The sound of my alarm breaks, I roll over to realize I have exactly one hour to get ready, and the kids wrangled before Mass begins. As I stumble out of bed, a herd of rambunctious children come barreling toward me down the hall. No one is dressed yet. Then suddenly a crash coming from the kitchen. I know that sound. The toddler just threw his cereal all over the floor again, his scream pierces my ears. And the thought runs through my mind, “Why even bother? It’ll be a miracle if we can get there on time anyway. Plus, Mass with all these restrictions doesn’t even feel like Mass anymore.”
Quickly, I jump in the shower, rushing to get ready at record speed while still looking somewhat presentable. Okay, I’m ready. I glance at the clock and call out to my husband, "Only ten minutes before we need to leave.” As I bump into my four-year-old running through the hall shirtless, I impatiently ask, “What do you mean you have to change again? Honey, it’s fine if you spilled a little water on your shirt. It will dry.” I plead with her but to no avail. I turn to my oldest barking out orders, “Put on your shoes. We have to get going! No, you cannot wear unicorn slippers to Mass.”
Finally, we make it to the van with shoes on, shirts dry, and baby fed. I glance at my husband and exhale a deep sigh of relief before round two begins because as every parent knows, getting to Mass is only the beginning of the battle.
As we rush into the sanctuary a flood of emotions runs through me. I’ve been anxiously anticipating a return to Mass for weeks now. Quickly we are ushered into the pew moments before Mass begins, and then the wiggles, the giggles, the shushing, and redirecting starts. By the end of Mass I am exhausted. “Is that it?” I think to myself feeling utterly underwhelmed by it all. What about the singing? What about the good-natured sign of peace? And the donuts? How am I supposed to tell my four kids that there won’t be donuts anymore?
Does this sound familiar to anyone?
So why even bother?
Why spend Sunday after Sunday frantically rushing around the house repeating this chaos? I mean the dispensation for attendance is still in effect. Plus, I can always catch the live stream at some point during the day.
While participating in Mass from home can certainly be fruitful for growth in our relationship with the One Who is Love, our lack of receiving Him fully and alive in the Eucharist doesn’t hurt God; it hurts us.
Humans are complex and nuanced. We require little to survive but so much more to thrive, and the same is true of our spiritual lives. He has created us for more. Jesus, Himself, told us so.
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
Mass isn’t for God, it’s for us.
While my humble presence at Mass can neither add nor take away anything from His glory, it does directly impact my own road to salvation, my own growth in the spiritual life. It is precisely through the Mass, and particularly through the reception of Eucharist that God in His infinite love and goodness is leading me into His glory. He is revealing Himself to me–transforming me to become more like Him. So no, attending and participating in the Mass isn’t for Him, it’s for me.
He longs to pour out His blessings on us.
Our God is a God of extravagance and generosity. One who will not be satisfied with giving us just enough grace to get by. Rather, He desires so deeply to give us all of Himself, not just once but over and over again at every single Mass. He longs to pour Himself out, to unite with us so as to transform us, to grow us, to make us more than we ever imagined we could be, and to show us what thriving really looks like.
It's nothing short of miraculous really. At each and every Mass He gives us the balm to soothe our weary souls, and the strength we need to carry us through another week. He graces us and blesses us with the gift of Himself in the Eucharist.
He shows up every single time. It doesn’t matter if we are cranky, or brimming with joy, running later than we hoped, or settling in early enough to offer a few prayers before Mass begins. He is there, and not only that but He simply delights in our presence there with Him.
While there will still be weeks when my little family rushes into Mass struggling to make it just in the knick of time, I will continue to push against the resistance for I know my Lord waits for me there.
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