I was born and raised in the Catholic Faith, but my wife was born and raised in the Baptist Church. Her biggest concern with the Catholic Church, is she struggles to understand and get anything out of Mass. Does anyone have any ideas on how to help her understand the Mass?
Coming as she does from a Sola Scriptura background, I can suggest a book that I have right here to hand and, along with the video series, is one of the best resources available.
It’s Dr. Edward Sri’s A Biblical Walk Through the Mass
Well, you could try showing her one of the earliest surviving descriptions of a Christian service from about 150 AD. That’s just one generation after the Apostles. Let her look at it, and see if she thinks it looks more like a Catholic service or a Baptist one:
Selections from Apologia (c. 150 AD)
And on the day called the Day of the Sun [Sunday] there is a gathering in one place of us all who live in cities or in the country [The Mass], and the memoirs of the Apostles or the writings of the prophets are read as long as time allows [The Liturgy of the Word]. Then, when the reader has ceased, the priest gives by word of mouth his admonition and exhortation to imitate these excellent things [The Homily]. Afterward we all rise at once and offer prayers; and as I said, when we have ceased to pray, bread is brought and wine and water, and the priest likewise offers up prayers and thanksgivings as he has the ability, and the people assent, saying “Amen.” [The Presentation of the Gifts] The distribution to each and the partaking of that for which thanks were given then take place; and to those not present a portion is sent by the hands of the deacons. Those who are well-to-do and willing give, every one giving what he will, according to his own judgment, and the collection is deposited with the priest, and he assists orphans and widows, and those who through sickness or any other cause are in want, and those who are in bonds, and the strangers that are sojourning, and, in short, he has the care of all that are in need [The Offertory Collection]. Now we all hold our common meeting on the Day of the Sun, because it is the first day on which God, having changed the darkness and matter, created the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead. For on the day before Saturn’s they crucified Him ****; and on the day after Saturn’s; which is the Day of the Sun, having appeared to his Apostles and disciples, He taught them these things which we have offered you for consideration…
…But after we have thus washed him who is persuaded and has assented [here discussing a newly baptized person], we bring him to those who are called the brethren, to where they are gathered together, making earnest prayer in common for ourselves and for him who is enlightened, and for all others everywhere, that we may be accounted worthy, after we have learned the truth, by our works also to be found right livers and keepers of the commandments, that we may be saved with the eternal salvation. [The General Intercessions / Prayers of the Faithful] We salute each other with a kiss when we conclude our prayers [The “kiss” is the Sign of Peace]. Thereupon to the priest of the brethren bread and a cup of water and wine are brought, and he takes it and offers up praise and glory to the Father of the universe through the name of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and gives thanks at length that we have been accounted worthy of these things from Him; and when he has ended the prayers and thanksgiving the whole people present assent, saying “Amen.” [The Eucharistic Prayers / The Consecration] Now the word Amen in the Hebrew language signifies, So be it. Then after the priest has given thanks and all the people have assented, those who are called by us deacons give to each one of those present to partake of the bread and of the wine and water for which thanks have been given, and for those not present they take away a portion. [Communion]
And this food is called by us Eucharist, and it is not lawful for any man to partake of it but him who believes the things taught by us to be true [Communion is open only to Catholics and considered a sacrament of initiation], and has been washed with the washing which is for the remission of sins and unto a new birth, and is so living as Christ commanded [Communion may not be partaken in by the unbaptized]. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but just as Jesus Christ our Savior, being made flesh through the word of God, had for our salvation both flesh and blood, so, also, we are taught that the food for which thanks are given by the word of prayer which is from Him, and from which by conversion our flesh and blood are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh [the Real Presence]. For the Apostles in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, thus delivered what was commanded them: that Jesus took bread and gave thanks and said, This do in remembrance of Me, this is My body; and that He likewise took the cup, and when He had given thanks, said, This is My blood [Mt 26:17-19; Mk 14:12-16; Lk 22:7-13], and gave only to them…**
How about reading a book together explaining the Mass. Perhaps Scott Hahn’s “Supper of the Lamb”, a book that looks at the Mass and how it correlates to the many passages in the Book of Revelation…very insightful!
Ask her, what exactly is she looking for? Ask her to be absolutely specific. As others have suggested in their recommendations, she probably has no idea what the mass is, and why scripture says, deliberately missing the Eucharist on Sunday, is a mortal sin. She doesn’t know this, or doesn’t want to believe this, because while being protestant, they don’t have the Eucharist nor could they have the Eucharist
Many people do not recognize what (or Who) there is to get out of the Mass. It can seem like little more than “just a ritual.” I highly recommend the following booklet. I have literally given away hundreds of copies of it. It did help a Baptist friend of mine come into the Church. It is 80 pages long, but i tell people,
“Don’t read the whole thing. Only read chapter three.”
Of course, i hope they do read the whole booklet, but I just want them to get started.
This chapter begins with a good picture of the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano.
**UNDERSTANDING THE MASS,
by Father Maynard Kolodziej, O. F. M.
Catholic Book Publishing Corp.
It cost $5.95 including shipping and handling, but it is worth so much more, especially seeing what is at stake.
It is about 80 pages. From experience I find that many people will find the length to be overwhelming and tend to put off reading it and sometimes never get around to it. So I ask them to read only chapter three, the most important part.
Usually they will like it so much that they read it all. By learning how to pray the Mass better, we learn how to put more into it, and learn how much and WHO we receive from it. It is FANTASTIC.
See more resources here
Of course, we need to pray for her, and so many Catholics who feel the same way.
Have you talked with her about this? Does she miss the sermons from the Baptist church? Sometimes the hardest thing for people coming from Protestantism to understand is how the Mass is truly worship and has nothing to do with personalities but only to do with Christ.
Bad link for the Mass.
Try this one.