The Privilege Of A Mass

“Yesterday you did not believe. Today you believe. Did your faith make any difference?”. This was asked to the Scottish physician and novelist Archibald J. Cronin (+1981). His answer was disarming. “Apparently no difference. Yesterday I was married. Today I am still married. Yesterday I went to work. Today I still go to work. Yesterday I played golf. Today also. But now through faith, everything is beautiful because everything has acquired a new significance to me.”

A priest got lost in the desert. Not knowing what to do, he just kept walking. Luckily, a small building surfaced through the vegetation. An old man opened the door and the priest asked for hospitality. The old man was rather diffident at first but when he realized that this stranger was a priest, all barriers disappeared. They had a simple nice meal together and since it was late, the priest went to bed. In the morning the chatter outside the house woke him up. Looking out of the small window he saw more than hundred persons outside!

“What happened?” asked the priest to the old man. “From where do all these people come?” The old man answered, “Father, are you going to say mass for us?” “Yes of course, but these people…?” “Well, Father, when you told me that you are a priest,” the old man sheepishly answered, “that was great news for us here. After you went to bed, I sneaked out and went around all the homes in the area to inform everyone that finally our prayer has been fulfilled. Father, we have been asking God to send us a priest so that we can have the grace to participate in a mass at least once before we die!” “You have been praying this for months?” asked the priest, rather confused. “Father, not months, it has been seven years that every week we gather and ask for the privilege of having a mass!”

A gypsy boy, seven years old, was helped by his sister to do his first confession. When he went to the priest, he was trembling not knowing what to expect. The priest reassured him explaining to him that Jesus Christ was always ready to embrace and absolve him. “I am wearing this stole because I am representing Jesus Christ. He is the one who cancels all your sins. He is the one who forgives you…” The small boy listened intensely but as soon as he received the absolution, he stood up and went running to where the big crucifix stood on the wall of the Church, and started kissing him and telling him, “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you!” This small boy understood the heart of the sacrament. He was a good theologian.

The priest gave the elderly sailor the last sacraments. Smiling, the seaman told his relatives that were around his bed. “Now I can go serenely over to the other side. I am no longer afraid because the ‘Navigator’ is on board.”

On the tomb of one of the biggest missionaries who died in the dry desert of the Sahara, one can read these words, “”I want to cry out the Gospel with all my life!” This was the program of the life and work of Charles De Foucauld.


(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.