More than six years ago I found the following essay, written by Cathy O’Connell-Cahill on the website, At Home with Our Faith. I edited it slightly, but I’m putting the entire piece as a quotation. There is food for thought about the Mass.
There are things that happen at Mass that may not happen at any other time during the week. Here are some to think about:
- At Mass I am not a consumer, a customer, or a client. No one is trying to get me to buy cable TV or to switch to a different Internet service provider—or to buy anything at all. Jesus always invites, but never pressures.
- I admit to my family and friends that I’ve sinned during the week, “in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do.” I ask them to pray for me. I admit that I am not perfect. So do they.
- We sing together. Music unlocks places in the heart that words cannot. Some hymns will lead you to shed pent-up tears.
- I hear the Word of God, stories that will never run dry of meaning so long as I bring my own story to them.
- I might hear a great homily. Even in a so-so homily I might find one helpful thought I can take away.
- I pray for the Church, the world, the pope, the sick, and the dead. Some weeks I might otherwise forget to pray for any of these.
- I offer my week to God. I bring the work I did, the bed I made, the dishes I washed, the laundry I helped fold, the lawn I mowed. It all goes to God.
- I’m invited to be generous, to reflect on all that God has blessed me with and to respond with open hands and a generous heart.
- My family and friends see me on my knees. Getting on your knees is a powerful statement.
- The sign of peace gives me a chance to give the gift of touch to people in the church who may not be touched—ever—during the week.
- I receive incomparable food for the week’s journey in the Body of Christ. I get to see the Body of Christ in living color as its members process to receive Holy Communion. I can reflect on how all of us will be the hands and feet of Christ this week. I may be only a little toe, but if I’m missing, the whole Body aches.