Thanks Lord by Patrick Miron

Thanks Lord;

Thank you Jesus for all that you have given me and our family in the past year.

Much of it good; some not so.

Thank you in particular for allowing me to grasp that you present all of humanity only two choices.

Either we permit God to rule and run our lies or

We option to take that responsibility upon ourselves.

This understanding is both biblical and historical: Deut.30: 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life that you and your descendants may live.” The book of Deuteronomy is thousands of years old.

This simple message is simple and simply profound and well worth spending some prayerful time considering. To have “Faith” means to “trust in God”; and our degree of Trust in God is a good, and usually an accurate measure of our True Faith in Him. The last day of the present year and looking forward to the New Year seems an appropriate time to consider this.

I have found life much more bearable knowing that it is GOD who designs our crosses and then when we permit him too; helps us carry them. Amen!

Perhaps the most puzzling and obvious error of non-Catholic-Christians is too assume that Jesus suffered inexplicable pain and humiliations for our Redemption; and then is “OK” with man not having to prove and then prove again and again our love and fidelity to Him. How silly such a notion is.

Take Up your Cross and Follow Me

Phil.2: 8 “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross Luke.9:23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.Mark.8: 34 And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Luke.9: 23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke.14: 7 whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, [MEANS to Follow MY Personal example] cannot be my disciple.” Matt.5: 19 “Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

“Truth is the condition of grace; it is the source of grace; it is the channel of grace; it is the divinely ordained requirement of grace.” Fr. John A. Hardon S. J.

May our Blessed Lord be with us to guide us and to assist us in everything that Divine Providence brings our way in this New Year. Pray much dear friends; Satan is very much on the prowl.



“This is the day” reblogged from somebodyloes me

[New post] This is the Day

This is the Day

by blmaluso

This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

This is the last day of 2015.  Usually, it is a day of pondering all that has happened in the last year, and wondering what the new year will bring.  Many will also start lists of resolutions in order to better their lives, or the lives of their families.

All of these things are good, when we keep them in the right context of our lives.

I decided to do something different this year. Instead of looking back, and looking forward, I am choosing to be in the moment. The Lord has given me this day…this moment.  What will I do with it?

As my day unfolds, I will stay open to His voice.  I will open my heart to His presence in a purposeful way.

How many times will He put new souls in front of me?  I will keep open to the Holy Spirit, and really SEE each person…including the ones I see every day.   I ask the Lord to allow me to be a vessel, so that His love pours out of me through a smile, words exchanged, or a kindness.

As I go through my day, I choose to focus on the blessings in my life…they are countless!  My greatest blessing is my husband and our marriage.  Thank you, Jesus, for a marriage relationship so strong that we are one in all ways.  Because YOU live in us and bind us together in and through YOU. 

Thank you for my sons, their wives, and our first grandson, who is due to enter our physical world in February.

Thank you for the family that you designed me to be a part of.  For my sisters and their families and friends.

Thank you for the beautiful home, which to this day, I am amazed that we have been blessed with.

Thank you for the comforts you are providing…plentiful food and drink, accessible water, a heating system that keeps us cozy, inspiring and entertaining books, beautiful music, movies that fill my heart with faith, love and hope.

Thank you for always providing our needs and the desires of our hearts…for your Holy Spirit knows those true desires and needs in a way that we cannot even comprehend.

Thank you for the difficulties of this day and this moment.  I trust that all things work toward good for those who love You.

Yes,  sometimes it is very appropriate to look back, remember, savor the past.  And in the hope of the Lord, to look forward to the New Year and our future in Him.

But, for me, TODAY, I choose to live in this present moment of love.

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Why I Converted to Catholicism by Father Longdecker

Why I Converted to the Catholic Faith

Celebrating Mass in St Peter's

I was brought up in a Protestant fundamentalist home. We saw all the different denominations, but we considered them all to be man made institutions. None of them were God-given, so you just chose the one that was best for you.

It is commonplace within Protestant circles to believe that the early church was similar to the church today with its proliferation of different denominations, and that just as Protestants today say, “It doesn’t really matter what church you go to, as long as you love Jesus”–so it was in the early church.

So were there lots of different churches in the first couple of centuries?

Yes, there were actually lots of different groups. The uncomfortable problem for the Protestants is that these different sects were identified by the apostolic church as heretics and schismatics.

In his famous work Against the Heresies Irenaeus–the saintly Bishop of Lyon wrote about all the different little groups who made claims to authenticity and gave them a sure fire way of knowing the truth. Writing in about the year 125 he says,

“It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the apostles which has been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors to our own times—men who neither knew nor taught anything like these heretics rave about.

“But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles.
With this church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree—that is, all the faithful in the whole world—and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition”

Those who say there were lots of little churches around in the early days have a point. It’s not much different now I guess–except in scale. The principles are the same, and Irenaeus’ words still ring true.

When a Catholic like myself asserts this truth it makes many Protestants howl with rage. I understand. They look at the Catholic Church and they see her human failings. They see her seeming arrogance and her apparent sinfulness. They also see the genuine goodness and love and faith of themselves and those in their churches and compare it to Catholicism and often it seems like the Catholics they know and the Catholic Church they experience doesn’t match up.
How on earth can it be that the Catholics are ‘right’ after all? It just seems too crazy from their point of view. I understand. I used to be there. And yet, and yet, when those who look more deeply into it open their minds and hearts in a genuine search for the truth other mysteries open up, and other ways of seeing are given, and these new ways of knowing and seeing are not opened up merely by apologetical arguments.
We see the human failings of the Catholic Church, but then we cannot be blind to the human failings of the Protestant churches. The hypocrisy and heresy and heterodoxy is just as bad or worse. Furthermore, the thousands of individual Protestant sects all scream out the inconsistency and falsity of their claims in the face of Christ’s prayer for unity and his prophecy and demand that there should be “one flock and one shepherd.”
People ask why I converted to the Catholic faith, and it was the quote from Irenaeus above as well as a multitude of other factors great and small which brought me to the banks of the Tiber and made me swim

The Effrontery of Hope bt Fr. Robert Johansen

The Effrontery of Hope


It seems to me that we take “hope” for granted. Of course, as good Catholics we know that we are not to presume the mercy of God, or his blessings. So we might protest that we do no such thing; we know that God is in no way obliged to give us anything, that everything—including any hope we might have—is his free gift. And, in a sense, we would be right in doing so. But the readiness we have to assert this protest may very well be an indication of a familiarity that breeds, if not contempt, at least a glib thoughtlessness or complacency.

What I mean is this: the culture in which we live has been steeped, for two thousand years of Christianity, in the language of hope. And the longer one is immersed or surrounded by something, the less one notices or questions it. Unless we are scientists, we do not ask “why should the air have oxygen in it?” We simply breathe, not wondering whether, in the next breath, we will be asphyxiated. So it is with hope. We tend to simply assume that we do, or at least should, have hope. The scriptural, theological, and devotional language of hope has become so familiar that, rather than think about it, we allow it to wash over us like a warm, comforting bath. It is something we have absorbed almost by osmosis. Even those who profess no religious faith frequently use this language of hope without refection. They place their hope in Progress, or the Proletariat, or the judgment of History, rather than in God, but the language and idea of hope remains.

But for what should we hope? Or, more importantly, why should we hope at all? If hope, as the American Heritage Dictionary defines, is “to look forward [to something] with confidence of fulfillment,” then why should we engage in this act? After all, we look forward to all sorts of things only to be disappointed of their fulfillment. Indeed, for much of the human race, most of life has been occupied with facing the near certainty of disappointment, if not outright sorrow or misery. Even today, millions are enslaved, millions die of disease or hunger, and countless more die in ethnic, religious, or racial conflict. Why should one hope?

That near-certainty of disappointment and sorrow most definitely occupied the thought of pagan antiquity. This may surprise some readers. We tend to think of the pagan Greeks and Romans as libertines: unfettered by Christian moral strictures, enjoying a non-stop bacchanalia of eating, drinking, and sexual license. But this image is inaccurate, to say the least. A serious study of the literature and thought of pagan antiquity instead reveals a profound pessimism regarding human life and destiny. The Greeks and Romans had no idea of “progress,” “human development.” or “fulfillment” in the modern senses of those words. On the contrary, they saw human history and the lot of mankind as one of relentless decline and devolution.

From the “Works and Days” of Greece in the seventh century B.C. to the Stoic philosophers of Rome, their attitude towards life could be summed up as “our ancestors were better, and were better off, we are worse, and worse off, and our children will be worse still.” While the Greek and Latin languages had the word “hope,” (Greek: elpis, Latin: spes) those words didn’t connote what they do for us. Those words referred to concrete, temporal, and decidedly fleeting satisfactions. One could “hope” for the wealth that would alleviate some measure of life’s burdens, or for the pleasures of love, or for glory or power. But one could not hope for any transcendent or eternal happiness and fulfillment. While the ancients certainly had their bacchanals and episodes of licentiousness, even these were tinged with despair. St. Paul saw this clearly, and accurately described the ancient pagan approach to life in First Corinthians as “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

Furthermore, the Greek and Roman view of human destiny was unrelieved by any idea of personal happiness in the afterlife. In the underworld of Hades, the realm of blessedness was Elysium. It was the province only of the gods and heroes. The vast majority of mankind was relegated to Asphodel, where, according to Homer’s Odyssey, the dead were “witless, without activity, without pleasure and without future.” And many readers will recall the mythological realm of Tartarus, where the wicked and those who angered the gods were subjected to an eternity of misery and torment.

So, when the Christian message infiltrated the pagan culture, it struck Greco-Roman antiquity as something radically different. It was really and truly “news.” Whether it was deemed “good” news or not depended on the outlook and openness of the hearer, but it was certainly something they weren’t accustomed to hearing from their own dominant culture. The newness and radicalism of the Christian message at least partially accounts for the hostility and derision that the Faith frequently encountered. It was an effrontery to the mindset and received worldview of its time.

It is this sense of the effrontery of hope that, I think, largely has been lost. The Christian stands before the world and says, “what you chase and strive for as “hope” is a counterfeit, a simulacrum. Like so much straw it will pass away. Put it aside and turn to the real hope. It is not a thing; it is not of this world at all. It is a Person, One born in a stable, who is the only true and real thing. He alone is hope.” This assertion is both an invitation and a challenge.

This sense of the effrontery of hope is reflected in the Church’s liturgical prayer of Advent and Christmas. The first Preface of Advent speaks of “the great promise in which now we dare to hope.” We “dare” to hope for the salvation of Christ; we are doing something radically new and different. We are not merely looking to manage or assuage the inevitable disappointment and pain of human existence. We are asserting that, in and through Christ, we are promised something more: true and eternal fulfillment, true and eternal peace, true and eternal joy.

We assert this hope with “the confidence of fulfillment.” In the Collect of the Christmas Vigil, we hear:

O God, who gladden us year by year
as we wait in hope for our redemption,
grant that, just as we joyfully welcome
your Only Begotten Son as our Redeemer,
we may also merit to face him confidently
when he comes again as our Judge.
Who lives and reigns…

This person who is our hope, who promises redemption, is someone in whom we can have confidence, even when facing him “as our Judge.” The Greeks and Romans were familiar with the idea of the judgment of the gods. But even when calling upon them, offering sacrifices and prayers to them, they had no idea of “confidence.” Indeed, it was customary when addressing prayers or offering oblations to the gods to turn away, to avert one’s face from the divinity. The idea of facing God “confidently” would have struck them as preposterous or even suicidal. But because God has become one of us in the incarnation, we can actually look upon his face; he has a face like ours.

I began by observing that the language of “hope,” borrowed from Christian usage, is still in the cultural air that we breathe. But one can have little doubt that, in our rapidly de-christianizing society, the word is losing the import that it once had. Hope has become a buzzword, a slogan, and the word is quickly being evacuated of meaning. Many cultural observers have commented on the growing signs of hopelessness in our culture. The “birth dearth” of the West is a symptom of the loss of hope.  It turns out that people who no longer believe in God have no particular reason to believe that the world should go on. Thus, they tend not to have babies. The contraction of education to mere job training or ideological indoctrination is another symptom. Man is made for truth, but when he ceases to believe that there is a truth to strive for, any lesser striving is emptied of significance. The growing normalization of euthanasia is, perhaps, the most literal manifestation of despair. In some European countries one now can request euthanasia simply because of the ennui of life. A culture that increasingly looks to death as a solution to the problems of life is not a culture of hope.

The West is coming full circle, that is, returning to the hopelessness that beset the pagan Greeks and Romans. In some quarters of the Church, well-intentioned believers took the Second Vatican Council’s call to engage the modern world as a call to accommodate the world. Many have criticized this approach, and have pointed to its fruitlessness. Perhaps we might take a lesson from the early Church in her efforts to engage the hopeless society around her. Rather than accommodate, she proclaimed the reality that God has done something new, that God has done something that world did not expect.

We see around us today the signs that our society is sinking into the fundamental despair that plagued the ancients. Perhaps we too can proclaim, in this Christmas, the effrontery of a God who chose to save us by doing something different, which seemed to the world either an absurdity or an offense. There is a growing sense of unease with modernity, yet few still are willing to come out and say that modernity is itself the problem. We too might face the problem, and challenge the despair around us by proclaiming the effrontery of hope.

Editor’s note: The image above is a detail from “The Virgin with Angels” painted by William-Adolph Bouguereau in 1900

A Not so Silent night reposed from Marie’s my faith journey

On Not-So-Silent Night

by Marie

Along the Way @

“No room,” he says,

“No room for you,

here at this, my inn.”

Joseph sighs and Mary cries

On not-so-silent night.

The pains, they come

Crashing like waves

As God in flesh

Prepares to come

On not-so-silent night.

At long last

A place is found

Among the animals

And the hay

On not-so-silent-night.

Joseph holds her hand

As Mary strains to push

With one last gasp

Jesus – yes, Emmanuel

On not-so-silent night.

God in flesh,

The Word who spoke

The universe

Reduced to wordless howl

On not-so-silent night.

Angels announce

And sing their song

To shepherds in the field

Whose sheep join in the chorus

On not-so-silent night.

They hurry off to see this thing

Rushed on by Spirit’s push

Come upon the humble barn

Housing tired trio

On not-so-silent night.

With unmatched awe

And rapt attention

They kneel around the manger throne

No offering to give the King

On not-so-silent night.

The Lord of Lords

Graced the earth

With Himself –

A mystery

On not-so-silent night.

a Mary Christmas by Patrick Miron

a Mary Christmas

By Patrick Miron

Micah, chapter 5: 1“But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah least among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times.” Prophesied 700/800 years before the birth of Jesus.

Matthew 1: 18-23 “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (which means, God with us). 

“Bethlehem was a little village about five miles from Jerusalem where the herds of the Tamid lambs for the daily sacrifice were kept in the fields between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. How perfect that Jesus, the “Living bread” should be born and laid in a feeding troth in the village whose name meant “house/place of bread” (Lk 2:16).”

A Christmas reflection

Matt.13:12 “For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”  A “use it or lose it message”. [Meaning “Faith”]

My dear friends is Christ,

Have you ever considered while pondering the Birth of Jesus; the very Son of God; now become mortal flesh, and chose to do so it at least in a small part to glorify us; to glorify humanity through Mary and Joseph, as we are the summit; the peak, the pinnacle of all “created” things? And they model for us perfect, and near perfect humility. A quality that is essential for our salvation.

Luke.12: 24 “Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!”

In all of creation; amongst the Billions of stars, galaxies, planets in the Universe, and the Millions of living things on earth; only one thing is made “in the very image of God”; [Genesis 1:26-27]; only humanity can emulate God, who John tells us in his Gospel [Jn 4:23-24] is “[a [Spirit & truth” and that we; meaning all of humanity, are to Worship Him in Spirit. [Isaiah 43 verses 7 & 21]

Have you ever wondered just how flesh & bones man is able to emulate our God who is “a Spirit & the Truth?” Or might this just be a metaphorical impossibility?

Amongst the Billions and Billions of created things; only one; only man is enabled to recognize God; and we therefore are gravely and morally obligated to do so. The only unforgiveable sin; is denial of God. So then, how does man fulfill the Genesis teaching that GOD has made man in “His very image?”

In all of creation only man is able to love and to hate. Only man is able to rationalize. Only man is able to make complex things out of less complex things. Sending a man to the moon and back; and the computer I’m using for this reflection are examples of things; God like in complexity things; that only man has the essentials to accomplish.

In order for man to do any of the above mentioned task; man must have a mind [not meaning our brain]; man must have an intellect [not meaning specifically our “I.Q.”] and man must have a freewill. Without these attributes; man could not accomplish any of the above task; nor could we actually know of, and then know God; and then freely choose to love or to hate God, which is a freewill choice all men knowingly or unknowingly have to make.

Each of these essential attributes; like God, are “Spiritual Realities.” They are the “things” that are a mimicry of some of our God’s own attributes. Certainly not to the same degree that God has them: but nevertheless; “God-like.” It is man’s mind, intellect and freewill, which God attaches permanently to our Souls that “make man like God.” The universe has a hierarchy of complexity and perfection; of which humanity is the top; the most complex and which alone can seek and actually attain perfection of spirit.  [With and only with God’s help that we know as His Grace.]

If my friend you doubt this; that man has what I have come to term “our other-self”; our “spiritual-self,” which like God are also immortal; never dies and cannot be killed. It is this “other-self” that attaints “eternal Life” or “eternal-death”; heavenly bliss, or the unending sorrows of hells-fire for eternity. Our choice! Take for example your “freewill.” What is its shape, color, weight and size? We don’t; because we can’t know; and yet no less than our mortal bodies; they exist. And it is precisely “our-other-self” that fulfills and completes God’s promise of Creating man, in His very Image.

So now the BIG questions: what does this have to do with a Christmas message; and what more specifically does this have to do with Mary?

In all of creation for all time; God choose and God permitted only one person; one soul, to be born in an absolute sense “perfect.” This was not something Mary “merited” so much as being a gift from Jesus Her son; who merited this grace for Her. Not just ten fingers and toes perfect; BUT perfect in every possible way. Only Mary, having been given the call; having been granted the graces necessary; would be both born without the stain of any sin and then choose freely never to sin. Mary then becomes the human model that we each can, and each ought to with God’s grace; emulate. If we don’t set high our sights, we can never attain the higher things.

Hail Mary, [Lk. 1:28]

Full of Grace [Lk. 1:28]

The Lord is with thee [Lk 1:27]

Blessed are you among all women [Lk 1:42] 

And Blessed in the fruit of your womb: Jesus [Lk. 1;42]

Holy Mary [Lk.1: 28]

Mother of God 1:35

Pray for us sinners [our catholic petition]

Now and at the hour of our death

Amen” [I BELIEVE!]

God’s greater purposes for the Incarnation include the possibilities of man knowing God in ways far more personal and intimate than ever before and therefore far more demanding. And of course to become man’s Redeemer; and if we fulfill the very reason for our existence; our Savior. Towards this end Jesus gave to humanity His Mother to be our Mother; knowing that She could, and that She would bring many Souls to Him, and to their personal salvation. [Jn 19: 25-27]

 It is from this perspective that I sincerely wish you and yours a Blessed and Mary Christmas!

“May her name be ever on our lips and remembrance of her, ever in our hearts.” Father Hardon

Matt.13:12 “For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away”

That you and I have been given more is indisputable; now what we freely choose do with the abundance God have gifted to us is our choice. Choose well; choose LIFE! Pray much. Amen

JOY to the WORLD! Our Savior has come!

May God continue to Bless and to use you in ministry service to and for Him.



9 tips on going to Mass for Christmas REPOSTED

A 9 Tip Survival Guide for Returning to Mass When You Haven’t Been In Awhile

Ruth Baker

This article is for you, especially for you, if you have been thinking about going back to Mass this Christmas season. On the part of all of us at Catholic-Link, let me personally invite you back to mass (we even wrote a letter for you!): We want you back!

Maybe it has been a little while since you last went to Mass, or maybe it has been a very long time. Either way, Advent is a time set aside for preparation, not just the preparation for Christmas, but the necessary preparation for meeting Jesus Christ in our hearts. If ‘going back to Mass’ has been in the back of your mind for some time, if you can feel a little pull on your heart that wants to go back but you’re worried or anxious or just a little unsure about it, this is for you.

9 Tips for Returning to Church:

  1. Remain calm!

Just as a little disclaimer before we get started here, let’s just state something clearly: If you are worried, don’t worry. It’s not like there will be a flashing light above your head saying “Hey! This guy hasn’t been to Mass in YEARS!” God wants you back how you are now, preparing for Mass doesn’t mean becoming perfect first before you can return. God wants us all to grow into the very best He has prepared for us, but that doesn’t mean you have to pass through a sin metal detector to get in. Come as you are.

  1. Prepare in Advance

As with any special occasion, preparation is important. Putting on your best clothes makes an impact on how you feel and behave when you are there- dressing  your best helps us to focus. See this article on what to wear to Mass if you are unsure.

Secondly, look up the Gospel reading a day ahead; read it and let it sink in a bit (instead of going in blind). If you plan to go with your family, try reading it together. You can find the daily readings for each Mass hereIn addition you can also read a Gospel reflection to help you understand the meaning of the passage and how it can impact on your life. See some Gospel reflections here.

  1. Find someone you can go with:

It is tough to go anywhere new alone and it’s no different if you are returning to Mass after some time. If you want to go to Mass but have no one to go with, see if you can connect with someone who could go with you. This might be a friend who already goes regularly in a parish, or even just an acquaintance. Maybe it is a family member who has asked you previously if you’d like to come to Mass with them. Contact them and ask if you can go along together. You don’t have to tell them all your reasons why or give them the backstory if you don’t want to. Just reach out to someone and ask them simply to accompany you. If they are a good friend, they won’t be nosy, they’ll just quietly take you along with them.

  1. Arrive with some time to spare

Try to arrive with some time to spare so that you don’t have a last-minute stressful rush. If your church has them, take a hymn book and a Mass sheet or booklet so you can follow the parts of the Mass (or bring a Missal with you). Use this time to recollect yourself, to pray, and to ask that the Holy Spirit allow you to participate in the Mass as best as you possibly can.

  1. Engage!

The Mass is not meant to be a form of entertainment but neither are we meant to be static watchers of the event. Sing your heart out (it doesn’t matter if you think you can’t sing, it’s not a competition!), say all the responses, be an active participant in the Mass. The translations of the Mass changed in 2011, so if you’ve not been in a while you might find the wording a little different from what you remember. Don’t worry if you make mistakes and if you’re not sure when to sit, stand or kneel; just follow the people around you. If you are confused as to all the sitting, standing, kneeling, remember this- it helps us focus on the importance of what is happening in that moment.  The main thing is to give all you can during the Mass, bringing all that is good and bad in your life and laying it before your heavenly Father who loves you.

  1.  Children are Welcome Too (Even if They are Crying!) 

Maybe you are returning to Mass with children for the first time. If so, please don’t worry if your baby is crying at Mass. There will be many people there who are parents and remember what it is like taking a baby to Mass. Many parishes have a ‘crying room’ at the back where you can take your baby if you want to; you can still follow along with the Mass while in there.

For older children it is good to bring something along with you (like a prayer book or bible story or children’s missal) to help focus them.

  1. Communion [Inserted by workin4christ2] ONLY if you are in the State of God’s grace w/ no unconfessed & unforgiven Mortal sins] ortherwise just cross your arms over your chest; BE SURE to be in the line of a Priest oo DEACON & receive a Blessing…

Before going to receive Communion, invite Jesus into your heart and try to be very present in the moment. Spend time in the pew afterwards talking to Jesus and thanking Him for all He has given you. You can see this article and video for an explanation of what is happening during this moment.

Receiving Christ is a beautiful gift, if you are prepared! If you haven’t been to Mass in a long time, then there is a great chance you haven’t been to confession. Remember that you should only receive if you are in a state of grace (for more information you can gohere). If you are up for it, here’s a very helpful explanation of how to go to confession. Going back to Mass is much more than just a ritual, it’s an authentic encounter with Christ and we want our hearts cleaned up and in order so that we can give Him the welcome He deserves! Check out your local parish’s website for confession times.

If you are in circumstances that mean you cannot receive the Eucharist (if you aren’t able to make it to confession prior to Mass), please do not be afraid to go up and receive a blessing from the priest. Incidentally, we all (especially those of us who attend Mass regularly) need to be reminded of the importance of not taking the Lord for granted.  Don’t worry about what other people think. It is between you and God. No one should be judging people from the communion queue to the pews, or vice versa. It’s not a time when people should be looking and thinking about why others aren’t receiving Communion — it is a time when we should all be looking into our own hearts and with trust and confidence and joy, asking the Lord to heal us and bring us all to the place where we can receive His forgiveness and be in that state of grace to receive Him.

  1.  Afterwards

Afterwards, don’t just rush off out of the Church. Take some moments inside to reflect on what just happened. Was there anything that struck you? How should this change your life? Is there anything you need to do to change? You could reflect on this at home if that is better for you. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to the priest afterwards and join in the refreshments too, if your parish has them.

  1. And Finally- Don’t Expect Perfection

Sometimes when we go to Mass, things don’t go as well as we would wish. In an ideal world, the congregation at Mass would be full of life and joy, the priest would give an inspirational homily and everyone would go away feeling completely one with God. But other times Mass can feel different; others around us may look bored, still half asleep, the priest may give a lacklustre homily. Regardless of your experience of Mass, remember this- Christ is truly and objectively present in the Mass. He is not limited by our human imperfections. He still wants to be with us, in every part of our lives, even when Mass may feel disappointing. Christ is still there, even if it feels like others are not truly present themselves. A strong familiarity with the Mass can sadly lead to tedium or apathy if we are not careful, but remember that Christ is still deeply interested in us and He does not stop gently calling us to a deeper participation in the Mass.  He came to bind the wounded and gather us all up together in Him. Focus on giving your all to the Mass, making connections if you can with those around you, and remember, Mass is an act of faith. Don’t worry if you don’t feel anything but please be reassured that Christ is delighted to see you back.

If you would like a simple explanation of what happens at Mass, these two articles are an excellent way to start: Trouble Understanding the Mass and What Happens During the Mass