Recently, I was made aware of a (new) song, evidently popular with the young crowd. Silly me, I thought, “Take me to Church! Awesome!” I Googled the lyrics and was very disappointed by what I read – Yet another example of women (and men) being objectified.
In Theology of the Body for Teens, one of the key concepts, so beautifully stated is ” Objects are to be used. People are to be loved.” Why is it o.k. in the minds of people, both male and female, to be entertained by such degrading music? How can those words make anyone feel good? Have we lost all value for the human person made in the image and likeness of God?
I do digress. Let me get back to my original idea for this post – church attendance. It’s so important for so many reasons. Let me see if I can make a (“Letterman-like”) top ten list:
1. It’s a commandment. #3 Keep Holy the Sabbath. The Sabbath for Christians is Sunday since it is the day that Jesus rose from the dead. How do we keep holy the Sabbath? We go to mass.
2. It’s another commandment. Part of #1 “You shall have no other gods before Me.” When we choose another activity over attending mass on the Sabbath, we make that thing a god/idol whether that be sleeping in, jogging, reading the paper, vacationing, or playing a sport.
3. Let’s look at the positive! God is the provider of everything we have! Every good thing comes from Him. Don’t we owe Him praise and thanksgiving? Mass is the ultimate prayer. What better way to thank Him?
4. As parents, we have to model priority. Do we believe that hearing God’s Word is important? Do we believe that receiving Jesus is essential to our spiritual health? Do we believe that God must come first? If so, we have to show our children that by taking them to church (and might I add – fully participating!) “Do as I say and not as I do” won’t cut it here or anywhere else!
5. Do you believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist? If we really believed that in our hearts and in our bones, there would be lines waiting outside of churches and adoration chapels of people waiting to get in – to get close to Jesus. In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass , the priest bring us Jesus, in the flesh. Can you get a better offer anywhere on the planet?
6. Jesus tells us Himself that “If you do not eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life within you.” Don’t we want our children to be filled with Christ? Don’t we want to be filled with Christ? We should seek to receive Jesus as often as we possibly can. Think of the graces we are passing up when we don’t attend mass. Wouldn’t being more grace -filled make us better parents/people in general? Hmmm.
7. Some may find Mass boring. If we truly understood what was going on, we couldn’t possibly feel bored. At mass, we literally time travel. We are made present at the one, true, total sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We are at the foot of the cross with John and Mary. The veil between Heaven and earth is parted and we are invited to experience a foretaste of Heaven – that wonderful communion we will experience with God for all eternity. If we truly get in touch with this reality, we would eagerly await our next communion with the Lord.
8. Do you want to experience more intimacy with the Lord? Can He get any closer than entering your body? If you don’t feel anything special when you receive Holy Communion, ask yourself, what are you doing to prepare yourself to receive Him? Do you pray? Do you empty yourself by observing the 1 hour fast? Do you confess your sins? Are you angry with anyone, harboring ill feelings? Have you prayed asking help to forgive? After Holy Communion, do you close your eyes and talk to Jesus? I find closing my eyes helps me to block out other distractions. Do you linger for a few extra minutes of alone time with Jesus after the church empties out?
9. God loves you as though You were His only child. (St. Augustine) Because of this, if you don’t show up for mass, you are irreplaceable. He will miss you because YOU are missing. God loves you completely, unconditionally, with all of your good points and faults. He longs to have that love returned. He gives us free will. He will not force us to return His love, BUT He wants you to. Show Him your love – show up!
10. You may think that a lot is wrong in the Church right now. You may be waiting for everything is perfect or right to return on a regular basis. Let’s get some things straight. The Church is Holy because it was begun by Christ Himself. He is the Head. The Church is His Body here on earth. The Church is Holy because it is guided by the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier. The Church is not, however, perfect, because it is made up of human beings who are not perfect. There will always be things that we might not like. There may even be priests, deacons or parishioners who rub us the wrong way at times. We MUST REMEMBER that we do not follow a priest, or a deacon, or a person. We follow Christ! He will not let us down – ever! Until Christ returns in glory to set things aright, the Church will continue to have its imperfections. We cannot let that come between us and the Lord.
It’s also prudent to remember that each priest and deacon has received a calling from God, and have generously answered that call. It is the priest who brings us Jesus through the sacraments. We must pray for our priests unceasingly!
Did I forget anything?