I’m constantly trying to find consistency in my prayer life. I need patterns and repetition to successfully form habits. I struggle with getting REALLY excited to start a new initiative and doing well for a day or two … and then, I fall off a cliff. Or I’ll miss a day for one reason or another and then never get back into it because I feel like I failed for missing.
But as I’m growing older, I’m starting to appreciate that each day brings us renewal and the opportunity to try again. By the grace of God, I can do better today than yesterday in my prayer life. One thing I’ve been working towards for as long as I can remember is daily Mass attendance.
In high school when I first started to explore my Catholic faith, I used to make up reasons to leave for school early so I could sneak off to Daily Mass before the school day began (sorry, Mom). School and church were not close to each other so it was not convenient and risky because I could be late to school. Even in college I flirted with the discipline of daily Mass attendance, but could never fully execute it with the crazy schedule that college can quickly and easily become.
A few weeks ago, I was visiting some friends in Cincinnati and we had Mass on each of the 3 days I was with them. What a blessing to have Mass scheduled into your daily life. I was reflecting on this when I arrived back home and decided to make an effort to get to daily Mass twice a week. I recently moved closer to my parish in an effort to make this habit easier for me, but I continued to make excuses (it’s amazing what we’ll say to ourselves to get a few more minutes of sleep).
To continue the streak (I have a bit of a competitive side), I went the next day after work and the pattern started. I found myself desiring that time in Mass and before I knew it, I was at Mass for 15 days straight. Last weekend, I had to miss Saturday morning Mass as I was babysitting. I was actually bummed out to miss Mass – which is new for me. I must confess there have been numerous Sundays where it’s been so tempting just to stay at home relaxing … and a few times embarrassingly enough that I did in fact skip!
There was one morning where I really was planning to skip daily Mass and I received a text from a friend asking me if I’d gone yet. I couldn’t help but think it was God using my friend to push me to spend time with Him. I put on my shoes and walked to church.
Though I’ve only been attending daily Mass for a couple weeks, I am already seeing the fruits from it. The first is the obvious desire to be present and participating in the Mass each day. The second is an increase in joy which can only be explained by the Eucharist.
Recently, I tweeted: “My day before Mass was ugh. My day after Mass has been awesome. #notacoincidence”
That really does sum up my daily Mass attendance experience so far. God has been abundantly good to reward my heart with more joy than I could have imagined. Don’t get me wrong – life is not perfect and I don’t expect it to be, but I have a bit more clarity in living out my day to day happenings. My heart feels more centered.
I can see myself approaching situations differently – I’m more uncomfortable when inappropriate things are said or done than I used to be – perhaps it’s the way I should have been all along. We’re all so desensitized and I’m as guilty as anyone on this regarding adult situations and violence.
For years, I’ve struggled with the desire to fully fit in with my peers. Yet again I’m showing myself why this won’t ever happen for me. I’m in a small minority, especially in my young adult age group, of people who attend daily Mass (or try to!). My daily time with the Lord in the Eucharist and in the beauty of the Mass has shown me that I am an outlier and it’s okay. I need to embrace the difference instead of running from it.
Daily Mass may not be possible for everyone. We all have busy lives, but I encourage you to seek out what draws you close to the Lord.
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