Are We Placing Mass Restrictions on Ourselves?

by Matthew Leonard
by Matthew Leonard
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Now that restrictions are being lifted with increasing frequency, a lot of people are wondering how many Catholics will return to Mass.

After all, we’ve all heard the depressing statistics regarding the small percentage of Catholics who actually believe the Eucharist to be the Real Presence.

It’s shocking, for sure.

But as we approach the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ this Sunday, perhaps a more uncomfortable question arises: What about those of us who know it’s Jesus being offered on the altar; those of us who gladly proclaim our belief in his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity and wring our hands about those who don’t?

Are we placing unnecessary Mass “restrictions” on ourselves? Are we receiving the Lord as often as our lives allow?

I realize that everyone’s circumstances are different and life presents a lot of challenges, but let’s try and put this in perspective.

Imagine if you were the greatest doctor in the world, knew the answer to every medical problem, and could heal any disease. You had offices in every neighborhood around the world, they were open every day, and your services were totally free. Do you think you would ever have any downtime?

Of course not. Your offices would be packed.

And instead of merely gaining relief from temporary physical maladies from a fictional super-doctor, we have the opportunity to meet with the God of the universe who wants to give us peace, joy, happiness, healing — everything he’s got, forever!

Brothers and sisters, we need to get to Mass and receive “the medicine of immortality” as often as we possibly can.

The Sunday obligation is just that, an obligation. It’s the low bar.

But love isn’t about obligation. If we know what’s really being offered, we should be ecstatic to have the opportunity to become “partakers of the divine nature” of God (2 Pt 1:4). He’s literally sharing his divinity with us!

And that gift isn’t simply a one-a-week event.

Don’t forget that Jesus taught us to ask the Father for “our daily bread.”

Following his lead, Saint Ambrose asks a very pointed question: “If it is ‘daily’ bread, then why do you take it so infrequently? Take daily what will help you daily. And live so that you deserve to receive it daily. He who does not deserve to receive it daily does not deserve to receive it once a year.”

Yes, it’s not easy.

There are often days that I simply don’t feel like going. I’m tired. The kids are whiny. The weather isn’t great. The Mass time is inconvenient.

And to add a little salt in the wound, lots of times even when I get there, it isn’t the most “heavenly” of experiences. (Trust me, I can provide you a very detailed description of our parish cry room.)

Even so, just like a family member or friend really appreciates it when you show up in spite of difficulty, realize that the Lord absolutely loves the fact that you simply showed up to be with him at Mass.

Of course, a lot of people don’t have many available opportunities for daily Mass.

Whether it’s because of work or other obligations, it just isn’t possible to receive our Lord other than Sunday. If that’s your situation, then try to spend some extra time in prayer and make a spiritual communion. It’s extremely beneficial and will help propel you up the divine ladder.

But for those who have the opportunity, I would encourage you to see if maybe you can get to even one more Mass per week…or two if you’re feeling motivated:).

It can transform your life.

And speaking of motivation, when I’m struggling to decide whether or not to make the effort to go (and it happens more often than I’d like to admit), I try to look at, or think about, a crucifix.

I try to focus on the fact that Christ was willing to be humiliated, beaten, bloodied, and ultimately crucified so that I might have the opportunity to receive him and be saved.

The question then becomes, “What am I willing to do for him?”

God bless you and Happy Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood Christ.

Matthew

P.S. If you’re a member of the Science of Sainthood, there’s a new lesson available.

If you’re not a member, you can check it out right now…for free.

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7 Responses

  1. Thanks for a great article! And yes, daily mass has changed my life.. I can’t recommend it enough! ☺️

    Blessings…

  2. Good morning. I’m Canadian and our churches are still closed. If I had my way I would go to mass everyday but we don’t have that here because of shortage of holy priests. I am starving for the sacraments. I’m suffering quietly and people will say it could always be worse. For me there is nothing worse then not being able to receive Jesus. People don’t understand because they don’t know Jesus. To me he is my life , my everything. All I can do right now in this situation is pray for all the people that are leaving the church because I was like them one time in my life. Thankyou. God bless

    1. It breaks my heart that you can’t receive our Lord, Lucille. I was thinking about some of my Canadian friends in BC as I was writing the post, actually. I know it’s been extremely difficult for you. May the Lord pour out his graces upon you.

  3. Matthew – Thank you for another wonderful post on your blog! We are blessed with a priest down here in Temple Texas who has been using his homilies the past few weeks to speak to not only the scripture readings but also to catechism. His last two homilies were on the very same subject of “obligation” vs “expectation”. Much of his direction to us was exactly what you have put to us about the grace and blessing we are offered daily at the Mass.
    He went further to remind us that the Mass is a communal and public offering. We are not there just for our personal salvation and worship but to participate with our community, offer support for others and combine our sufferings with the entire Body of Christ. To that end, we should always join our community not only in daily mass but in funeral, wedding and ordination masses, if at all possible.
    I pray his and your messages resonate throughout my parish and your readers!

    1. Thanks, Ryan. I’m very glad to hear what’s happening in your parish! God bless you and everyone in your church!

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