So many people go to Mass, and it seems like it makes no practical difference in their lives. What’s the point?
First, I want you to know that you are not alone. I believe every Catholic has asked this question in some way or has wondered about the importance of going to Mass every Sunday. Allow me to direct your attention to a specific point — your question focuses on the self. All humans are instinctively self-oriented, so our lives constantly revolve around ourselves: What am I getting out of this? How am I gaining or profiting from this? What can this do for me? How will this impact me? And so on. However, the true calling of the Christian is to look beyond the self and into the spirit of Christ, which takes the emphasis off the self and places it on others.
While we receive beautiful graces at Mass, some seen and others unseen, the Mass should be viewed not as an opportunity for self-fulfillment, but as a way to praise and glorify our God and celebrate in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Going to church each week allows the soul to give and receive, rest in the presence of Jesus, and unite as one community and body of Christ. The Eucharist nourishes our entire beings in unimaginable ways and enables us to go forth and live as disciples of Christ. The key is to come with an open heart and be open to God’s blessings, which often pass by without ever being noticed or appreciated.
Do you know how loved you are? Do you experience the great love of Christ at Mass, as he offers his body and blood to you? You see, the problem is not the absence or shortage of love in our lives. We humans are constantly receiving an overabundant supply of grace from God, but such a priceless gift is difficult for us to fully accept. The human heart struggles to receive love — to be at peace and allow the heart of Christ to love you and me personally. God’s love is never astray or lost, but we knowingly and unknowingly resist the immensity of such powerful graces.
So, how can we be more open to receiving the love of Christ? Pray for the grace to do so and spend time contemplating on what it means to be individually called and known by the Lord. He reveals himself to us in every moment of our lives and is present in a special way in the Eucharist. Pay attention — the Lord is speaking to you right now and longs for your heart.
The next time you feel distracted, discouraged or confused during Mass, I invite you to rest your gaze on Jesus. All things are for his glory, not our glory. Let us come to church with a servant’s heart — a heart that is ready to love and to be transformed, instead of one that is overly consumed in its own motives and desires.
I am praying for you. Please pray for me. God bless!
Northwest Catholic - January/February 2021