On the Catholic Priesthood
The Importance of an exact observance of the holy rubrics
St. Vincent de Paul said his Mass with such unction and fervor that all could see that his heart spoke through his lips. His modesty, the serenity of his countenance, his whole exterior appearance were calculated to impress the least susceptible of this audience. They observed in his person something so exceptionally noble and at the same time so humble that often some of them were heart to whisper to others: "How well that priest says Mass!"
On the other hand, it would be impossible to calculate the evil done to religion by inattentive, indevout, worldly looking priests, who, while celebrating, seem intent only on accomplishing their task in the shortest possible time, seemingly indifferent as to whether they offer God homage or insult. Seeing them, one would be tempted to ask, with Tertullian: " Sacrificat an insultat?" Let us suppose that St. Basil and the other ministers who served him at the altar in the church of Cesarea had been wont to celebrate Mass in a trivial, unbecoming manner, instead of that imposing solemnity which fills us with an awe-inspiring sense of God's presence in our sanctuaries; could they have so terrified the Emperor Valens as to make him turn pallid and tremble when he advanced toward the altar to present an offering which none would receive at his hands, because he was guilty of heresy?
We have read of a heretic who, after many conferences with a saint and learned religious, had resolved to embrace the true faith; but having observed priests offer the holy sacrifice without respect or devotion, he was so scandalized by their irreverence that he could not be convinced to the truth of Catholic doctrines, or that those priests themselves believed them, and he completely abandoned the idea of entering the true Church.
One of the most infallible means of preventing that routine indifference which too great familiarity with sacred things so often superinduces, of escaping the abysses of evil which it leads to, as well as of fostering in our souls that feeling of religious awe so essential to the most sublime and sacred of all ministries, is to habituate ourselves to an exact observance of the holy rubrics, and to perform as perfectly as possible each one of the prescribed ceremonies. This is of the highest practical importance.