Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why I Enjoy Attending Catholic Mass

I know that sounds weird, but I do.

There is an element of reverence during Mass.

As many protestant denomination services that I have attended, there is something sacred and ancient that happens in Mass.

I spend a lot of my thoughts on where the Church is going and why have we shifted in thought. But in Mass, they are practicing traditions that date back over a thousand years.

There is remembrance.

There is reverence.

To me, the most important sacrament is Communion. With Churches getting bigger and doing things faster, someone invented the pre-filled disposable cup with communion wafer on top.

I'm not 'against' this novelty, but it does frustrate me. It seems so processed. Hurried. Individualized.

To me, there is something sacred in slowing down. Remembering. Community in Communion. Stepping to the front. Drinking slowly. Tasting the wine. Listening to the bread break. Broken. Spilled.

As a Protestant, I know not to take part of Catholic Communion. But I always appreciate observing. Every week, the priest eloquently explains the meaning of the broken bread and the poured wine.

When I read the New Testament and read the accounts of the disciples, I all too often read them as inadequate, undertrained, and foolhardy. But when I listen to the Priest talk about them, especially reffering to them as Saints, I remember that God chose them to be the forerunners of the Church! To be the first to carry the gospel to the world. They are saints!

As someone who spends most of their thoughts on where the Church is going, I hardly take time to remember where the Church has been. Keep in mind that denominations are less than 500 years old. But the Catholic Church is close to 2000 years old. So are the traditions. So are the candles. So are the rituals. The prayers. The Creeds.

To be clear, I've never felt awkward or unwanted during mass. I'm sure I stick out. I'm sure it's obvious to regular attenders that I don't actually belong. But I see smiles, not stares.

One Sunday that I attended, the priest taught on birth control. To anyone who doesn't know, birth control is a major dividing issue between Catholics and Protestants. Obviously, I have my stance. I think birth control is OK. But it was a really neat sight to watch him passionately defend the Catholic position. He stated that procreation should not be divorced from intercourse (in matrimony). His controversial stance was not compromised. Not watered down. It was raw. True to the Catholic Church.

Whether or not you decide to go to Mass, remember to slow down. It's easy to get caught up in iPhones, playlists and Netflix que. Take time to remember reverence. Appreciate tradition and history.