Contagious Gratitude for Holy Mass

We are well into Advent, as the coming of the Christ-child is near. What a good time to find ways to bring joy and happiness to our family, friends, neighbors, and to all of Chicago. Last week we considered how to draw others to make a good Confession in preparation for Christmas by sharing with them our joy and gratitude for having experienced God’s merciful love and reconciliation. Now we can do the same with Holy Mass.

Are you grateful for Holy Mass? Why? Is it a chore or a gift for you?

Imagine you received a new smartwatch for Christmas. Wouldn’t you be grateful, and wouldn’t you communicate to all your family and friends how you are now more on top of your schedule, more disciplined with your exercise regimen, how you can better screen and answer calls, navigate the streets, and keep track of your health? Of course! So, let’s do the same with Mass.

I am grateful for Holy Mass… as it is a great break from technology and social media. Mass allows me to have a meaningful connection with God and with loved ones, as well as with those who are suffering in the world. Mass engages my whole person, my spiritual, physical, and emotional being. There I can converse with God as my loving Father, with Jesus Christ, while listening to the Holy Spirit, allowing me to get out of myself and to give myself to God and others.

I am grateful for Holy Mass… as a place to listen to God’s Word. There I get the big picture of what is happening in the world, not the narrow picture of CNN or of Fox News, or the New York Times. At Mass, I don’t feel manipulated by fear or anger but can discern ways God is challenging me to grow and improve as a child of his in his bigger family of the Church.

I am grateful for Holy Mass… as a way of storing up treasures in heaven, freeing me from the slavery of materialism. As a foretaste of heaven, Mass helps me focus on what will truly make me happy… happy in the long term.

I am grateful for Holy Mass… where I can experience Christ’s “greater love than this no one has than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). Mass “transports” me to the foot of the Cross where I can experience someone loving me so much that he dies for me: I am worth all the blood of the Son of God!

I am grateful for Holy Mass… where I can experience the most intimate act of love possible, where I can become one body with my love, my friend, and my God in Holy Communion. There I become one with all those who receive him in Holy Communion, transcending the barriers of hate and anger to produce true peace and reconciliation.

I am grateful for Holy Mass… because through it I enter into a Covenant of Love at the Wedding feast of the Lamb, enjoying the celebration with my whole family.

May your gratitude for both the sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist be contagious! May it draw many people back this Christmas.

Father John Waiss is the pastor of St. Mary of the Angels Church in Chicago, Illinois. He is also a member of Opus Dei, the prelature founded by St. Josemaria Escriva.