Why go to mass? Like other Americans, many Catholics claim to be "spiritual but not religious." They cannot believe that missing mass is a mortal sin, (who does?) nor do they feel obligated to support their(?)parish. But Catholics today do appreciate friendship, sex, and communication; however they don’t relate their insights to Sunday worship,as they well might. Yes, God speaks to the soul in those "peak experiences"of beauty, nature, and music. Yet at mass spiritual seekers can receive God’s own "text messages," in the inspired words of scripture. The word of God focuses and concentrates "spirituality". God’s Word can breach those habitual mind-sets that have been built up as defenses. Attention! Attention! Wake up! This way to the Truth and the Life. Well, maybe, but what about the complaint that mass is boring? Repetition and slow moving rituals may try the short attention span of media wired moderns in an ADHD culture. But here’s where knowing more about friendship comes to the rescue. Friends become friends by repeated low key, slow moving periods of "hanging out"together. They routinely indulge in retelling memories of the past and all know their standard lines. Face to face time includes companionable silence as well. Ritual repetition, along with intense and restful moments also mark the practice of love and sex. Love increases with each loving act and so do sexual bonds. It’s the repeated unions of body, mind and love that generate the energy for large hearted living. Similarly, each loving union with Christ’s risen body in the Eucharist expands and transforms the heart. Going to communion gives birth to new Christ like persons. God becomes human so that humans can become God. "Theosis," "deification" are the technical terms describing the astounding promise. Since growing up into Christ is not the work of a day, we worship over and over--supported and encouraged by our sojourning brothers and sisters. Then there are the regressions and lapses into childishness: "I want what I want when I want it. Who wants to be like God, anyway?" In the worst of moods. I don’t want to open up to anybody, much less to the "One Who makes all things new." Please, just dim the lights and shut the door, thank you. But somehow if I drag myself into that left rear pew, the starter button becomes pressed and the motor slowly turns over. A few sparks flicker and a flame flares up. In the end we go to mass to be set afire. Light from Light, at last. Sidney Callahan

Comments

Anonymous | 5/24/2008 - 10:00am
Some of this is going to work its way into my Corpus Christi homily. -- Rev. Thomas Extejt
Anonymous | 5/22/2008 - 9:48pm
A lovely analogy between the slow strengthening of bonds of friendship and the repeated reception of the Eucharist. I now have a good response for family and friends who question the repetitive ritual of the Mass.