With that out of the way, the most recent one was yet another that I'd love to have injected directly into my mind. The Presbyteral Exhortations section focused on sin with some imagery that changed the way I see things.
Father Anthony talked about watching a video of a small child learning how to walk. The little tot took some steps and then fell down. All the adults in the room told him how wonderful he was doing. The moppet loved the praise, got up and tried again. By analogy, this is how God sees us when we sin. He doesn't love when we fall, He loves it when we get up and try to get better. When we take some steps, it's the most amazing thing ever!
Way cool, no?
At Mass yesterday, I was brought to tears by the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Specifically this part.
At the time He was betrayed and entered willingly into His Passion, He took bread and, giving thanks, broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying:As a father and as a husband, I have, imperfectly, done my best to give my life for my wife and my children. When things were going badly at work or when there were other trials in my life, I still coached Little League and soccer. I still read bedtime stories. I still made breakfast, lunch and dinner as much as I could.
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND EAT OF IT,
FOR THIS IS MY BODY,
WHICH WILL BE GIVEN UP FOR YOU.
In a similar way, when supper was ended, He took the chalice and, once more giving thanks, He gave it to His disciples, saying:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND DRINK FROM IT,
FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD,
THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT,
WHICH WILL BE POURED OUT FOR YOU AND FOR MANY
FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.
In this Eucharistic Prayer, Jesus is about to be tortured and crucified. His disciples and all of us throughout time, don't really get that. Instead, we're like my kids, sitting at the dinner table or in the car going to practice, waiting for daddy to give us the love we crave.
In a tiny and imperfect way, my body was given up for them and my blood poured out for them. I don't regret a second of it, I love them so much.
At Mass, yesterday, I realized this and started to cry, just a little.
Finally, after decades of going to Mass, I finally, finally, finally understood Mass. I was that little child, happy to be in the car with daddy going to play baseball or soccer, chattering away about my day and looking out the window while Jesus was happily giving me love even though He was about to suffer horribly.
It made Him happy to love me and to have me love Him back in my own, childish way. I can still remember the love I got back from my kids and it feels so, so good even now. That's what I have to give to Him.
Nothing has ever penetrated me so completely as this because nothing was as real as this. I like to say that if heaven doesn't have Little League and girls' soccer, then it isn't heaven. The joy that I felt doing those things with our kids, in being able to show my love to them as a father through those sports, is simply indescribable. It was the expression of my love in its most complete and total form. I will go to my grave cherishing every minute of that love.
There were times in the car, on the field and at home when the rest of my life was engulfed in liquid, radioactive fire. My love for them was still there, expressed in those acts.
That is what we celebrate at Mass. That feeling, from Jesus to us instead of from me to my family, is what Mass is all about. His love may be infinitely stronger and global and universal and full of transcendenty goodnessness, but at least I have a sense of it now. I didn't before.
I'll never see Mass the same again. I can't wait to go again. I can't wait to go to Adoration again. I want to share this with everyone.
And so I just shared it with you. Have a nice day.
|When I fall, he helps me up with a smile.|