Week of 11/19/2017
How does one find happiness in life? The only sure way is to go the source of all happiness: God. But how do I connect with God? The most profound connection is the Holy Mass. Mass is the most stunning activity we participate in our lives because it compels us to enter into the greatest drama and mystery that every occurred; the death of the God man Jesus Christ. We must always remember that the Mass is rooted in the truth that man lost paradise after the original sin; he lost the union with God through catastrophic sin; he will only regain it through the infinite love and sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. With sin, heaven is closed. With the Cross, it reopens. As the Cross brings tremendous grace to the world, every single Catholic Mass, as the re presentation of Calvary, pours into the world tremendous grace.
The high drama of the Mass partly springs from the Jewish understanding of ritual as a means of not merely recalling a past event, but instead re living it. This is why at Passover the Jews will eat the unleavened bread and drink the wine, and eat the bitter herbs that remind them of the 40 years of bitterness in the desert. They are re living the moment of their profound liberation from Egypt. The Holy Mass replaces Passover on a whole new level in that we are reliving Christ’s ultimate and infinite sacrifice on the cross for the salvation of souls; we are re living the ultimate conquest of love over sin and death. To enter into Mass is to begin the solemn journey with Christ to Calvary. We confess our sins silently at the Confiteor, we praise God passionately in the Gloria, we listen to the readings of salvation history. After the homily we recite the most profound beliefs in the great mysteries of our Catholic faith with the Nicene Creed. Then, we proceed to the Holy Sacrifice where Calvary is re presented when the bread and wine are transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Our Lord.
Since my eternal life depends on God’s grace through Mass, how should I act? First, prepare for every Mass as if we were preparing to physically follow Christ through Gethsemane and Calvary. Arrive at church early and meditate in the beautiful quiet. Teach the children to pray quietly before Mass. Go over the readings beforehand. Pray for the gift to open up the heart to the treasury of graces available. The treasury of graces at Mass is endless!
Which begs the question: what treasure do I receive from the Mass? The great Jesuit priest Fr. John Hardon lists the graces including, a deeper remorse for sin and appreciation for God’s gifts, diminishing the temporal punishment we must undergo in purgatory for sin. Mass adds divine light to our minds darkened by the effects of original sin, it strengthens our wills to love God, Mass helps us help others gain grace by our participation, and enables us to more purely sacrifice our will for the loving will of God. Mass provides supernatural energy and armor against evil, and will open the gates of heaven if we only take full advantage of it.
God Love You,
Fr. Brian Gannon