From our pastor, Father Neil Herlihy
Our Holy Father Pope Francis reminds us of the importance of prayer and Mass. EWTN News reported that he said prayer should come from the heart, “gazing on the Lord, hearing the Lord, asking the Lord.” When Our Holy Father recounted the story of Mary and Martha in our gospel reading, he noted that when Martha asked Jesus to have Mary get up and serve, Mary chose the “better part”, meaning “that of prayer, that of contemplation of Jesus.” He said that Mary heard the Lord and prayed with her heart. He challenged us to do the same. He also emphasized the importance of the Mass. He recently stated that while the liturgy is in part about doctrine and ritual, its real essence is to be “a source of life and light for our journey of faith.” He also reminded us that, “The Church calls us to have and promote an authentic liturgical life so that there can be harmony between what the liturgy celebrates and what we live out.” People go to Church “to encounter the Lord and find in his grace at work in the sacraments the strength to think and act according to the gospel.” Authentic worship and liturgical celebrations should lead people toward “a real conversion” of heart by letting them hear “the voice of the Lord, who guides them along the path of rectitude and Christian perfection.”
The Catholic publication, Our Sunday Visitor, expressed similar sentiments about the importance of Mass when it stated, “…when you come to Mass, you pray with your whole being. You use all of your senses. You see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. You use your body by genuflecting, sitting, kneeling, standing, walking, and singing.” It went on to note, “The Mass also gives you the opportunity to:
– Seek forgiveness for your sins.
– Learn how God’s word impacts your life in the homily.
– Offer yourself to the Lord.
– Experience the miracle of bread and wine changing into the Body and Blood of Christ.
– Reach out to others with the Peace of Christ.
– Admit that you are not worthy, and then come forward to receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ.
– Receive a special blessing.
– Be commissioned to go out and make the world a better place.”
The publication also reminds us that, “When we come together at Mass to pray and worship God, we fulfill a deep need inside of us to be in communion with other people. They help us to see that we are not alone. They remind us that we are all part of the Body of Christ.”
As we remember the words of Our Holy Father and the sentiments expressed in Our Sunday Visitor, we are invited to recommit ourselves to making the Mass the heart of our day, not a small part of our day, especially as we enjoy this time of leisure.