Real Life, Its Enemy, and the Mass

07-23-2023Weekly Reflection

Real life is the interior life of the Christian whereby an adopted son/daughter, lives in intimacy with God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is called being in the state of grace. I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. John 10:10

1997 Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of his Body. As an "adopted son" he can henceforth call God "Father," in union with the only Son. He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church.

2000 Sanctifying grace is a habitual gift, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love. Habitual grace, the permanent disposition to live and act in keeping with God's call, is distinguished from actual graces which refer to God's interventions, whether at the beginning of conversion or in the course of the work of sanctification. Catechism of the Catholic Church

The enemy of that life with God is mortal sin. Dying in unrepentant mortal sin is the second death.

1849 Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as "an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.”

1854 Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity. The distinction between mortal and venial sin, already evident in Scripture, became part of the tradition of the Church. It is corroborated by human experience.

1855 Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God's law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him. Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.

***1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter, and which is also committed with full knowledge, and deliberate consent."

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.

1862 One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent.

1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul's progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God's grace it is humanly reparable. "Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness."134

NOTE:”The term "second death" occurs four times in the New Testament, specifically in Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 20:14 and 21:8. According to Revelation 2:11 and 20:6, those who overcome the devil's tribulation have part in the first resurrection and will not be hurt by the second death, which has no power over them.

Revelation 20:14 and 21:8 then connects the second death with the lake of fire. In Revelation 21:8 we read: "[A]s for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."

Conscious of mortal sin the Christian must refrain from receiving Holy Communion until he/she has made a good Confession: contrition, confession of all mortal sins by number and kind, and doing the penance received. Receiving Communion or any of the sacraments of the living in a state of mortal sin is another mortal sin called sacrilege. The sacraments of the living mean being in a state of grace. All the sacraments except baptism and confession are sacraments of the living. Baptism and confession are there to restore people to life from spiritual death.

One of the most frequent mortal sins is the violation of Sundays and Holy Days. The Third Command binds us to worship God on the Lord’s Day. This worship is owed to God which is why religion is considered in the discussion of justice. The human race could not give God proper worship what is owed to Him until God became Man, Jesus our Lord. He is equal to His Father as God but represents us as Man. Hence this is why the Church mandates Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation: to give God His due worship. The Mass makes present the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus, the foundational events of the Catholic Faith. To deliberately fail to give God this worship on Sundays is mortal sin.

2180 The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass."117 "The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day."118

2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.119 Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin. Catechism of the Catholic Church (all emphasis added)

…(E)ach Mass has an infinite, immense value that we can never fully understand. It causes the whole heavenly court to rejoice. It alleviates the pain of the souls in purgatory. It draws down all types of blessings upon earth, and gives more glory to God than all the sufferings of all the martyrs together, more glory than the penances of all the saints, than all the tears shed by them since the beginning of the world and all that they may do till the end of time. St. Jean Marie Vianney, Patron of Parish Priests

Although all of Christ’s acts were redeeming acts, there is however in his life an event which is unique and stands out above all others, and to which all other events are directed. It is the moment when the obedience and the love of the Son combine to offer to the Father a sacrifice that knows no bounds; this boundlessness is due to the dignity of the Offering and of the Priest who offers it on Calvary. It is He who remains in the Mass as the principal Priest and as the Victim truly offered and sacramentally immolated.

In the Holy Mass, the effects that relate immediately to God, such as adoration and thanksgiving are always produced in infinite plenitude. They do not depend on the degree of our attention, or on the fervor of the priest. In each Mass there are infallibly offered to God adoration, reparation and thanksgiving of limitless value, because it is Christ himself who offers the Mass and in it offers himself. Thus it is impossible to adore God in a better way, or to give greater recognition of his sovereign dominion over all things and all men. It is the most complete fulfillment of the precept: You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve. It is impossible to make a more perfect reparation to God for the faults that are committed daily than by offering or participating with devotion in the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar. It is impossible to offer him greater thanks for the gifts we have received than through the Holy Mass: we receive, since we no doubt sometimes forget to thank God for the many, many gifts He has showered upon us; the same may happen to us as happened to those lepers whom Jesus cured ... Adoration, reparation and thanksgiving are infallible effects of the sacrifice of the Mass that refer to God himself, for it is He himself who offers and is offered. Francis Fernandez In Conversation with God – Volume 4

“Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church's enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith.” St Peter Canisius S.J. Apostle of Germany