Saturday, July 11, 2015

To Die Of Joy

Today I came across a letter I'd received, years ago, from a priest who lived on a continent far away. As someone with a worldwide ministry, largely to underdeveloped countries and in a few lands not tolerant of Christianity, this man had witnessed trials I could only imagine.

Father wrote:  'I have been wondering whether the battle rages around the Mass. It does, for the Mass is Christ and He is the focus of hostility. What can we do? Well, love and live our Mass, even when it is not so readily accessible. We can give witness to our great desire and longing for the Mass, as Christians have in all times of persecution. We know the Mass endures and survives. The testimony of persecutions and martyrs confirms this. But like those Christians, we may have to suffer loss and sacrifice for and in our Mass...' 

I read this now and ask myself:  how often do I take the gift of Mass for granted? Do I look at it as the profound grace it is - or has it become, for me, simply routine?

Do I focus so much on a church interior I do not like and a style of music I do not like that I forget that Jesus Himself is right there in front of me at the Consecration?

When the homily is more about the local football team than about God, do I grit my teeth and sit in judgement - or do I silently pray for God's word to be spoken and heard?

Do I make every attempt to pray from my heart?

Do I thank God for the opportunity to be at Mass, and do I ever pray for those who are thoroughly aching to have such a privilege?

I look at these questions and find my responses to them (if I'm honest) sobering. 

What a grace it would be to, as St. Jean Vianney prayed, really understand the Mass. Even if only for an instant.

I would gladly risk dying of joy.


  1. Thanks be to God.
    St. Jean Vianney: Ora Pro Nobis

  2. Don, thank you for your most recent comment. Yes, you certainly may post this. I am thankful!

  3. Hi Nancy:
    Its up........
    Deo Gratias

    1. Thank you for letting me know! We can all check out this site at


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