Is a Mass offered for one who is still living more powerful than a Mass celebrated for that person after he or she has died? I often wondered about that, so I wrote to Father Edward McNamara, a noted professor of liturgy, at the Regina Apostolorum University in Rome. This is how he responded to my inquiry:
August 11th marks the feast day of Saint Clare of Assisi (1194-1253), a woman of outstanding virtue such that she was canonized only two years after her death. Her name is forever linked with that of the man she called “our Blessed Father Francis,” the beloved saint of Assisi who paved the way for Clare and her Sisters.
I will never forget the word my prayer partner, Judy, spoke to me just before we uprooted our lives to retire in Florida. “Are you going to leave your children and your friends and move all the way to Florida?” These words came from the heart of God and from the knowledge of being a friend who knew me like a sister. We had been daily prayer partners for almost thirty years. Those words took root in my soul.
Legends abound surrounding the life and times of Francis, the saintly little poor man of Assisi (1182 – 1226): his affinity for all of nature, preaching to the birds, taming the ravenous wolf, recreating the Christmas crèche, receiving the sacred stigmata. What is not so well known is the role Saint Francis played in the bestowal of an amazing gift from a gracious God to His creatures.
“Now as they went on their way, [Jesus] entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her’” (Lk 10:38-42, NRSV).
Short Deliverance Prayer
for blessing your home with Blessed Salt
“Dear Lord Jesus, in the power of your Name, which is the Name above all other names, and by Your Word that you have given every believer ‘authority over evil spirits,’ I bind and reject all evil from me and from my home. I seal myself, and all who are here, in your most holy and precious blood that you shed on the cross for us and ask that we be made invisible to the enemy. Please pour forth the power of your Holy Spirit upon me and my home, and loose your holy angels to encamp around us to protect us.”
(Sprinkle the blessed salt in every area of your home, praising God as you do so)
Philippians 2:9; Luke 10:17-20; Hebrews 13:20; Matthew 18:18; Luke 11:13; Psalm 91:11
–From the Women’s Christian Fellowship Retreat 2009
I will never forget the early days of my walk with Christ Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I sang out loud, wore a permanent smile on my face, and quoted scripture to everyone I encountered, if they wanted to hear it or not. Within my soul was a burning desire to tell the world, “He lives.”
The story of Maria Teresa Goretti, the saint whose feast we celebrate each July 6th, has been made known to many since her untimely death on that date in 1902. The 11-year old peasant girl died as a result of injuries inflicted by Alessandro Serenelli, a young man determined to force her to submit to his inappropriate advances. When she resisted, crying, “No! No! It is a sin!” he stabbed her repeatedly, a total of fourteen times. Maria underwent unsuccessful surgery without benefit of anesthesia and died the following day, after receiving her greatly-desired First Communion.