Thursday, September 14, 2006A Reflection on Mass
If you are like me, you get easily distracted at Mass... the kid behind you smells like last week's diaper pail, the man in front of you has a very noticeable hairpiece that keeps slipping, the teenager next to you is wearing clothes you'd see at a beach, your own child keeps tugging on you and whining, the priest's eyelids keep drooping during the readings... etc. There's a lot going on it seems and it can be really hard to place yourself in the mindset that we are at a Heavenly Banquet, about to encounter the Master of the Universe in the most intimate way possible. What can be done? Well, you can't control your external circumstances very much so it's important to try to get to Mass a bit early so you get a chance to pray and prepare yourself for the Sacred Mysteries about to take place. Apart from this, the only consolation we really get is the knowledge (but not necessarily the feeling) that we are receiving immense graces just by being there and receiving our Lord.
Anyway, in a recent talk I heard, Dr. Scott Hahn was referring to all this and how it shouldn't surprise us. Christ is hidden in such an ordinary little wafer. If His glory was revealed for all to see, we first of all wouldn't be able to handle it... secondly, the whole world would be Catholic because there would be no room for faith to have its home.
All the distractions at Mass are part of the ordinary human experience. It is this EXACT SAME ordinary human experience that was present when Jesus Christ walked the earth! People didn't look at Him and think "Wow, He looks like He might be God." He walked the noisy, distracted streets of Jerusalem and ate with the ordinary people with babies crying in the background to be sure. God is the fullness of human experience.
This is why it's so wonderful to be Catholic! We don't have to rely on our "feelings" in order to receive sanctifying (or sacramental) grace. It's there whether we recognize it or not. The angels in Heaven are worshipping the Eucharistic Lord there in Mass even if the priest's sermon was boring and the music off-key. What consolation!!! That we experience our God in the same way people 2000 years ago experienced Him when He was right in front of their faces... in the context of our fallen, distracted, noisy humanity.
Well, it helped me to hear this anyway!
-Ellie: Oak Harbor, WA