When my parents retired, they began going to Mass every day. I said to myself: “What a great idea. Why should I wait until I retire to do this?” Since then, daily Mass has become the most important part of my spiritual life.
A newly received Catholic recently told me how, in RCIA, someone mentioned the “Easter duty.” This past Easter, I attended a parish where it was evident that, as always happens, the number of people attending was far in excess of the normal Sunday Mass. This attitude of fulfilling one’s “Easter duty” is far from receiving one’s “daily bread.”
Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Diocese of Providence, R.I., has pointed out: “Easter duty seemed to have more relevance years ago when Catholics didn’t receive holy Communion as often (or as casually) as they do today. The purpose was to maintain some minimal contact with the Church by receiving holy Communion at least during Easter Season when the Church was celebrating its primary feast, the Resurrection of Christ. It was even a practice in some parishes that individuals making their Easter duty would present a kind of census card at the Communion rail, a card that certified them as practicing Catholics for another year.”
Doing the minimum to remain a Catholic makes me think of the love of God, the first and greatest commandment and the analogy of marriage. What would one’s spouse think of the question, “What is the minimum I need to do in order to continue in this marriage?” Doesn’t that sound absurd? What does love have to do with minimums? It sounds more like, “What is the least I can do to avoid punishment?”
Jesus knows we need our “daily bread.” I see receiving Jesus in holy Communion in analogy to floating in a pool. As long as your lungs are full of oxygen, you remain afloat. But once you let the air out, you begin to sink. So it is with Jesus dwelling in you. You don’t realize he is keeping you afloat until you begin to sink. Why wait until it’s a matter of life and death to take a deep breath?
the places I’ve traveled, I would have to award first prize for daily Mass
An appropriate amount of time for a “thanksgiving” after receiving Our Lord would go a long way to helping the faithful appreciate the living Lord within them.
“When the distribution of Communion is finished, as circumstances suggest, the priest and faithful spend some time praying privately,” states the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. “If desired, a psalm or other canticle of praise or a hymn may also be sung by the entire congregation.”
need Our Lord daily. I want to see the same overflowing crowds here in the
“Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more” (Romans 5:20).
Brother John Raymond is co-founder
of the Community of the Monks of Adoration in