LET IT aLL sTART hERE
For Catholics who care...
Because of the importance of this Sunday's Gospel reading which focuses on Jesus as The Bread of Life (John 6:51-58), I feel compelled to speak to a reply I often hear when the subject of attending Mass regularly is mentioned: "I don't have to go to Church. God is everywhere. I do my own thing. We have understanding he and I (noticed the lower case h)...I'm good." And then the discussion is over and the speaker leaves no room for any idea other than what he/she feels is true.
I always find these encounters unfortunate and sad because many times these same folks are also afflicted with "the dark night of the soul"; a real malady of spirit based on a person's life that has been invaded by despair. The fifteenth-century Christian writer John of the Cross described this experience in what I see as a hopeful way; he called it la noche oscura, or dark night, and explained that it is a difficult invasion of God's astringent grace to open us to new realms of spiritual experience. Many would call this "depression"...a Saint calls it opportunity.
Without participating in The Holy Mass, logically speaking...from start to finish...the idea of "being an Island unto one's self" doesn't, won't and can't work if one wants to be in just relationship to God. And why is that? Because without participating in Mass we are not able to live the Mystery of the Eucharist. Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you." He could not have been more clear.
In 1956 Thomas Merton addressed what he felt was "the whole problem" and I quote:
The whole problem of our time is the problem of love:
how are we going to recover the ability to love ourselves
and to love one another? The reason why we hate one
another and fear one another is that we secretly or openly
hate and fear our own selves. And we hate ourselves
because the depths of our being are a chaos of frustration
and spiritual misery. Lonely and helpless, we cannot be at
peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves,
and we cannot be a peace with ourselves because we are
not at peace with God. ...In order to see something of the
meaning of the Blessed Eucharist, we must live the Mystery
of the Eucharist we must see God and adore Him in this
Sacrament (The Living Bread, pg. xii).
SO simply put...one can't live the Mystery of the Eucharist...see God and adore Him in this Sacrament if one remains outside the doors of The Church