The Mass Card

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Ray Berrian, Feb 9, 2004.

  1. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    What is the purpose of a Mass Card?

    My wife's brother died and a nice couple sent a card that reads like this. What does it mean?

    "For the Comfort of God's Healing Care
    Perpetual Membership in the Marianist Spiritual Alliance
    has been conferred upon George Capuano who will share forever
    in the Masses, Prayers, and Good Works of the Marianists.

    With certain hope that the lasting love and comfort of God's healing care will be with you.

    Requested by _Maggie & Bill

    (signed) Brother Ron, S.M.
    Brother Ronald L. Overman, S.M.

    Director

    Again, what is the meaning of ' . . . and the good works of the Marianists?' Does this mean that some of the spiritual merits of the praying brothers will be added to the deceased persons account? Is this to give assistance to get a Catholic person out of purgatory?

    If this somehow means that George Capuano will allegedly receive the spiritual merits, credits, or good works, it should be easy for Catholics to understand the Apostle Paul when he says, that the merit/righteousness of Christ is placed, as it were, in the account of Abraham. [Romans 4:3]

    The same is true of sinners when they receive Christ. [John 1:12] All of the merits of Jesus are placed in our account so we will never run short at any time in our Christian lives. He is our righteousness, holiness, atonement, grace and unending spiritual life. Christians call this everlasting life. This is the meaning of imputation according to Romans chapter 4:6 where David was imputed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

    Again, I'm just trying to understand the meaning behind the Mass card.
     
  2. Brother Adam

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    Sortof sounds like when you tell your child "mamma will live forever in our hearts" when a spouse passes away or "Dad will always be in this house". That sortof thing- that this person will be in the thoughts and actions that this group makes.

    I'm interested in its meaning too!
     
  3. CatholicConvert

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    It another one of dem things to give Protestants a good case of th' heebie jeebies!!!

    [​IMG] :D

    Actually, since we don't use them in the Byzantine Church, I ain't gotta clue.

    I'll be looking for the answer myself.

    Brother Ed
     
  4. GraceSaves

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    The prayer of a righteous man avails much.

    Good and righteous prayers are attuned to the will of God. They do not achieve anything outside of the will of God nor cause God to change His mind. And yet prayers from a righteous man merits something, because Scripture says so.

    So, yes, the prayers said for him will have an effect, if he is indeed in purgatory, because it is the will of God for Him to be perfectly purified and forever in His presence.
     
  5. GraceSaves

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    Brother Ed,

    It simply means he will be prayed for and a mass will be/has been said for him.
     
  6. Brother Adam

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    How does praying for a person in purgatory have an affect on how long that person will be in purgatory? Isnt purgatory the purification of the soul? How could prayer speed up that process?
     
  7. GraceSaves

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    Does praying for a person's conversion to faith in Christ help at all in bringing them to that reality?

    If yes, then that should answer the question.

    If not, then, well, there goes the neighborhood!
     
  8. Brother Adam

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    Does praying for a person's conversion to faith in Christ help at all in bringing them to that reality?

    If yes, then that should answer the question.

    If not, then, well, there goes the neighborhood!
    </font>[/QUOTE]Come'on Grant you know I'm a bigger pain in the neck than that.

    We're talking about someone who is unsaved here and someone who is already saved and on their way to heaven with the glory of the pearly gates in their sight. You admited yourself that Catholics can't know how long purgatory lasts, and we know that time is nothing more than a measure of an event. We don't know how time will differ once we are dearly departed. God did say that a thousand years is as a blink of an eye to Him. Perhaps it is this purification will seem to us like nothing?

    And why try to hasten this purification in the first place?

    Can a priest or another authority "release" someone in purgatory? Is there a release from purgatory? Isn't better to say the person is purified and is now entering heaven?

    How can anyone possibly know who is in purgatory, who is in heaven, and so forth?
     
  9. GraceSaves

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    I wasn't comparing them because they were "similar" cases, but that both are seeking good things in accordance with God's will, and that if a prayer for one is beneficial, then a prayer for another will be beneficial, because both are pleasing in the eyes of the Lord.

    The association with "time" in purgatory has nothing to do with time in purgatory. The association with "days" in purgatory was a middle ages method of explaining the amount of penance on earth an indulgence works in heaven. There is a reason the Church no longer employs this explaination because it only served to confuse.

    Time is a non-factor in purgatory, and while a person would know that they were there, they would not have the concept of time that we on earth have. Their entire focus would be on God, not the suffering of loss, because if they could focus on the suffering, they could be bitter, and it is impossible to sin after death.

    Again, it's not really to "hasten" but simply to offer love and support. Not all suffering is bad. This is an extreme example, but say that you suffer a severe cut in your leg. Pain occurs. But to try to stop the bleeding, you tie a tourniquet (spelling?) to stop the blood flow. Ever seen how tight those are tied and the grimmace on someone's face? It's even more painful, but the pain occurs when something GOOD for the body is actually happening. Nonetheless, we still would feel sympathetic for them experiencing the suffering, even though its outcome is positive.

    No, no one can release anyone from purgatory, because its not a place to be released from. They will DEFINITELY enter Heaven when the purification is complete. As for the third question, if we can know that definitely, we do state it. These are the saints in Heaven.

    That is requires a much more lengthy answer, and would be explained by reading up on how and why saints are declared in the Church.

    If a person is not in purgatory, the prayer intention was still a good one, and God will certainly not frown on those prayers offered for something good. Congruent example: Someone you know is having surgery for a serious illness at 11am. At 11am, you spend time praying for them. Later that day, you find out they died before the surgery. Was your prayer wrong, bad, or in vain?
     
  10. Brother Adam

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    Thank you for your answer!

    So it is possible that purgatory may seem like nothing more than a blink of an eye to the person entering heaven?
     
  11. GraceSaves

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    Yes and no. I cannot claim to understand how we will experience life outside the confines of earthly time (in comparison to eternity, without death). A person in purgatory would KNOW that they are there and experience God's purifying love, but I think even to say "in the blink of an eye" is to understand it in the realm of time moving forward to an end. It's neither instantaneous nor forever-long. It's not really applicable.
     
  12. Brother Adam

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    Is purgatory something that catholics are taught to have a dreadful fear about? Are they taught that they will "burn in purgatory" or anything of a fearfully negative affect?

    I understand purgatory isn't something to desire, however, I guess I'm asking, is it used as a scare tactic? If it has in the past- should it be?

    (to my non-Catholic Brethren: Isn't it amazing how much easier conversation flows when you discuss in charity? Our goal should be to ask as many questions as we can think of to learn what our Catholic brethren believe rather than attack what we understand little of. Catholic theology works differently than non-Catholic theology, as you can imagine just by hearing the phrase " in the economy of salvation"

    If they are wrong, in due course their answers will convict them, as do the answers a Mormon gives often convicts and converts them as they listen to themself speak! Or, if they are right, then by God in heaven, let them speak the truth and turn our hearts towards it. either way- let us all speak in charity!

    The best thing I can suggest you do is start asking "Why? Why is this like this? Why does that say that?"

    You won't "win" any arguments by fighting or misrepresenting Catholic theology. So perhaps maybe its time to take a different approach.

    I disagree with many faucets of Catholic Theology, but can discuss this with my Catholic brethren without resorting to what has happened over the past week here.)
     
  13. mioque

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    The following links to the website of the Marianist Spiritual Alliance.
    http://www.marianistmission.org/index.html
    From that website.
    The Marianists were founded by Father William Joseph Chaminade in Bordeaux, France, in 1817.
    Marianist work for the Church principally through Catholic education. They also, however, administer parishes and direct various apostolic programs serving the needs of the local Church.
    World headquarters for the Marianists are in Rome, Italy.
    Provincial headquarters for American Marianists is in Saint Louis, Missouri
     
  14. GraceSaves

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    I suppose you need to clarify what you mean by "being taught." Are you talking about the Magisterium or lay Catholics, parents, etc who are trying to explain it.

    If it is the former, then no. There is no scary language in the official teachings of the Church. It is nothing to fear; it is a grace. Suffering is not evil; suffering can and often is grace-filled.

    However, purgatory is also one of the most misunderstood teachings of the Church. I blame this in part on poor catechesis and study, and partly on the fact that false concepts of purgatory are spread everywhere by non-Catholics and the general media (especially TV and movies). There is a general lack of understanding.

    In the past, mystics have explained purgatory in various ways, some of them with horrible pain being described. However, in my own reading of these, they never discuss the pain of purgatory as something negative in itself, and that the pain is equal to the joy. If you want, I will give a more detailed description of what that pain would be.

    Again, not officially by any means. Its the suffering of loss combined with being consumed with desire for God but not yet being in His presence fully (because one is still imperfectly purified upon death, due to remnants of sinfulness).

    Now, I am a convert, so I was not raised as a "cradle Catholic," so I wasn't brought up in a Catholic educational system. However, in my own experiences, I've never come across such things.

    I'm sure it has been, although it is clearly a misuse of the doctrine for personal gain, and not a correct teaching of the doctrine. And no, it should not be; hell is plenty scary. Purgatory is a state that only the elect could experience, anyway.

    In a nutshell, the doctrine of purgatory is largely undefined. The Church understands more of the WHY than the HOW, because the HOW is largely unnecessary to know. There is a necessity for a state of purging of our general sinfullness before entering into the perfection of Heaven. There is a drastic difference from being a saved individual on earth (who still sins) and being in the direct presence of our perfect God in Heaven. By the grace of God, that level of holiness is what we are all called to ("be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect"), but God is a merciful God indeed, and by the merits of Christ purges us of what unholiness remains in the faithful so that they may enter into perfection.

    (to my non-Catholic Brethren: Isn't it amazing how much easier conversation flows when you discuss in charity? Our goal should be to ask as many questions as we can think of to learn what our Catholic brethren believe rather than attack what we understand little of. Catholic theology works differently than non-Catholic theology, as you can imagine just by hearing the phrase " in the economy of salvation"

    If they are wrong, in due course their answers will convict them, as do the answers a Mormon gives often convicts and converts them as they listen to themself speak! Or, if they are right, then by God in heaven, let them speak the truth and turn our hearts towards it. either way- let us all speak in charity!

    The best thing I can suggest you do is start asking "Why? Why is this like this? Why does that say that?"

    You won't "win" any arguments by fighting or misrepresenting Catholic theology. So perhaps maybe its time to take a different approach.

    I disagree with many faucets of Catholic Theology, but can discuss this with my Catholic brethren without resorting to what has happened over the past week here.) [/QB][/QUOTE]
     
  15. Debby in Philly

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    Mass cards aren't free. You "buy" a mass card by making a donation to the order. Then the sisters or brothers will include the departed's name on the list of intentions when mass is said.

    Sort of like the selling of indulgences that got brother Martin Luther angry. Only now it is done more "politely."
     
  16. CatholicConvert

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    Brother Adam --

    May I add my appreciation for the irenic tone which you have adopted in disagreement.

    Thank you.

    I heard Scott Hahn speak on purgatory and wish I had kept the tape for myself (had to return it). He made a fascinating point regarding our thoughts on purgatory.

    His point was that purgatory is not so much a "place" as it is a "state of being". Scripture says that our God is a consuming fire. How many of us really meditate on the reality of that and what it means to us?

    His LOVE is pure warm fire. But to anything which is contrary to His loving will, that fire is not friendly at all, but is instead a destroying and purifying fire which will eliminate all that is contrary to His essential being.

    This is what purgatory is.....the fire of God meeting our unconfessed and unremoved sins. It is God drawing the child to Him in love and the very ontological fact of His being a pure fire of love burning out all the selfishness still left in us (sin is nothing more than having MY WAY instead of His -- utter selfishness like that of the self centered father of lies).

    I am sure that there is probably some kind of neat chemistry analogy, or maybe the analogy of gold refined in fire which is in the Bible. The point is that the very nature of God is the fire which cleanses every stain from His children.

    Now...the reason WHY this is necessary is very simple. It is because the idea of "forensic justification" is a legal fiction invented from the minds of the Reformers and having no foundation at all in Scripture. Luther hatched this idea from a terrible interpretation of Romans. Either he didn't know Greek very well (which I have heard) or he simply was so overwhelmed by the torment of his sins (come on, folks, this is the guy who was known to spend 5 hours!!! in the confessional!!) that his need for this doctrine overshadowed his training and good sense.

    But either way, the fact of the matter still remains that God deals with us as we are and not by tossing the snow white blanket of Christ's righteousness over us in Luther's fashion. As the Scripture says "He that doeth righteousness IS righteous."

    So, if we die with unconfessed sin upon our souls, the fire of God's love will purify us as we are drawn to Him.

    That is purgation....very simple.

    Brother Ed
     
  17. Brother Adam

    Brother Adam
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    Protestants sell the Word of God for profit in Christian book stores.
     
  18. Kathryn

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    We could call the offering freely given at any Sunday services a "fee collected", instead of an "offering" if we want to ignore the Christian intention and purpose behind it.
     
  19. GraceSaves

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    Debby,

    A priest in the Jackson Diocese makes about $13,500 a year. If a priest receives a stipend of $10 for every weekday Mass he says (those which recieve intentions), for one year, he would pocket a grand total of $2600.

    Compare this with the six figure salary of many large scale protestant pastors, many of whom are good men.

    I hardly see any priest getting rich off of this. And if its a religious order, they take a vow of poverty and all funds are given to the order to help sustain it; no individual pockets the money.

    But unless you're facing a totally corrupt person (and hopefully as a future priest), I would never EVER turn anyone down for any reason to pray for them or their loved ones.

    Now, this is just my two cents. But I'm sure it will be taken as the Gospel truth by far too many of you.

    EDIT: I might add this: there are no collections taken up for weekday Masses. Only on Sunday/Saturday Vigil Masses.
     
  20. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    Protestants sell the Word of God for profit in Christian book stores. </font>[/QUOTE]Not the same thing. Buying an object (Bibles or anything else) that took time and materials to produce, that is the reason in itself that the purchase was made, should be paid for.
    When buying a mass card, the "product" being purchased is getting one's loved one out of purgatory.
     

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