Your kids have said it. Your teenagers have almost definitely said it. Perhaps your spouse has even said it.
Maybe you’ve even said it, once in a while, particularly if the liturgy seems plodding, or the priest seems distracted, or the music is…as bad as it can sometimes be:
“Ugh, The Mass. Really? Why bother? What is the point of this?”
That question inevitably leads to other questions:
“Can’t I just worship God anywhere?”
“Why do we need this incense?”
“Why do we have to say the creed every week?”
“It’s the same thing, every week, why doesn’t it ever change?”
“What’s with all the up-and-down?”
Finally, we hear:
“Protestants don’t have to do this! Why must weeeeee?”
As a parent, as a spouse, as a Catholic, I can tell you that at various points in my life I have “been there, done that, still can hear the whine.” Even my own.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen once famously quipped, “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
We could say something similar about the Mass: There are not one hundred Catholics who believe the Mass is pointless, redundant and boring, but there are millions who can’t be bothered with what they perceive the Catholic Mass to be.
If the Mass is poorly perceived it’s because has, for too long, been materially, spiritually, and personally misunderstood and often that’s because it has been poorly taught, as our increasingly empty pews attest.
Thankfully, Bishop Robert Barron and the Word on Fire team have recognized the need for a clear, accessible and enthusiastic presentation of the Mass, and in response they’ve produced a video series that covers all of those questions that are so regularly tossed out. It’s one you and your family, both immediate and extended, and even your neighbors will be glad to see. It’s called simply, The Mass and in our era — with only around 30% of U.S. Catholics attend Mass each week (even fewer in Europe) — this series’ appearance could not be more timely.
And I’m not just saying that because I had the distinct pleasure of writing the accompanying study guide, which comes out a bit later. Take a look at the trailer.
Truly, this series can be absolutely transformative in how the Mass is attended and perceived; it will deeply affect our own understanding of what it means to enjoy real, full, conscious and active participation of the liturgy. Having seen it myself I know that each week parts of what Bishop Barron shares resonate with me, particularly when I find myself heading into “automatic drone pilot” during the Creed.
Here, whet your whistle with the full 20 minute first episode.
It belongs in every parish RCIA and CCD program. It needs to be shared in every parish, and (perhaps even more profitably) in every Catholic home. See more about the 6-part series, The Mass here.
There are six episodes in all, and taken as a whole this is a valuable — nay, priceless — tool to assist in understanding and appreciating the Catholic Mass in a way you have missed, perhaps all your life. Don’t miss it.