Blessed Ildefonso Schuster

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We are reading in refectory this week from Blessed Ildefonso Cardinal Schuster's magnificent work, The Sacramentary. Here is an excerpt from his presentation of the Advent Ember Days.

Prayer and Fasting for Priests and Deacons

An ancient tradition reserved the ordinations of priests and deacons to the month of December, and the faithful -- following a custom introduced by the Apostles themselves -- felt constrained to unite with the bishop in prayer and fasting, in order to call down from God an abundance of priestly gifts upon the heads of those newly chosen to serve at the altar.

The Holiness of the Clergy

In truth the highest interests of Christian people are bound up, to a great extent, with the holiness of the clergy; and since Holy Scripture teaches us that the most terrible chastisement which almighty God inflicts upon perverse nations is to give them pastors and leaders of their own kind, it is evident that the ordination of the sacred ministers is not a matter which concerns merely the bishop and his seminary, but one which is of supreme importance to the whole Catholic body.

For this reason the Acts of the Apostles record the solemn fasts and public prayers which preceded the ordination of the first seven deacons and the mission of Paul and Barnabas as Apostles to the Gentiles.

Mary, Aflame With Jesus

During this season of immediate preparation for Christmas the Church invites us to attach ourselves with special love for Mary, for it is from her that our Advent has its beginning during those nine months in which she bore Our Lord within her. What must have been the feelings of faith, of love, and of zeal which then animated the Virgin so closely united with that God who in the Scriptures is called a consuming fire? Prefigured by the burning bush of Moses, Mary, aflame with Jesus, is the model of all who love him truly.

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The Holy Face of Jesus

[On the Friday in Ember Week] the verse ad offerendum is [also] from Psalm lxxxiv: "Thou, O Lord, who hadst turned away Thy Face from us on account of our sins, mayst Thou be appeased and turn again and look upon us, and the light of Thine eyes shall restore us once more to life." Show us Thy mercy, O Lord, and reveal to us now the Saviour whom Thou hast promised and in whom the patriarchs of old fell asleep full of trust and hope.

The Face of Jesus in heaven is the cause of joy to the angels, but on earth it is the token of God's pity for sinners. We say to the Father, Respice in faciem Christi tui, but let us, too, fix our own gaze on that Face, lest we lose sight of it. As the Eternal Father, when He beholds the Face of Jesus, is touched with compassion for the wretched children of Adam, so let us also show a holy reverence for that Sacred Face and for those pure eyes that look on us so tenderly; let us take care that all our actions are worthy of the ineffable sanctity of that Divine Regard.


Thanks for the wonderful and inspirational post about Blessed Ildefonso Schuster. I hope, Father, you will post more about him and about his work The Sacramentary. Is there an online version of this work? I surfed the net about him but I found none. I am interested with his writings but resources are scarce. Please make him and his works available to all of us, Father.

Thank you.

I really like and love your blog, Don Marco and since 2008 I am an avid fan of your entries. Reading your posts is part of my "e-lectio divina" everyday.

God bless!

Dear Francis, The book is out of print, but is worth its weight in gold. You might see if Loome's Booksellers has a copy? If not, keep on searching. Blessed Advent to you. Thank you for writing.

Ah! "Look upon the Face of Thine Anointed"!!

Regarding "The Holy Face of Jesus" : Interesting that last night I found this "Act of Union with Jesus and Mary after Holy Communion" and recited it today after Mass in our Adoration Chapel in front of our Beloved High Priest and in the presence of the relics of our patroness and others ; then I came here this evening and read this! Thank you, Father for always igniting our hearts with holy inspirations!

Here is the prayer:

O most merciful Father,
who hast so loved me as to give me
Thine Only-begotten Son for my food and drink,
and with Him all things,
look upon the Face of Thine Anointed,
in whom Thou art well pleased.
This Thy Beloved Son,
and with Him my heart,
I offer and present to Thee for all the blessings
Thou hast this day given me.
Mayest Thou, O Father,
be now well pleased in Him,
and through Him turn away Thine indignation from me.

Behold the One Mediator between God and men,
the Man Christ Jesus,
my Advocate and High-Priest,
Who intercedes for me.
Him do I offer and plead before Thee,
who committed no sin,
but bore the sins of the world,
and by whose stripes we are healed.
Accept, therefore, O Holy Father,
this Unspotted Victim,
to the honour and glory of Thy name,
in thanksgiving for all the blessings
Thou hast ever bestowed upon me,
for the remission also of my sins,
and for the supply of all my defects and shortcomings.

O Blessed Virgin,
Mother of my God and Saviour,
present my petitions to thy Son.
O all ye Angels and Saints, citizens of heaven,
join also your prayers with mine.
Ye stand always before the Throne,
and see Him face to face,
whom I here receive under veils.
Be ever mindful of me,
and obtain from Him and through Him
that with you I may bless Him
and love Him for ever.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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