A perfect Mass
November 28th, 2016
By Mary Pecci
It was brought to our attention during a prayer meeting this week that Catholics are exiting the church this year in the largest numbers ever, many of whom consider the Mass totally boring, irrelevant, and uninspiring.
However, this Thanksgiving Day I attended a Mass so perfect that I said to the presiding priest, “Why can’t all Masses be like this one?
What made it so special?
It began with an examination of conscience. We were directed to examine our conscience in accordance with the Lord’s precepts to determine what areas we pledge to work on to become more and more like Christ so we can evolve spiritually each week as we attend Mass - which in time is a transforming experience.
Being uplifted by the glorious music that accompanied each portion of the Mass, we were inspired by the sacred readings from the Bible. During the Gospel, it was as though Christ were present right there speaking directly to us with his story about the 10 lepers. The priest then commented “briefly” on the Gospel, covering the salient points, more of which was unnecessary because parishioners are more than capable of filling in the blanks.
The priest then spoke “brief” words of praise and petition (avoiding all endless lists of saints’ names in a sonorous monotone which would have put half the community to sleep) before offering the Communion. There were no screaming babies or young children writhing in pain as their distracted parents tried to appease them in an effort to participate in their essential weekly spiritual boost.
Then it happened! Through the miracle that only our dearest precious Lord Jesus Christ could ever conceive of, we were invited to receive his body and blood – remembering his explanation to the Apostles when everyone else walked away: “It is the spirit that gives life, while there is no life in the body. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63).
What makes a family? The same blood. We were now united at the Mass as one family with the blood of Christ. What a miracle is the Mass? God living in us – as he unites us together – as we evolve from glory to glory as he leads us along his narrow path. What better way to bring peace on earth?
This was all accomplished in 45 minutes, leaving time for those who wished to remain for personal prayer. No one was exhausted or anxious to leave. There were just smiles of an energized community.
And so I ask, “Why can’t all Masses be like this one? Maybe fewer people would be leaving the church – and it may even bring back a few wayfarers.
From December 1, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.
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