OK, while talking to a friend the other day, I finally understood one of the big differences in our Church Services and why Catholics feel it is necessary.
As you probably know, the Catholic Church teaches that it is sinful to miss Mass on Sunday without a very, very good excuse.
Many Protestants chalk this up to typical RCC arrogance, since a lot of Christian churches don’t make their congregation go to Church each weekend. They encourage it, but they don’t claim it’s sinful to miss Church.
But here’s the crux of the matter.
There is a difference in a Catholic Mass and a Protestant Church service, other than the obvious. What does a non-Catholic Christian get out of a Church Service? They worship God, they learn more about God, through the bible, and they get a good fellowship with their fellow Christians. But a Protestant can worship God at any time and anywhere, through prayer. They can learn more about God with any Bible Study. They can receive this Fellowship with any Prayer Group or Bible Study Group. In summary, there’s nothing a Non-Catholic Christian can get out of their Church Service that they can’t get through other normal means. Am I accurate in this analysis?
But the Catholic Mass is different. Yes, we pray and worship, listening to readings from the Old Testament, the New, and also the Gospels and Psalms. We get all the Fellowship, ok, maybe most of the fellowship you see at Protestant Churches. But at the Mass, a Catholic receives the Eucharist, something they can’t do on their own. The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Catholic Worship and we must go to Mass to receive it (other than through some extra-ordinary means). And for a Catholic to believe that they can receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ and then reject it because they’d rather go fishing is rather blasphemous, wouldn’t you say?
Now, this is not a thread regarding what goes on during the Mass or how crazy Catholics are to believe such rubbish. It’s simply a discussion to help Catholics understand why other Christians may not appreicate our need for the Mass and also to help other Christians to understand just why the Mass is so important to our worship.
Does any of this make sense?