Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Mass: Heaven on Earth

“I'm trying to ‘come back’ to the Church at the urging of some dear friends, but it is so hard for me to go to Mass. All I hear about there is death, suffering, blood, hell, and more death. You don't go 2 minutes in Mass without hearing about something dark. I have enough depression in my life, and Mass is just more of it, at least for me.”

To this blogger, we say, welcome back! We are very glad that you have come back to the Church and come to this site. We are very sorry that it is so hard for you to come to Mass and that you “have enough depression” in your life. We ask that you peruse this site more thoroughly, if you haven’t already. There are many uplifting comments and insights that bloggers make here on a regular basis. It’s really quite amazing!

In no way am I trying to discount your experience at Mass. I have talked with people who have had similar experiences when they come to the Church, mainly because they bring such sadness with them when they arrive. And, if the Mass is not properly celebrated as the Church intends (e.g., a joyless celebrant; deviation from the rubrics), then I can understand even more of someone having a negative experience there.

But, can I ask you to try and hear objectively a few of the beautiful and uplifting words and phrases that are heard at every Mass?

The grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all”. These words are said right away at Mass, right after we make the sign of the Cross. Grace and peace are two words that we hear repeatedly throughout the Mass. It’s what we are all looking for!

May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life”. Again, these words are said by the priest at the beginning of Mass. Mercy and everlasting life are two more main themes of the Catholic Mass. Also, if we understand that sin (either our sin or the sin of others) is the leading cause of depression, then we understand that the forgiveness of our sins is the leading cure to depression. The theme of forgiveness is dominant in the readings that we hear at Mass and in Sacred Scripture in general.

Take this all of you and eat it. This is my body which will be given up for you”. In my opinion, these are the most uplifting and powerful words that have ever been spoken on the face of the earth. Jesus gives us food to eat – always a positive thing! And, more significantly, this food is his body! God gives himself to us!! The Eucharist is not only a visible sign that God loves us and is with us, it is God’s love and mercy in the flesh. When we receive the Eucharist, we receive eternal life. Heaven on Earth!! This is the most positive and uplifting experience we can ever have in this world. It is union with God and all that He is – love, mercy, goodness, beauty, joy, peace, kindness, etc.

So, Anon, I would ask you to specifically focus on the Eucharist the next time you go to Mass. Maybe even hit a daily Mass during Lent. Also, it might be good to prepare for Mass by reading John 6 in which Jesus teaches about the Eucharist. He teaches there that “I am the bread of life” and “the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world”. Christ is the life of the world. Everything we are looking for is found in Christ. What we receive at Mass is what we are all looking for because what we receive at Mass is Christ, specifically in the Eucharist. We receive his grace and peace and are sent out from Mass to “go in the peace of Christ”.

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