Any one who has been properly Catechized (and even those who haven’t) should be able to tell you that Christ is truly present in the Mass. Now, to some of us that means that a friendly, cheerful, “buddy-Jesus” comes down during the consecration and dwells mystically among us. While this is true, it’s also lacking the fullness of what is truly going on. For others, more informed others, it means Christ suffering on the Cross for us. This is true, as the other was true, but still misses some of the point. For not only does Christ come to us during the Mass, but so does ALL OF HEAVEN!
And of course all of Heaven would come to us in the Mass, if God comes to us in the Mass, how could it even be possible that Heaven wouldn’t?We can be lead, by our surroundings, to think that the idea that all the Saints and Angels being around us is a nice, warm, comforting image. But this doesn’t really take a whole lot into account.First, let us recall our ancient Jewish roots.
The ancient Jews loved their God and their Temple, but all this aside, they were TERRIFIED of it. That’s right, they were afraid of the Temple, and rightfully so, being that the Temple, like the Mass, held the Presence of God. They were particularly afraid of the Holy of Holies, the Inner Sanctuary of the Temple that housed the Ark of the Covenant. The Holy of Holies terrified them so much, that only one man had to go in, the high priest, and even he only did it once a year, to make the Atonement Sacrifice, and on top of that, they tied a rope around his waste to drag him out in case he died.”But that’s okay, we’re not Jews, we don’t have to worry about that, right?”
To be short;
So, why do we lack this fear of God? We receive Communion, for those of you who don’t know that means bodily receiving the GOD of Jacob, who (you know) created the ENTIRE UNIVERSE, with a lackadaisical attitude. We go before what the ancient Jews were so afraid of that they made preparations for death before doing it, without a thought, or a care. Because we’ve made God “nice”.
To see how far this false “nicety” can take us, lets go back to the presence of the angels at Mass. Many of us would believe that this means that there’s an army of naked babies with wings floating through the church. This is not what Scripture tells us of the angels though. In fact some of the angelic creatures described in the Scriptures would make Wes Craven crap his pants.
Take this for example:
(Seriously, the next time your kids act out in Mass, just tell them this thing is there…)
And just like we’ve in our understanding changed what the angels are, so too have we changed what God is. We have made a “Stepford Jesus” who never makes us change anything about ourselves. Well unfortunately that isn’t how God works. God is the Almighty Creator, and like the Jews we should always be in awe and fear of Him. Now many argue against this saying “oh, but God loves us.” As if love makes Him any less powerful. If anything His great love for us should make us fear Him more, being that he is so intimately involved in our lives.
And as such, I say to you as the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom says to all of us; whenever we go before God we should always “approach with Faith, with Fear, and with Love.”