I stood at Picasso’s art piece, The Guernica for 40 seconds and was over it. I was in Spain at the #1 “must-see” museum. Everyone was hyping it up. I was bored. I didn’t get it. It wasn’t until my friend stood next to me and explained all the historical relevance, the deep symbols, and the all the artistic craft that went into it. Whoa. As she was speaking, I was in awe. Wow, I missed all of that?
It made me realize that so much of what we consider to be “good” is based on our feelings, emotions, and subjective perspective. However, my lack of appreciation and understanding for Picasso’s piece does not affect how incredible it is.
That’s how the Mass is. St. Thomas Aquinas says our human senses fail when it comes to understanding the significance of the Mass. It’s so extraordinary and divine that our humanness can’t possibly capture the goodness of it. So we often just shrug it off and say Mass is boring.
The Mass is the best thing we’ll ever experience on Earth.
It doesn’t always feel like that though. But the truth is a single Mass, in the middle of nowhere, inside an ugly church, celebrated by an 87-year-old priest, with songs from 2002, is still better than anything I could dream of.
But I forgot this fact when I was at a conference when I wishing to get the Mass “over with” so we could have Adoration that night. At that time I was so ignorant to what was going on during the Mass. But in my little faith, I could understand that something magnificent was happening in Adoration.
The reason so many of us love Adoration is because we get to take the time to process and experience the mystery of Jesus’ real presence. However, the love for the Eucharist that we experience in Adoration should point us to the Mass. Eventually, that’s what happened to me.
Here are a few brief reasons why the Mass is the greatest thing on earth:
Because it’s Heaven
“Make no mistake: The Mass is not about God ‘reaching down’ it earth as much as it is about being swept up into Heaven.” – Mark Hart
“The angels surround and help the priest when he is celebrating Mass.” -St. Augustine
“The Mass is a cataclysmic event because it is the intermingling of Heaven on Earth, where all things visible point to the invisible and all things meaningful represent realities of even greater meaning. The Liturgy is heavenly but is made known to us on earth through perceptible signs. -Mark Hart
Isn’t this crazy beautiful? This is a reality that has the power to change how we experience Mass. Mass is not a casual occurrence. We sometimes treat it like it’s something we need to get over with, like the dentist or school. It’s heaven on earth! It’s momentous, miraculous, extraordinary. We need to walk into Mass with that understanding and remind ourselves of that when we start to lose focus. The heavenly truth is that Mass has no dependency on how we’re dressed, how we’re feeling, or what the music sounds like.
I’ve heard that Adoration feels like Heaven, but Mass is literally Heaven. Perhaps the reason why so many of us feel like Adoration is better than Mass is because we anticipate and prepare our hearts. We walk in expecting a Heavenly experience. Do we do that for the Mass too? God wants to transform us in the Mass as He transforms the bread into His body. But He needs the gift of our open hearts.
The Mass is the Event of Salvation
“The celebration of Holy Mass is as valuable as the death of Jesus on the cross.” -Saint Thomas Aquinas
Wait…What? Yes! Because since Mass is Heaven on earth, it’s outside of time. So, when you’re at Mass, you’re at Cavalry. Calvary is the sacrifice of Jesus. The Mass is the sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus is literally offering His body, along with our sins, our good works, prayers, and hopes to the Father for us on the altar to be transformed. This isn’t a symbol or a nice time to remember what Jesus did for us. We’re literally at Calvary. So next time you’re at Mass remember during the consecration when the Eucharist is lifted up high, see the Cross lifted up high.
Consuming the Eucharist Allows us to be Incredibly Intimate with God
“If Angels could be jealous of humans, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion”– St. Maximillian Kolbe
“There is nothing so great as the Eucharist. If God had something more precious, He would have given it to us.” -Saint Jean Vianney
“The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white host.” -Archbishop Fulton Sheen
The Eucharist is a love story of how Jesus offers His whole self, His whole heart, for you His beloved. In fact, the Mass is a wedding feast. Revelation describes how Jesus is the Groom coming for His bride (you and me). We become one flesh when we consume the Eucharist. It’s consummation. There is nothing more intimate and personal than this. It is the greatest privilege.
He chooses you as His prefered dwelling place. Jesus says in John 6:56, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood, abides in me and I in them.” It’s a mutual inter-dwelling of you in Jesus and Jesus in you. This is monumental.
The Mass is the only place where this depth of intimacy can occur, and Adoration is the opportunity to celebrate and revere that miracle.
Mark Hart dives more into the Mass being a wedding feast here and you should read it.
100,000 hours of adorations would not amount to a single Mass.
The Mass is so profoundly beautiful. And even with knowing all these facts, we will forget. We’ll let our subjective minds and hearts be more important than the truth of the Mass. We’ll think we get more out of Adoration. But we need to look at the Mass with new eyes of love. We need to constantly refresh ourselves to what is being offered to us. It’s Jesus humbling Himself on the Cross for you in a sweet proposal for you to become His bride. It’s where Jesus chooses you and you are able to chose Him. To be His. To be one with Jesus, your Lover and Savior.
Author’s Note: Many of the quotes taken from this blog comes from Mark Hart’s book, “Behold the Mystery: A Deeper Understanding of the Catholic Mass” I’d highly recommend this book, it really helped dive into the beauty, complexity, and meaning of the Mass. Game Changer.