Doing Mass Wrong

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"Doing Mass Wrong" by Amanda Torres (CatholicMom.com)

Photo by I.V. Horton via Unsplash, CC0

Recently, I was fortunate to hear a talk on Holy Orders given by Bishop Andrew Cozzens of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. While discussing the necessity of the Sacramental Priesthood he spoke for a time on the Mass, the most perfect form of worship. Part of the reason why the Mass is the perfect form of worship is because we have a Sacramental Priesthood that makes present the very Sacrifice of Calvary at each and every Mass through anamnesis. This is the One, True Sacrifice.

Bishop Cozzens said something that really made me think. What better way can we worship than to offer our lives to Christ at the Mass, at the moment of His Sacrifice? By uniting our sacrifice with His, Christ makes perfect our otherwise imperfect offering. His perfect worship becomes our perfect worship.

Man, have I been doing Mass wrong. Too often I go to Mass with the thought of what I can get out of it at the forefront, instead of the worship I am there to offer to God.

I think this is a common mistake. The cry-room issue is a much debated subject in the online Catholic mom world. I have even offered the opinion that Mass isn’t about hearing the readings– those are available to read on your own. It isn’t even about the homily like many protestant services.  Mass is about worshipping God in the most perfect way. I have always interpreted this to mean receiving the Eucharist.

I tended to think of Mass as a recharge on my soul–after receiving Christ in the Eucharist, I am fully charged. As the week creeps along, I am more and more drained. I think of the Eucharist as nourishment, my spiritual food and drink. Yes, all of that is true, but I think that is still missing the fullness of the Mass.

To be sure, the Eucharist is the Source and Summit of our faith. But, I wonder, when the priest prays the Eucharistic Prayer, just before the epiclesis, “Make Holy, therefore, these gifts we pray . . .” if the gifts are not only of bread and wine, but of flesh and blood–our flesh and blood.

Since that talk, I have been much more conscious of my own worship at Mass. I am careful, even while wrangling toddlers, to be especially reverent at the Consecration. I try to bow while kneeling and recall the words of St Thomas the Apostle when he touched the wounds of the Risen Christ, “My Lord and my God.” I leave Mass now with an overflowing of joy, with a presence warm and constant in my heart.

This extra reverence on my part has made all the difference, because while the Sacrament confers grace ex opera operato, the fruits of the Sacrament does depend on the disposition of the recipient (CCC 1128).

Copyright 2017 Amanda Torres

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About Author

Amanda Torres is a Catholic convert, wife, and working mom from St Paul, MN. She is making great use of her Bachelor's Degree in History and Anthropology as a Management Analyst for the State of Minnesota. When she is not busy trying to get her husband, her rambunctious 7 year-old, and toddler twins into Heaven she enjoys reading, writing, and drinking coffee with entirely too much creamer. Amanda also occasionally blogs at In Earthen Vessels: www.holdthistreasureinearthenvessels.wordpress.com

2 Comments

  1. Look at you, throwin’ out “ex opera operato ” like a longtime Catholic! Seriously, though, what a wonderful reflection, for all of us. I don’t have toddlers to wrangle and I still get distracted at Mass and lose that reverence from time to time. (And once again I’m sad at having missed Bishop Cozzens’ talk for the Catechectical Institute that Saturday morning.)

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