Though I cannot see your face, I’ll see you in the Eucharist…
Though I cannot hear your voice, We’ll be speaking in the Eucharist.
What’s the most important thing I’m going to do today?
This question has been on my mind quite a bit since Camp during the summer, when John told us every day at the beginning of Mass that there was nothing more important that we were going to do all day. With all the stuff I’ve got going on here at the seminary, from classes and all the work that goes into those, to heading up all of our dish washing, to my maybe soon-to-be role as one of the sacristans (funny that should be happening, considering how I wrote last week that they weren’t giving me that role no matter how much I wanted it; God is never ironic, God is provident), I still need to be reminded that Mass is indeed the most important thing I’ll be doing today.
As seminarians, it’s clear that every part of our day can very much revolve around that hour we spend not just in the chapel, but in the very presence of Jesus, the only One who has ever or ever will be able to give His whole self for all of us, that we may not only consume Him but be consumed by Him. With that in mind, all our classes, all our homework and studying, all our dish washing, all our time in prayer, and all our free time and exercise become about Him!
I got to join a group of young adults just the other night at an event called Catholic Central, for Adoration and praise and worship at a church nearby the seminary, and one of the guys who was giving a talk kept on saying that there is no bolder claim that can be made in all of history, and there is nothing that has had a greater impact on history than that the very Son of God has made himself one of us, and then was bold enough himself to become one with us. And that is what Mass is: heaven meets earth: not just a hug, not just a kiss, but an intimate embrace, life-giving and creative.
And that is why, no matter how urgent my deadlines for projects, no matter how early classes begin, no matter how much I want to sleep in, there can be nothing more important, nothing more necessary, nothing that means more to my day than Mass.
Now, I’m not saying that I completely know this with my head, no matter how much it makes sense in my heart. Sometimes my mind goes off wandering, the schedules, the meetings, the bike rides, the surfing, the homework, all of it, but always, always Christ, in the Mass, when heaven meets earth, when heaven makes itself one with earth in that intimate embrace, is calling me to keep my eyes on him. For all that time I am looking only at myself, obsessed with what I have to do next, or what’s wrong with me, or even with what’s great about me, He’s calling me to look Him in the eyes, to make Him the most important part of my day.
And he’s not just talking to me (how lonely I would be if I were the only one!), not just to seminarians, not just priests, but every one of us! And His command is not a demand, like a tyrant king forcing us into his presence, but like the shepherd he is, inviting us, guiding us, not to just be in his Presence, but to let Himself make His home in us. Please, please, know how important Mass is to our day, to our week, to our year, to our lives. It’s not just another prayer service; it’s not just another sermon; it’s not just another class where we sit and stand when we’re told to. There is nothing we can do, no matter how successful it makes us, no matter how popular it makes us, that will be more important than the Eucharist, that face to face, mouth to mouth, soul to soul encounter with the One who has loved us first and has loved us into being.
Yes, I know all that’s easy to forget sometimes, I know it real well myself. But He does not forget us. He comes to us. He comes to feed us. He comes to give us His Body. He comes to make us His Body.