First, this is not a post on whether or not Masses should be cancelled. That debate has been done to death and few are going to change their thoughts and decisions on the matter. This is a post about the here and now. For a good many of us, Mass is not going to happen for an unknown time. What does that mean for people, spiritually and mentally?
I’m not trying to be more of a downer than what we’ve already got going on, but based just on comments I’m seeing, I think there are some who may be totally caught off guard by the reality of life without Mass. People are totally right that there’s no reason to believe that we will automatically have divine protections by attending Mass or receiving the Eucharist, but there’s also no reason to believe that we will be protected from the lack of it either. Like I said, the situation is what it is in your area. We have to contend with that reality whether we agree with it or not.
Unless you have been deprived of Mass for a lengthy period of time, you don’t know the toll it can take. I tell you this from experience, although I think I can look back now on that experience and see that it may have simply been be so I can pass this message along to you. I don’t think anyone here is naive but I do think knowing and living the reality are two very different things.
For some, you chose not to attend at some point in your life for whatever reason you had. If you remember what it was like during that time of your life, you have a pretty good idea that it’s not the best situation. There’s a reason you came to, or came back to, the Catholic Church. Most of us, lifelong faithful or not, can look at a good chunk of the population and get a sliver of an idea that life without Mass is bad. People these days, in too much quantity, are proud, envious, angry, gluttonous, lustful, lazy, and greedy. In addition, they’re depressed, anxiety ridden, hopeless, oppressed, etc. Until now, we have had the ability to receive the graces of the Sacrament and from being physically present in front of Our Lord’s Body and Blood, yet we still have trouble with those temptations ourselves, and now many of us have lost that. Believing and being denied is a whole knew experience for most. And, no, all of the telecast Masses and Spiritual Communions can’t make up for that loss. Don’t freak out here. I’m not saying those aren’t VERY beneficial. In fact, Spiritual Communions are very important, even more so now, if possible, and yet still not the same. Graces will be received. It’s just not the complete “source and summit of our Christian life.” If it were the same, we’d be allowed to do this fulfill our Sunday obligations. I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “source” in the last couple days. We’re going to go without it. That will have a negative effect.
Now, to you who are just now being made aware of the whole Spiritual Communion concept (I’m sure many of you went to the same kinds of “catholic” schools I went where they skipped that chapter of Faith and Practice), this is just a snippet of the differences and why one should often cultivate the desire before practicing the culmination:
The Eucharist thus appears as the culmination of all the sacraments in perfecting our communion with God the Father by identification with his only-begotten Son through the working of the Holy Spirit. With discerning faith a distinguished writer of the Byzantine tradition voiced this truth: in the Eucharist “unlike any other sacrament, the mystery [of communion] is so perfect that it brings us to the heights of every good thing: here is the ultimate goal of every human desire, because here we attain God and God joins himself to us in the most perfect union”. Precisely for this reason it is good to cultivate in our hearts a constant desire for the sacrament of the Eucharist. This was the origin of the practice of “spiritual communion”, which has happily been established in the Church for centuries and recommended by saints who were masters of the spiritual life. Saint Teresa of Jesus wrote: “When you do not receive communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you”
As our Masses were cancelled, I was trying to explain to my husband what it was like being denied Mass and receiving the Eucharist. Words kind of failed me, if you can believe that. I think what I finally said was, “I don’t think people realize how oppressive it can be.” I hadn’t even thought about it in a long while. Really, we’re spoiled. I mean, our world is, well, ick. Can you imagine it when the faithful, who have enough trouble keeping our head above water, are just a little more oppressed? So, what I’m trying to do here is to try to come up with some extra spiritual vitamin boosts during this time of deficiency to get us through however long this is going to take. Hoping readers will also chime in with their added devotions, sacramentals, etc.
So, yeah, to top off my list is Spiritual Communions. Many, many, many of them. Here’s just a short little primer: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/how-to-make-a-spiritual-communion-when-mass-is-banned-because-of-coronavirus Just an FYI, we should be doing this at every Mass before we receive anyway, but like I said, poor Catholic schooling, at least in these parts.
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at
least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Again, you can do this all day long. I’d also read more on it. It can be very comforting.
Next, obviously, the Rosary. Don’t really think I need to say more. It’s Catholic 101.
Another one is Holy Water. I cannot tell you what a difference it’s made in times which I can only describe as oppressed. It’s just going to be my word of the day. I sprinkle here and there whenever I think about it, and more when I’m troubled. And if you don’t know what St. Teresa of Avila said about it, here: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/blog/st-teresa-of-avilas-demonic-experience-that-proved-the-power-of-holy-water Priests, when you leave someone’s house, please, please leave them with a big bottle of Holy Water. We so need this now.
Start thinking of specific people to pray for every day (most do of you do that anyway) and let them know you are doing it. It really gives hope when someone says, “Hey, you just popped into my head today and I prayed for you and your intentions.” In other words, remind people the Body of Christ still exists even though we might not be able to gather physically. Satan is thrilled we cannot gather but we can spiritually.
Remember you have a guardian angel. Ask for him to protect you. Spend this time cultivating a real relationship with him. Let’s face it, we often forget what we can’t see. Also spend time praying to your spouse and children’s angels. They’re all just waiting to be asked!
This list is just meant to be a start and is by no means exhaustive. I know many of you have many more favorites so PLEASE add them in the comment section. Whether we realize it or not we’re going to probably need more ideas in our arsenals. We’re all different and while we’ve got the go to weapons that apply to all of us, some might be extra special to each individual.
Also, if you are struggling physically, mentally, materially or spiritually, feel free to send me a message using contact me, Twitter PM or Facebook and I will do all I can. I always see people apologize for needing help. Don’t! That’s what the Body of Christ is for! We will get through this!
For those of you who still have Mass available! Please remember us!