I have noticed a disturbing trend on social media lately. Perhaps it has been around for some time, but some Catholics are telling people to miss Mass of they are unable to attend one in Latin. Let me be clear. I have nothing against the Latin Mass and find it to be incredibly moving and reverent, but telling someone to intentionally miss Mass is to advocate for mortal sin.
Yes there are liberties and various abuses out there, but does sinning do anything about them? The Catholic church is composed of 24 four different rites and the 23 that don’t use Latin are just as valid as the Roman rite. The sacraments are present, and after all, is that not why we are at Mass in the first place?
I am a convert and over the years I have been witness to many things that perhaps should not occur at Mass. However, I am there for the sacraments. I am there for the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ in the Eucharist. I receive this precious gift whether I am attending a Novus Ordo Mass, Ad Orientum Mass, or a Byzantine Divine Liturgy. In his great work the Summa Theologica St. Thomas Aquinas states, “The principal cause works by the power of its form, to which form the effect is likened; just as fire by its own heat makes something hot. In this way none but God can cause grace” (STIII, Q62, A1).
It is God who makes the sacraments what they are through the actions of the priest. Christ was to come as Mediator, to teach, to give his grace through the sacraments. It is important to make the distinction between instruments of grace, and the instrument of grace. The two are quite different and the distinction is vital. The sacraments are instruments of grace because they were established by Christ to convey grace. He is the instrument through which the sacraments convey grace. This shows that the sacraments are instruments of grace and that Christ is the cause. Christ is the instrument as he instituted the sacraments.
If we are serious about pursuing holiness then missing Mass is not an option. Encouraging someone to miss Mass is to be advocating for Mortal sin, which itself is a mortal sin. If there is something that bothers you then talk with someone about it. Talk to your priest, respectfully, and express your concern. Lets not forget that one is also welcome to try out other parishes in the area.
Part of being in the communion of saints is helping each other on the journey to Heaven. We do that by encouraging Mass attendance, catechesis, participating in the sacraments, and forming consciences. Take advantage of the sacraments. They are there to help us on the journey to Heaven. The grace that Christ gives us in them cannot be understated.
Part of pursuing holiness is to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. If there is something wrong perhaps you are there to be an instrument of change? All to often it is easier to go on social media and to react negatively. After all, we seem to be all about the likes and retweets no matter controversial. I challenge you to self examine first. The type of liturgy we attend means nothing if our hearts lack charity. Don’t discourage people from coming to Mass, but invite them with open arms and teach them so the faith will be stronger tomorrow because of an action you took today.