By means of the Mass, the fruits of the sacrifice of the cross are applied to our souls.
The sacrifice on the cross–the passion and death of Christ–is the gold mine of graces; Holy Mass is the machinery that takes the gold out for us. At Mass a torrent of graces flows from the altar of God to enrich men. God makes use of other means of grace, such as prayer; but in no other means are graces applied to us so generously.
1. AT MASS we particularly obtain:
(a) Grace to repent of mortal sin.
- It is not necessary to be in the state of grace to hear Mass; the sinner does not commit a fresh sin by doing so; on the contrary he obtains the grace of conversion. Upon the cross Christ cried: “Father, forgive them;” at Mass He utters the same prayer on behalf of those present.
(b) Forgiveness of venial sins for those who are in the state of grace.
- St. Augustine said that one “Our Father” prayed with devotion would expiate the venial sins of a whole day; how much more effective would be the Mass, which is the supreme prayer offered to God!
(c) Remission of the temporal penalty due to sin.
- The penitent thief, who was present at the Sacrifice of the Cross, was quickly admitted into heaven, with the penalties due his sins all forgiven.
2. At Mass we are sure that our prayers are heard in the Mass, because in it Our Lord Himself prays for us.
The fruits of the Mass are granted to the person hearing it devoutly, not only in answer to his prayers, but directly, in virtue of the Sacrifice itself, through which the merits of Christ are applied to his soul.
We may obtain eternal rewards provided we are in the state of grace. We also obtain temporal blessings, such as help in our work, and protection.
3. The whole Church on earth and in purgatory participates in the general fruits, for the Mass is offered for all. The special fruits benefit:
(a) The priest who celebrates the Mass.
(b) The person or persons for whom it is offered.
(c) Those who serve or assist at the Mass.
(d) Those for whom the faithful present pray and offer the Mass in union with the priest.