There is this quaint story of an old and poor woman who entered a butcher shop to beg for some handouts. The butcher was with a military officer, talking about the day’s events. Both of them barely noticed the beggar in her threadbare clothing. Finally, the butcher asked her what she wanted and she asked for a little meat. When the butcher queried about payment, the old lady said she had no money but would pray for him in the mass she was about to hear. The butcher then told her to go to mass and that he, in turn, would give her as much meat as one Mass was worth.
When the beggar lady returned from the Mass, the butcher then facetiously wrote the following note he put on the weighing scale: Weight of One Mass. He then put a little meat on the scale but it did not budge. Surprised, the butcher put more meat but, again, the scale did not move. Even a full leg of mutton failed to move the scales. Nor half of a whole sheep tip the scale even an iota. Realizing quickly the spiritual intervention meant to cure them of their incredulity, both the butcher and the soldier were converted on the spot. The butcher then promised the old lady a daily ration of meat, while the officer became a staunch admirer of the Mass and participated daily in the Holy Sacrifice. His two boys grew up to be good and holy priests.
Why is a single Mass so valuable, in fact, of infinite value? First of all, we must understand that the Trinity lives in an eternal present; they are not subject to time as we are. Thus, every single Holy Sacrifice of the Mass looms large in the thought of God the Father as He contemplates the actual sacrifice of His Son in Calvary…..always in terms of an eternal present. That is why Masses are not included in the Enchiridon of Indulgences, simply because the benefits to be had from a single Mass are countless and of everlasting value.
The Mass is a Perfect Sacrifice. The principal offeror is Jesus Christ the High Priest (The secondary minister is the priest consecrated for this purpose.). There is a perfect unblemished victim, who is none other than Christ Himself. The perfect sacrifice is offered to the Most High God. The sacrifice is offered in behalf of the Church and the faithful who make up the Mystical Body of Christ.
The question that hounds so many is why such a perfect and holy sacrifice seems to have been of no avail to so many in the past and in the present. One must recall the song of the angels at the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. They promised peace to men of good will, and not good will to all men! Thus, the outpouring of countless benefits and blessings during the Consecration are of no avail to those who are not of goodwill or who are in the state of Mortal Sin. It does not take much to realize that the great majority of people present in Calvary were not properly disposed either, unlike the handful of women and men who stayed close to their Lord in this most trying of times. So, even in that first sacrifice, only a few people really benefited on an immediate basis. On the other hand, the gates of Heaven were opened at the moment of Christ’s passing to the patriarchs and the faithful waiting in expectancy. The Father was certainly appeased by this most perfect sacrifice.
Each day, as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated all over the world, innumerable blessings and a sea of Grace is made available to anyone of good will and who is in the state of Grace. These comprise the much-needed currency needed to gain entrance into Heaven.