We must consider ourselves fortunate every time we have an opportunity to attend a Holy Mass. In order not to lose the opportunity, we should never withhold ourselves because it might cost us some sacrifice, especially on Sundays and holydays; indeed, on those days one is gravely obligated to participate in Holy Mass and whoever does not do so commits a mortal sin (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2181).
Let us remember that St. Maria Goretti would travel on foot 15 miles to and fro to go to Sunday Mass. We should think of Santina Campana, who went to Mass while she had a high fever. Think of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, who offered Holy Mass when his health was in such a pitiful condition that one of his brothers in religion had to support him at the altar so that he would not fall. And how many times Blessed Pio of Pietrelcina celebrated Holy Mass while he was bleeding and had a fever!
When illnesses sometimes prevented the saints from taking part in Holy Mass, they united themselves at least spiritually to the priests who were celebrating Masses in all the churches of the world. This was what St. Bernadette, for example, did when she had to be confined to her bed for a long time. She would say to her fellow sisters: “Masses are being celebrated in different parts of the world every hour. I unite myself to all these Masses, especially during those nights when I cannot sleep.”
In our own daily lives, we ought to rank the Holy Mass ahead of any other good; for, as St. Bernard says, “One merits more by devoutly assisting at a Holy Mass than by distributing all of his goods to the poor and traveling all over the world on pilgrimage.” And it cannot be otherwise, because nothing in the world can have the infinite value of one Holy Mass. “Martyrdom is nothing,” the holy Curé of Ars said, “in comparison with the Mass, because martyrdom is the sacrifice of man to God, whereas the Mass is the Sacrifice of God for man!”
All the more we ought to prefer Holy Mass to mere amusements that waste our time and bring no profit to our soul. St. Louis IX, King of France, attended several Masses every day. A minister of the government complained, remarking that he could better devote that time to the affairs of the kingdom. The holy king replied, “If I spent twice that time in amusements, like hunting, no one would have any objection.”
Let us be generous and willingly make sacrifices so as not to lose so great a good. St. Augustine said to his Christians: “Every step one takes while traveling to hear Holy Mass is counted by an angel. One will be given a high reward for them by God in this life and in eternity.” The Curé of Ars adds, “How happy is that guardian angel who accompanies a soul to Holy Mass!”