As Catholics we should have a great appreciation for the Mass. We are expected to arrive on time and remain for the final blessing. As we well know, in many Churches some Catholics leave after they receive Holy Communion. They are urged not to do so unless they have a compelling reason. A brief period of time should be set aside for reflection after Communion. Jesuit Father William Byron reminds us that “the quiet time after reception of Holy Communion is, after all, intended to be a time of thanksgiving.” There is so much for which we should be giving thanks. The Catholic publication, “The Zenith Dispatch”, stated “The Mass is something we celebrate together as Church and as a worshipping community.” It “…is intimately united to Christian life and mission. The final blessing and dismissal send us forth to transmit what we have received to our brothers and sisters. If we leave directly after Communion, then we lose this important component of our spiritual life.” We are therefore urged to prayerfully consider remaining for the entire Mass and truly spend quality time with Our Lord.
As mentioned previously, as we spend this time with Our Lord, we are encouraged to participate in the Mass in a spirit of reverence and respect. We are also reminded of the need to dress modestly in His presence. Our Catechism states that “…modesty guides how we look at others and behave toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.” “It inspires one’s choice in clothing.” If we were to be in the presence of a president, or king or queen, or some other high ranking dignitary, most of us would think carefully as to how we should dress. At Mass, we are in the presence of the King of Kings, and so we should put appropriate thought into how we should dress. Now that summer has officially started, we should strive to embrace modesty in dress and avoid wearing clothes that could be distracting in some way. Certain summer apparel which may be appropriate for an informal meal or a picnic may not be appropriate for Mass.
As disciples of Christ, we are challenged to set a good example for others and to truly and publicly live our faith. We are therefore invited to dress appropriately, and prayerfully consider making time for Our Lord by making the Mass the heart of our day, not just a small part of our day, each Sunday and on each Holy Day of Obligation. This is especially true as we take time for rest and recreation during these summer months.
Fr. Neil Herlihy