Sunday, May 29, 2016

On the Feast of Corpus Christi

It is appropriate on this day that one reflect on why one should never miss Mass.

The first end for which the Mass is offered is to give God honor and glory. This is the one great end of our existence to give God honor and glory, and thereby to save our souls. "Man was created," says St. Ignatius Loyola, at the beginning of his Spiritual Exercises, "to praise, reverence, and serve God, and thereby save his soul." For this we were sent by God into the world. Now, in the Mass we fulfill,in a supreme degree, our function on the earth, as rational beings, of praising and reverencing God.

The second end for which the Mass is offered is to give thanks to God for His benefits. "Put in one heap," says St. Leonard of Port Maurice, "all the gifts, all the graces, you have received from God-so many gifts of nature and of grace; yes, the very life, too, of His Son Jesus, and His death suffered for us, which in themselves immeasurably swell the great debt which we owe to God-and how shall we ever be able sufficiently to thank Him? Now, the way most fully to thank God-our supreme benefactor-is taught us by the Royal Psalmist, David, who, led by divine inspirations to speak with mysterious references to this divine sacrifice, indicates that nothing can sufficiently render the thanks due to God, excepting holy Mass:  "What return shall I offer to the Lord for all the benefits which He hath bestowed upon me?' And answering himself he says, Calicem salutaris accipiam," or "I will uplift on high the chalice of the Lord," that is, I will offer a sacrifice most grateful to Him, and with this alone I shall satisfy the debt of so many and such signal benefits.

The third end for which the Mass is offered to God is to obtain the remission of our sins. The Council of Trent says in reference to this: "The Holy Synod teaches that this sacrifice is truly propitiatory, and if one draws nigh unto God, contrite and penitent, He will be appeased by the offering thereof, and, granting the grace and gift of penitence, will forgive even heinous crimes and sins." 

The fourth end for which we offer to God the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is to obtain for ourselves, as well as for others, graces and favors, both temporal and spiritual, through Jesus Christ our·Lord. The Mass obtains grace, strength, and courage to perform good works, to overcome the flesh and its concupiscence, to despise the world with its allurements and threats, to resist the attacks of Satan, to endure not only patiently, but with joy and thanksgiving to God, the hardships and troubles, the sufferings and evils, of this life, to fight the good fight, to finish our course, and to persevere in the way of salvation unto the end, and thus to bear off the crown of life and of eternal glory. The holy sacrifice of the Mass is the most profound and significant expression of all our petitions and intercessions in spiritual and temporal concerns.