Dear Love Being Catholic Friends,
During these unprecedented times I am so thankful for all the priests who have been live streaming Mass on TV. Thank you also to those who have been able to bring us some of the sacraments in a creative and safe manner, while we are all adjusting to our (temporary) new normal.
I am praying that churches will open again soon (with whatever social distancing and safe measures need to take place) and that we will be able to once again attend Mass and receive Christ in the Eucharist. This day will come and if anything this pandemic has shown me is the true beauty of our Catholic faith and the great gift we have been given by being Catholic.
We often don’t appreciate what we have until it is gone. Being able to watch Mass on TV is truly a gift and a blessing, but it is not the same and I miss it.
I remember when I first started re-discovering my love for the Catholic faith, I attended Mass at a beautiful church that had the tabernacle and crucifix displayed prominently up front. The church I had been attending did not have this, so when I walked into this church, it moved me profoundly and brought me to tears.
I love the tabernacle not stuck in a corner. I love that Catholic churches have the altar front and center, and not a pulpit. I love to watch the priests and deacon kiss the altar when they enter and leave Mass. I love the bells, the candles, the incense, the statues of Mary, Joseph and the saints, the oils, the vestments, the stained glass windows – all of it. I love that during the consecration (in many churches) you hear these beautiful bells ringing, which call your attention to the miracle that is taking place upon the altar. These bells help to connect us in a deep and mysterious way to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
I love the crucifix. You will come across some people who express distaste at the thought of depicting Jesus at His most vulnerable. Guess what? This should make you uncomfortable. Jesus does not want us to look at His Crucifixion as only a past event. Every lash that he took, every blow that drove the nail into his hands was caused by you and me. OUR sins (present, past and future) hung Jesus on that cross. The crucifix is the ultimate expression of the lengths that a loving God will go to reach us. Gazing at a crucifix is a humbling experience.
I love walking into Mass and blessing myself with holy water, and then kneeling in prayer before Mass begins. We kneel because we are in the presence of God. Kneeling is a very meaningful and intimate gesture, and it expresses adoration and shows our reverence towards Him. Kneeling in God’s presence during Mass emphasizes the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and how much we love and adore our King.
When we see incense being used in our churches, it is meant to remind us of heaven, and that our worship of God in the Christian liturgy is divine in origin. It also reminds us to pray, and that our prayer rises to God like the smoke from the censer, purifying our worship of God, and allowing his Holy Spirit to work in us to make us holy.
These little traditions and sacramentals all mean something, and make the Mass all the more meaningful and beautiful. They help us with all of our human failings and distractions to understand what is really going on at Mass, and to focus on Christ. Are they necessary for the validity of the sacrament? No. But can they help one to truly appreciate and recognize the beauty of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and come to a deeper understanding of why we are there? Yes.
In an era where a tragically large number of Catholics no longer believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, or even attend Mass every Sunday, these sacramentals can help one focus on the miracle that takes place upon the altar. I love all of our beautiful traditions which are a very powerful devotional aid during Mass, and a rich sacramental tradition of the Church.
I am praying for you all during these challenging and unprecedented times, and especially for all who have been affected by the Coronavirus, and those on the front lines battling this invisible enemy. I am also praying for Pope Francis, our cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, religious and our beautiful Catholic Church.
Thank you all for following this page and for being there for each other – we will get through this! Love to you all!