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The Catholic Mass

Mass

The Mass is the most important and sacred act of worship in the Catholic Church.

The Mass incorporates the Bible (Sacred Scripture), prayer, sacrifice, hymns, symbols, gestures, sacred food for the soul, and directions on how to live a Catholic life — all in one ceremony. Through time and space, we connect with the original Last Supper.

The Church teaches that the Mass is the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary. This is misunderstood by many who claim that the Mass is a re-crucifixion of Christ.

It is not.

Jesus Christ celebrated the first Mass with His disciples at the Last Supper, the night before He died. He commanded His disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). The celebration of the Mass then became the main form of worship in the early Church, (2000 years ago) as a reenactment of the Last Supper, as Christ had commanded.

Each and every Mass since commemorates Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through the Holy Eucharist. Because the Mass “re-presents” (makes present) the sacrifice on Calvary, Catholics all around the world join together to be made present in Christ’s timeless sacrifice for our sins. There is something fascinating about continuing to celebrate the same Mass—instituted by Christ and practiced by the early Church.

Study Church history and see how the early Christians celebrated Mass, and you will see it is the same as how Catholics celebrate it today.

Attending Mass is not just an obligation, it’s a privilege.
God knows we need it, and it is His gift to us. Mass should be the highlight of our week. We should look forward to going, and when we don’t, it’s a reminder that we need to work harder to more fully understand the reality of what happens at Mass. If you are a Catholic, you are supposed to go to Mass every week, and on Holy Days of Obligation. If you don’t understand the Mass, or are bored, and are looking for better “entertainment” – then pray for understanding.

We don’t go to Mass to be entertained, or demand that the priest’s homily be exciting, or if it isn’t we aren’t going back. Some priests are more gifted with amazing homilies. Some are not. Pray for them all and go to Mass regardless. If you’re looking for great entertainment every week, your priorities are all wrong. Go whether you feel like going or not. Love is much more than feelings. (You feed your children every day out of love for them, whether you feel like it or not.) Going to Mass is good for your eternal soul.

It’s human and natural to forget, want to sleep in, take it for granted, or become numb to it, but we have to continually work to overcome that trap. The devil is real and loves it when you stay home. At Mass we are being offered the greatest gift God has to offer – the source and summit of our Faith, Jesus Christ Himself in the Eucharist.

Learn your faith. Ask questions, study, read the Catholic Bible, and learn what it means to be a Catholic Christian. So many Catholics stopped learning about their faith after their Confirmation. Some of the most passionate Catholics today are those who converted to Catholicism as an adult, and understand the meaning of the Mass and the Eucharist. So many of us did not understand the beautiful truth of our faith when we were young, but are now re-discovering the truth and beauty of it as adults. Learn your faith and learn why we do what we do. Don’t be tempted to leave the church, founded by Jesus Christ, for better entertainment, and if you have, please come back.

At Mass we get down on our knees to humble ourselves before our King. It’s not about “us” remember. We go for Him. We understand the importance of the sacred and the holy, and how truth and beauty draw us closer to God, so that we can bring His love to others. We need God, though so many in our world today tell you not to worry about what God thinks of you, but only how you treat and love each other. Of course Jesus wants us to love one another – we love and serve the lonely, the sick, the poor, the disabled, those in prison, the immigrants, men, women and children around the world, but we also love and care what our loving God thinks of us, and we worship Him as Jesus instructed us to do 2000 years ago.

When we receive the Eucharist, we truly, physically receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, of God Himself – at every Mass. If you’re looking for a personal relationships with Jesus Christ, you can’t get any more personal than when you receive Him in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic faith. Christ is truly present in the Eucharist with or without a dynamic homily.

Notice how it is the altar that is front and center at a Mass, not the pulpit or a personality. Notice how when the priest and deacon enter and leave Mass, they bow down and kiss the altar. They aren’t kissing a pulpit.
The Mass is a sacrifice.

We go to Mass to worship God, hear His holy word in the Liturgy of the Word, and receive Christ’s body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist. An inspiring homily and beautiful music absolutely add to the beauty of the Mass, but even without these things, Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. That alone should make you want to never skip Mass, be there on time, not leave early without a good reason, and thank God for this wonderful gift.

Read, study, seek more understanding, and most of all, pray that you will come to a better appreciation and love for this most beautiful gift that Jesus Christ instituted at the Last supper 2000 years ago.

God loves you. If you haven’t been in a while. Please go. And keep going back.

Wishing you all a beautiful Sunday!

In Christ,

Liz

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Why does it matter if you leave the Catholic Church?

catholic sign

Why does it matter if you leave the Catholic Church?
 
It matters because as Catholics we think it is important to belong to the Church that Christ founded 2000 years ago. It matters because when you leave the Catholic Church, you leave the Eucharist – and all the sacraments that Christ Himself instituted. It matters because as Catholics we believe the Church contains the fullness of the truth because it was founded by Christ Himself.
 
What is the “pillar and foundation of truth”? According to the Bible, it is the Church:
 
1 Timothy 3: 14-15 “I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.” Jesus left us a Church to guide us in Truth. He chose Peter as the first Pope when He said, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). And then, this Church – the Catholic Church, decided what books belonged in the Bible in the 4th century. It was the authority of the Catholic Church that decided what books were inspired and belonged in the Bible. (Think about this – something “outside” the Bible determined what books belonged in the Bible.) The Catholic Church came before the Bible.
 
This does not mean that we think other religions and Christian denominations do not contain any truth, for they do. But the Catholic Church, since it was founded by Jesus, contains the fullness of truth, so we think it is very important to belong to the church that Christ founded, and share our faith with our children, grandchildren, and others.
 
There are many things christians have in common that we should celebrate – mainly our belief in Jesus Christ. Many say as long as we agree on the essentials it’s all good, and that it doesn’t matter what church you go to.
 
But who decides what is “essential”?
 
To a Catholic, the Eucharist is essential. Catholics believe that the Eucharist is truly the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. To many non-Catholics, it is merely a symbol.
 
To a Catholic, baptizing our children is essential. To many others, it doesn’t matter if you wait until the teenage years.
 
To a Catholic, our love and devotion to our Blessed Mother is essential. To many non-Catholics, our Blessed Mother is only thought about (if at all), during Christmas.
 
To a Catholic, the belief that all life is to be protected from conception to natural death is essential. To many others faiths, abortion and euthanasia are justified.
 
To a Catholic the belief that marriage is a sacrament, and is between one man and one woman is essential. To many others, marriage can easily be re-defined, and living together before marriage is no big deal because everybody is doing it.
 
To a Catholic, being required to go to Mass every Sunday is essential. To many others, its no big deal to miss Mass if you’re on vacation, want to sleep in, or think you can just watch it on TV.
 
To a Catholic, praying for the souls in purgatory is essential. To other christian faiths, they think purgatory doesn’t exist and is something they think Catholics made up. (Even though purgatory has been part of the church history for 2000 years. – Actually, the Jews prayed for the dead before Christ was born so there is both scripture and tradition to support it centuries before this.)
 
All of these “essentials” matter to a Catholic.
 
Does this mean that Catholics are holier than non-Catholics? Absolutely not. Some of the holiest people I know are Catholic, and some of the most unholiest people I know are Catholic. We’ve been given this beautiful gift of our Catholic faith, and yet too many of us have taken it for granted, pick and choose what we want to believe, or have not appreciated what we have.
 
The Catholic Church is both human and divine. Because it is divine, it will last forever. Because it is human, it will have scandals, and sinful people in it, just like what you will find in all denominations and religions. Scandals do not prove that the Catholic Church is false. They only prove what is obvious: that the Church contains sinners as well as saints.
 
Despite humans messing things up at times, the Catholic Church was founded by Christ, and will FOREVER be guided by the Holy Spirit until the end of time, as quoted in scripture:
 
“I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. John 16:12-13
 
“I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
 
Among all the Christian churches, only the Catholic Church has existed since the time of Jesus. Every other Christian church is an offshoot of the Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox churches broke away from unity with the pope in 1054. The Protestant churches were established during the Reformation, which began in 1517. Most of today’s Protestant churches are actually offshoots of the original Protestant offshoots, each with their own man made traditions.
 
Only the Catholic Church existed in the tenth century, in the fifth century, and in the first century, faithfully teaching the doctrines given by Christ to the apostles, omitting nothing. The line of popes can be traced back, in unbroken succession, to Peter himself. This is unequaled by any institution in history.
 
Even the oldest government is new compared to the papacy, and the churches to which door-to-door missionaries belong are young compared to the Catholic Church. Many of these churches began as recently as the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. None of them can claim to be the Church Jesus established.
 
The Catholic Church has existed for 2,000 years, despite constant opposition from the world. This is testimony to the Church’s divine origin. It must be more than a merely human organization, especially considering that its human members—even some of its leaders—have been unwise, corrupt, or prone to heresy. Any merely human organization with such members would have collapsed early on. The fact that the Catholic Church is today the most vigorous church (and the largest, with about a billion members) is testimony not to the cleverness of the Church’s leaders, but to the protection of the Holy Spirit.
 
If you have never studied Church history, study it now and see what the early Church was really like, what Catholics believed, and what they practiced. If you study it you will see that the early Church was totally Catholic. The early Church believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist; Early Christians did pray for their dead; Christ did give the apostles the power to forgive sins; Peter was clearly chosen by Christ as the leader of His Church; Mary was loved and honored by the early Christians; Whole households (including babies) were baptized. Think about it – if you are looking for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can’t get more personal than when you receive His body, blood, soul, and divinity in the holy Eucharist, and are a part of the actual Church that Christ founded.
 
It’s important to know history, know why we are Catholic, and embrace the beauty and truth of our faith. So many people, including many protestant pastors, converted to the Catholic Church after studying Church history, particularly regarding the issue of authority. Two great books to read on church history are: “Four Witnesses”, by Rod Bennett, and “Where we got the Bible: Our debt to the Catholic Church” by Henry Graham. Two great sites that have helped many people on their journey to the Catholic faith are Catholics Come Home –www.catholicscomehome.org. and The Coming Home Network – http://www.chnetwork.org.
 
The Catholic Church, founded by Christ, contains the fullness of Truth. Be humble and grateful as you embrace the beautiful gift of our Catholic faith. Never stop seeking truth. Be thankful for all seven of our sacraments. Pray every day and develop a personal relationship with Jesus and our dear blessed mother, and pass on your faith and traditions to your children and grandchildren. Let us all spread the joy and beauty of our Catholic faith!
 
If we don’t, who will? ❤
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Feast of Saint Joseph

feast of saint josephToday is the Feast Day of St. Joseph the Worker. Two feast days are celebrated for St. Joseph – March 19th for St. Joseph the Husband of Mary, and May 1st for St. Joseph the Worker.  St. Joseph is the patron of many things, including the Universal Church, fathers, the dying and workers. He lived a largely hidden life with Jesus and Mary, and provided for them through his work of carpentry. He was chosen by the eternal Father as the trustworthy guardian and protector of His greatest treasures – Jesus and Mary. Dear St. Joseph, pray for us. ♥