This past week’s religious education class, my son’s teachers began discussing sin. Given his explanation at home, it sounds like they did a phenomenal job at introducing the concept: when someone does something that God doesn’t like, it puts a brick down. The brick builds on top of other bricks until the person can no longer see God.
I seized upon the concept of the brick wall to ask my oldest if he knew why we go to Church every Sunday. When he admitted he didn’t, I mused aloud, “Maybe because Church on Sundays are a great way to be reminded to not build the brick wall?”
Recently, I was reminded in the daily readings at Mass that if I preach but do not have love in my preachings, I will only be a clanging gong. And, I personally have a tendency to get technical in my writing, discussing the rubrics and the “how to’s” and the “why” of the Catholic Faith and her teachings. I remind readers that Jesus is at every Mass, and Mass allows me to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. And, it is beautiful to me!
But, not everyone who reads my writings believes I receive Jesus. And, not everyone who reads my writings go to church.
As my son and I had this brief exchange, I realized Mass doesn’t hold just Christ.
Rather, Mass contains more than Christ in the Eucharist. It contains the words of Christ, and the Word of God. It also contains thoughts to ponder – to take away during the week, especially if the priest (or pastor) is a good homilist. As the quote attributed to Abigail Van Buren reminds me, the Church allows for community prayer, recognizing we are all sinners, working to better ourselves.
As a mom, I don’t always get a chance to listen to the homilies. But, I do get (albeit brief) an opportunity to listen to God’s gentle whispers on my heart. I am prompted through the prayers of Mass to reflect on the actions which placed a brick between God and myself… and, the inactions which may have resulted in the same effect. I am also encouraged to express apologies to God, and to allow His Love and Mercy to wash over me.
Because I’ll be honest – looking back to my past, I forgot about God’s Love and Mercy. Those years I spent haphazardly attending Mass, or the ones spent not attending at all?
Those were the years I began to slowly forget God. Sure, I still strived to be a “good person.” But, I began to lose sight of the goodness of our Creator, and ultimately the goodness of His creation. I forgot life had a purpose greater than myself, and a meaning which encompassed more than just myself. I forgot that life was not all about what I want… and, I forgot life was not all about me.
Church is a constant reminder that there is something – dare I say Someone – far greater than me. There is a purpose for living life that doesn’t include chasing only things which will make me feel good.
To put it bluntly, Church humbles me.
At times, the process of humbling makes me squirm.
Yet, those are the times I am reminded I have got to do better. I have got to be better. Simply because by doing and being better, I am the best version of myself.
God calls all of us – He challenges all of us – to be the best version of ourselves. He desires us to draw closer to Him, and while it’s nice to find Him in the ordinary everyday, He wants us to greet Him in His own house.
God wants us to see Him, and we can’t see His resplendent Love and Mercy for us, if we hide behind a brick wall.
So, if you haven’t been to church in a while, I am asking you to consider coming back to church. Sit in God’s house, and let your heart start the conversation with Him – let your heart hear His thoughts, words, and ideas through the readings, the homily/sermon, and the community of prayer.
Join me in allowing church to humble you. Allow it to stretch you to grow in everyday holiness.
At the end of our conversation, my son punched his fingers through the holes of his waffle at the breakfast table, exclaiming, “Look, Mom! My fingers punched through this waffle like God’s Love punches through the brick walls!”
God wants us to have a clear view of Him, but He won’t punch holes in our brick walls uninvited.
I invite you to join me this week, or even this month, in inviting God to clear away those bricks.
Because life can be utterly one-sided and dull without His role in our lives.
Will you join me in the pews of your local church this weekend? And, will you work with me to extend the invitation to others?