Friday, February 16, 2007

Mass vs. Private Adoration

I've been thinking about a question that has intrigued me in the past. If Mass is the most wonderful event to ever take part in, if it is indeed truly a re-presentation of Calvary, if going to one Mass is so incredibly valuable, then why spend time in private adoration before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, unless it's impossible to go to Mass?

Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament has become a very important part of my life, whether before Jesus exposed or in the tabernacle. There is something very wonderful about it, something very personal. Going to Mass is great as well, and indeed is much greater than simple private adoration; however, I do believe private adoration is vital and this is why.

Mass and private adoration have two distinct characters. Mass is a communal worship, whereas private adoration is, well, private. If you see the Christian life as a relationship, which indeed it is, then you will understand why these two aspects to the Christian life are important.

Jesus is the bridegroom, and the Church is the bride. The Church as a whole, not everyone individually. So, it makes wonderful sense that Jesus will truly change us in an act which is universal and communal. We come to Jesus in the Mass, the worship of the Church, which is the same everywhere, which is in reality the same event everywhere, that which took place 2000 years ago. However, we also know that Jesus wants to relate to us each individually.

This is where private adoration comes in. In adoration before Jesus, we meditate on Him; we allow ourselves to be changed by Him, in a way that is different than in the Mass, in a deeply personal way.

The Mass is the central aspect of our relationship with Jesus, and private adoration will bring us to a deeper appreciation of the Mass. The Mass is a beautiful painting, and the private adoration of each individual is the frame of that painting. The frame is nothing without the masterpiece in the center. However, the painting is missing something if the frame is not up to par.

So in conclusion, I must say that if Mass were celebrated 24/7 right across the street. I would not go to Mass every time I wanted to worship my Lord. I think it is much wiser, and much more beneficial to our spiritual lives to take that time in adoration before Him, even if we can get to Mass whenever we choose. Anyway, this is my understanding of the relationship between the Mass and the private adoration of individuals.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Importance of Prayer

I've been thinking of the importance of prayer lately. Obviously prayer is very important, but why is it?

Let's say there's a guy stuck alone on a boat, and he is not trained in how to operate this boat. After a while, he can begin to understand how to make it function, mainly by trial and error. This method of learning will take years, and will cause much hardship, as the man will not always guess right on the first try. Eventually, though, he's bound to get a basic understandin of how to operate the boat. However, there are always surprises, such as storms, mechanical malfunctions, and the like. When these sort of things happen, things that the man has not run into before, he basically just has to guess what would be the best thing to do. Things could potentially go very wrong.

Now, let's say the engineer of the boat is in communication with the man on the boat. Obviously there are huge advantages here. First off, the man on the boat has someone to talk him through everything. He doesn't have to spend years making mistakes with the day to day operations of the boat. Also, when something goes wrong, the engineer will know best what to do. And, hopefully, if they talk on a regular basis, the man on the boat will know what to do in advance if some mechanical failure occurs. He will begin to have some of the overall knowledge that the engineer has.

Under this sort of situation, the man in the boat, and the engineer who created it will become good friends. The man will be much happier being in good contact with the engineer, and doing what he says to do.

Now, sometimes, the engineer will tell the man to do something that is difficult. It may require a lot of work. And the man will tell the engineer that he doesn't want to do it. The man will quit talking to the engineer, because every time they talk, the engineer urges him to complete this difficult task that the man in the boat is avoiding. The engineer of course knows what's best for the man in the boat, and the man will suffer as a result of his own stubborness.

Hopefully, before it's too late, the man will see how silly he's being. Perhaps things on the boat will begin to look bad, and he'll realize that the engineer was right. He'll go to the radio, and call up the engineer. The engineer will be overjoyed that he's back in communication with him, and tell him what he needs to do. The man will do it, and they will be friends once again.

If God is the engineer, and we are people drifting across the sea of life, the smart thing to do is to stay in constant communication with Him. Cutting off communication with Him borders on insanity; only He knows what storms or trials are just around he corner. Only He knows what's best for us. We could not ask for a better friend, our Lord and our Savior.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

God is amazing!

God deserves every bit of perfection we can muster. Half-heartedness is not enough. Anything less then perfect is not enough. Give Him all.