Learning to Love the Mass
“A man who fails to love the Mass fails to love Christ.” – St. Josemarìa Escrivà
A few days ago, I remember talking to two of my friends on the topic of going to Mass. One of them was Protestant. The other, Catholic. It was 2 vs. 1, so to speak. But not in the way you’d expect.
Both of them agreed that going to Mass is way too boring.. And good ol’ Catholic me was left with a whole bunch of questions to answer.
My Protestant friend argued that Mass was boring because all we Catholics ever do is “read the thing, say the same things, pray the same things, and eat the thing.” While it broke my heart to think that someone would ever go so far as to refer to the holy presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist as a mere “thing” – even from a Protestant – it gave me reason to question why many people today don’t realize just how amazing and beautiful the celebration of the Mass is.
Now, on the other hand, my Catholic friend told me that he went to a Protestant service last Sunday, and said that it was so different. He said it was the most fun he’s ever had going to church.
What’s more fun than taking part in a celebration that’s 2,000 years old and receiving the body and blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Obviously, I could only speak for myself at that time. However, what he said really made me think.
You see, the more I reflect on it, the more I’m convinced that our generation today struggles to understand what the true value of the Mass is. And I’m not saying this out of pride – I was there once. There was a time when I thought that going to Mass was extremely boring. I didn’t see the point of it. I didn’t feel anything. Even though I was taught all about the true presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist and believed it, I still said to myself, “Well, so what? What am I supposed to get out of it?”
And that’s what my problem was. That’s what was blinding me to see the beauty of celebrating the Mass – expecting something out going to Mass. It sort of reminds me of the joke about “give-away” Catholics – Catholics who only show up at Mass on Palm Sunday and Ash Wednesday for the “give-away’s,” like palms and ashes.
I’ve since come to realize that the value of the Mass shouldn’t lie in what we are supposed to get out of it (although being able to receive Jesus in the Eucharist should be reason enough to go), but in what we are able to give of ourselves. I’ve since come to realize that the value of the Mass is that it is a special kind of opportunity to show God that we truly appreciate all that He has done for us through celebrating the sacrifice that gives us life, meaning, and purpose.
My brothers and sisters, Jesus longs to come into our hearts! Not only does he long for our love and affection, but like a good shepherd, he seeks to rescue the lost and the broken-hearted, the lowly and the restless – and invite them to come trust in His infinite love and mercy.
What better way to show Jesus our willingness to welcome Him into our lives than to receive Him in the Eucharist as often as possible?
He’s waiting for you. (: