Tuesday, April 12, 2016
How the Catholic Mass Impacts Work Ethic
This year, the extraordinary year of mercy, commemorates our fifth anniversary year of being Catholic. We are so excited to have come "home," and our oldest child is receiving her First Communion this month! I love the Catholic faith, and my faith is richer and richer every year. Today, in this Eastertide, I want to explore something that I've really been thinking about a lot recently, and that is, how being Catholic has impacted my work ethic. Or more specifically - or is it more largely?- how the Catholic Mass impacts work ethic.
Life is like Mass, in that life is one big, complicated routine. The Mass, although a sacrifice in every sense of the word- a sacrifice of time, a Holy sacrifice of Christ's body and blood and a sacrifice for the Priest and lay ministers and altar services to perform it for us. The complex liturgy goes deep; the words become a part of our souls. Don't worry: we don't believe he is sacrificed anew or that he is crucified again, nor do we believe his sacrifice wasn't once and for all... but we do believe in the real presence and all the richness therein- that is why it is called the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Like the Mass, we live our life in routine, and I do believe that the work ethic makes for more obedience and a better grasp of grace. As I've grown in my Catholic faith, my life has been deeply impacted, and most notably, my work ethic. I think you can compare my life as a parent to that of the people leading our worship service, AKA the Mass. Each day I have to put aside my own interests, in order that I may "offer a cup of water" in Christ's name. I offer water, juice, oatmeal, a walk around the block, a trip to the playground. I offer to read a book, to get their water cups and blankies for naps. I offer not myself... but Jesus in me.
Each day we get closer and closer to God's will, our hearts and minds feel the heaviness of the cross, and we feel empowered by the strength of the Eucharist. Carrying the heavy load of life each day - I now believe- would be impossible without the help and grace of the sacraments and being able to feed on Christ's body and blood. Now I feel more empowered and more competent, because I am equipped with the grace needed for the demands of daily life. I am asked to obey the Word, but I am empowered by a truly mysterious grace in the Eucharist.
It is a gift, but yes it is hard, to be able to do so. As a Mom, it is very humbling to put aside my own interests for the sake of those around me- for the sake of others. When trials come our way, the heavy cross feels heavier. Without the grace of Christ in the Eucharist, I feel certain I would become bitter and depressed (more depressed than I currently am- and praise God for medication!). I take up my cross and follow Him, and since I have had it both ways, I now know the power in the Catholic Mass.
I want to talk more about all of this in detail at some point soon. My reading, my crafting, my sewing, my interests in art and science and literature... and how all of it has been impacted by my faith, and how the change in faith has helped and not hurt. Each time we go to Mass, it is light, and it is like becoming fresh and new. I could also go into how Confession is like a shower, but I'll spare you that mental image. ;) But suffice it to say right now that the beautiful sacrifice of the Mass has changed me and helped me to grow. It gives me deep peace in a wearying life (or on wearying days). For that, I am thankful.