Monday, August 12, 2013

The Beauty of the Mass

"What wonderful majesty! What stupendous condescension! O sublime humility! That the Lord of the whole universe, God and the Son of God, should humble Himself like this under the form of a little bread, for our salvation."  St. Francis of Assisi

The other day, while at Mass, I noticed a girl about my age sitting in the pew in front of me. She was dressed like a normal teenager, but there was something different about her that drew my attention.

She was happy.

All throughout the Mass, she held her hands intertwined, clutching her heart as if it were on fire, smiling to herself as she spoke and prayed with the congregation. It was as if she was having a secret conversation with the Lord, her entire attention focused on the beauty of the Mass.

I did not even have to meet this girl to see her inner passion. I could tell by the way she approached the celebration of the Eucharist that she was devoted to her faith. I was truly inspired by the display of such joy.

Shouldn't we all share this passion, this uncontrollable joy? It seems as if more often than not, going to Mass is a chore. We know it helps us grow in holiness, but does it sometimes seem like old news? Something we've seen every week and therefore lose sincere interest in?

Reciting words can be boring. The same schedule every Sunday can get redundant. That is, until you stop and realize how amazing it truly is.

Think about it. Really think about it. Every time we go to Mass, we are united to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We hear words that Jesus Himself revealed and spoke to US. We spend a solid hour in the house of the Lord. We pray for those in need. We are reminded of our beliefs as Catholics. And most importantly, we receive the Eucharist.

The Eucharist. THE Body of Christ.

Maybe after receiving it so many times, we start to forget how significant this is.

Christ reminds us every time we celebrate the Eucharist that He died for us. He reminds us that despite any struggles we are facing, Jesus Christ is strong enough to conquer it as He conquered death. He shows us that we are worth it; we are worth a horrible death on a Cross.

Every time we take Christ's Body into our hands/mouths, we receive tangible proof of everything Christ has revealed to us. We come into direct contact with Him. How fortunate are we to be blessed with such a hands-on encounter with Christ, an encounter first established by Jesus Himself?

Yes, our minds will wander at times. But we must not forget the true beauty of the Mass. Going to Church should not be a burden, simply a requirement. God doesn't require it of us because He wants us to be falling asleep in His home. He requires it of us because He knows, if we approach it reverently, that the Mass will unite us to Christ and help us on our road to holiness. We should delight in the gift of this experience, taking pleasure in every opportunity we receive to grow closer to Christ through the Eucharist.

It is so easy to get distracted, to grow bored. Trust me, I know. However, we are called to try our best to remember each and every day the value of such a gift as the Eucharist.

"Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you - for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart...don't listen to the demon, laugh at him, and go without fear to receive the Jesus of peace and love."  St. Therese of Lisieux

I encourage you, whether you do so on the outside or privately, to smile in the presence of Christ at Mass. Smile at the opportunity you have to witness His love, to receive His Body, and to be reminded of His goodness. Remember that Mass isn't about going through the motions, but rather coming face-to-face with Jesus. This encounter with Christ is what will refresh your soul, encouraging you on your journey toward God each and every week. Jesus is in the tabernacle for you. Welcome Him into your heart with open arms and you will be surprised at the wonders He will perform.

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