Every aspect of the liturgy has an element that can change your life. On any given Sunday, the words to the opening song, a verse proclaimed in the first reading, a phrase in the gospel might stick in our minds and challenge us to change something about the way we go about our business that week.
A priest’s comment in a homily might move us to reach out to someone we might normally pass by. The nourishment of the Eucharist might give us the strength we need to make a decision we ordinarily wouldn’t be comfortable with. The quiet after communion might bring an insight from the Holy Spirit to take a risk to benefit another.
Colleen, a mother of five, says the Eucharistic prayer of “Grant that we who are nourished by his Body and Blood may be filled with his Holy Spirit, and become one body, one spirit in Christ,” was the impetus for her thought to begin a parish-wide program of small-group faith sharing centered around dinner. “The roots of the program were definitely born out of the liturgy,” she says.
Denise, a mother of three, was similarly moved by the prayers of the Eucharist. “It was explained to me that during the Eucharistic prayer, the priest, in essence, invites the Lord to be with us,” she says. “I remembered how much it means to be invited, asked, included. Since then, I have tried each morning to ‘invite’ Christ into my day—to remember to be hospitable to Christ and to be grateful for his presence.”
Jay and Carolyn, in a central city parish, say that a combination of hearing a reading at church based on James 2:24, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone,” and learning about the housing struggle of a fellow parishioner moved them to purchase a house near the church for the family.
The family now pays them back, interest-free, each month, with the plan of owning the home free and clear in 10 years. “They are good people and have made sacrifices to make necessary repairs on the home,” Carolyn says. “They have taken remarkable action to make the block safer.
“They led a group of neighbors to shut down a bar on their block because of excessive noise, gunshots, littering, and underage drinking. The neighborhood is better because of their faith, pride, and hard work.” Jay and Carolyn, who have two preschoolers, hope to continue to buy one home a year on this same block with their rent-to-own program.
Amy, a mother of three, said hearing the Beatitudes at Mass inspires her. “During Lent this year, during the week the Beatitudes were read, I stopped at the grocery store,” she says. “I was in a hurry and the bagger was going slowly, sighing and rolling his eyes as he put each item in my bag. I was ready to jump out of my skin. But then I thought of the Beatitudes and realized I didn’t know this man’s story—that maybe he was one of the lowly ones. So I changed my attitude and helped him bag the groceries.”
Maria says a homily she heard years ago about the disciples and Jesus in the upper room sticks with her. “The priest talked about how each person in the upper room was afraid—for their future, for their lives, for Jesus. But he said, strongly, that all of them knew they had to take their fear and leave the upper room. The priest instructed us that in life, we too have to leave our upper room,” she says. “This is what the Eucharistic prayer of the Mass is all about. That homily, and now the Eucharist, reminds me to leave my upper room and to do whatever it is I am called to do: Be a parent, a spouse, an employee, a friend—to love, even when it’s difficult.” —by Annemarie Scobey from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, art by Mary Miller Doyle
This article is from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the 2010 General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association. Here’s a sample issue.
We offer very low rates for parish use, as well as our free Moms’ Night Out monthly discussion guides.
And don’t miss our popular single-page parish handouts on handing on the faith, helping kids understand the Mass, Lent, and Advent.
Follow Homefaith on Twitter.