Why worship together?


#1

I am Catholic and married to a non-Catholic. As a matter of fact, she believes in God, but has never attended any church. I have tried talking to her about the Catholic Church, but there is always one sticking point that I cannot get past.
Why do Catholics come together to worship? What is the need for communal worship? Why can’t a believer worship by themselves in private?
I really don’t know what to say. I am solid in my Catholic faith, but I just can’t think of how to answer her.
Help, please.


#2

Well, we don’t come together for the same reasons as Protestants. They usually attest it to “fellowship” or something similar.

The Mass is not about “coming together.” It is about going to Mass. It just so happens that the best way to do that is to gather when the priest says Mass. However, if it were just you and a priest in the church, and you were the only person at Mass that day, your Sunday obligation would be fulfilled in the same manner.

Catholics can “worship in private.” But attending Mass is what keeps the Sabbath holy.

I think doing some research and explaining what the Mass is may help. It is not like a Protestant worship service. At Mass, we are at the foot of Calvary taking part of the Sacrifice of Christ that redeemed us.

catholic.com/library/Sacrifice_of_the_Mass.asp

catholic.com/library/Institution_of_the_Mass.asp

Read those. It might help to better understand the Mass.

Help her to have a genuine love for Jesus Christ. Once that begins to develop, not only will she want to go to Mass on Sunday’s, she may be brining you to daily Mass. Be patient, and use this time to study your Catholic faith more so that you will be able to answer questions when she asks. Make sure never to fight about it. When she asks something, and you don’t know the answer, look it up and then explain it to her. But most of all, pray for her. Let her see your Christian example, that usually does more to inspire than all the conversations in the world.

Pax tecum.


#3

because we were commanded to come together to worship in the manner of Christ and the apostles at the Last Supper.
Christ himself commanded it as he instituted the Eucharist, he told them how and why it should be done, and also commanded that we maintain unity. If she is a strong bible-believing Christian her doubts will be resolved through continued prayerful study of the gospels.


#4

For a Protestant, I would recommend this verse to explain why it is necessary to worship in church. From the NASB:

Heb 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.


#5

In the Third Eucharistic Prayer it says: “From time to time He gathers together a people.” In the OT God worked with His Chosen People. It is the same in the NT; He works with His people.


#6

God made us to be social creatures. We come together because it’s normal. Imagine a birthday party with only one person celebrating. Or worse, a family that never sits and eats together. That’s a disfunctional family.

God doesn’t need communal worship or buildings…but His family does. That’s a functional family.


#7

Hmmm, you seem to have a Bible deficiency going on. Let me see if I can help you out here.

Bible Christian Society
Have a look at the MP3 Bible studies like,
Apologetics for the Scripturally-Challenged

Catholics and the Bible

Sola Scriptura - The Bible Alone?

  1. Break out your Bible and begin reading it more often. It’s just a good thing to do and hopefully my next answer will give some insight into why.

  2. Hebrews 10:[23] Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful;
    [24] and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
    [25] not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Didn’t see lak’s post, but I concur.

Might also offer her Matthew 16:18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
since Jesus founded a church…why would anyone want to neglect it? Besides…she may just have some insights that the rest of us need for her to share with us.

Look at all these New Testament references to the Church.


#8

For one thing, the Eucharist is the fullfilment of the Passover meal – which was to be celebrated in a group setting, with families and neighbors breaking the bread and sharing the lamb together.

Because of the sacramental character of the Eucharist, in which Christ is truly present, it cannot be celebrated in one’s home. The Eucharist is the heart and soul of the Catholic faith, and is one of the avenues by which Grace enters our lives.

Sadly, there are even many non-Catholics who subscribe to the “Why Can’t I Just Worship God In My Own Way” nonsense – it’s a cop out, plain and simple, regardless of one’s denomination. But it’s even worse because, unlike the Protestant churches, one is not merely missing out on fellowship and communal worship; one who skips Mass is skipping the opportunity to let Christ enter his life in a real, tangible way.

Makes sense that one of the Bare Minimum Requirements is going to Mass on Sunday, when you look at it that way.

Peace,
Dante


#9

Catholics worship together because we are a “Communion of Saints”.

Much like the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God, the Catholic Church is One Body. We are all part of God’s people together.
When we all receive Communion together, we are all united with Christ at that moment, we all have Christ within us together.

God desires to incorporate all of humanity with Himself, along with the Trinity.
Much like we cannot understand that our one God is actually a Trinity, our Communion of Saints is also one body.

In other words, God loves us SO MUCH that He wants to integrate all of us with Him.


#10

Let me add something to my thoughts above:

By saying we all have Christ within us at Communion, I don’t mean to imply that we DON’T have Him within us at all other times.
I know Jesus is with us always.

But when we take Communion, it is an enhanced physical presence…He is within our own body as a spirit, as a physical body, and as a Divine Presence. This is why it is called Communion.

This is as close as we can come to being integrated with Christ as He wants on this earth.


#11

I Corinthians 12


#12

Getting the book, “The Lamb Supper” by Scott Hahn might be of helpful. He does a wonderful job of explaining the Mass - from a protestant point of view.

The one question that continually comes to mind is this:
As a beliveing Chistian, beliving that God became man to save our souls and permitted Himself to be crucified for our benefit, why in the world would anyone want to turn their back on that and not gather together to worship Him?

He fulfilled the Passover covenant by becoming the Paschal Lamb Himself for our salvation. As prescribed in the Passover meal, we are to partake of that sacrifice by consuming the Paschal Lamb in order for the fulfilled covenant to be valid. Why would you not show your gratitude for that sacrifice and do as Jesus commands?

Clearly, she does not understand what it means to worship God. Get Scott Hahn’s book and the Mass will make more sense to you both.


#13

Thank you all for your advice, but I seem to have given the impression that she is Protestant. She is not even Christian. She has no religious affiliation at all and so Biblical arguments carry little weight with her.


#14

If she is non-Christian, she should be able to understand that the Scriptures are important to Christians and that we do the things commanded in them _ Because God said so_ and we Love God and do what He says.

So if she believes in God, you next step is to help her understand how we know what is and is not from God. If you try to take each possible objection to every little thing Christians do and do not do instead of going to the source, you’ll have a very long road to get to the destination. Convince her that Scripture is from God and you won’t hit so many roadblocks after that.


#15

There is no non-religious reason to attend Mass. Only for those who are believers or have some inclination to become believers have any reason to be there apart from curiosity or out of politeness to someone who wants to be there.

Attendance at Mass is tied to the Communion of Saints and the Priesthood of all believers. There are helpful and pleasant by-products of attending Mass, but the primary reason is to assist in offering the Sacrifice of the Mass along with the priest and the Church.

By prayer and good example, you need to help her develop an appreciation of the Christian message as taught by the Catholic Church. Only then will she develop a hunger for the Mass.

Until then you may have to practice your Faith and attend Mass with or without her and let her work out her own salvation. This may cause friction between you at times, but you have your own soul to save. If she is a good woman, she will understand and, God willing, she may allow her own heart to eventually be touched by His grace.


#16

I was just about to type that Ive never heard of this protestant doesnt go to church deal. Maybe the odd one protestant or catholic that doesnt like church for various reasons, but never out of a scripture reason. anyway ok then.

So… try again, she believes in God but not necessarily church.
Does she believe in God as a general, all around good idea and of course He exists in some way.

or God as a spiritual sort of entity thing. How does she perceive God? and how does she feel about Jesus in particular?

If her perception is correct and just cant understand why go to church try this:

Ask her…Why go to a concert? Why see So and So sing? you can buy the cd or listen on the radio. maybe even watch a video.

Why go to a concert then. answer - for the experience, to see the real thing. You cannot hope to experience the singer or the music by listening to a cd or watching a video. You have to** be there **to experience the real thing first hand. there is nothing like actually being there for any experience.

Thus why one** goes **to the church. :slight_smile:


#17

That is an excellent response! :thumbsup:


#18

:o gee thanks,

comes from talking to atheists, they dont allow you to quote scripture. :rolleyes: gotta be your own understanding. You know once you accept God and all that then you give up your brains . . .


#19

You may want to give her C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” for starters. C.S. Lewis was once an atheist, then became a Christian. It might be something she could relate to - then once the interest has started up inside her, turn to the Bible.

God Bless.


#20

Excellent advice! :thumbsup: I read*** Mere Christianity*** and Screwtape Letters when I was in high school.


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