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Saving Souls with the Power of the Mass: Saint Gregory the Great's Stirring Story of a Suffering Prisoner

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that the Holy Mass is “at the same time, and inseparably, the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated and the sacred banquet of communion with the Lord’s body and blood.” (CCC 1382).

In addition to being the culmination of Christian life, the Eucharistic celebration has an impressive power to save souls from their sins!

The Power of Offering Mass for the Intentions of Souls

Once in a homily, Pope and Doctor of the Church Saint Gregory the Great told a stunning testimony, which can help us value the power of prayer for the people we love.

“Many of you, dear brothers, know, I think, the story that I want to tell you now to refresh your memory,” begins the saint.

“A man, having been captured by enemies, was sent far from here and remained for a long time held in chains, to the point where his wife seeing him not come back from his captivity, thought he had ceased to live. So she took care now to offer for him the holy sacrifice every week, as for a dead man. Now the chains of the prisoner stood out in his prison every time his wife offered the holy sacrifice for the deliverance of her soul. The prisoner, returning home a long time later, informed his wife, surprisingly, that his chains were detached every week on a fixed day. His wife recognized, by examining the days and times of the phenomenon, that this liberation occurred at the very moment when the sacrifice, according to her memory, was offered for her husband. You can infallibly deduce, dear brothers, what virtue must have holy sacrifice to loosen within us the bonds of the heart, when we offer it ourselves, since offered by another, he was able to untie [in this prisoner ] the chains of the body.”

Wow! In other words, our prayers are powerful, even though we often believe they do not “have any effect” because we cannot contemplate the results.

Let us remember that God uses all of our prayers, and if we pray with faith, we can save many souls, not just those we love, but those who need God’s mercy most.

Let us pray!

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