We just don’t get it and we are not engaging ourselves. Most of us remain very lukewarm Catholics, and not just in our daily practice of our Faith, but in our weekly obligation of Mass.
“If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy.” St. John Vianney
We sit, Sunday after Sunday (at least some of us do) and are witness to the greatest miracle of all time, and we miss it. I know that it is impossible to truly fathom and understand how Christ himself can come to us every week, every day, in the guise of bread and wine, but he does.
We profess to believe it, it is an act of our faith, but how many of us truly absorb ourselves in this miracle at Mass? Do we truly understand the gestures, the postures, and the prayers?
We complain about the incense, but do we understand its’ significance? In nearly every Church that I have attended Mass I observe congregants using erroneous posture and gesture during the Our Father – do we understand that holding hands and extending our arms is liturgically not our place, and incorrect? Do we understand that during the Sanctus, we join in song with the multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God in the Highest? “When Mass is celebrated, the sanctuary is filled with countless angels who adore the divine victim immolated on the altar.” St. John Chrysostom Do we get that at Mass we are transcending the realms of time and space and being transported back to the Lord’s Last Supper and Crucifixion; and do we understand what a privilege it is to be included in this opportunity?
Do we realize that the Bread of Heaven that comes to us at Mass is an aspect of tradition that has existed since the time of our Father, Abraham?
Or, are we lost in our own private thoughts and daydreams? Are we chatting with our neighbors or looking around and eyeing others in the pews, seeing who is in attendance? We all do this. We are weak after all, and easily distracted. We are human and imperfect. What makes the difference though is, are we trying, are we making an effort? Do we take the time to learn about our Faith, the Catechism, the Magisterium. Do we even know what these things are? Do we know our history, the Fathers that have come before us, the Saints, the Doctors of the Church? Do we understand why the priest wears vestments, why we have a crucifix instead of just a cross, and why there is a tabernacle?
“The difficulty explaining why I am Catholic is that there are 10,000 reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true. “G.K. Chesterton
“Not everyone can be a theologian, but everyone should know some theology.”Carl Olson
So many of us seem to think that Mass is boring, we are not being entertained, we are getting nothing out of it. Other denominations are more entertaining and can offer us more. They can engage us and hold our attention. They offer us more fulfilment. The thing is, if we actually started investigating and learning about our Faith, it becomes more alive, more miraculous, and more riveting. When you begin to understand our Catholic past and history, you realize just how amazing and supernatural it all is.
“To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.” Blessed John Henry Newman
How can any other Faith be more fulfilling?
If you truly appreciate even the very most basic and surface elements of our Catholic Faith and the Eucharist, how could anything be more satisfying? The Eucharist itself, the very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord and Savior physically present and offered to us for consumption, to become one with our very beings, united with us physically as well as spiritually, isn’t itself alone, reason enough to attend Mass at least weekly?
The Blessed Eucharist is the perfect Sacrament of the Lord's Passion, since It contains Christ Himself and his Passion." - St. Thomas Aquinas
Jesus offers himself to us physically, in the Miracle of the Mass. This presence he offers can be life transforming, if we let it be. It is our choice. It is our efforts that can only make it so. It is our free will. We have the opportunity to transcend our Earthly existence of space and time when we go to Mass, if we offer ourselves up to the experience. If we are not too attached to the Early pleasures and desires of this existence.
“A good church should make you feel welcome, and more than a little uncomfortable.
What people don’t realize is how much Christianity costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross.”
We need to make the sacrifice though, let go, give up control and submit to it. It can be scary, and giving up control is so difficult for us. It is so much easier to go and listen to some pop music with our coffee and donut in hand. It is so much easier to let someone else make the effort instead.
“Christ always calls us to life and constantly to greater joy, but rarely does He call us to comfort.” Mark Hart
“The Jesus of the Gospels is surely not convenient for us.”Pope Benedict XVI
The more we put into our worship, the more we will get out of it. We don’t go to Church for fun or to be entertained, although, once you transcend some of the our Earthly boundaries you can find it more than either.
“What graces, gifts and virtues the Holy Mass calls down.” St. Leonard of Port Maurice
So, are you ready to become an engaged Catholic, a bold Catholic, a transformed Catholic? The choice is yours, it really is up to you, and your own free will. If you can let go, and give yourselves over to Christ in the greatest form of prayer and sacrifice there is and ever will be, then you find yourself in Heaven every time you to Mass, and you won’t let anything keep you from it!