We as Catholics have many practices that often seem strange or unreasonable to our non-Catholic brothers and sisters. Our churches are beautiful and lavishly decorated (well… not all of them are these days, but you get the idea). We are obligated to go to Mass every weekend. We genuflect when we enter and leave church. We fast for at least an hour before receiving Holy Communion. We abstain from receiving Holy Communion if we are conscious of any grave or mortal sin. The priest wears elaborate vestments at Mass. The chalice and other vessels used for Holy Communion are made of precious metals. The priest takes time at the end of Holy Communion to carefully cleanse the vessels. We have prayers and rituals with the consecrated host: Adoration and Benediction. On today’s solemnity, there are often outdoor processions with the consecrated host in the monstrance, such as the one taking place in Marshfield.
Why do we as Catholics do all these things? It’s because of our faith in the Holy Eucharist – that Christ is truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist. If this was not our faith in the Eucharist, and if we believed it was only a symbol, then none of the above would make any sense. The Church gives a great feast such as this one, Corpus Christi, to remind us and strengthen our faith in his special presence with us. Christ did not come into this world to remove from us all of our problems in this life. But speaking personally, I am consoled to be reminded of the fact that Christ is with me in a special way in the midst of it all, and this is especially true and clear in the Eucharist.
This special presence of Christ the Lord – of God with us in the Eucharist at every Mass should send people rushing in through our doors and packing our churches. Yes, we have a lot of work to do in evangelizing the world around us – in sharing this good news about our faith. But, we should be confident as well in the fact that a great product is often not that hard to sell – and we have a great product!
Attending Mass every weekend, as is our obligation in faith, is one thing, and I have spoken about it many times before. (In fact, if you are taking the time to read this column, chances are you are regularly attending Sunday Mass.) But one thing that I have often noticed is that attendance at daily Mass in our three parishes is relatively small and sporadic. Yes, I know most people’s work schedules prohibit them from regularly attending daily Mass. And yes, I know daily Mass is often cancelled due to funerals or your pastor being out of town (as is hopefully indicated in the bulletin or announced at an earlier Mass). But I also get the sense that there are many who have the flexibility in their schedules to attend daily Mass often, but do not.
If attending daily Mass (or attending it more often) is a possibility for you, here are some reasons to consider: (1) Receiving Holy Communion devoutly and daily is a source of grace leading us to greater conversion, helping us to work at and conquer our pride, as well as our habitual sins and vices. (2) By attending daily Mass, we are more consciously placing God first in our lives, offering over to Him our very selves and giving Him due praise. (3) In daily Mass, we hear a lot more of the Scriptures read, and we give the Lord more opportunities to speak to our hearts. God’s plan of salvation for us as revealed in the Scriptures becomes clearer. (4) The graces of the Mass extend into other areas of our lives, healing our wounds and broken relationships. (5) Finally, in daily Mass, we spend more time with our Creator, learning to love Him, with whom we hope to spend eternity.