Last week’s column ended with the discussion and explanation of why there is a double consecration every time the Mass is celebrated. This week’s column will examine how the Sacrifice of the Mass confers grace.
It cannot be stressed too strongly or emphasized too clearly, that we are only as educated Catholics as we understand the Mass. We say the Mass is a sacrament sacrifice. What do we mean by this? By definition every sacrament confers the graces which it signifies. What is signified in every Mass? What is signified is Christ’s readiness to die, die over and over again, but we said a sacrament confers grace. What kind of grace does the Holy Eucharist as the sacrifice sacrament confer? It confers the grace we need and, dear Lord how desperately we need this grace, to live lives of constant readiness to do God’s will. What is the grace that we receive from the sacrifice of the Mass? It is the grace to imitate Christ not only in the practice of his virtues, but also and with emphasis, that we might imitate Christ in his death. We die bodily only once, but we are to die frequently, often, every time that God’s will places a demand on our will. We are to die to ourselves, die by sacrificing our wills to the will of God. And where do we obtain the strength to live lives of sacrifice. The principle source of these graces is the sacrifice of the Mass.
Let’s be clear because so much depends on our understanding the sacrifice sacrament of the Eucharist. Question. Did Jesus redeem the world when he died on the first Good Friday? The answer is an emphatic “yes.” Christ did redeem the world. What did he do by his death on Calvary? He won the graces that the world needs to be saved. He merited these graces. He gained these graces. But these graces have to be communicated and the principle channel for communicating the graces that Christ won for us on Calvary, I repeat, the principle channel of those graces, is the sacrifice of the Mass. How we need these graces! We need the grace of repenting down deep interiorly in our hearts. We need the grace of enlightenment so that our minds see that the only real tragedy on earth is human beings committing sin.
What other grace do we receive from the sacrifice of the Mass? The grace of strengthening our wills to do what God wants us to do and avoid what he does not want us to do. What grace do we receive from the sacrifice of the Mass? The grace of obtaining grace for others, especially the grace of conversion for hardened sinners, and the grace of conversion to the true faith of those millions who have never even heard the names of Jesus and Mary.
To be continued....