What’s Mass for, anyway?
Mass, for me, started as a way to spend time with my boyfriend. Not only was he the only man I knew who could be under 50 and sport a beard and look, oh yes, very attractive, but he was caring and compassionate and could penetrate to my very soul with his eyes while listening to me ramble about, oh, anything. (The above is all still true, eight years later.) Scholar was not the sort to get up early and do anything voluntarily. So why, I wondered, did he get up so doggoned early to go to…church? Just what were those Catholics doing, besides drinking real wine? Being raised a good, clueless, flavor-of-the-month Christian, I knew only that Catholicism was the hardest of all the Christianity flavors. But I had gotten to know Scholar’s mother and others in his family, and their quiet faith, without trying to convert me by selling me on Catholicism or “saving” me, was befuddling to me.
What’s Mass for, anyway?
I am reminded by the tears so often in my eyes during Mass that conversion is an ongoing, lifelong process. My hard heart remembers how it was, and it so often tries to return to the state it was in. It is so tempting to listen to the world, and to ignore the value and the beauty of the gifts God has given us, whether they are children or talents. I still cry in Mass. My husband admits that he would too, if he didn’t sit silently through much of it (I had no idea!). I am still overcome by the thought of God’s mercy, and Mary has not stopped reaching out to me in the five years since I first experienced her influence. I often reflect that only Mary could have brought me into the Catholic Church, because what I have always been seeking is an unconditional breast upon which to lay my head, a warm place to release my sorrows and fears, a safe haven for my recovery from all that life has thrown my way.
So what’s Mass for, anyway?
The Eucharist is the ultimate gift. We’re invited to the wedding feast by the Bridegroom Himself. We can opt out; we can come up with reasons why we can’t make it. The ones who are hurt by those choices, though, are us. The devil wins when we give in to this reasoning. Giving that one hour to God is the least I can do, and it’s the least I need to do to keep muddling through my life. My lifeblood is up there on that altar, offered for me whenever I choose to receive it, there to redeem me over and over again. The sacraments are not to be cast away lightly; there’s a reason we have all seven of them! Don’t underestimate the gift you have in the Eucharist. Don’t let it slide between your fingers as you doze in your chair, because it will keep you alive, and it is the ticket to the next life.
I don’t mean this to be in any way trite when I say, “Amen.”
It doesn’t sound trite, Owen. Thanks for taking the time to read and visit. 🙂
I remember sitting on the rough carpet of a small chapel at a convent near my home listening to a friend speak about Christ in the Eucharist. He spoke of the cup of Christ’s blood. He reminded us that in the times of Jesus, sipping of a cup and then offering it to the person in front of you was a proposal. (Man to woman – but we know that Jesus is espoused to us all in the Church.) The man would go away then and prepare a place in his father’s house for his new bride. At every Mass Jesus asks us to join Him in the place He has gone to prepare for us in His Father’s house. So, like you said, we are invited at each Mass to celebrate the wedding feast. At each Mass, we become one with Christ. He enters into us in a physical way and lives in us, though only briefly. The beauty of it? He truly lives in us at all times but PHYSICALLY for about fifteen minutes, Christ, our Lord, is present within us. We are living tabernacles. We have been espoused to Christ and we celebrate union with Him.
All of that, to say what Owen said… Amen.