Now I Begin,
Now I Begin,
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
sing praise to our king, sing praise
For God is king over all the earth;
sing hymns of praise.
On Sundays I teach a religious education class to kindergartners. Yesterday I asked them a simple question,
“How many of you are bored in Church?”
Most of them raised their hand.
I was not surprised and posed a separate question to them,
“If you go to a party and stand against a wall while everyone else is singing, talking, and dancing, will you have a good time?”
Mass is the same way! If you do not participate, how can you expect to enjoy it?
As adults we approach going to mass much like young children. We attend somberly with our minds contemplative not on what is happening in that moment, but what will be happening through out the week. Mass is treated like a chore on our Sunday to do list, as we robotically go through the steps. Motions so conditioned through muscle memory, we do not have to think about them at all. If our entourage contains young children, we automatically position ourselves as far as reasonably possible from the alter wearing a stoic face and radiating fear/anxiety that our children will behave, as children behave, and our parenting skills negatively judged by those around us.
As adults we see without focus,hear without listening, present and absent at the same time.
We attend mass because we are supposed to.
We bring our children because we are supposed to.
We are the party attendees standing on the wall.
Have you forgotten we Celebrate Mass? Celebrate… not eulogize. Communion is a feast, not a cold medicine that must be tolerated so you can feel better. Hymns are not boring old songs, set to boring old music. They are prayers of praise and thanksgiving joyfully lifted up to God on notes of voices and music comprised of love and adoration.
Are your heads bowed and eyes closed because you are asleep-physically and spiritually, or have you humbled yourself and opened your heart to receive the many gifts of prayers, blessings, and promises of salvation?
Do you the view the Priest as someone whose entrance and exit serves to mark the beginning and ending of mass? Do you not see him as the host of the morning- the celebrant and intermediary of God’s entrance into our very presence?
Do you not realize the Angels in Heaven are celebrating Mass too? When they sing the Gloria, their minds are not drifting over endless to dos. In their voices are songs of praise to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Are they not wiser than us? Should we not follow the suit of those who have served God since the beginning of time?
Your children are watching you. What do you want them to inherit? What do you want them to see? -Is your gift to them- your example for them a joy and hunger for God or a lukewarm response to His very Holy Presence?
Commit yourself to the mass! Be excited about it! Participate! Sing! Rejoice! Celebrate God’s never ending love and mercy.