Catholic Husband

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Why Mass Matters

I don't bother to read the surveys that pollsters do of Catholics. It turns into an exercise in, "I'm more Catholic than you," and the number of people who self-identify as Catholic is way too high. Honestly, if you consistently miss Mass, it's time to stop self-identifying as Catholic. It’s like being a vegetarian who eats meat four times a week. However, one thing that every survey does show is that the frequency of Mass attendance directly correlates to agreement with the Magisterium.

My family goes to Mass every week, no real surprise there. I would say that my choice to go to Mass is more out of a desire to go than out of a sense of duty. I like the peace of sanctuary, the rhythm of the liturgy, and the grace that I receive to get me through the week.

I've spent some time considering why frequency of Mass attendance correlates to higher levels of agreement with Church teachings. Certainly there is something miraculous about the Mass, but I think it’s about more than just that hour. Certainly there is a catechetical element to the homily. The priest or deacon has 15 minutes or so to help me better understand the readings and how they connect to my life, current events, and the world around me. But I think that there’s still something more to it.

If you take your faith seriously enough to go to Mass weekly, I think you're the type of person who will try to get questions answered. We certainly have many societal issues that we're trying to find solutions to, and many of us are challenged by others about what our faith stands for. I know why the Church opposes redefining marriage and abortion because I've read Her teachings. I know that Her reasonings are backed up by nearly 2,000 years of scholarly works by some of the greatest theological and philosophical minds and I’ve taken the time to read Her explanations. I think that all of that study would be enough to convince most reasonable people of the logic and rationale of Her arguments.

There are exceptions to every rule, and this of course, is one of them. There are many Catholics, even those in the pews with you on Sunday, who are financially supporting organizations that work against the Church, who are using contraceptives, and who are doing any number of things that the Church strongly counsels them against. At the same time, we are sitting there just as broken and just as sinful. That's the beauty of the Church. We're trying to live the lives that we're called to, and each time we go to Mass, we give God one more opportunity to affect change in our lives. None of us are exempt from the universal call to holiness, nor are we free from the responsibility to examine our lives and change them accordingly.

The Mass is the center of the Christian life. It gives us the grace to seek constant renewal, an opportunity to listen to the Word of God, and a chance to pray for one another. Through regular attendance, we can slowly grow in wisdom and understanding, turning ourselves back towards the Church and Her teachings.