“I just don’t get anything out of going to Mass”. This is a comment we often hear, and not only from teen-agers, but from adults trying to explain why they come to church infrequently. Here are some thoughts on this subject. First of all, you don’t go to Mass to get something, but to give something: the worship of God that God deserves. At Mass the Church does something: offers the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to God the Father for the salvation of the world. The Mass is the representation of the most important event in the history of the world, the sacrificial death of Jesus for the salvation of the human race. Second, we do it not because we feel like it but in obedience to Jesus’ command. When he instituted the Mass, he commanded his disciples to “do this in memory of me”. His church today only fulfills his command. Third, we do get something out of it: Jesus himself. “This is my body”, he said. The Catholic Church has always taught that Jesus is really, truly present in the consecrated bread and wine. At Mass, we “get” what we need more than anything else in the world: Jesus. “But I don’t feel anything”, you may say. So what? You may not feel anything when you eat bread or take vitamins either. But they nourish you. “For our life is a matter of faith, not sight” as St. Paul says. We believe vitamins help us because doctors tell us so. If we believe our human doctors, why not believe the divine doctor of our souls? Our faith is not dependent on our feeling, but on the facts God has revealed to us, the truths God has assured us of. Our feelings will come, in their time, but only if we don’t worry about them, only if we keep our eyes on the truth. The philosopher Peter Kreeft, from whom I have borrowed the substance of this column, has a wonderful story about Faith, Fact, and Feeling with which I would conclude. They all were walking along a wall. Fact went first, then Faith, then Feeling. But when Faith turned around to see how Feeling was doing, and took his eyes off Fact, both Faith and Feeling fell off the wall, while Fact walked on alone.
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