When I was younger, I didn’t like going to church very much. I felt that it was boring and completely out of touch with what I was going through and the world around me. But I went, mostly because I was force to go by my parents, and not by choice. So when the time came that I actually had a choice, you better believe I opted out. It’s not that I stopped believing in God or in the church in general, I just didn’t think I got much out of it. Boy, was I wrong….
As my relationship with the Lord has strengthened, my appreciation of all the Catholic Church has to offer has dramatically increased. For that matter, my appreciation for the various forms of worship has also increased whether it be Catholic, Christian, Evangelical, Jewish; we all have our methods of prayer and thanksgiving. I now find so much solace in attending Mass that I try to go as often as I can. It isn’t always easy to balance an active prayer life with your social and work life. But, thanks be to God there’s always a way. So, how surprised was I today to find that my church was not going to have their usual 1st Friday mass, but instead was going to have a “service”.
The reason the church secretary gave for not having Mass heard today was that there were no priests available. How can that be, I asked. We have two full time priests, one retired, and always have visiting priests staying in our rectory. Well, I was told, the priests had all had said three masses today and could do no more. The “service” to be held would be conducted by a Deacon. Now, I don’t have a problem with deacons per se, assisting during Mass, my own uncle is one. But, I do have a problem with expecting my church to hold a Mass, when it is only once a month, to instead having a “service”.
I know there is a shortage of priests in many parts of the world and in our own country, but, so far it hasn’t affected me personally. Is this a sign of things to come? Having developed such an affinity for the solemnity and the Spirit of the Mass, I have come to realize that there is so much more to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist than I can possibly explain. I only know that going to Mass more than once a week has given me strength, peace and fulfillment to get through trying days at work, cope with life’s little surprises and fill me up with a sense of peace and love so that I want to experience it more and more.
So, I’ll continue to go to Mass as often as I can. And I’ll pray for our priests and for more vocations to the priesthood. And maybe I’ll just have to get up a little earlier in the day…because the next time I expect to go to an afternoon Mass and find that there is none…I may have to take it up with a higher power…but, wait a minute, I already did. And I think he told me to stick to my convictions. Mass should only be said by a priest and don’t accept anything less…God Bless, Shalom! :)