Deacon Blog 1/27/2019
How many times have you said, or heard someone say “Mass is boring”? Or my favorite “I’m just not being fed”, like we’ve been invited out to dinner. To be fair, I hear this from people of all denominations, but I would like to address specifically the Roman Rite we experience as Catholics. At a certain level this comment is born of today’s mentality about life… work, worship, family, recreation. I feel it is more a symptom of our attitudes in the secular western world than the Church , but how do we separate the two? This is a comment rarely heard from an adult forty or fifty years ago. While I personally feel it began in the sixties (I am not a sociologist), I am old enough to have the perspective of church and secular life the past forty years and have witnessed the profound shift in society that explains a lot about the world we live in today. A world obsessively focused on “ME”. What do I want ?…What makes me happy?…I’m not feeling it…I’m just not being fed. Or… I need to speak my truth.
On a certain level these are valid statements, but they are complete opposites to the life of a Christian disciple. The very definition of Divine Love is “to will the best for the other” as Bishop Robert Barron states. An act of our wills, not emotion. Our very beings should will our actions so this kind of Love comes from the divine image we are created with. Emotional love is fickle, it is more about how someone or something makes us feel. This may or may not be of interest to you, but it speaks directly to how we experience the MASS as the “Source and Summit” of our Christian life. (ccc. 1324)
“Why do we go to Mass”? Maybe it’s “to grow our faith” or “to become a better person”. Or we might feel it is to receive GOD’s grace in the Eucharist. All of these are possible, but the statements themselves expose a profound focus on ourselves. Self centered. As opposed to going as an act of Worship, to honor GOD. To praise HIM. The center of all religions is the act of worship. The really cool thing is, GOD has no need for our worship…we need it. Our divine natures long to be oriented in the “right praise” of GOD. If you look at the words of the prayers we recite you will see it’s all oriented toward GOD. In doing this, in focusing on something beyond ourselves, we meet the deepest need of our souls. Why should we worry about “not being fed”? It isn’t about us. That one hour (of approx. 112 waking hours per week) is about our participation in Heaven’s Liturgy of the MOST HIGH. We praise with music, we pray with the WORD. We offer the sacrifice, with our Priest, of bread and wine, and GOD returns these gifts to us as HIMSELF, as the perfect host, in the Eucharist. We come to Mass to GIVE, not receive, and in return GOD gives us the Joy and Happiness we all seek.
This subject is huge, but it sits at the very core of our faith lives. We will discuss this more as we approach the pilgrimage of Lent. When we come to worship, don’t expect a gift, bring the gift of your being engaged in praising “HIM through whom all things are made”. In return we find a true feast beyond our ability to consume. Let’s use as much as we can of the other 111 hours a week to feed our souls with sacred reading, prayer, and service to others. GOD Bless You ALL…Deacon Mike
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