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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
We read in the Old Testament that when the Israelites offered their sacrifices, in which only bulls, lambs and other animals were sacrificed, it was an admirable thing to see with what diligence, restraint and silence all the people attended. Although the number of those present was immense, and there were more than seven hundred ministers and priests, it seemed as if the temple was empty, so much so that everyone refrained from making the slightest noise. Now, if one had so much veneration for these sacrifices, which were only a shadow, a simple figure of ours, what respect, what devotion, what religious silence does not deserve the holy mass, where the Lamb without spot, the Word of God, is immolated for us? This is what Saint Ambrose understood perfectly. When he celebrated Mass, according to Caesarius, after the Gospel, he turned to the people and, after exhorting the faithful to profound recollection, enjoined them to observe the most rigorous silence, and by this he meant not only that they should restrain their tongues and refrain from saying the slightest word, but also that they should refrain from coughing or making a noise. These prescriptions were faithfully observed, and all those who attended Mass felt as if they were seized with a holy fear and deeply moved, so that they gained much fruit and a noticeable increase in grace.