for the first time, to work a miracle at the altar which no angel or seraph could do.
It is not an easy thing to go through all the ceremonies of a Mass. There are more than one hundred different ceremonies and positions of the body which must be observed with the utmost perfection. To omit one of them willingly, or through a culpable neglect or ignorance, is eternal damnation. But thanks to a dozen exercises the previous week, and the kind friends who guided me, I went through the performances much more easily than I expected. It lasted about an hour. But when it was over, I was really exhausted by the effort made to keep my mind and heart in unison with the infinite greatness of the mysteries accomplished by me.
To make one's self believe that he can convert a piece of bread into God requires such a supreme effort of the will, and complete annihilation of intelligence, that the state of the soul, after the effort is over, is more like death than life.
I had really persuaded myself that I had done the most holy and sublime action of my life, when, in fact I had been guilty of the most outrageous act of idolatry! My eyes, my hands and lips, my mouth and tongue, and all my senses and intelligence, were telling me that what I had seen, touched, eaten, was nothing but a wafer; but the voices of the pope and his Church were telling me that it was the real body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. I had persuaded myself that the voices of my senses and intelligence were the voices of Satan, and that the deceitful voice of the pope was the voice of the God of Truth! Every priest of Rome must come to that strange folly and perversity, every day of his life, to remain a priest of Rome."