Responding to "I just don't get anything out of the mass"?

I was talking to a friend the other day who told me his eldest child has converted to Mormonism because “He would go to mass but said he just wasn’t getting anything out of it”! I have heard this “…not getting anything out of it” before and am always a little perplexed? What are they looking to get, entertained? More social interaction? What? I mean we have the real presence of Jesus what more could there be?

But my question here is how do you respond to people who bring up this “I don’t get anything out of the Catholic mass” argument/excuse? It seems to be a fairly common excuse?

Like it or not, he still received God’s grace (abundantly!) when he was present at the foot of Calvary during the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to His Father.

Whether one cares to admit it or not, many, many parishes abjectly fail when it comes to providing those things that prepare one for receiving (and better understanding!) the graces stemming from the sacrifice: catechesis, sacrament of confession, Bible study etc.

Many parishes also do horrid jobs of fellowship. Yes, one does still receive all the sacramental grace from attending a get-it-done 40 minute Mass on Sundays but for how long will they continue to attend? Many fall away. Partially because they don’t understand what’s going on and partially because they crave decent fellowship. They also crave to see the Mass and the Blessed Sacrament treated with more reverence.

The case you describe is especially problematic because the lad has left Christendom for Mormonism. If you are able, find a good priest and put him in contact with him.

Perhaps? I agree that this can be a problem but for many I think the “I don’t get anything out of it” is an excuse? Now perhaps not in the instance of this friends child but for many I think it is a smoke screen of sorts? Thanks for the reply!:slight_smile:

What you “get” from Mass is directly linked to what you “put into” it.

I think many people just get tired of utilitarian 40 minutes Masses with people arriving late, stampeding out the door and witnessing the Blessed Sacrament being treated with indifference or worse. Everything they actually experience in a practical sense says the Mass is no big deal. That it’s a matter of older people getting their ticket validated each week.

If they lack the catehchesis to really understand what’s going on, many, many, many eventually fall away. I think that might be the single biggest tragedy in the Church today.

A lot of truth to that. And sadly some have no idea they could be doing more to develop their faith in God. It’s not that they eschew cathechesis or Bible study or fellowship opportunities. In many cases none exist and the faithful really have no idea that they are beneficial.

Their whole lives they have been programmed to “go to Mass every Sunday” and possibly confession once a year. That’s it and it takes a serious toll.

I would say; that is where heaven meets the earth and the star of bethlehem shines.

Just a thought.

We’re not supposed to be looking to get “warm fuzzies” or spiritual consolations from what we do. Sometimes God provides them as a means of encouraging us to keep doing spiritual works, but eventually he will take them away. Think dog training or potty training.

Mormonism is based on warm fuzzies and feeling good. It’s a lie.

It’s mostly because they don’t understand the Mass.

I was taken back by my friends (the father) non-chalant way of telling me his child had joined the mormon church??? Not to beat him up here but right away he went into defense mode saying, “Oh, oh…the whole polgamy thing is not true” as if polygamy was the big issue with his converting. Umm…I think there’s a little more problem here than whether or not they follow polygamy…maybe like for starters that they don’t believe in the Trinity or that Jesus is part of the Trinity.

I don’t have a good answer right now. But I will make some comments.

Many people DO expect to get the warm fuzzies out of going to Mass. I would go so far as to say that the MAJORITY of people consider their emotions to be the best indicator of whether or not something is worthwhile.

If you want such a person to consider going to Mass to be important you need to change his understanding of how to determine what is important. That is not always going to be simple.

(For what it is worth, I believe Mormons consider an emotional response to be the way of determining that their religion is true.)

Ah yes, the “burning in the bosom” thing after reading the Book of Mormon. Reminds of all the times I convinced myself some guy liked me because my guy instinct told me so and I could just feel it. :rolleyes: FWIW: He didn’t like me. :shrug:

First, I would share with him/her my copy of Fulton J. Sheen’s Calvary & the Mass. An excerpt:

Picture then the High Priest Christ leaving the sacristy of heaven
for the altar of Calvary. He has already put on the vestment of
our human nature, the maniple of our suffering, the stole of
priesthood, the chasuble of the Cross. Calvary is his cathedral;
the rock of Calvary is the altar stone; the sun turning to red is
the sanctuary lamp; Mary and John are the living side altars; the
Host is His Body; the wine is His Blood. He is upright as Priest,
yet He is prostrate as Victim. His Mass is about to begin

Then I would offer to take him to the TLM. with me.

Some people want to get different things out of attending Mass. I stop concerning myself about the musical choices as that used to annoy me at times as that was something that I thought more of compared to actual Mass attendance. For me, it took going to some EF Masses that made me understand the Mass, and now I go to both forms of the Mass, and I get a lot from Mass now regardless of form.

I think some people just do not understand that the point of the mass is the holy Eucharist, not the priest, the homily, or the social interaction.

But hey, even as a catechumen, not understanding the Eucharist, I still loved going to mass to be in the presence of God, and to get a blessing - I felt I needed all the blessings I could get!

If he’s a philosophical type, ask him if he believes God’s existence, presence, and action in the world depend on his perceptions. emotions, and approval. If he says yes then God depends on him for affirmation. That’s a problem with pride. :rolleyes:

There is not a “good” Mass or a “bad” Mass, the Mass simply -is-. How much stimulation he receives is irrelevant. That being said, liturgy directors should attempt to conduct relevant music and pastors give inspiring homilies, congregations should be welcoming etc…but all that does not change the realities of the Mass.

Truth be told I dread going to mass. If I show up at all I’m late. I don’t “participate”, can’t stand the uninspiring modernist sermons, assuming I even get one because the "children’s sermon, I make a break for the door when the start passing out communion. I just absolutely can’t stand it.

I take this opportunity to rant as to why. I already mention the bland, hippie modernist sermons. The music is terrible, folksy kumbaya garbage complete with guitars and tambourines. The people are all dressed for the beach. Sports jerseys and flip flops. Now that its getting warm I can expect daisy dukes on 13 year girls. The priest regularly makes a spectacle out of the mass. Using a theatrical voice and waving the consecrated species around for our entertainment. I am regularly taught what a generation ago would have been heresy: universalism, evolution, etc.

The whole debacle is just not what my faith tells me it is supposed to be. The true sacrifice of the cross. It is a marxist folk party and I just can’t wait until its over.

Man, it feels good getting that off my chest.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen was often asked to explain why we go to Mass. People say that Mass is boring, they don’t get anything out it, or it’s a waste of time.

Sheen’s response: “If you don’t get anything out of Mass, it’s because you don’t bring the right expectations to it.”

I know when I was a teen and used this very same line, I could not express exactly what I meant at the time. However, looking back, I can honestly say that what I did not “get” was any understanding. Despite having gone to CCD, I did not understand the Mass. Intellectually, I suppose I knew what the books said was going on was probably happening, but it did not resonate with me. I did not have the deeper understanding of Christianity in general, Catholicism specifically, or the Mass. I certainly did not understand what “we have the real presence of Jesus” truly meant. It was not until I became an adult and decided to find out what Catholicism was really about that I developed that understanding. I no longer look to “get something out of Mass”, but since I have developed a more worshipful attitude, I do, indeed, get a great deal out it.

Mass is about God, it is about hearing words written by human hands but inspired by the Holy Spirit; it is about Jesus Christ becoming flesh for us, giving his body and blood for us in the Eucharist; it is about seeing God in one another.

So, if you go to be entertained, you’re going to be disappointed. If you go to feel good about yourself, that might happen. But every Mass will not will be an emotionally-uplifting, joy-filled celebration of what’s going right in your life. But if you go expecting to glimpse the presence of God, well then you should be able to do that. The Mass helps us to see and hear, taste and touch the very presence of God. And our faith tells us it is easier to glimpse God here in this sacred place than in the busy-ness of our lives.

We go to Mass because we are a hungry people, hungry for meaning in our lives; we’re looking for direction, guidance, strength to persevere and wisdom to know how to make right decisions. We go to Mass because we need some silence in out lives, we need to be able to listen to God’s voice, and not do all the talking ourselves. We go to Mass because we are not perfect and we need to hear Christ’s words of forgiveness – we need to remember that God loves us no matter what. We go to Mass to turn our attention to God, to spend some time not thinking about ourselves, but to glimpse the divine.

As we go forward to receive the body and blood of Christ, we can look around and see everyone else doing the same thing. God came to save not just me, but each and every person in this church and every person throughout the world. When we go to Mass, we see God’s presence in each member of the body of Christ, people who are hurting and broken; blessed and loved. We see God’s presence in people we know and love, but also in strangers and even in the people we have a hard time loving.

We come together as a community because we need to be reminded that I am not the only Christian in the world. As different as we all are, we are all searching for the same God. The community reminds us of that. And when we come to Mass, we hope and pray that we glimpse the presence of God in this place – in the scripture, in the Eucharist, and in one another.

And THAT is why we go.

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