I am tired of being told that as long as the Mass is valid, that we shouldn’t want or expect anything more. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am tired of being told that as long as the Mass is valid it nourishes people just as well as any other valid Mass. That is a gross oversimplification. I am tired of hearing my pastor does not have time to celebrate the Mass with even a modicum of reverence or to prepare a decent homily. I am tired of hearing how I should be grateful simply for having a Mass to attend on Sundays. These excuses have done damage to a great many peoples’ faith.These excuses have caused a great many people to leave the Church. These excuses need to stop.
Two Sundays ago we had a visiting priest at my parish His entire celebration of the Mass was exquisite. It was beautiful without a hint of the severity, artificial piety or trinketry I have experienced at some parishes. He chanted the Mass, his homily was beautifully crafted (it clearly took hours of prep) and he used the Roman Canon. Most of all he simply took his time and celebrated the Mass with great reverence and dignity – with LOVE. His efforts greatly facilitated my absorption of the grace stemming from the sacrifice. It was awesome. It took about 10-15 minutes longer than a typical Sunday Mass. Well, well worth it.
The very next Sunday was one of the worst Masses I have ever attended. Same church, same pew location, same Mass, but the way in which it was celebrated made all the difference in the world. I’m not going to go into details but it was ugly. The contrast from the week before was like a punch to the head (or more correctly my heart.) I am honestly tired of the excuses. I am tired of being told that the grace is “locked in.” Why does the Pontiff go to such extremes to celebrate such elaborate, costly and solemn Masses if the way and care in which the Mass is celebrated means nothing?
This is one area the Protestants have us beat by a mile. There is competition in their world to perform or die. Spend time preparing a good sermon (and in some cases a good liturgy) or see the fellowship eventually fold. (Please no lectures about the non valid nature of their liturgies, etc. That all goes without saying.) Not only is there little such competition in the Catholic Church (this is not necessarily true in larger cities) we are actually obliged to attend Mass. There really is no incentive to celebrate the Mass with greater care and love on a human level. People are required to attend and there is a “shortage” or priests and that’s the reality. Something needs to change.
Given the awesome miracle that is the Mass you’d think that it would never be celebrated without great care, reverence and dignity. I wonder why I so often experience something different?