Pope Benedict XV Urges the Mass of the Living
By Susan Tassone

 While we often hear of Masses for the Dead, the Mass for the Living has extraordinary effects while we are alive.  This practice is as old as the Church.

The old maxim, Charity begins at home, is a wise and commendable act which will insure a more prompt release from Purgatory. 

The question is, however, whether it would not have been more profitable for us to acquire, during our lives, the benefit of the Masses which we wish to have celebrated for us after our death.

Pope Benedict XV writes:  “Why do not the faithful, who wish to secure a rich and holy death, have Holy Mass celebrated for that intention?  Applied to the living, the fruits of the Holy Sacrifice are much more copious than when applied to the dead.  Their application to the former, supposing their intention and their dispositions to be as they ought, is more direct, more certain and more abundant than their application to the latter.”

Expounding on the words of Pope Benedict XV, the application of the special fruit of the Holy Sacrifice to the living is made in a more direct manner.  The reason is that the Church has jurisdiction over the living, while she has not such jurisdiction over the dead.

The priest is the representative of the Church.  He acts in her name.  If he celebrates Mass for a member of the Church Militant, the fruit of the Mass is infallibly applied by God to that person and God obeys the voice of the Minister of His Church.

With the dead it is different.  Once the soul dies and is in the hands of the living God, that soul must now deal solely with Him.  God is not obligated to the Church with regard to the dead.  He has not bound Himself  with a promise by which He must necessarily take account of the will of the Church with regards to the souls of the dead.  God habitually takes cognizance of the supplications of His Church, but we do not know in what measure.  And, for just reasons known to God alone the fruits may be applied to another soul.  Holy Mother Church uses the voice of supplication, the voice of suffrage, as theologians call it.

The Church has jurisdiction over the living and makes a direct application of the special fruit of the Mass to the one for whom it is celebrated.

If we offer Masses regularly for ourselves, loved ones, and friends during our lifetime this would be the source of many actual graces.  The grace of urging a soul to repentance or a more fervent prayer life.  Graces of preservation against the evil one and the dangers our world faces in these times.  Choice graces causing the soul to believe in the love of God and neighbor. 

With a greater goodwill, a soul could win the grace of a complete change of heart. The way is open to us to make progress in virtue, to acquire new merit, and to augment our degree of glory in Heaven. 

 All by having Masses offered while we are still alive! 

We have in the Mass, a real and infallible means, if we place no voluntary obstacle, of assuring for ourselves, a good and holy death.  We have in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass an inexhaustible source of all graces and benefits. Do not postpone Masses until after your death.  Divine Justice is less exacting before than after death

Have a Mass offered from time to time, for the special intention of your sanctification and perseverance in grace.    Let us profit ourselves and others of the living by it. Especially in these times.   Not only are we using a very efficacious means of shortening our Purgatory, but we are also enriching ourselves and them with the graces of sanctification while not yet forgetting the souls in Purgatory. 

One of the most often asked questions I receive is:  “Can we have Gregorian Masses offered while we are alive?”  The answer is, Gregorian Masses are offered only for one deceased soul which must be offered consecutively for 30 days.  However, you can offer 30 Masses for yourself and loved ones.  Individual Masses are not required to be offered consecutively.

We must always remember our beloved dead because it renders us very agreeable to God, augments our merit before Him, draws His mercy on us and serves to cover a multitude of our sins and our debts.  We build up the Church Triumphant, we gain fresh intercessors.  Perhaps we have few friends, few occasions of doing good.  We envy those who are known to the world while we live humbly, hidden and forgotten.

Here is an easy means of surrounding ourselves in eternity with many grateful friends whose gratitude will augment our glory in Paradise.  We can make all the friends we wish in Purgatory.

So when a Birthday, Anniversary or holiday comes along  ask for a Holy Mass to be offered for you or a Perpetual Mass Enrollment...it will follow you to Heaven!

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