Why are droves of Catholics fleeing the Catholic Church like rats escaping from a sinking ship? Why is it that the largest religious groups the world over are non-practicing Catholics? You can offer massive reasons for the loss of many Catholics who used to practice their faith—many of whom were baptized, confirmed, and married in the Church. Many of the reasons given have a valid explanation, to a certain degree.
However, it must be asserted, with all sincerity, that one of the primary reasons must be the lack of understanding, belief, and faith in the reality of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Many forgot what the Holy Mass is. Many do not believe in the Real Presence of the Eucharist once the host is consecrated. Still more, there are many who never believed in the first place because of a weak, diluted, watered down or erroneous catechesis, especially so on the Holy Mass, the Eucharist, and Holy Communion.
In this short essay, we would like to motivate those Catholics who believe in Holy Mass and the Eucharist to fortify and bolster their faith all the more. We would invite those who have drifted away to return; it is never too late, and the loving Father that we meet in the Prodigal Son Parable (Lk 15:11-32) always has His arms opened wide to receive His wandering sons and daughters.
To whet your appetite, we will expound briefly upon just a few of the extraordinary graces that flow from the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We hope to motivate all to love the Holy Mass, and to participate more actively, consciously, and fully. Also, we invite all to become ardent and fervent Apostles of the Mass. We encourage you to invite the many wandering and lost sheep back to the arms of the loving Good Shepherd.
In fact, if we really understood, even to a limited degree, what is happening in Holy Mass, we would place Holy Mass in the very center of our lives, the heart of our day, our raison d’être—meaning the reason for our existence. And as a consequence, we would come to Mass every day until God calls us from time to eternal life.
The following are short notes, ideas or concepts of what really happens every time the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated, even if it were celebrated by some anonymous priest in some forlorn country, even if he was celebrating Mass by himself.
In all truth, every Mass celebrated has infinite value. The greatest action the human person can do on this side of eternity is to attend Holy Mass and receive Jesus in the Eucharist in the state of grace.
Graces That Flow From the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
1. Salvation of Souls
Jesus expressed, in clear and unequivocal terms, that our salvation depends on the Eucharist, the Bread of Life. The words of Jesus are indisputable: “I am the Bread of Life. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day.” (Jn 6: 35, 54—Bread of Life discourse)
2. Souls in Purgatory Are Purified
No doubt, the most efficacious means by which the souls in Purgatory can be purified of the residual effects of their venial and mortal sins that have not been expiated (atoned for) sufficiently, is through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
3. Souls in Purgatory Totally Freed—Access to Heaven
As a follow up to the former concept, Mass and Holy Communion offered specifically for the soul or souls in Purgatory can catapult them into Heaven to be with the Lord for all eternity. Too bad that many people pray and offer prayers, sacrifices and Masses for the souls in Purgatory only in the month of November.
4. Calvary is Renewed and Re-Enacted
How difficult it is to comprehend the relationship between the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacrifice on Calvary that first Good Friday. However, it is a reality! In every Mass, the crucified Lord Jesus offers Himself to God the Father as the Spotless Victim for the salvation of the world!
5. Venial Sins Can Be Purified in the Context of Holy Mass
It is a grave error, often done by many, to deprive oneself of the reception of Holy Communion because he/she is aware of having committed venial sins, and only venial sins. Quite the contrary, in the Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass, one begs pardon for venial sins and the sins are forgiven by the prayerful and contrite recitation of the Confiteor. At the end of the Penitential Act, the priest imparts absolution for venial sins.
(Note: Mortal sins have to be confessed to a priest before receiving Holy Communion.)
6. Fire Burning Chaff
In the moment of receiving Holy Communion, the mere reception of Holy Communion can be compared to fire that burns rubbish, trash, weeds, or chaff. The love burning in the most Sacred Heart of Jesus burns away the chaff of our venial sins. The Catechism of the Council of Trent expresses it with this concept. Frequent Communion is the antidote to our daily infirmities.
7. The Blessed Trinity Is Praised in the Most Sublime Fashion
Saint Ignatius of Loyola in Principle and Foundation specifies the primary purpose of our existence, the why of our purpose in life. The saint uses the following words: “We are created to praise God…” (Spiritual Exercises # 23) Possibly the primary purpose of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is to praise God the Father, by the offering of God the Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
This is expressed most clearly in the Doxology: “Through Him, and with Him, and in Him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever.” Amen.
8. Personal Sins Can Be Expiated
Even though your priest-confessor may not impose this as a penance in the Sacrament of Confession, having made a good confession for mortal sins in particular, a penitent attending Mass and receiving Holy Communion in reparation or expiation for his personal sins could be the greatest and most efficacious penance possible.
To repair for past sins, there is nothing more powerful, pleasing and propitious to God than attending Mass and receiving Holy Communion.
9. Family Sin/Social Sins Expiated
On a more expansive plane, the sins of all of humanity have their remedy, reparation and expiation most powerfully remitted through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The prayer in the Chaplet of Divine Mercy can be prayed in conjunction with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass…
“Eternal Father, I offer you the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”
10. Angelic Intervention and the Saints
Involved also in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are the angels. In the Sanctus, we unite our prayers with the choirs of angels as we say: “Holy, holy, holy…” The eloquent and brilliant Father of the Church, Saint John Chrysostom states that numerous angels surround the Tabernacle in vigil before their Eucharistic Lord and King. By the way, angels can help us immensely to pay more attention and participate more fully in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass if we ask for their help.
The greatest lovers of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are the saints. The extraordinary graces that they received came through Jesus in His Mystical Body, the Church. However, it was through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that the infinite reservoir of graces inundated their souls, their lives, their sufferings and their extraordinary apostolic enterprises and successes.
We will conclude our short essay on the extraordinary graces that flow from the Mass by quoting a few of the saints—the greatest lovers of God and of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We invite you to meditate upon the words of the saints prayerfully, converse with the saints as your dear friends, and strive to imitate their love for God and Holy Mass.
Inspired Words of the Saints and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
“Man should tremble, the world should quake, and Heaven should be deeply moved when the Son of God appears on the altar in the hands of the priest.” (St. Francis of Assisi)
“It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do so without the Holy Mass.” (St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina)
“No human tongue can enumerate the favors that trace back to the Sacrifice of the Mass. The sinner is reconciled with God; the just man becomes more upright; sins are wiped away; vices are uprooted; virtue and merit increase; and the devil’s schemes are frustrated.” (St. Lawrence Justinian)
“O you deluded people, what are you doing? Why do you not hasten to Churches to hear as many Masses as you can? Why do you not imitate the angels, who, when a Holy Mass is celebrated, come down in myriads from Paradise and take their stations about our altars in adoration to intercede for us?” (St. Leonard of Port Maurice)
“Know, O Christian, that the Mass is the holiest act of religion. You cannot do anything to glorify God more, nor profit your soul more, than by devoutly assisting at it, and assisting as often as possible.” (St. Peter Julian Eymard)
image: Sacrifice of the Mass in Trubin, Slovakia, photo kovop58 / Shutterstock.com