Do we forget everything that happened at Mass as soon as we burst out the church door?We shouldn’t let that happen, says St. John Chrysostom. Take some time after Mass to digest what you’ve heard there, or it will do you no good at all. I hear many say, “While we’re here and have the privilege of hearing, we are awed, but when we leave, we change again, and the fire of enthusiasm goes out.” So what can we do… Read more

In the time of Jacob of Serugh, it seems that many people were rushing out of Mass before it was over. (Sound familiar?) Jacob reminds them of what they’re missing. Do not be impatient to be gone from the supper that the bride of the whole world has made for us to delight in. You are a child of the household, not a stranger who ought to depart. The Bridegroom is coming down to see the bride betrothed to Him;… Read more

Frequent communion is life many times over, says St. Basil. Offered the gift of eternal life, who wouldn’t want to go to Mass every day? It’s good for us to commune every day, partaking of the holy body and blood of Christ. He says quite clearly, “he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John 6:54). And who can doubt that sharing in life frequently is the same as having life many times over? I myself… Read more

It’s an old joke, born of true observation, that Catholics seem to burst out of church as soon as Mass is over. Why are we so impatient? asks the poetic and mystical Jacob of Serugh, a sixth-century Christian writer from the East. The unspeakably great privilege is not to be let out of Mass, but to be let in. Come to prayer, and bring your whole self with you. Do not let your mind remain in the market with your… Read more

Christopher O. Blum is Professor of History & Philosophy and Academic Dean of the Augustine Institute. Dr. Christopher Blum teaches courses in philosophy and on the history of evangelization and Catholic culture. He has made a special study of the intellectual virtues as understood by the Catholic tradition, with particular reference to the moral dispositions, practices, and institutional forms that conduce to the attainment of wisdom. As a student of Catholic culture, he has published a number of translations from… Read more

A medieval legend told how St. Gregory the Great had actually seen a vision of Christ himself in the bread of the Eucharist. But here St. Gregory tells us that we can all see the same thing—not with our eyes, but with our faith. The sacrifice of Christ on the Cross is re-presented for us at every Mass. We must be careful to remember that it is far safer and more secure that we should all do for ourselves, while… Read more

St. Gregory the Great tells us that it’s not enough just to be there when the sacrifice is made: we should be sacrificing ourselves, too, imitating the sacrifice on the altar. We should offer to God the daily sacrifice of tears, and the daily sacrifice of his body and blood. For this sacrifice, which in mystery renews to us the death of the Son of God, especially saves our souls from everlasting damnation. Christ is now risen from death, and… Read more

Some people in the time of Jacob of Serugh were arriving at Mass very late— just before the Eucharist. Jacob warns them that they’re missing something essential: the prayers and healing in the earlier part of the liturgy. But you might be saying, “I will go and do whatever business I have until the consecration, and when they open the doors I will go in and receive.” You who are wise, drive away and put out these notions from you,… Read more

Herod told the Magi he wanted to worship the infant Christ—but really he wanted to kill a potential rival. We do the same, says St. John Chrysostom, if we approach the Eucharist unworthily. But be careful not to be like Herod, and say, “that I too may come and worship him,” but when you have come be planning to murder him. For those who partake of the mysteries unworthily resemble Herod—as it is said, they “will be guilty of profaning… Read more

The Church is a hospital for sinners, we often hear. But sometimes the cure is to go away, repent, and come back. The Church lets everyone in, says St. Cyril of Jerusalem, but you yourself have to judge whether you’re at church for the wrong reasons. We, the ministers of Christ, have let everyone in. We hold the place of doorkeepers (so to speak), but we have left the door wide open. Perhaps you came in with your soul muddied… Read more

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