As a wife and mother, I am not always able to attend daily Mass, but I attempt to go as often as possible when my schedule allows for it. There are many benefits received from attending Mass, but the overriding reason I go is expressed in this statement from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life.” (CCC 1324) In the Eucharist we find and receive Christ himself, our God and Savior. Christ himself tells us: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever;…he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and…abides in me and I in him.” (Jn 6:51,54,65) It is at the top of my daily priority list to at least try to approach this most excellent sacrament of love to receive its benefits.
In the Liturgy of the Word, we hear the Word of God in the form of Old Testament and Gospel readings, which provides us with rich material for contemplation and reflection throughout the day. Often I receive inspiration, an answer to a question or problem, or correction for my faults and failings in hearing the readings of the day. Jesus instructs us through the words of the prophets and apostles and through His teachings in the Gospel. We also receive the inspiration to go out into the world and share His message which we have heard proclaimed.
Another reason I go to Mass during the week is to pray in a very powerful way for the intentions of my family and friends, our community, and the entire world. So many times in conversation we tell other that we will pray for them. Lifting up their intentions at Mass is the most efficacious means of fulfilling those promises to pray for others. We fulfill the obligation to “pray for the living and the dead” when we pray for the sick, the unemployed, victims of war, violence, natural disasters, and other tragedies, and our deceased friends and relatives.
We participate in Jesus’ suffering and sacrifice on the Cross at the Eucharistic celebration. Attending Mass, we are able to worship and give thanks for His offering of Himself on the Cross at Calvary, as “the sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice.” (CCC 1367) We are united with the offering and intercession of Christ when we participate in the sacrament of the Eucharist.
Lastly, as the Catechism outlines, there are many fruits or benefits which are gained from receiving Holy Communion. Our union with the Lord is deepened and we grow in charity and virtue. The life of grace we received at Baptism is preserved, increased, and made new each time we receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Venial sins are forgiven and we are preserved from committing grave sins in the future. Also, since our union with Christ is strengthened, we also grow in unity with the Body of Christ, the Church.
There are so many excellent reasons to attend Mass whenever we are able to; shouldn’t we make it a top priority if at all possible?