I love the sacredness and holiness of the Mass and all of our beautiful rituals! The Sacrifice of the Mass, it might be said, is the ultimate ritual. Rituals inform Catholics of the divine; and are an acknowledgement that something spectacular and extraordinary is taking place.
The Mass is not about us, but about Him. You'll notice that it is the altar that is up front and center, not the pulpit, or a personality. We go to Mass to worship God, not to be entertained. Mass is not something that needs to be re-branded, re-invented, thrown out all together, or a part of new and improved marketing campaign that talks of charity (love) without also speaking of God's Truth. Mass isn't where you go to hear just what you want to hear, but instead you will hear what you need to hear. Of course you hear of God's love and God's mercy, but also of His justice. We put our love into action by clothing the naked, serving the poor,and feeding the hungry.We love and serve others, but we do not throw out loving and worshiping God.
The Mass is the most important and sacred act of worship in the Catholic Church. It incorporates Sacred Scripture, prayer, sacrifice, hymns, symbols, gestures, sacred food for the soul, and directions on how to live a Catholic life — all in one ceremony. Through time and space, we connect with the original Last Supper.The Mass is the "re-presentation" of the sacrifice of Calvary. This is misunderstood by many who claim that the Mass is a re-crucifixion of Christ. It is not.
Jesus says that the greatest Commandments are to love God with your whole strength and your whole soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself. Love God first, and then by loving and imitating Him, you will love one another more. Does He know if you love Him? Of course, because He's God - He knows everything. But He never said to not care about what He thinks of you. He wants all of us to strive for holiness. He wants us to obey the 10 Commandments. He wants us to love Him because He knows we need Him. We need to love and draw closer to God to grow in holiness, which in return will help us to love others more.
I love how Catholics genuflect and kneel at Mass. We kneel because we are in the presence of God. Kneeling is a very meaningful and intimate gesture, and it expresses adoration and shows our reverence towards Him. We live in a society today that in many ways has lost reverence for things which are holy and sacred. We approach God in a way that is casual, almost as if He is on the same level as us. This lack of reverence can reflect a lack of humility, and think that things are all about us. When we kneel we remind ourselves that we are not God and we are not in charge; rather, we are only creatures before our Lord.
Kneeling in God’s presence during Mass emphasizes the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and how much we love and adore our King. St. Paul says, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:10). Like St. Paul, we get down on our knees during Mass and humbly adore Him. Of course, rituals are meaningless if they are not an expression of love for Christ. Love is the very thing that gives them reason for existing in the first place. The root of all Catholic ritual is the authentic love of Christ.
I love how we have crucifixes. Does this mean we worship a "dead" Jesus, and that we shouldn't leave Him on the cross? Absolutely not. Some have expressed distaste at the thought of depicting Jesus at his most vulnerable. Guess what? This should make you uncomfortable. Jesus does not want us to look at His Crucifixion as only a past event. Every lash that he took, every blow that drove the nail into his hands was caused by you and me. Our sins – past, present and future, hung Jesus on that cross. The sins you are committing right now are another lash and another nail in His body. The crucifix is the ultimate expression of the lengths that a loving God will go to reach us. Gazing at a crucifix is a truly humbling experience.
Christianity is not a religion designed to make you feel good all the time. Our religion is rich, joyful and sacred, but also more demanding than that. Sacredness, holiness, rituals, and sacred scripture, are not irrelevant like many are wanting you to believe today. They are all important, and draw us closer to our almighty God. Of course Jesus wants us to love one another, but love God first, and remember, we are not God. Jesus says we cannot be His follower (a Christian) unless we pick up our cross to follow Him. (Matthew 16.24) Jesus never promised His followers a Christian life free from sufferings and trials. He promised us the very opposite. He promised that we too would have a cross to carry; and unless we endure our sufferings and trials in faith for Him as He has done for us, we cannot be His follower.
Do not throw out the sacred. And do not ever believe anyone who tells you that the Mass, sacredness, rituals, holy scripture, the 10 Commandments, and caring about what God thinks of you are "irrelevant." God is the center of the Catholic Mass - it is all about God and striving for holiness by imitating Christ, which in return will show us how to love others more. We all need more sacredness, holiness and more humility in our lives to remind us who God is, and who we are before our God