The Weight of the Holy Mass; The Deck of Cards

The Weight of the Holy Mass; The Deck of Cards

It’s feel-good Saturday, day before Palm Sunday (tomorrow), and here are two inspiring stories to suit the solemnity of the Holy Week.

1. The Weight of the Holy Mass (contributed by Edu Jarque who said that it is a true story related to St. M. Veronica Murphy by an elderly nun who heard it from the lips of the late Reverend Father Stanislavsky. Reminded Edu, “You will never want to miss attending Mass after reading this.”)

One day many years ago, in a little town in Luxembourg, a Captain of the Forest Guards was in deep conversation with the butcher when an elderly woman entered the shop. The butcher broke off the conversation to ask the old woman what she wanted. She had come to beg for a little meat but had no money.

The Captain was amused at the woman and the butcher. “Only a little meat, but how much are you going to give her?” he wondered.

“I am sorry I have no money, but I’ll hear Mass for you,” the woman told the butcher. Both the butcher and the Captain were indifferent about religion, so they at once began to scoff at the old woman’s idea.

“All right then,” said the butcher. “You go and hear Mass for me and when you come back, I’ll give you as much as the Mass is worth.”

The woman left the shop and returned later. She approached the counter and the butcher said. “All right then we’ll see.”

He took a slip of paper and wrote on it “I heard a Mass for you.”

He placed the paper on the scales and a tiny bone on the other side but nothing happened.

Next, he placed a piece of meat instead of the bone, but still the paper proved heavier. Both men were beginning to feel ashamed of their mockery but continued their game. A large piece of meat was placed on the balance, but still the paper held its own. The butcher, exasperated, examined the scales but found they were alright.

“What do you want my good woman? Must I give you a whole leg of mutton?” At this he placed the leg of mutton on the balance, but the paper outweighed the meat. A larger piece of meat was put on, but again the weight remained on the side of the paper. This so impressed the butcher that he was converted and promised to give the woman her daily ration of meat.

As for the Captain, he left the shop a changed man and became an ardent lover of daily Mass. Two of his sons became priests, one a Jesuit and the other a Father of the Sacred Heart.

Father Stanislaus finished the story by saying, “I am from the Religious of the Sacred Heart and the Captain was my father.”

From this incident, the Captain became a daily Mass attendant and his children were trained to follow his example.

Later, when his sons became priests, he advised them to say Mass well every day and never miss the Sacrifice of the Mass through any fault of their own.

2. The Deck of Cards (contributed by election lawyer Romy Macalintal who related that it is the story of a soldier during World War II who was caught spreading a deck of cards inside a church while the services were going on. When the soldier was brought to court, he defended himself by proving the purity of his intentions that a deck of cards serves as his Bible, Almanac and a prayer book. During those days, the Holy Spirit was still referred to as the “Holy Ghost” as used in the story. I so loved the narration that I have memorized it and retold it in my program. This story is true. I knew that soldier.)

During the North African campaign, a group of soldier boys had been on a long hike. They came to a town called Casino.

The next morning being Sunday, the Sergeant commanded the boys to Church.

Inside the church, those of the boys who had prayer books took them out, but this one boy had only a Deck of Cards, and so he spread them out. The Sergeant saw the cards and said, “Soldier, put away those cards.”

After the services were over, the soldier was taken prisoner and brought to court before the Provost Marshall. The Marshall said:

“Sergeant, why have you brought this man here?”

“For playing cards in church, Sir.”

“And what have you to say for yourself, son?”

“Much, Sir,” replied the soldier.

The Marshall said, “I hope so, for if not I shall punish you more than any man was ever punished.”

The soldier said, “Sir, I have been on a long march for about six days. I had neither the Bible nor a prayer book, but I hope to satisfy you, Sir, with the purity of my intentions.” And with that, the boy began the story:

“You see, Sir, when I look at the Ace in my Deck of Cards, it reminds me that there is only one God.

The Deuce tells me that the Bible is divided into two parts, the Old and the New Testaments.

When I see the Trey, I think of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

And when I see the Four, I think of the four Evangelists who preached the Gospel; they were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

And when I see the Five, it reminds me of the five wise virgins who trimmed their lamps; there were ten of them: five were wise and were saved, five were foolish and were shut out.

When I see the Six, it reminds me that in six days, God made this great heaven and earth.

And the Seven, reminds me that on the Seventh day, God rested from His great work and called it Holy.

When I see the Eight, I think of the eight righteous persons God saved when He destroyed this earth; there was Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives.

When I see the Nine, I think of the nine lepers our Savior cleansed, and nine out of the ten didn’t even thank Him.

Of course, when I see the Ten, I think of the Ten Commandments that God handed down to Moses on a tablet of stone.

When I see the King, sir, it reminds me that there is but one King of Heaven, God Almighty.

And when I see the Queen, I think of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is Queen of Heaven.

And the Jack or Knave is the Devil.

When I count the number of spots on my deck of cards, I find 365, the number of days in a year. There are 52 cards, the number of weeks in a year. There are four suits, the number of weeks in a month. There are 12 picture cards, the number of months in a year. There are 13 tricks, the number of weeks in a quarter.

So you see, Sir, my Deck of Cards serves me not only as a Bible, an Almanac, but also as a Prayer Book.”

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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