This Sunday’s column draws to conclusion the graces received from the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass and then next weeks column will examine how we should pray the Mass.
Christ’s death on the cross gained and merited, the treasure of graces that we need to be saved. But these graces must be obtained and the principle source for obtaining these graces that Christ gained for us on the first Good Friday, the principle means by which these graces are received now by us, is the sacrifice of the Mass.
We do believe with our whole mind and heart that Christ redeemed us by his death on Calvary. But we’d better understand what that means. Christ’s death on Calvary gained, earned the treasury of graces that we need, but Christ continues to offer himself now in an unbloody manner in order to do what? To confer, to communicate, to give us a share in those marvelous graces that cost Jesus his blood on the cross. These graces are especially those that have to do with sin. As we know, every sin always has two effects. Every sin deprives the sinner of more or less grace, which in theological language is guilt, which has nothing to do with the emotion of fearing. Guilt is the loss of grace. Secondly, every sin incurs a debt of suffering. The sacrifice of the Mass is the principle channel for both blessings, both the means of restoring the grace that has been lost by our sins, and secondly, the blessing of having the sufferings that others and we have incurred as debts to be paid to God for having sinned.
The Mass, therefore, is the principle source of both obtaining a restoration of the graces lost by sin, and the principle way in which we can obtain a mitigation, a lessening, even the removal of the debt of pain we’ve incurred by offending God.
As we shall see much more clearly in the future, it is not enough to believe intellectually in the Mass. It is not enough to attend Mass or even participate in the sacrifice of the Mass. We will benefit only as much from the graces of the sacrament sacrifice of the Mass as we mirror the image of the life of Christ in our lives. His life was one long sacrifice in the total surrender of his human will to his father. What then, do we mainly look forward to obtaining from the Mass? Mainly the graces we so desperately need to follow in Christ’s footsteps and live lives of sacrifice.
To be continued...