The previous week’s column concluded with the ended with the discussion of what the graces are received from the Sacrifice of the Mass. Continuing on, what graces does the sacrifice sacrament of the Mass give us? The grace of inspiring and enabling us to sacrifice ourselves constantly out of love for God. Let’s be clear here. Through the sacrifice sacrament of the Mass, we not only obtain grace, grace to avoid sin, we obtain grace to go beyond the call of duty. In other words, the grace to not just obey God’s commandments, but to give God what we are not bound under sin to do. In other words, we need the grace of generosity. All of this is locked up in the sacrifice sacrament of the Mass as defined by the Council of Trent in the Sixteenth Century.
Now we turn our focus to the teaching of Pope Pius XII about the sacrifice of the Mass. In previous columns the Council of Trent was quoted. For the obvious reason that council taught us so much about what we believe as Catholics, what the Mass really is. But now we turn to Pope Pius XII and what he teaches us about the sacrifice of the Mass. Not unlike what happened in the Sixteenth Century, in our century, many nominal Catholics either have abandoned their faith entirely, or are struggling to remain believing Catholics. Pius XII repeatedly declared that Catholics in this century must deepen their understanding of the Mass. In fact, said the Pontiff, Pius XII, the Catholic faith depends, especially in the Western world, on Catholics understanding the sacrifice of the Mass. There is such massive confusion, such a deluge of errors, now circulating in nominally Catholic circles, that the future survival of one diocese after another in our country depends on, and depends on Catholics understanding the Holy Eucharist. And, hear, understanding the Eucharist as the sacrifice sacrament of the Mass.
What did Pope Pius XII declare? Quoting Pope Pius X11: “Christ built on Calvary a purifying and saving reservoir which he filled with the blood he poured forth, but if people do not immerse themselves in the waves of His Blood, and do not, therefore, cleanse themselves of the stains of their sins, they cannot be saved.” What are we being told? We are being told that the Mass is a sacrament. It means that we need the graces that Christ now confers, which Christ now gives, which Christ now channels, especially through the sacrifice of the Mass. Let it be made very clear. We are not Protestants. We are Roman Catholics. Of course we believe that the world was redeemed by Christ’s death on Calvary. But as Catholics we further understand that Christ’s death on the cross gained and merited the treasure of graces that we need to be saved.
To be continued....