Today, I went to Mass.
I like going to Catholic Mass.
I have no intentions of converting to Catholicism, I don't know exactly when to stand up or sit down, I don't have the communal responses memorized, and I can't partake in the Holy Eucharist.
But I like going to Mass.
There's so much...richness
, to the Catholic faith. I think the High Church liturgy is one of these many treasures. I feel like in Protestant churches we flounder around a lot, trying to be as unpredictable as possible (though we prefer to call it "relevant," "dynamic," or "engaging") so as to emulate the Holy Spirit, and to veer away from that terrible danger of monotony and listlessness. We like to keep things fresh and exciting so we're not babbling on like the pagans do.
But in all this fantastical, state-of-the-art style of worship, I hunger for stability. And even change can become monotonous when change becomes a constant; when every week it's the same old different thing.
Chaplain Mike of internetmonk.com shares this frustration
in the lack of a deeper pattern of spirituality within evangelical churches, and suggests the Church Year as a more wholesome "shape" to orient our lives to. We emphasize our individual faith, our personal salvation, our own walk with Jesus Christ, so if the pastor isn't meeting our needs with a culturally-tailored sermon series, we can simply walk down to the nearest Christian bookstore and find something that suits our fancy.
The closest we get to a communal understanding of spirituality is having a small-group bible study or possibly the once-a-quarter observance of Communion. There's no deep undercurrent that moves us along together; nothing that ties us in so that we are of one heart and one mind. Nothing bigger than ourselves, nothing that gives us an identity or a sense of belonging -- Sunday School curriculum and age-appropriate programs are hardly sufficient for our wandering hearts.
So I like going to Mass every once in awhile, because I like feeling grounded. I like the spirit of reverence. I like feeling small because God is big and the body of believers is big, not because I am overlooked in a megachurch crowd. I like the celebration and observance of the Church Year. I like participating in the liturgy, even if I fumble through the missal because I don't know the hymns or my sign of the cross is awkward and untimely -- I'm a part of something outside of myself. We're all doing the same thing together, so it's not about me. I like that.
I like that very much.What do you like about going to Catholic mass? What do you think other Christian churches are missing in their services?