Let Mass light a fire under you

[Reminder: Last chance to chime in on U.S. Catholic’s quick survey about kids at Mass: “And lead us not into temper tantrums.”]

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. Continue reading

Can I have a Word with you?

I’m sitting in the pew. The first reading ends; the song leader begins the psalm. “What shall I return to the Lord?” she sings, “for all the bounty he has given?”

I see my daughter, a tall 14-year-old, in her alb up in the sacristy. She has come a long way from the days of getting stomachaches worrying whether she’d remember what to do while serving Mass. My husband of 24 years sits next to me; through the endless grace of God and much hard work, we love each other more today than we did the day we got married.

On the other side sits my son, back in one piece from another year at college. Today it seems like a minor miracle for a 20-year-old to be at Mass, let alone with his parents. I don’t take it for granted.

The psalm goes to my heart; each time we sing it at Mass, it never fails to bring tears of gratitude to my eyes. What shall I return to the Lord for all the bounty he has given? Continue reading