LAST SUNDAY’S Communion antiphon said “O God, from my youth thou hast taught me.” At the beginning of Mass, the priest prays: “I will go in to the altar of God; to God, who giveth joy to my youth.” Here’s a beautiful reflection on these words:
EHOLD THE YOUNG PRIEST with the holy oils fresh upon his consecrated hands. The moment for which he has been longing has arrived: he stands before the holy altar. He signs himself with the sacred Cross and the first exultant words that escape his lips are: “I will go unto the altar of God, unto, God, who giveth joy to my youth!”—beautiful expression of a soul that has clung to God, who has led him to the mount of sacrifice; heavenly expression of love for God, for whom he has despised all worldly and sinful pleasures, to find his joy in Him.
Day after day these words surge up from the heart of the minister of God. Years pass. Maturity is reached with its experience, and perhaps, honors. Old age steals on, with its rich harvest and its peculiar trials, yet the same lips pronounce the same exultant words: “I will go unto the altar of God, unto God, who giveth joy to my youth.” And when the Anointed of the Lord shall stand at the threshold of eternity, when the vision of the Immolated Lamb shall break upon his purified soul in all its dazzling beauty, his lips will once more exclaim: “I will go unto the altar of God, who giveth joy to my youth!” But now his feet must still tread the weary paths of earth; and mindful of his own weakness, the priest continues the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar…
The following pictures which remind of youth’s joys: