St. Thomas, the Prince of Theologians, writes wonderfully of the Mass. “The Mass,” he says, “obtains for sinners in mortal sin the grace of repentance. For the just, it obtains the remission of venial sins and the pardon of the pain due to sin. It obtains an increase of habitual [Sanctifying] grace, as well as all the graces necessary for their special needs.”
St. Paul, the Hermit, stood once at the church door as the people entered. He saw the soul of one man, a great sinner, in such a state of horrible corruption as appalled him. Moreover, he saw a devil standing by his side who seemed to have complete control of him.
On leaving the church, he saw the same man so completely changed that he called him aside and asked him confidentially if he was sorry for his sins. The poor man at once confessed that he had committed many and very grave sins, but during the Mass he had read in his prayer book, “If your sins are as red as scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.” “I began at once to ask God to pardon and forgive me, and I am very sorry for my sins and I wish to go to Confession at once.”
St. Paul saw that by his act of sincere sorrow the man was, by the infinite merits of the Mass, pardoned of all his sins.