Most masses are offered for the dead. While it a holy and pious practice to pray for the dead that they may be released from their sins. Have you even considered that a mass said for you when you are living is more powerful than a mass said for you when you are dead?
Now objectively speaking each mass is infinite in grace and power. But subjectively, we receive the graces offered at the mass according to our faith and dispositions. It we had perfect faith, hope and love one Eucharist would make us a saint. The Church teaches that the souls in purgatory are incapable of helping themselves and growing in merit and grace. The masses said for the souls of the dead are offered so that they can be freed from anything that prevents them from going into Heaven.
However, a mass said for us when we are living can obtain an increase in grace, divine favor, spiritual and material blessing, protection from future evil.
Father Cole OP writes, “While it is important to keep in mind that Masses for the deceased do help them, one Mass offered for anyone living will have a greater efficacy for that person because in this life all are capable of freely cooperating with any grace and the graces of a Mass may even change the direction of someone’s life including one’s own. However, it may be that a particular grace of a Mass is not accepted for many years which is why one must take a long term view of supplications for loved ones still on earth. Even more, one needs to take an even longer term perspective when praying for the poor souls because we do not see what we are doing to help them. We only know by faith that we are helping them.”
One of the blessing of being a priest is the gift of offering mass for people who are very much alive. Only in Heaven will be see the blessing that were given to us by virtue of the mass. One of the reasons that parents might encourage their sons to become priest is that their sons out of gratitude to their parents will offer many masses for the intentions of his parents.
Last year at Christmas, I had masses offered this year for the 3 priests that lived with me here at St Timothy. I am now in the middle of offering masses for family and friends.
Next time you go to the Church office to have a mass said for a deceased member of your family. Remember a mass said for you when you are living is more powerful than a mass said for you when you are dead. So have a mass offered for yourself, spouse, children or friend.