Roberts Liardon tells us that in his quest for holiness, Luther’s works were more intense than the other monks’. He constantly returned to the Bible, searching for peace. Celebration of First Mass Ends in Defeat and Doubt The day came in 1507 when Luther was ordained at the age of twenty-five. He now qualified to perform his first Mass. The day of the Mass had been postponed for one month because his father wasn’t able to make it until then. When Luther’s father did come, he entered town grandly with twenty horsemen and made a sizable donation to the monastery.
Roberts Liardon tells us that Luther was very excited to see his father and to have his father see him in his new lot in life. As wonderful as the day should have been for Luther, it would end in torment. He was so scared during the ceremony of transubstantiation (which is the part in the Catholic Mass where the bread and the wine are believed to actually become the body and blood of Jesus) that he was trembling and nearly ready to flee the altar. But his sheer terror of the almighty God and the thought that God’s tangible presence was before him in the cup kept him glued to the altar. The Mass was a very nerve-racking experience. This was the highest ceremony man could participate in, and the performance of it was exalted in all of society. By his actions, the priest was symbolically reenacting Calvary.
Insecure about his performance, he sought his father’s approval following the Mass. He asked his father why he didn’t approve of him becoming a priest. His father replied that Luther had not followed the commandment of honoring his father and mother, and now they would have to fend for themselves in old age.
But Luther knew the right response. He knew that one had to follow the leadings of God in spite of what others thought. He felt that, if he followed God, his parents would be taken care of. If Luther didn’t follow the Lord, they would all suffer. Eventually, his father got over his anger, but only after he lost two sons to the plague and heard rumors that Luther was dead also.