If we truly understood the meaning of the Holy
Sacrifice of the Mass, not only would we never miss Mass ever on Sundays, but
we would make it an effort to attend daily Mass as well as prepare ourselves
each day to enter more fully into this greatest of gifts of Jesus to us and the
greatest prayer that can be offered to the Eternal Father!
The Passion play, started in Europe
in the Middle Ages, extended to this very day beyond doubt it a true classic.
However, this play is nothing more than a recall and representation of what
happened the first Good Friday, when Jesus suffered His excruciating agony and
death for the salvation of the whole world.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass not
only represents what happened close to two thousand years ago, but it actually
is a reliving of the Passion, death, as well as the Resurrection of Our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ--- what we call the Paschal Mystery. After the Consecration of the Host into the Body
of Christ and the wine into the Blood of Christ, we acclaim: “Christ has died,
Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”
Even though every single Mass has
infinite value, the graces that flow from the Mass depend greatly on the
interior disposition of the individual.
Today, while on my private annual Ignatian retreat, I celebrated Mass
alone. Still, this Mass had infinite
value, even though it was celebrated privately and by one individual priest!
The theological principle is called
the “dispositive grace”. This simply
means that the graces that flow from every Holy Mass are infinite because it is
Jesus Himself--- the Incarnate Word, the second Person of the Blessed
Trinity—who offers Himself as Victim to the Father for the salvation of the
world. However, the better the disposition
of the individual the more abundant the outpouring of graces.
A simple analogy to clarify the
concept of “dispositive grace”. Take a
window pane in your home! If that
window pane has not been washed and cleaned for two years, the pane can
actually become dirty, sullied, almost to the point of becoming opaque. As such, the sunshine from outside the
window, even though its desire is to penetrate the window and inundate the room
to the fullest possible extent, is greatly blocked. Why?
For the simple reason that the pane itself—in its unwashed and unclean
state--- prevents the abundance of the light to fill the room with its
radiance! After “Windex” has been
applied to the window, a newspaper, and an abundant rubbing and cleaning----
only then will the window allow the sun to enter to the fullest possible
degree! In other words, the abundance
of the outpouring of the sun is proportionate to the cleanliness of the state
of the window pane.
This being said, by analogy, our soul
is the window pane and Jesus is the “Sun of God” who most ardently desires to
enter into the depths of our soul and pass through that window pane. His “Light” is infinite because Jesus is God
Himself. Among the many Christological titles given to Jesus is “I am the Light
of the world.” If my soul is totally black
due to mortal sin, then I should not even approach the Eucharist before
sacramental confession; if done, my soul will be plunged into deeper darkness!
If I come late to Mass, am harboring
some minor resentment, pay little attention in Mass, barely participate in the
prayers and allow my mind to wander, then in that case my soul is dirty,
sullied with a mediocre preparation at best.
Jesus upon entering will communicate little light because the
disposition of such soul is anemic, weak, and lacking in fervor!
On the contrary, is the person who
sincerely desires to receive Jesus with the best of dispositions. He loves the Lord, longs to receive Him, and
does all in his power to prepare for that most sublime moment of the reception
of Holy Communion in Mass.
A most powerful example of an
excellent disposition is a recently canonized saint, whose feast day is Jul 24th
, SAINT CHARBEL MAKLOUF! This Lebanese
contemplative monk received permission to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the
Mass at 12:00 noon. The reason for
this? Simply this: Holy Mass was going
to be the very center of his life and existence! This modern saint had a very simple
philosophy of life: THE EUCHARIST JESUS IN MASS WILL BE THE CENTER AND HEART OF
So what did Saint Charbel do to carry
out this simple but most noble proposal? The whole of the morning, leading up
to 12:00 noon when he would celebrate Mass was a preparation for Mass.
Everything he did in prayer and action was geared to prepare Charbel to
encounter the Eucharistic Lord. Mass was
celebrated then at 12:00 noon. Then
after the Mass Saint Charbel spent the rest of the day in its entirety in
rendering the Eucharistic Lord thanksgiving for such a sublime gift!
Dispositive grace at its best! The whole of the life of Saint Charbel
Maklouf was focused on Jesus present in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. For that simple but profound reason he is
indeed a modern saint!
According to your state of life maybe
you cannot imitate Saint Charbel Maklouf exactly! However, why not starting
today, starting right now, make a concerted effort to improve and upgrade your
own Holy Communions! Why not strive to
improve your own disposition of soul!
Why not attempt to purchase your own “Spiritual Windex” to cleanse and
purify your soul to receive better the Eucharistic Lord.
One suggestion and a closing promise
of blessing! Arrive a few minutes early
before Mass has started. Calm yourself down.
The priest celebrant will have his own specific
intention/intentions. Why not place on
the altar your own specific intentions. Here are three: 1) Pray for the soul of
a deceased relative our friend so as to release him from Purgatory; 2) Pray for
the conversion of sinners, but specifically somebody you have in mind that you
love and are concerned about his/her salvation; 3) Pray for your own
conversion. Beg the Lord for a “Spiritual Heart transplant”. May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, burning
for love for you, consume in your heart whatever is displeasing to Him.
THE PROMISE AND BLESSING! Jesus promised that those who eat His Body
and drink His Blood will have Eternal life and that He will raise them up on
the last day. (Jn. 6:22-71, The Bread of
Life discourse). Heaven is yours! If
your receive Jesus with burning love on earth, then He will receive you into