God’s graces indeed are infinite…
One of the most clear, interesting, and exciting explanations of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is presented in the movie: THE GREATEST MIRACLE. Relatively short—only about 70 minutes, filmed in Claymation with attractive scenes, melodious, joyful and uplifting music, and a powerful message—all Catholics should view it!
Even though of the greatest simplicity, this dynamic cinema masterpiece addresses and responds to one of the most important philosophical and theological questions and yearnings: the universal call to happiness. How true, in all times, all places, all circumstances, and all persons, there is a great desire to be happy.
We will never meet someone who will say, point blank: “Well today is Monday, it is my day to be sad, but then Tuesday, I will go back to being happy!” Absurd! In all times and places, all of us want to attain a state of happiness, and especially, though many do not realize it, eternal happiness in Heaven.
Addressing the topic of happiness and its contrary, the movie THE GREATEST MIRACLE manifests how three individuals move from a state of sadness and desolation to a state of exuberant joy and consolation. The transformation is both profound and rapid.
The three major protagonists of the movie, two widows and a bus-driver with a son dying of terminal cancer, move on with life without any set goal until they meet up with their Guardian Angel. This inconspicuous friend of God (the Guardian Angel) knows exactly where and how this sadness can be transformed into radiant joy. Quite simply: Holy Mass, Holy Communion, and living out the Mass as an offering to God.
In the middle of the movie, the Guardian Angel makes a very poignant comment as he watches a couple come in late for Holy Mass, distracted and not paying attention. In essence, the Angel says that this couple—as well as many people—get little out of Mass because they do not pay attention to Holy Mass. They do not really participate in Holy Mass.
Holy Mass has Infinite value; indeed, it is THE GREATEST MIRACLE! However, Sacramental Theology teaches with penetrating clarity that the graces one receives are in direct proportion to the disposition of one’s soul. This is called the Theology of Dispositive grace. In a word, the better the preparation, and the more active and intense the participation, the more abundant the graces from God, the Author of all graces. The Dogmatic Constitution from the Documents of Vatican II states unequivocally that in Mass the laity should strive to participate fully, actively, and consciously.
PRIESTHOOD. Vatican II also points out the two forms of the priesthood: the Ministerial priesthood—that is to say, the man who has received the Sacrament of Holy Orders; then the Common priesthood of the faithful—every baptized Catholic.
OFFERTORY AND HOLY MASS. One of the most important manners in which the laity can live out their Common priesthood is in living out Holy Mass by participating to the max in this greatest of all prayers—the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
GUARDIAN ANGEL AND THE OFFERTORY. In the movie THE GREATEST MIRACLE, the Guardian Angel insists that everybody should participate in Holy Mass by making their own personal offerings. True, the Parish priest may have a specific offering/intention for that Mass. However, that does not exclude private intentions. You can offer as many intentions as your heart desires.
Therefore, we would like to help all to derive more abundant fruit from every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The remaining part of our conversation will be to offer to all, various suggestions to motivate all to make a concerted effort to live out to the max the Holy Mass by living out the Offertory. By this we mean, before Mass make sure that you offer your own intention, or better said, your own many intentions! The more intentions you bring to God, the happier God is. As expressed in the Diary of Saint Faustina: “Ask with BOLD CONFIDENCE!!!” Jesus Himself ordered us: “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened.” (Mt. 7:7) Your intentions can be as many and as varied as your imagination can dream of!
INTENTIONS TO BRING TO THE HOLY MASS
1. THE SOULS IN PURGATORY. These poor, suffering souls are saved because they died in the state of sanctifying grace, though still needing purification. The Book of Revelation speaks clearly that nothing impure can enter the Kingdom of God. The movie THE GREATEST MIRACLE has a scene where the elderly widow Dona Cata, a very pure soul, receives Holy Communion, and the Guardian Angel descends into Purgatory and brings a soul detained there to Heaven. The souls yearn for the Precious Blood of Jesus to wash away their sins so that they can take flight to Heaven. We can never go wrong by praying for the souls in Purgatory, especially at Holy Mass! It is a huge act of charity!
2. CONVERSION OF FAMILY MEMBERS. All of us are surrounded by family members who are heading in the wrong direction, and some of them at an accelerated and alarming pace. Some might be very close to the precipice, ready to plunge into the eternal flames of hell. This being the sad state of affairs, offer your Mass and Holy Communion for their conversion, for the love of God, and for their eternal salvation. Many of your family members depend upon your Masses and Holy Communions!
3. CONVERSION OF DEATH-BED SINNERS. Of even greater importance in the offering of your Mass and Holy Communion is to pray for those who are on their deathbed about to leave this world and go before the judgment seat of God. Once again, in the Diary of Saint Faustina, Jesus insists that prayers be offered in a most special way for the dying in order to help them overcome suffering from desolation, and even more important, to renounce mortal sin. In this most critical time of their life, special graces are exceedingly necessary. No more abundant graces flow through the Sacred Heart of Jesus than when He is offered to the Eternal Father in Holy Mass!
4. VOCATIONS TO THE PRIESTHOOD AND RELIGIOUS LIFE. On one occasion Jesus, looking out at people who were like sheep without a Shepherd, expressed with a heavy heart: “The harvest is rich, but the laborers are few. Beg the Lord of the harvest to send more laborers.” (Mt. 9:37-38) Therefore, a very important intention for which you can offer your own Mass participation would be that of praying for vocations, and most important, holy vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life. How true: the harvest is rich but the laborers all too few!
5. THE SANCTIFICATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD AND RELIGIOUS LIFE. As a sequel or follow up to the fervent intention offered for future vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life should be the offering of Mass and Holy Communion for priests and Religious already ordained and/or consecrated. How important it is to pray for the perseverance of both priests and Religious. Even more, we must pray that priests, Bishops and Religious strive to become great saints. Many souls depend upon the holiness of both priests and Religious, your own soul included!
6. IN REPARATION FOR THE VAST DELUGE OF SINS. Our Lady of Fatima, through the Guardian Angel, invited the three little Shepherd children, Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta to receive Holy Communion, but a Communion of Reparation for the many sins that offend God so much. There is no more powerful and efficacious means to offer due reparation to God then the offering of His Son, Jesus, the spotless Victim on the altar, in reparation for the many sins of the world, a real deluge of sins.
7. YOUR OWN PERSONAL SINS. On a personal note, we all have our own personal moral failures; we call these personal sins. By far there is no more efficacious means by which we can offer due reparation for our own sins than by offering our Mass and Holy Communion. Indeed, one Mass and Holy Communion is sufficient to repair for all of the sins of the world, and that includes our own many failures. “Eternal Father, I offer you the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of your only begotten Son in atonement for my sins and those of the whole world.” What a great penance this would be from the priest to a penitent to repair for their many sins!
8. A PERSONAL HEART-TRANSPLANT. As a result of Original Sin, as well as personal sin, we all struggle with our own sinfulness, our own bad habits, our own Kryptonite (our major weakness). In all truth, until the Lord calls us from this life to the next, our life is a struggle between the flesh and the spirit, good and bad, darkness and light that are waging fierce battles within our own soul. If we wage this battle wielding only our own natural resources, then we are definitely doomed to die spiritually. As Jesus reminds us: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mt. 26:40) However, if we rely upon the Lord and His sanctity then the victory is ours because it is the Lord’s. “Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.” (Ps. 124:8) Therefore, when we attend Holy Mass and receive Holy Communion, in all truth, we receive the Total Christ (Saint Augustine)—His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Which, of course, includes His Sacred Heart. Now all of the virtues in the highest degree are present in Jesus’ Sacred Heart in every Mass and every Holy Communion. So we can beg the Lord to fill us with all the virtues, especially the virtue that we most need. Patience, obedience, meekness, purity, kindness, fortitude, mortification, faith, trust, burning love, intelligence, prayerfulness and many more are the virtues that are present in Holy Communion well received, because we truly receive in Holy Communion the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This Sacred Heart of Jesus in Holy Communion is a burning furnace of charity that desires so much to consume all that is ignoble and sinful within us. Our goal in life should be that expressed by Saint Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20)
9. PRAYERS, SUPPLICATIONS, PETITIONS, INTERCESSIONS IN GENERAL… What the world needs now more than ever is prayer and Eucharistic prayer-warriors. As we prepare for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we can place on the altar the many prayer intentions that are related to international affairs, national affairs, Church affairs, local Church affairs, family matters and problems, the many friends or relatives who have asked for our prayers, the pandemic, the sick, the suffering, the poor, the lonely and abandoned, and once again the dying. All should be prayed for with the perspective of God’s holy will—the salvation of souls and the reality of eternity. In other words, the intentions that we can deposit on the altar, on the paten and chalice of the priest, have no limits! Indeed, God is very pleased when like little children, we constantly beg for what we, as well as our world, desperately need.
10. THE IMPORTANT ROLE OF MARY IN THE MASS AND OFFERTORY. In the fourth Joyful Mystery, we contemplate Mary offering Jesus in the Temple. Simeon takes the Divine Child in His arms and praises and thanks God. He also makes a prophecy of the future suffering of both Jesus and Mary. Jesus would be a sign of contradiction; Mary, for her part, would have her Heart pierced by a sharp sword. Our Mass offerings and intentions will become all the more efficacious if it is done through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Often the saintly Mother Teresa of Calcutta would prepare for Holy Communion by asking Mary to lend her Mary’s Immaculate Heart, so that she could love Jesus with Mary’s Immaculate Heart. Saint Louis de Montfort and many other saints agree that Mary is the shortest, the quickest, and the most efficacious path to Jesus. Therefore, place of all your many Mass intentions in the hands of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The results will be extraordinary.
In conclusion, my friends in Jesus and Mary, let us humbly beg for the grace to live out the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with the best disposition possible. Before Mass let us always make our own special intentions. Let us not be timid or fearful in our offerings. Quite the contrary, let us offer as many intentions as possible and ask with bold confidence. How pleasing this is to God! And never forget go to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Holy Communion through the most pure and holy Immaculate Heart of Mary.