It's not about what you get out of it

How do you explain to your Protestant friends that Mass (or the Catholic belief of worship) is not about what YOU get out of it?

I remember reading an article that talked about how it’s about what you BRING to it.

Where do I pull proper “evidence” and such in order to explain this?

What do Protestants “get out” of it?

What we bring to it is our miserable selves, falling on our knees in worship. What we get out of it is the Bread of Life. That’s hard to beat. This happens even if the music is terrible and the homily dead boring. It is the union of God with man, the entire purpose for Christ’s coming.

Consider, if you will, where you are.

During that blessed hour of Mass, heaven and earth meet. You are in heaven! You are surrounded by a cloud of holy witnesses, all the saints and angels, all your deceased relatives and friends who have attained heaven, the communion of saints.

As if that were not enough, Jesus gives Himself as victim and priest; His own body, blood, soul and divinity (Godness!) God cannot be outdone in generosity. This is not mere “worship” or prayer service. This is MASS.

So, yes, we bring our wretched, sinful selves, our worries and distractions to Mass. What we “get out of it” is priceless.

Ugh. My parents are both strong Protestants (and my mother has -]slight/-] anti-Catholic leanings), but they attended a Tridentine Mass with me once. Afterwards, they asked what I thought of it, and were confused when I said it was lovely.

“But how could you get anything out of it? You can’t hear the priest, he’s facing the wrong way, and even if you could hear him, it’s not like you could understand him!”

“The wrong way?! Well you se- It’s like how the Muslims face Mec- …Never mind, Mom.” :doh2:

I’ve considered trying to explain the Mass, liturgical East, sides of the altar, etc… to them, but then decided that was asking for far more parental fighting than I cared for, and far too big a task for me. Instead, I leave Scott Hahn books (like The Lamb’s Supper, which is great at explaining the Mass in the context of Revelation - or rather, explaining Revelation in the context of the Mass) laying conspicuously all over the house and keep plodding to my cute little FSSP heaven-on-earth. -sigh-

Sometimes only pictures do the trick…

There’s the scene in the movie The 10 commandments where Moses speaks to God in the burning bush which I think is spectacular. It gives me goosebumps…

We have something as great as that when we go to Mass or Divine Liturgy. It’s an awesome scene to keep in your mind anytime we have the privilege of being in a Catholic Church. Who needs to say **anything? ** We should be falling on our face.

What are Protestants trying to “get out of it”?

I think that when the op says “get out of it” he is talking about the goal of church. I have been to a few Protestant churches growing up. Mostly of a Pentecostal leaning because of a friend of mine, but a little Lutheran and Baptist. In my experience, they are looking for spiritual and intellectual fulfillment when they go to church. While I consider these things to be awesome and there is certainly a place for these in a church, that is not the primary goal of mass. In mass, our goal is to worship God and participate in the Eucharist. Even if the priest is boring and there is no choir that day, that is not important. What matters is that Jesus is there and we are spending our time with him and worshiping him. You see, if I don’t like the pastor, I wont go looking for a new church. At most, I may look for a new parish but that is it because to me it is not even about the pastor.

That is brilliant. I am going to print business cards. Billboards. At the very least, show it to the next person that refers to ad orientem as “the wrong way.” :thumbsup:

From my many years as a relatively apathetic, nominal Protestant, and the discussions I have with my Protestant parents about what they “get” out of their church service, I believe that primarily, Protestants are looking for any number of things.

  1. A sense of validation or affirmation.
  2. Entertainment or appealing music and “liturgy.”
    2.5. An engaging, humorous, or thought-provoking homily.
  3. Spoon-fed understanding of Scripture, through an in-depth Bible-study at church.
  4. A sense of fellowship; holding hands, sign of peace, etc…

I would say that out of those, #2 is the most… I don’t know the right word, inappropriate thing to look for? I’m also a little confused by the need to go into serious exegesis, etymological word study of a given verse, or a topical guide through the Bible in the middle of trying to worship. I do that sort of stuff at home, alone or in a small Bible study.

Like this answer, :thumbsup::signofcross:

I definitely go to church because of what I get out of it. I get the word and gospel preached and declared, I get my sin pointed out by the law and reminded of what Christ has done for me in the Gospel. I get the forgiveness of sins in confession and communion. I get to receive the body and blood of my lord in the Eucharist. I get the food for the journey. With all these amazing gifts why would I stop going. It’s not what I can give, I give nothing, it’s all about what God has given me.

Apart from perhaps the Eucharist and how one defines the Lord’s supper (because that’s for another topic) does anyone here believe that Protestants don’t have their full heart and soul into their worship of God?

Does it not make you nervous as Catholics that God will judge you more harshly if you’re so quick to look at Protestants with your nose in the air based on what you think they feel and want? I know that if I was so quick to say that the people in Mass look bored and uninterested God may hold that against me later if my mind ever wonders.

You basically took everything here and made it sound immature or negative imo. I can help you re-word:

  1. Fellowship so one can feel loved when they don’t have anyone
  2. Psalm 150
    2.5. An engaging or thought-provoking homily
  3. Bible study
  4. Fellowship again…?

I’ll be the one to say it: Yes, that’s precisely what I believe. Not all of course, but some are there to be entertained, and not to worship. Now, before you raise the battle standard, the exact same is true of Catholics. You’re right that a lot of Catholics at Mass do look bored and uninterested. I understand that even less.


Which of these is worship, though? Also, I suppose to clarify, #1 was intended as more of a personal affirmation between the individual and God. Again, I’m not saying that all (or any) of these are “bad.” Spiritual affirmation? Super. Fellowship? Great. Engaging homily? Sweet. But exactly zero of these are what we should be “trying to get” out of church. It’s a very me-first mentality, irrespective of denomination. Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, non-Christian, whatever. We shouldn’t be trying to “get something” out of church; we should go because we love God, regardless of what we get out of worship. And I think that’s probably a point everyone in this thread can agree on. And everyone is going to have days where they just don’t feel like we “get anything” out of church/Mass. But largely, Christianity is divorced from how we feel, and thank God for that. :thumbsup:

My parents have been to six churches, of about five different denominations, in the frame of about eight weeks, because either the pastor “wasn’t good enough,” the music “was too boring,” the congregation “wasn’t the right age,” or some other equally contrived reason. Perhaps my account is a little scathing because I’ve been chafing with anti-Catholic Protestants in close quarters for a long time, but I would condemn this sort of behavior from anyone, but I’ve only ever seen it in Protestants.

That’s exactly why I as an Evangelical Christian go to church also.

Of course we get something out of going to church. We are creatures, and poor needy ones at that. It’s a silly false humility to say we primarily bring something to God—first and always, we need to receive all from Him, over and over again.

I agree.

But would you go if you got none of those things?

And when you do that, we can all apply it .You are right, eventually and with maturity, it is what you bring to it, how you want to serve others, instead of being served. “For the Son of man came not to be served but to serve.” May we do likewise. Yet, the church is for the equipping of the saints, to do just that …That is a better question to ask of our congregation, how well are they at equipping the congregation to serve, perfectly unto every good work.

We receive all this richness even if we are very imperfectly aware of it.

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