I’ve labored over this article for quite a while now. I’ve drafted it, re-drafted it, and made numerous revisions. Three times, I scrapped the entire thing. I know that you can’t see all that. You don’t know any of that. But it’s because of you, my dear readers, that I’m trying to hard to get this right.
Because this is incredible, and I want to get it across in the most clear way possible. Because, what I’m about to try to explain is simply the most exciting thing I’ve encountered so far in my faith life. This is it.
So how do I get that crazy-eyed enthusiasm down in writing? That’s my challenge.
Let me try, though, to explain to you why I went to Mass every day for a week, and what I experienced. And, spoiler alert, how it’s completely changed my faith life and set a fire under my feet like I couldn’t believe.
I hope, in my words, my excitement is palpable.
Giving Daily Mass a Fair Shake
I decided to try going to daily Mass.
I’m blessed to have Mass offered, every day, at a parish that’s less than five minutes from both our house and my work. That means I can easily make Mass, with very little effort, almost every single day. It fits perfectly into my regular routine and means, simply, that I get to work a little bit later than usual but still well before I need to be there.
It’s perfect. Providential, really. So I tried it out.
I’d tried daily Mass a couple of times before I was received into the Catholic Church. I tried it then and I didn’t really like it very much. There’s a running joke in our parish that our pastor, at seventy-nine years old (and retiring in June), could perform the fastest Mass in the city. As a Catholic candidate, unable to receive the Eucharist, and only looking in from the outside, I didn’t give daily Mass much of a fair shake.
There wasn’t much to it, I thought. It didn’t draw me in.
But then I became a Catholic so I thought I’d try it again.
First Forays Into Daily Mass
My first day of daily Mass felt a little bit like what I imagine my first day of high school felt like though I really can’t remember.
Although I’d been to Sunday Mass plenty of times by now daily Mass, I knew, was liturgically a bit different. Certain aspects were omitted or truncated and I didn’t have a copy of the daily Mass missalette to follow along with. I hoped I’d figure things out quickly, so I snuck in and sat down.
I like to sit near the front of the nave, as close to the action as possible, so I took my seat only a few rows back. Minutes later a grumpy old man shuffled in, took one look at me and grumbled, “You took my seat,” before shuffling off to sit a couple rows back.
So far, so good.
But then Mass started and I was startled, first of all, to see just how many people had filled out the pews. About a hundred, and folks from all different ages and stages of life. All there, first thing in the morning, to take part in this Mass. Intentionally choosing to be there—something I feel like not a lot of Catholics actually do when it comes to the Sunday Mass.
But there we were.
The experience of my first daily Mass left no lasting impression though. As a new Catholic, receiving the Eucharist on any occasion is still—and I hope, will always be—absolutely earth-shaking. Consider, in Catholic theology, that you’re receiving the actual body and blood of Christ into your very physical being and I don’t know how you can’t be completely overwhelmed.
So, really, every Mass is an incredible occasion and every Mass is, as I’ve written before, a completely transformative re-presentation of Jesus’s sacrifice, the Paschal Passover, and the perfect worship of God.
But my first experience of daily Mass wasn’t—as many things Catholic have been for me—immediately mind-blowing.
Then I went back the next day, and the next day did me in.
The Mind-Blowing Rhythm of Daily Mass
The mind-blowing hidden treasure of the Catholic Church is daily Mass.
I know, I know, I said before that the Sacrament of Confession was the best thing that the Catholic Church had going and I’m realizing quickly that maybe the Church, in reality, has a lot of things going for it.
Because here’s another, and how.
After my first experience of daily Mass, I was fulfilled, happy, and left with a sense of joy. It was a great experience but it wasn’t until I returned the next day that it truly sank in, that the Lord was given that much more space to work in me.
I returned the next day and I knew the rhythm. I looked around and I recognized the faces; the same devout and earnest people as yesterday. All of us, again, together on this lifeboat trying to do our level best to survive another day.
I knew what to expect, in the Liturgy, and I expected it. Expectantly.
I couldn’t wait to pray, to sing the psalm. I couldn’t wait until the Eucharistic Prayer began, to watch the altar server bow to the priest as he brings him the elements—the priest who represents Christ, who I can see and experience in a real and tangible way each and every day.
[See also: 11 of the Best #ThingsJesusNeverSaid]
And that’s what it came down to.
Every day I went to daily Mass built on the day before. Every day I went I was more excited than the last. Every day I knew I would, in just a few minutes, encounter Jesus Christ as the priest made his way out and up into the sanctuary. Every day we’d all fall onto our knees and cast our eyes down in prayer and screw up our hearts to wait, expectantly, as the priest prayed the consecration and Jesus became really present in the Eucharistic elements.
Then we’d rise, pray the Lord’s Prayer, the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray, all together. We’d ask, each and every day, for forgiveness, for the power to forgive others, and that we might walk in the Light. Forward. Each and every day.
And then, by the grace of God, we’d receive God.
What I quickly came to realize about daily Mass was the incredible, life-changing perspective it puts on each and every day. No, I didn’t become a better person overnight, not even after a week of daily Masses, sadly I’m not a saint. But it did change my life, each and every day.
To be able to begin every single day by experiencing that kind of closeness with God, that kind of reverence for our incredible Creator, and that kind of incredible fellowship (not just with the Catholics I could see but knowing that everywhere, all over the world, Catholics are celebrating daily Mass) was nothing short phenomenal.
Addicting, really, and when I wasn’t able to get to daily Mass a couple of times in the following week I missed it sorely. And now, I think, I’m really stuck going to Mass every single day, because I really can’t see a way out. I can’t see a way that I wouldn’t want to experience such incredible, immense grace, every single day.
Daily Mass is a Hidden Treasure
Truly, daily Mass is another of those incredible hidden treasures of the Catholic Church. As a Protestant, as I’ve said this before, I didn’t think Catholics were very devout, at least not really devout. As an evangelical Protestant, I thought devotion looked like reading your Bible, praying spontaneous prayers, and joining a small group Bible study. I never knew that Catholics could encounter Jesus every single day, in a community, and in a real and tangible way. If I had known that, I might’ve become a Catholic much sooner.
What I’ve learned, after a week of daily Masses, and maybe you, my readers, already know this but I learned that God’s grace is ridiculously bigger than we can possibly fathom. I thought I knew, even in some small measure, what it felt like to love and be loved by our Creator—but I had no idea.
The rhythm of daily Mass, of all of us seafaring pilgrims clutching onto the lifeboat and praying for another day, is something I don’t have the words to describe to you. It’s the journey. The trip. The pilgrimage. It’s what every single day is about, and it’s incredible.