Unfortunately, many of us Catholics have slid into the Protestant language group by using their terminology. Do well tell our kids to "get ready for church" or do we tell them to "get ready for Mass"? Do we try to maintain a prayerful silence in the car to set the tone, or is it business as usual until we step inside the church? Do we dress in better clothes out of respect for God and in recognition of the solemn ritual we are about to assist with, or are we self-congratulating pharisees, overdressing for attention at the weekly fashion show?
And what about at Mass? Are we looking for entertainment or are we engaged with the Holy Sacrifice that is to take place before us? Are we focusing on the personality of the priest, or are we worshipping the High Priest who offered Himself for our sins? When we approach Holy Communion, are we waving and winking at our friends in the pews, or are we focused on Who we are about to receive? When we leave Mass, are we loud and joking, or are we reverent, aware of what we have just witnessed and Who we carry within us?
Catholics don't just go to Church. We go to Mass.
- Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8th);
- Christmas (Dec. 25th);
- Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord (Jan. 1st);
- Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord (forty days after Easter);
- Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (Aug. 15th); and
- Feast of All Saints (Nov. 1st).
- to prepare themselves worthily to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's coming into the world as the incarnate God of love,
- thus to make their souls fitting abodes for the Redeemer coming in Holy Communion and throughgrace, and
- thereby to make themselves ready for His final coming as judge, at death and at the end of the world.
We are not dryly exhorted to profit by that blessed event, but we are daily made to sigh with the Fathers of old, "Send down the dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One: let the earth be opened, and bud forth the Redeemer." The Collects on three of the four Sundays of that season begin with the words, "Lord, raise up thy power and come" — as though we feared our iniquities would prevent His being born.