Even the most devout families hear it from the kids:
"But Moooommmm, do we have to go? Again?"
"We just went last week."
"We go every week!"
And so went our discussion at breakfast this morning. I discussed how attending Mass is something God asks of us, how it is part of the ten commandments, and how it is the only time during the week in which we participate in the Miracle of the Eucharist. After all, we are responsible for our choices. God will not force us to go to church,. He will not force us to choose Him. However, when we make a choice, we also choose the consequences of that choice.
Some were not impressed, and once again it turned into a "Well, we're going to Church, deal with it," situation.
We make our way to church, with some grumbling along the way. We pick our seats and kneel down in prayer before Mass starts. Part of my prayer was that my children see the benefit of the Mass and why it is so important. I finish my prayer and sit in the pew. I lean over and whisper to the kids, "I want you to be sure to pay attention to what Father says during the Homily." My hope was that in paying attention, the may see some spiritual benefit in going to church in addition to Holy Communion. I hoped they would hear something that made them "get it".
The time for the Homily came and I was flabbergasted. Did God just answer my prayer? Already? The Homily was mostly about the importance of a funeral mass (tying into today's Gospel) but the priest also stressed why the Mass is important. He stressed Mass and general prayer (for example a prayer service) are not equal. Mass is The Great Prayer. THE prayer. Why? Because we are joining our living and spiritual brothers and sisters in witnessing the miracle of the Eucharist. Mass is the highest form of prayer.
Our priest gave several examples illustrating all his points.During this homily, I watched my children's hearts soften as they began to understand that the Mass is more than an obligation in which people talk and sing for an hour. As Mass continued, I was in awe. Once again (it happens often) being at Mass addressed an issue I have been struggling with. How wonderful that what I had just been teaching my children at breakfast, had been reiterated by a respected priest.
Thank you God for hearing my prayers once again. And thank you for the gift of a devout and holy priest!