“The Church's great liturgical tradition teaches us that fruitful participation in the liturgy requires that one be personally conformed to the mystery being celebrated… Otherwise, however carefully planned and executed our liturgies may be, they would risk falling into a certain ritualism. Hence the need to provide an education in eucharistic faith capable of enabling the faithful to live personally what they celebrate.” (Pope Benedict XVI, SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS, 64)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Go Fish

The "Spirit of Vatican II" (or SVII for short[see update below]) takes a blow in the diocese of Steubenville. The American Papist has details:

Okay, technically, Catholics in the US are only allowed to dispense from the year-round Friday abstinence from meat if they substitute a comparable penance for it ... but in practice, the vast majority of Catholics have forgotten to even do this. Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, however, has dispensed with the substituting ... and has instead brought back the simple Friday abstinence from meat in his diocese. I especially respect that he ties this sacrificial abstinence to witnessing for the unborn and providing them with concrete assistance:

"I am inviting the Catholic people of the Diocese of Steubenville to resume the practice of abstaining from meat on all Fridays throughout the year, but with a twist. I am asking that this be not only a penitential practice but also an experience of prayer and service. This can happen by connecting abstinence with our witness to the sacredness of human life. (In another section he says: Abstinence can also be service if we eat simple meatless food and donate the financial savings to the poor or to pro-life efforts.)"

I've heard detractors of Friday abstinence say that it's not that much of a sacrifice. In fact, this is true. But neither is saying three Hail Mary's after confession. It doesn't have to inflict pain in order to be a sacrifice. Man cannot make a sacrifice of his own worthy of our Creator. God takes small sacrifices, like plain bread and wine, and gives us Himself in return. What's good about Friday abstinence is it reminds us that we're Catholic. It's a devotion that causes one to make different choices, to plan in advance, and to have to mortify one's appetite from time to time. One does not disrupted something as routine as eating without recalling why, and it becomes an offering, small as it may be. Additionally, it reminds others that we're Catholic. Just today, I had a person at work count me out of pizza for tomorrow for this reason. He informed me that Lent was over despite being certain that I already knew that.

I know the dispensing of Friday abstinence had little to do with Vatican II, at least officially. But this is clearly one of the fruits of that SVII. Most of those fruits seem to be directed toward the shedding of our Catholic identity, be it liturgy, music, prayer, devotions, vocations, theology, or attitude. And like all the other dominoes that fell, it leaves those of us who grew up in the post-conciliar years scratching our heads. After all, they didn’t really dispense with Friday abstinence. They allowed it's dispensing only in the case of a willful substitution of penance. But no one knows that! Well, some people know that, but if you will allow me to generalize, this amendment to Friday abstinence was universally misunderstood. I guess my annoyance at liturgical abuses is misplaced when we can’t even get a simple precept of the Church correct. How could the shepherds of the Church allow this ignorance among the faithful?

Well, maybe they had other fish to fry.

Good for the Diocese of Steubenville! I pray that the faithful get behind this. If they do, other episcopates may follow Bishop Conlon's lead.

UPDATE - For clarification purposes, I'm not an advocate for ignoring Vatican II.  Quite the opposite.  So I am clear - Vatican II was guided by the Holy Spirit.  The term "Spirit of Vatican II" is what is coined by liberals to do and to advocate anything they want.  It is a spirit of infidelity, and has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Time to Get Holy

In his apostolic letter "NOVO MILLENNIO INEUNTE" or "At the Beginning of the New Millenium" (written over eight years ago :shock:), among paragraphs 30 and 31, Pope John Paul II wrote:
"I have no hesitation in saying that all pastoral initiatives must be set in relation to holiness."
Did you read that? All pastoral initiatives must be set in relation to holiness. Our wonderful Pope, John Paul the Great, was writing to the universal church stating that all pastoral initiative must be set in relation to holiness.

How much have you heard about holiness at your parish? Do Catholics really know that they are called to be holy? Why aren't we hearing about this kind of thing more?

Someone asked him, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" He answered them, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, 'Lord, open the door for us.' He will say to you in reply, 'I do not know where you are from.' And you will say, 'We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.' Then he will say to you, 'I do not know where (you) are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!' ~ Luke 13:23-27
How many times have we passed this passage by and ignored it or shoved it aside because it was too difficult? How can getting to heaven be hard? Especially when we have all these sacraments and this apparent "formula" for getting to heaven. Yet here we hear about people eating and drinking in His company and Jesus teaching in their streets. Is this not exactly what we are getting at each mass? Jesus is addressing this to members of His Church - and telling them that the way is narrow and many will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough - and simply showing up at mass two times a year, every Sunday or even every day is not enough.

What does Jesus mean when he says that we are not strong enough? Many protestants believe that they don't have to do anything once they "are saved", why would they have to be strong to enter heaven? Many Catholics believe that simply observing the sacraments, if even in a mechanical way, gets them to heaven, what does that have to do with being strong?

The fact is, both erroneous "beliefs" have nothing to do with being strong. There is something more needed. And the Bible tells us what that is:

This is the will of God, your holiness. Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not a human being but God, who (also) gives his holy Spirit to you. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:3a,8
The word "holiness" actually in a way means "strength" or "stability". Being holy is being strong, and this is the strength we need to enter heaven.

How do we become holy? It’s a process. We need to pursue God with our whole heart, persevering in prayer and working to grow both in love for Him and in virtue. Pursuing God alone will not gain us the strength we need to enter heaven; we cannot make ourselves holy. But it does demonstrate to God that we love him, that we truly want to be holy, and He then will give us what we need in our lives to make us holy, and the grace to become holy, and the therefore the strength to open the gate.

I found a wonderful series of talks, provided (partially) for free by the National Fellowship of Catholic Men and the Catholic Men's Fellowship of Pittsburgh, concerning St. John of the Cross and his collected writings. St. John of the Cross wrote four works which all concern growing in holiness. John Paul II was profoundly influenced by this great doctor of the church. This is required listening.

The last two talks you have to buy. The six disc set is $30 including shipping and handling. I think if you just start listening to the series you will realize what a deal this is.

Please pray for me that I may grow in holiness, and for all Catholics to take up this universal call to holiness.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What we need for this psalm is... More Cowbell!

Buzzing around the blogs, I found a contribution via The Recovering Choir Director that was too good not to share.
Are you sick and tired of spending parish money on responsorial psalms from the major publishers that are either paraphrases of the official translation of the psalms, and/or musical settings of the psalms written in styles that are unfit for liturgical use?
Yes!  Sick and tired!  You know, it's not so much the money as it is the buyer's remorse.

Well look no more; we have your stimulus package right here.

It’s the Chabanel Responso.rial Psalm Project

Yes, psalms written in musical styles that are fit for liturgical use.  Chant, traditional music styles accompanied by the organ, or sung a cappella.  You don’t have to worry about those piano, keyboard, or guitar books here.

What about cowbell? (hat tip to Mrs Andy)

Forget about Marty and David and pals.  We have skilled composers who are knowledgeable in Catholic liturgy and music.  Here’s a small sampling of our composers:

and of course the project’s founder, Jeff Ostrowski.

Forget about Marty and David.  How is that possible?  I will die with "All Are Welcome" echoing in head.  By the way, didn't I see Arlene perform with the St. Louis Jesuits last month?

In addition to the quality musical settings offered here at Chabanel are psalm texts of the official English translations from the current Lectionary for Mass — not paraphrases.
Sure, you found a "quality music setting" that just so happens to fit the official English translation of each of the psalms for the mass.  Right.  How many Broadway shows and furniture polish commercials did you have to wade through to accomplish that?

Further, you parish will be pleased to learn that all these musical settings are absolutely free.  If that doesn’t boost your parish’s economy, what does?
My parish, like most parishes I'm sure, has announced impeding belt-tightening due to an expected enormous shortfall.  Nevertheless, investing in paraphrased psalms is a priority.  As well as paraphrased Glorias, Sanctuses, and gratuitously paraphrased Agnus Deis.  Were we to actually follow the official texts, the GIRM, or any of the instructions promulgated since Vatican II, our parishioners would, no doubt, loudly complain or find other social outlets on Sunday.  We can't have either.  

The Chabanel Responsorial Psalm Project - Save Money; Save the Liturgy; Save the World.

Visit us at chabanelpsalms.org.

Yes, it is too good to be true.  These fine folks at Chabanel have done about all they can do.  However, there exists a powerful will to retain the signature suburban parish tripe.  And money is no object.  You can throw a horse in water, but this one has his lips clenched.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Heretic Central

That's what I'm considering calling our blog now that I've read one of the great lay mystagogues out there, Adoro, point out the sacramental disparity between her and those consecrated to teach.  "I have no authority," she claims.
When I stand in front of a classroom, the reality is this:  I'm on the same par with everyone out there. I am a laywoman. I am not an expert in anything, and even if I had a Doctorate in Sacramental Theology, it would not change my state in life.  Knowledge is important, fidelity to Church teachings is imperative, but the reality is that those people are looking up at me at the podium and thinking, "Who the hell are YOU to tell me I have to go to Confession?   Who the hell are YOU to tell us that we should not go to Communion if we've committed a sin on this list?  What kind of authority do YOU have to tell me what I should and should not believe?"
My thought - if she is questioning what she is doing, what the heck are we doing?  Well, she is an actual, honest to goodness catechist, so maybe she's got a higher burden.  People read theological goofballs like Andy and me at their own risk.  Still, that millstone will sink both the catechist and the goofball. 

Okay, kidding aside, I see the difference.  Imagine what would happen if we in the Church restricted the teaching of faith and morals to the ordained?  I would say that 98% of the parishes out there would have to fold their formation programs.  For some communities, that actually might be a good thing.   But for most communities, especially the one where Adoro teaches, the message needs to be delivered inside and out by people with the mind and heart of the Church.

A cynic could also ask, as is often done, what right a priest would have to advise a person on matters of marriage.  This would, of course, be an individual who doesn't believe in the charism of the priest to teach in such matters.  That's the point of view most cynics take.  So the priest is just as lost with them as would be any Catholic of good will.

All things equal, there is no question that the message is best delivered by the guy with the charisms.  And we should push our priests and bishops to do more teaching.  The role the laity plays is to echo that message far and near.  There is great power in that unity.  While unity is no substitute for authority, it does confirm authority to those looking for that confirmation (John 17).

So Adoro, my fellow lay mystagogue, exercise your sacramental confirmation and teach on without fear.  If they find someone with actual sacramental teaching authority, are they going to hear the same thing from them that they just heard from you?  Chances are that they will.  And chances are, they won't know about that "teaching charism" unless YOU tell them.  Save that one for the last lesson of the year.

UPDATE: Uh oh.  Well, at least she hasn't read my post.  I don't think so at least.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Good Weekend Reading

If you've got time this weekend, here are a few links I recommend.

Jeffrey Tucker points to a PBS streaming video documentary on Eastern liturgical chant.  Mrs. Andy will really enjoy it.

Carl Olson points to a great reflection on the first four years of the pontificate of Benedict XVI from Fr. Kenneth Bakker, S.J.  Carl also points to a "frittering" paragraph from the Daily Astorian.  Maybe it's of more interest to me since I used to send high school sports reports to that small-town newspaper.

The Recovering Choir Director offers a commentary from Fr. Leo Chamberlain on the moto proprio Summorum Pontificum, adding more than a few of his own comments.  I real good read for those who idealize either form of the mass over the other.

Finally, for those of you out there rooting for the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, Steve Ray found some good news for you in a London newspaper.

And finally, don't forget this is Divine Mercy Sunday weekend.  Want to get rid of all of your time in Purgatory?  It's easier now than at any other time of the year.  And it's not a plenary  indulgence.  Confused?  Just listen to this sermon at Audio Sancto to get priestly confirmation.  But here is your checklist:
  • 1. Assist at the Mass
  • 2. Repent of all sins
  • 3. Go to Confession within a week
  • 4. Place your complete trust in the Lord's mercy
  • 5. Receive Holy Communion.
  • 6. Venerate the image of Divine Mercy
  • 7. Make a special effort to be merciful to others

Granted, that's not a slam-dunk list (particularly 4 and 7), but it's easier than the "usual conditions" for a plenary indulgence.  So don't miss this opportunity. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Soul Train

“Where there is no knowledge of the soul, there is no good: and he that is hasty with his feet shall stumble.” Proverbs 19:2

As your proto-typical lay mystagogue, I often spend a good twenty-to-thirty seconds pondering the deep mysteries of the faith.  One that has gripped me the last several weeks is my soul.  My soul, which is supposed to magnify the infinite God.  My soul, all of which is supposed to love God.  My soul, which said, “The Lord is my portion.  Therefore I will wait for Him.”  So much that we do as Christian faithful is for the soul, this thing that makes us living, immortal, and in the image of God.  Yet, I don’t know my soul.  I know my big hammer-toe, the odd dimple in my forehead, and my compulsion to eat cold hotdogs with ketchup right before retiring to sleep.  My soul, I must confess, I know only what I’ve been told, and that, unfortunately, hasn’t been much.

Knowing what’s good for the soul yet not recognizing the soul itself is where I find myself.  If only this wonderful gift from God would show up in some way.  Maybe then I could work harder for it.  Then I could see the damage I do when I sin.  Maybe then I could see the good that I do when I fast.  As a sinful, self-centered guy, I crave confirmations.  I want to be holy, just so long as it doesn’t get in the way of my own pleasure.  But maybe if I could see my soul in the mirror, or feel my soul in the nerves, or in some other way sense the soul, I could sacrifice.  I could measure progress with my senses, then I could recognize the benefit for myself and thus have a strengthened will to do what is right.

Now I know what you’re thinking after reading this (all three of you who read the blog) – “You’d be a whole lot better off if you started thinking about something other than yourself.  Like, maybe, hmmm, I don’t know…  God?”  And you are absolutely right to think that.  That is my problem.  That’s the core of my problem.  And I’m really good for those 20-30 seconds thinking about other people; my family, my friends, suffering children, things like that.  But it always seems to come back to me eventually.  I have trouble concentrating, which is why my blog posts tend to ramble. 

Now, back to the soul.  As the proverb says, where there is no knowledge of the soul, there is no good.  To state the obvious, that’s not good.  So what’s my problem?  Why can’t I connect to this spiritual gift that is an integral component of me?  Tonight I was out watching the kids as the sun was setting, reading a few pages from Pope Benedict’s book, written under the pseudonym Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Feast of Faith.  He gives me a clue to this problem.  Actually, he strips me naked:

Psychologists tell us that our rational, everyday consciousness is only the surface of what makes up the totality of our soul. But we are so hounded by this surface awareness that what lies in the depths can no longer find expression. Ultimately man becomes sick for sheer lack of authenticity; he no longer lives as a subject: he exists as the plaything of chance and superficiality.  This is connected with our relationship to time. Our relationship to time is marked by forgetting. We live for the moment. We actually want to forget, for we do not want to face old age and death.  But in reality this desire for oblivion is a lie: suddenly it changes into the aggressive demand for the future, as a way of destroying time.  However, this romanticism of the future, this refusal to submit to time, is also a lie, a lie which destroys both man and the world.  The only way to master time, in fact, is the way of forgiveness and thankfulness whereby we receive time as a gift and, in a spirit of gratitude, transform it.

All three of you reading this blog – please pray for me that I might find my soul.  I’d like to find it before the day comes that my soul is all I have.  I think the more I know my soul, the more pleasant that day will be.

Happy Birthday Papa.  You are truly God’s gift to the Church in our age. 

Bless the Lord, all his works: in every place of his dominion, O my soul, bless thou the Lord.  Psalm 103:22

The Lesson of Abortion to Understand the Sacraments

I caught the end of a radio presentation by Dr. R.C. Sproul this morning on my way to work concerning the horrors of abortion. I'm not going to get into the abortion issue too much in this post, although it is a worthy topic. Rather I'm going to extend Dr. Sproul's analogy to something that he probably wouldn't like: the Sacraments.

You see, in my country and in other countries around the world, abortion is legal. In fact, as Dr. Sproul noted, the most dangerous place to be in the world today is inside a woman's womb. Why is abortion so acceptable? As Dr. Sproul noted, you can't see it happen, you can't feel it happen, you can't hear it happen, so to the uninformed bystander, which would be most of the general public, its as if it didn't happen.

Now, to make my point, I wanted to iterate a bit of truth about what our seperated Protestant brethren believe that we do not: that what we call sacraments, in particular (to them) Baptism and Eucharist (they often call it "The Lord's Supper") are nothing more than a symbol. That is, they have no effect whatsoever on the person receiving them. They are simply an ordinance that they are to do just because Christ said to. In fact that is not true at all.

When we are baptized, what we see is a person having water poured over them, or a person immersed in water. The water is poured three times, or they are dunked three times. They get a little wet (or very wet), they feel cold, and they hear the words invoking baptism. However, the sacrament of baptism is more than this.

Likewise, when the priest performs the consecration of the bread and wine, we hear the words, we taste bread and wine. It tastes like regular bread and regular wine. However, the Most Holy Sacrament is much more than this.

Sacraments are physical representations of spiritual realities. You may have heard the word "mystical" used before. Even this blog is entitled "Lay Mystagogues" where the word 'Mystagogue' is someone who ponders the 'mystical'. Something that is mystical is not 'magical' as I believe some incorrectly interpret the word. Magic is just slight of hand, illusion, or worse. In fact something that is 'mystical' refers to that which is most real. The most real thing in the world is the spiritual realm, something that we cannot perceive with our senses.

The Sacraments are mystical realities. In baptism, we mystically experience the spiritual reality of being washed clean from original and all actual sin through the physical washing in water. In the Eucharist, we receive (physically) the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, a spiritual reality that, when we are properly disposed, infuses us with supernatural grace, wipes clean our venial sins, and draws us in to the body and life of Christ. Likewise, all sacraments are physical representations of the spiritual.

Jesus gave us the Catholic Church and the Seven Sacraments so that we could perceive the spiritual world through our senses. If we were to abandon the Church, we would be turning a blind eye to that which is most real, and the result would be an utter disaster. As our country has gone blind to the tragic, horrific realities of abortion, let us not also grow blind to the realities experienced in and through the Sacraments in the Church that Jesus founded. In particular this day, let us ponder Christ's love for us shown through the Eucharist, and duly prepare ourselves to meet him in a real way in the Catholic Mass.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The death and resurrection of the Church

As the Easter Vigil approaches on this Holy Saturday, it's difficult to grasp what has happened.  Liturgically speaking, God just died.  This day is His rest of death, His Sabbath, after a long week of putting the final touches on His life.  It is a complex moment to contemplate.

One thing that might help is to see the Church dying right along with Jesus.  Did you see it?  If not, here's something to remember for next year:
All during Lent we were being stripped down and put to a slow death.   I speak liturgically, of course.   But as Catholics our spiritual lives ought to reflect our liturgical lives and Holy Church’s liturgical seasons.

We were liturgically eviscerated through Lent and Passiontide, Holy Week.

Now, Holy Church has experienced liturgical death.
Father Zuhlsdorf has the details of the liturgical changes that bring the Church to its death right along side Christ.  Tonight, we will see the Church come back to life.  His resurrection is our resurrection if we stay in God's grace (Romans Ch. 8).  Tonight, we get a preview of that glory.  Happy Easter to all.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Why the Truth is so Important

In John 14:6-7, we read:
Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him."
The apostle Thomas just asked Jesus to show him the way to heaven. Jesus then says that he "is" the way. The way to heaven is through Jesus.

But that is not all Jesus said. Jesus also said that he "is" the truth, that he "is" the life. If Thomas is just asking about "the way", why doesn't Jesus just say that he "is" the way and leave it at that? Its because to know Jesus we must know the truth also, and we must strive to live the life like Jesus led.

I want to focus here on Jesus' saying that he is the truth. From the very earliest days of the Christian era, we have heard echoes of Pilate's question, "What is Truth?" He stood and looked Truth in the face and asked what is truth. The irony. Our current Christian culture today seems to also deny that absolute truth can be known, as if truth is only the summation of public opinion, or some relativistic notion that anyone can define what their own truth is.

There is an absolute truth, and as in the day when Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to lead his Church into all truth, we as Catholics, members of the Church that Jesus founded upon Peter, the Rock, are the fortunate recipients of an eternal promise that will provide us with the only source of eternal truth there is: God himself.

If we consider this fact, we must consider the ramifications: there is only one way to heaven, and that is Jesus. Jesus is the Truth. So without the Truth, there is no way to heaven. If one were to not believe in the truth, one is, in essence, stating that they do not believe in Jesus. And since the Church is the body of Christ in a mystical way, if you don't believe everything the Catholic Church teaches, you don't believe in the truth revealed by Christ, and by extension, put your own salvation on the line.

It takes a measure of humility to submit to everything the Church teaches, but not only is it extremely important, it creates a simple sense of joy. I know this from my own experience, because I can humbly accept the fullness of the Church teaching, I don't have to live my life trying to prove that I am smarter than the brilliant minds who came before me but rather my life upon the rock of truth that is Christ and the revelation of the Holy Spirit to his Church on Earth.

Turn a careful ear to the readings during this Triduum and to our shepherds when they deliever the homilies intended to speak directly to you, and have a blessed, fulfilling, freeing Holy Week.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Catholic Mass: The Love of Jesus for You

In the body of Christ today, especially in those who are separated from the Church (Protestants), I hear a lot of negativity surrounding the use of the word "religion". They like to emphasize "relationship" in contrast with "religion". They say things like, "Jesus did not come to give us religion; He came to give us a relationship."

But this is a fallacy. Jesus came to give us both a religion and a relationship.  Part of it stems from the fact that the Protestant faith isn't a religion at all - they are separated from the true religion. Protestant denominations seem to implement a set of rules because a set of rules is what they believe religion is supposed to be: thou shalt not drink wine, thou shalt not dance, thou shalt not do this, that or the other thing that their denomination 'says' is wrong.

In truth, many Catholics see our faith in much the same way: a bunch of rules and restrictions. Why does the Catholic Church force me to go to church on Sunday? Why do they force me to go to confession when I am in mortal sin before I receive the Eucharist? Why does the Catholic Church force me to confess my sins to a priest "rather than" just confessing them to God himself?  The "questions" are actually statements; the asker doesn't really want to know the answer to them. Rather they are a means for them to vent discontent toward a religion that they feel "bound" to practice.

I understand this sentiment. If we look at religion as a set of restrictions, then religion appears to "put a damper on our life". We play-act faith by going to mass, going through the ritual, but not letting anything really penetrate our lives.

But that is not what Jesus intended when he founded the Catholic Church. What Jesus intended for us was to experience the mystical reality of him through the physical world that we can experience - through the seven sacraments and the body of Christ, which is the Church, starting at the visible head on Earth (the Pope) and within all consecrated and lay people.

Each of the sacraments that Jesus gave to us are an expression of his love for us. We experience his love when we are renewed and justified at baptism, as we feel the water poured over us. We experience him physically in the Eucharist and the liturgy of the mass, when we ponder and remember the redeeming sacrifice he made for us, how he gave himself up for us and our sins - and we taste his very flesh. We experience continuing renewal through the sacrament of penance (or confession) as we experience the forgiving action and hear the words from the priest - they let us know in a very real way that our sins are forgiven. In confirmation we are sealed with the holy spirit with oil, a feel and a smell. Similar with the annointing of the sick, we hear the prayers, are annointed with oil and taste viaticum, food for the journey to heaven. Consecrated persons experience what must be a profound laying on of hands that imputes an indelible mark upon their soul, and their marriage to the Lord starts not when they reach heaven but on that very day of consecration/ordination.

In that same way, the liturgy is full of signs of Jesus' love for us, but yet so few of us know the spiritual realities that are happening in the mass because they take place in the invisible spiritual realm.  So the liturgy is designed to make those realities known to us.  One can really learn to understand God's love for us by becoming knowledgeable about the liturgy and what is behind the rubrics of the mass.  

That is what we hope to give to you in this blog - a respect for the dignity and beauty of the Catholic mass, a realization of just how important it is to have good liturgy, and a deep understanding of the fullness of truth in the Catholic faith.  

The mass is the perfect prayer, an eternal offering of thanks for the love that he has given us.  Let us rejoice to have been given such a gift, and return the love that Jesus has shown with our whole selves, and live the true faith!
"Jesus also suffered outside the gate, to consecrate the people by his own blood.  Let us then go to him outside the camp, bearing the reproach that he bore. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the one that is to come. Through him [then] let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name." - Hebrews 13:12-15