I thought it would be good to share the first part of a letter I read from a ‘dad’s perspective’ on the importance of going to Mass every weekend. This letter does not even deal with the theological reasons of why it is important. It simply addresses the importance of setting the example for our children and making Mass, the worship of God, priority #1.
One recent summer my eldest son went on an outing that would see him get home at a time that was past our rural parish Mass times. Although I am aware of the importance of attending Mass on Sunday, I thought that this situation would be a reasonable excuse for him to miss Mass, but to be certain, I mentioned it to our Pastor who promptly told me that there was a Sunday afternoon Mass at St. Columban's, forty miles away. Our Pastor knew that I had the means to travel those forty miles and so when my son got home,with his loud protests ringing in my ears, we went to St. Columban's for Mass.
It is interesting note that my eldest son is the eldest of five boys and at the time of our forty mile journey to St. Columban's he was about fourteen years old. That same boy is now nearly nineteen years old and if my wife and I are away from home on the weekend we know that our eldest will make sure that he and his all brothers get to
church. There was only one rebellion that we heard about and that involved the second eldest of our sons. As they all trooped into church one week-end, when my wife and I were away, the second eldest dropped into the rearmost pew. The eldest did not notice until he got to our usual seats half way down the body of the church. If the second eldest thought he was going to get away with this act of independence, he was sadly mistaken, as his older brother promptly
marched back to where he was sitting and sent him scuttling down to our usual seating.
We only had to go to such extreme once, after that my wife and I established a rule in our family that said that our social life had to be organized around our Parish Mass times and if there was any conflict then it had to be resolved in favor of attending Mass.
What Father had done with me and my eldest son, over the St. Columban's episode, was to emphasize just how important it is to attend Mass every Sunday. And who knows, maybe that emphasis had a lot to do with my eldest still attending church now that he is an adult. The Church teaches that this is an obligation that can only be
excused when we are ill, aged or physically unable to attend Mass. To skip Mass, especially on a regular basis is to show contempt for the Church and her laws.
When we go to Mass we tell the world around us who we are and what we represent. Simply going to Mass makes us all evangelists to our family, friends, neighbors and the community in which we live. Jesus says very clearly in his Gospels that anyone who stands up for Him before the world, He will stand up for us before God the
Attendance at Mass is not just simply joining in a social or community action taking place in a certain type of building. We are actually and formally worshipping God in a community setting. At this time we thank Him for His many graces and favors to us over the past week and beg His indulgence for needs that are coming in our own lives and the lives of our family and community. Most of all, though, we can acknowledge our absolute dependence on Him. It is only by His grace and mercy that we get to draw our next breath, let alone anything else in our lives.