Saturday, November 9, 2013

Inspirations in the Mass

[A GRAMBUS post.]

St. John Cantius Church - Chicago
Nearly15 years ago now, when I was still arguing with the priest leading RICA (Rite of Initiation for Christian Adults), he would tell me, “Come to the Mass.  Just come to the Mass,” as if that would answer all my questions about the things I didn’t understand about the Catholic Church.  It didn’t make sense to me then, but lately I see the wisdom of his words, and they have come back to find lodging in my soul.  I’ll tell the story of my journey into the Church another time.  Suffice it to say, I did become Catholic and faithfully attended Mass each week—and happily so.  I would say, I had an above average understanding of what the Mass was all about, until…

One year and two months ago, I retired from teaching.  I decided that one of my priorities would be to attend daily Mass whenever possible.  I can’t tell you the day or date when something miraculous first occurred, but it was during an ordinary morning Mass, very unexpectedly, the words of the priest suddenly jumped out at me.  The first time it happened, it was these words:
Blessed are those who are called to the Supper of the Lamb.
You know that part of the Mass, when the priest holds up the consecrated host?  I’d heard it a hundred times.  But, at that moment, I knew those words were FOR ME.  I had been CALLED.  I had been drawn to come to the mass/The Supper of the Lamb.  For so many years, before I was Catholic, I had not been called—50 to be exact.  I didn’t even know about the Catholic Mass, but now I do and I am  …called to it.  What a blessing!  And, every time I go to mass, those same words pop out at me again and again, and fill me with love and joy for the Lamb of God, who called me to come.

The next time the words of the Mass jumped out at me was just as unexpected as before.  It happened as the priest said the words of remembrance from Our Lord at the Last Supper with His disciples.  The priest was saying: “taking the chalice, He gave thanks, and gave it to His disciples, saying…”  All of a sudden, as the priest looked out at the people and said, “gave it to His disciples,..” I had the thought, “Wait a minute!  I’m one of His disciples!”  In that moment, I knew Jesus was right there saying those words to me that followed:
Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of My blood.
I felt like I was right THERE at the Last Supper WITH Jesus, and he was saying those words to me.   In the Mass, the priest recites the words that Jesus spoke to His disciples, but as I hear the priest, I am actually hearing JESUS speak those words to me!  …as His disciple …NOW, in this current generation.  In the Mass, Christ speaks those words TO US! His disciples TODAY!

Well, this just kept happening.  Words kept jumping at me with more and more meaning each time I went to the Mass.  In the Eucharistic prayer, the priest is thanking God the Father through His beloved Son who
 …stretched out His hands as He endured His Passion, so as to break the bonds of death and manifest the resurrection.  And so, with the Angels and all the Saints, we declare your glory, as with one voice we acclaim: Holy, Holy, Holy…
As I joined in the Holy, Holy prayer of praise, I felt like my voice was being added with all the Heavenly Hosts in giving God praise.  I looked up and imagined (no, not just imagined… I knew) I was participating with the Angels and the Saints in heaven to proclaim the holiness and glory of God.  I felt that sense of wonder and UNIFYING BOND between heaven and earth during the Mass.  Now, I remember that every time we sing or say the Holy, Holy.  Amazing!  Praising God through Christ in union with the Angels and the Communion of Saints!  That’s the unity that we experience in our worship at the Mass.  

It does not seem to end...  Just recently another phrase in the Mass has grabbed my attention, where 
Therefore, as we celebrate the memorial of his Death and Resurrection, we offer you, Lord, the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation, giving thanks that you have held us worthy to be in your presence and minister to you.
Starting with the word “held” to the end, the words have continued to amaze me, because we are NOT worthy.  But, quickly I became aware that God meets us where we are, (as unworthy people) and through Christ’s worthiness, seats us with Him to “minister to”/worship Him in the beauty of the Supper of the Lamb/the Mass.  —The same Mass that has been celebrated around the world and over all the centuries since Christ left His authority and keys of the kingdom with His Apostles, to today!  

…Blessed are those who are called—and are still being called—to that Supper!

Come to the Mass.  Just come…

1 comment:

  1. I am enjoying your posts, Pam! Thank you for adding the ability to subscribe! I still want to get together with you - how about we make a date in January, after the holidays, to "do" lunch? Love you! Catherine