I’m a Mass junkie. As in Roman Catholic Mass.
As a Catholic family, we go to Church every Sunday and try to attend on Holy Days of Obligation.
But I also make a strong attempt to at least listen to Daily Mass. That commitment began about two years ago when I rediscovered the Catholic television channel, EWTN. About the same time, I got a new smart phone that easily allowed me to stream internet radio and television, including programming from EWTN. I pondered my options for filling my early morning drive time as I made the trek between clients: talk radio, music, audio book, Daily Mass…
The answer was obvious.
And beyond that, as far back as I can remember, I was a bit of a Mass junkie. When I was a kid, maybe 9, 10, 11 years old, I would occasionally take a missalette home from church (should I have confessed that?) so I could hold “Mass” in the tiny utility room “sanctuary” in our house on Main Street.
I’m not sure what inspired that appetite to know more about the Mass. But it continues to this day.
Before I go any further, my intention in sharing this is not to boast about what a great saint I am or to suggest in the slightest that I am a better Catholic, a better Christian, or a better person than you. I can assure you that I struggle every single hour with my faith, with sin, and trying to get even the little things right. And I think I mess up more than I get it right. Rather, I tell you all of this to tell a story, to let you know who I am, as background to my main point.
I enjoyed studying the Bible in a college class (although I didn’t take it as seriously as I should… could say that about many classes) and some adult Bible study groups, as well. I enjoy knowing and understanding the specific Bible readings selected by the Church for daily and Sunday Mass, how they flow and fit into the liturgical seasons of the year, and the messages they impart to us.
I have been a Lector (reader) at church since the early 1980s. I cherish the opportunity to deliver God’s word to the congregation in a manner that they’ve never heard before. I am an excellent Lector. One of the best. That’s not a boast. That’s a testament to a gift God gave me. I’m not a great extemporaneous speaker. I don’t think I’m a very good conversationalist. But I’m an excellent reader. And I feel compelled to use that gift.
My fascination with the Roman Catholic Liturgy and desire for deeper connection with the word of God inspired me to purchase hardbound copies of the Vatican II Daily Missal and Vatican II Sunday Missal, published by The Daughters of St. Paul more than twenty years ago. I enjoy being able to follow the chronology of the liturgical seasons. I appreciate the commentaries preceding each Reading and Gospel. There’s a meditation for every weekday liturgy that reads like the briefest of sermons. These meditations are quite helpful to understanding my faith and guiding me through life’s struggles and quandaries.
I have a particular story I want to share that makes all of this a little more relevant, but for now, that’s a little about me, the Catholic side of me.
I guess to wrap up, my meager experience serves to demonstrate in a very small way what a long and complex heritage we have as Roman Catholics. Now, I’m not a biblical scholar nor a Roman Catholic scholar. I haven’t exhaustively devoted my life to the study of the Mass or the bible or the liturgy or the Church. But I have come to know and appreciate the complexity of our history through my humble, meager study.
The Roman Catholic faith derives from the Son of God, the creator of you and me. How awesome is that? How incomprehensible! And we now have more than two thousand years of reflection, insight, discernment, and inspiration to learn from.
I know many of you have strong opinions about the Catholic Church, positive and negative. My faith journey continues to prove to me that the Church is the one true Christian faith. That doesn’t invalidate other Christian denominations, but it does mean there are differences between Catholicism and Protestant Christian denominations.
I’m interested in your thoughts and opinions. Have I said anything that stirs you? That you agree with, disagree with? That you don’t understand? That challenge you? Let me hear from you.