Mass – the most fundamental prayer Catholics are most familiar with. After all, isn’t that what we do every single week for …. the past xxx years of our lives? Personally, as a cradle Catholic, I should have minimally gone for mass once a week x 28 years of my life = a boggling 1, 456 times a year!
And yet when asked, am I able to quickly explain why I go for mass, or even what a mass is?
Well, if we all need a textbook answer:
The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the Sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the Altar
-St Pius X
What does that mean in a profound way? What does that mean to us personally? Why is it that I can proclaim I love God, that I recognize it is the ultimate sacrifice anybody could give to us and yet….sometimes I can feel the nudge of reluctance to attend mass, feel sleepy at mass or get distracted of thoughts of dinner during mass?
It is a question of commitment and love. Even between lovers, the warm fuzzy feeling won’t be there all the time. Yes, there will be moments of ups and downs. Contrary to what most people think, people are not most in love when they spontaneously sprout out the lovey-dovey words / actions. You only realize you are in love when you commit to doing something when you most don’t feel like doing it – and you are doing it purely out of the love of your better half.
But going to mass is even more amazing than that! If you decide to wash the dishes for your loved one purely out of love, you do it for the good of the other person and at most…you level up your skills of dish washing in that tiny bit. But what about mass? Surely God doesn’t need us to go to mass – God is infinitely good, infinitely powerful and infinitely Almighty. Going to mass in fact nourishes us and allows a channel for God’s grace to flow into us.
Nevertheless, it helps to know the mass better to appreciate it and gain much more from it in a deeper way! A recommendation would be the book above. Below are just some snippets of interesting facts of the mass found in the book to pique your interest. They are presented in a Q&A format so you could test yourself and check the answers by scrolling to the bottom. Have fun!
Q1: When we trace the Sign Of The Cross, which of the following are we doing? (You can select more than one)
- A) To ask for God’s protection
- B) To express our desire to be set apart
- C) To ask for God’s mercy
- D) To ask for forgiveness of our sins
Q2: What are the 2 differences between the old Confiteor (“I Confess”) and the new one?
Q3: Where in Scripture is the Gloria first sung?
Q4: Christ is:
- A) 100% Human
- B) 100% Divine
- C) 50% Human and 50% Divine
- D) 100% Human and 100% Divine
- E) 1% Human and 99% Divine
- F) 99% Human and 1% Divine
Q5: Who is allowed to give the Homily?
Q6: The Creed cannot be found anywhere in Scripture (TRUE/FALSE)
Q7: Why are we called to give money during Offertory?
Q8: When Jesus said, “Do this in memory of me”, He is calling us to remember a defining event in the past (TRUE/FALSE)
Q9: Why do we say “Our Father” and not “My Father”?
Q10: Which 2 actions does the priest perform during the Agnus Dei (Lamb Of God)?
A1: When we do the Sign of the Cross, we:
- (A) Invoke God’s protection in our lives
- (B) Express our desire to be set apart
The Sign Of The Cross is itself a powerful prayer meant to pour out tremendous blessings on our lives.
A2 (Old on left, new on right):
A3: The opening line is taken from the words sung by the angels over the fields of Bethlehem, announcing to the shepherds the Good News of Christ’s birth:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men whom He is pleased”
A4: 100% Human and 100% Divine
Jesus is known as The Word (i.e. Scripture) Made Flesh.
A5: Deacons, Priests, Bishops
A6: The Creed cannot be found anywhere in Scripture (TRUE/FALSE)
The Creed summarizes the story of Scripture.
Later served as a means for ensuring right doctrine and curbing heresy, e.g. “Consubstantial with the Father”
A7: Giving money during Offertory expresses the giving of our lives to God. Our money embodies hours of our lives and hard work, which we now offer to God.
A8: When Jesus said, “Do this in memory of me”, He is calling us to remember a defining event in the past (TRUE/FALSE)
- In a biblical “memorial”, the past is not merely recalled; it was re-lived. I.e. It makes the event present.
- Mass does not merely recall Jesus’ death on the cross. It sacramentally makes present Christ’s redeeming sacrifice on Calvary.
A9: Because it is only through Jesus that we can call God “our Father”
A10: Breaking of the Bread and Comingling
- Breaking of Bread: Denotes ritual at the start of the meal. Jesus broke bread 4 times in the Gospel
- Comingling: “May this mingling of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring external life to us who receive it.”