Prior to RCIA, I did not understand the Mass and considered it to be a “bunch of rituals.” It requires effort to understand the 5 major sections of the Mass (Introductory Rites, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist, Communion Rite and Concluding Rite).
After I actually learned the details of the Mass and the meaning behind each word, I understand why we celebrate the Mass.
I love going to Mass.
In the Communion Rite, we prepare to accept the Holy Eucharist. Prior to this we pray together the Lord’s Prayer and then make the sign of peace. The priest says, “Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles: I leave you peace, my peace I give you.” Then we offer one another a sign of peace.
In the reading today from the Gospel of John, I tripped over an interesting passage. We read the next portion of Chapter 14, just after the Last Supper Discourses (last week’s readings). Jesus reminded his disciples that:
“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Note that Jesus taught that “we will come to him” – meaning that we must put forth effort to build a relationship with our Father. There are times when I have been unwilling or unable to put forth that effort – it is something I think most Christians will experience in their lives.
One of the most beautiful things about Christianity is that God gave us a safety net – not only for those times of joy but in those times of sorrow – when it can be hard to love God and “make our dwelling with him.” The safety net is the Holy Spirit, as explained by Jesus in the next verse:
“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit
whom the Father will send in my name–
he will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.”
So we do not have to fear the physical absence of Jesus from our lives for God sent for us the Holy Spirit. God sent the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ. He is here, right now, to help us learn everything taught by Jesus.
I know when I am moved by the Holy Spirit because I feel compelled to do something. It is for me an internal voice – gently suggesting that I need to take action. Sometimes that action is to apologize for something I did to harm a loved one. Other times, that action is to simply smile, hug my family and tell my family that I love them.
It is difficult sometimes for me to both hear the Holy Spirit and listen to his teachings because I allow Him to be drowned out by my own ego. The practice of my faith, such as attending the Mass are so crucial. After today’s reading, it is particularly special to remember that when the priest says that Jesus said, “I leave you peace” it will reminds me that the Holy Spirit is present.
Enjoy these related articles:
- The Catholic Mass (Catholicism.about.com)
- Order of Mass: Basic Texts for Catholics (catholic-resources.org)
- Liturgy of the Mass – Catholic Encyclopedia (newadvent.org)
- Edging God Out (EGO) (catholic.org)
- The Catholic RCIA stages (beginningcatholic.com)
- “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him” (worryisuseless.wordpress.com)