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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Day Nine of Lent

In my attempts to better understand the Catholic faith and my own journey converting, I'll be spending this Lent doing a daily reflection of things I've learned. The faith encourages reflections on subjects like this (even the Pope reflects!) so I figure I'll reflect through writing. As always, my understanding of this is noobish so forgive any wrong conclusions and do feel free to correct me where needed. Here we go.

Today, the blackbook talked about forgiveness, specifically the type of forgiveness one finds at Mass. The author points out, rightly so, that we all sin. Some seriously. Some not so seriously, but we need to find forgiveness and we need to find it at Mass. There, are everyday sins can be forgiven.

The author points out that this needs to be emphasized more and you know what? I agree. Admittedly, the number of Masses I've been to is only in the lower double-digits, so I don't have a ton of experience with it. But in my brief time as a Mass goer, I've really felt good about it.

I've never come out of Mass empty. Every time I go there I feel ... better. Like I learned something, either about myself, God, life or a mixture of the three. In the past, in other services, I've often felt like it was all just going through the motions, like I only came out of habit.

It's not like that with Mass. I miss it some weeks and that's on me, yes, but when I miss it I don't just miss it, I miss it. I genuinely feel like I missed out rather than saying, "Oh, I forgot about church."

I guess, from my perspective as a guy converting, this isn't an astounding thing. But in my limited time attending Mass I've seen people show up in mass (pun!) for the big events, like Ash Wednesday. People were there for Ash Wednesday, a lot of people. Most of them weren't regulars. Or even irregulars. Most of them we didn't know.

Now, that's not to say that they didn't go to Mass regularly somewhere else, but the point is on a usual Sunday my little church can count on 8-10 people, most of them regulars. There's something to be said about dedication, yes, but that's also a rather damning statistic.

From what I'm seeing and hearing, it seems like a lot of Catholics identify with the faith culturally rather than spiritually. So, they are culturally Catholic (growing up in a Catholic family) but spiritually don't seem to live the faith.

Maybe I'm using the wrong words (work was tough today and I'm tired) but you get the point, right? There seem to be more people who claim to be Catholic than actually live Catholic. Hence the low numbers at Mass. Hence why the author is calling us to emphasis that Mass is more than a church service, it's a way to get forgiveness for being a sinner.

That's important and a point that I think should be hammered home harder. Certainly, I'm no saint (but I'm supposed to strive to be one ... that's a subject for another day), but I want to be able to say, when I die, that I made the effort. A really good effort.

Whether that ends up being true or not is unknown. But I love Mass. For as structured as it is, it never feels routine to me and that's something I hope I'm not alone in.

Thanks for reading, folks. God Bless.

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