Continuation of the booklet “The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” by Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey:
The Conversion of Prodigals
“Sometimes, you hear mention of souls who are “impossible” to convert. To convert souls who seem unconvertible! How great a miracle is necessary to bring a poor sinner to tears of repentance who has been away from the Sacraments and who has led a scandalous life for many years. Yet, there he is, cleansed by a sincere confession. Look at him receiving Holy Communion as though for the first time. And, indeed, it is practically the first time, for he has been away from the Sacraments for forty or more years! It was not really impossible after all. The miracle happened.
These wonders happen often enough, and it is always at the behest of the Victim of our Altars. The Father cannot refuse this glory, this victory to His beloved Son whose last breath was spent in asking pardon, in offered paradise and infinite mercy. Still, Heaven always demands the payment of the debt owed in justice. The miracle takes place when justice is perfectly satisfied. Then, it is that mercy opens the graves and puts a song of love on the lips of the risen dead!
There are devotions enough, but the queen of them all, the Mass, is very often neglected. Which answers the question of why there are so few conversions. I would like to stir up a strong reaction on this important point among good Catholics. Like John and Magdalene, let us stand at the foot of the Cross with the Queen of Sorrows, praying and weeping before the Calvary of the Altar. Let us beseech the Divine Victim on behalf of the dear prodigals of our home. Let us wrest these miracles with the omnipotence of the Mass.
This has been the classical approach to breaking the rocks of the greatest sinners, since Good Friday. It is my conviction that the home which shelters a fervent soul devoted to the Mass, has one who pays the price and saves those who are in danger of hell. This soul is a great apostle because he carries the chalice of salvation in his heart, and his heart lives in this chalice.
In this way, my own mother was the happy instrument before God for the salvation of my Protestant father and brother, and for my own vocation as well. For the most part, I am speaking from happy experiences. I place my hand on the Gospel and on the Altar to witness the truth of what I am to say! I am certain that, if you are faithful and docile in following this good advice, you will one day bless me together with the souls you have converted and saved through the apostolate of the Mass.
I hope that my colleagues in the priesthood will lend a kindly ear, and that preachers and missionaries and all the apostles of Catholic Action will read attentively. When I speak thus, I am only calling your attention to the prayer of the Church at the Offertory of the Mass: “Accept, O Holy Father, this spotless Host… beseeching Thy clemency… for our salvation and for that of the whole world.”
While on the subject of the merciful mission which is necessary in order that wanderers be brought back to the fold, it is most opportune to call to mind here that the best prayer for helping the Poor Souls in Purgatory, always has been and always will be the offering of the Holy Mass. Every morning, Holy Mother Church lets fall drops of the Precious Blood like a shower of refreshing dew and, often, this is the price of final liberation for souls who have been purified and have done penance in that place of torment.
I like think that thousands of souls fly off to Paradise praising the Divine Mercy, while priest and faithful pay the last penny of their debt at the Altar. Never forget the Poor Souls in the offering of the Holy Mass. In a more special way, we should remember the souls of priests in Purgatory. They have renounced the right to create their own homes and, thus, without a family, they are often the most abandoned souls in Purgatory!
True Love is giving oneself
We are coming towards the close of this meditation and I hope that it has acted as a beautiful sun to enlighten and warm your hearts. It is necessary in this place to dwell on a point of doctrine found in every page of the Gospel and the Epistle of St. Paul. It is what St. Paul calls the “science of the charity of Christ,” the charity that “presseth us” (2 Cor. 5:14).
It is too bad that there are so many who hesitate to speak on this subject simply because they are afraid to love. In excusing themselves, they openly try to keep us from the danger of what they call fantastic and poetic “sentimentality,” “affectedness” and “fancies,” as though the First Commandment, Thou shalt love, were an error of Heaven and the spirit and fiery style of St. Paul weakness and dreaming! Love is decidedly, not mere sentiment nor poetry. Love is the giving of oneself!
This sublime donation of self to God and the good of souls always has been and will ever continue to be the basis and essential element of all Christian virtue. Divine love is the great secret, the only secret of all heroism. “Love is the fufilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10).
It is easy to pride oneself on being a thinker or intellectual, for this costs nothing in the way of moral consequences. Such pretense is often nothing but self-inflation, happily painless. But, love has always been exceedingly arduous! In fact, to give oneself and to surrender oneself in imitation of Jesus Christ, so far from being a sentimental love, is an interior martyrdom. True love is always a noble tyrant.
Yet, love is the first and greatest Commandment. Since it is so easy to believe and to be called a thinker and intellectual, believers and thinkers abound. But cowardice keeps many of them from giving themselves, from loving with their whole heart, and the result is that there are few saints. Ask the Martyr of the lepers, the celebrated Father Damien, whether love is sentimentalism, a weakness… or rather a sweet and terrible tyrant!
The Holy Sacrifice is above all the Mystery of Faith and Love. We find its supernatural explanation in these words, as solemn as they are divine and strong: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” (Jn. 3:16) These are the words of the Holy Spirit. Further comment is useless. Yes, the Love of God the Father, and of God the Son, Incarnate and Victim through love, gives us the key of this ineffable mystery! Just as the beatific vision revolves itself in an endless ecstasy of love, so here below the Mystery of the Holy Sacrifice is revealed in the light which pours forth from the flame of a burning love.”
To be continued…
~Damsel of the Faith