Cramer: Public Mass should be as rejuvenating as it was meant to be

04 June 2020

Appears in: Archdiocesan News

As we start the process of reopening our Churches to do masses, I have been realizing how this whole pattern has been following my life journey and reconversion process to the Catholic faith.

All of us, eventually, have to leave our parents and choose how we are going to live our own lives. It is easy in our natural and normal desire to be our own person to completely reject what our parents taught us. It is easy to be extreme about what we discard, and sometimes we lose more than we gain. I encourage all young people to take the time to think through and be deliberate about what you choose to embrace and what you choose to reject.

Most times it is not an all-or-nothing affair. We have much to learn from our tradition, our past and the values that have been so important to our families, churches, religions, and our countries. Equally so, it is important to look at everything with new eyes before we accept it and embrace it. It is easy to take for granted what we have been given and it is also so easy to reject things simply because it is there.

There is an old story told that when you see a post in the ground you need to learn why they put it there before you can honestly know whether you remove it or not. Learning the Why is more traditional conservative thinking. Challenging the why is more traditional liberal thinking. Both are absolutely important. Without both actively and assertively at work we are doomed to do only what we did before, rightly or wrongly, or we are tossed around by every emotion, passion, and fancy we have. We need to have these both present to be balanced.

I left the Catholic Church when I was 16 years old, became Mormon and choose to embrace a very different set of values than my parents. Honestly, some values were thought through and other parts were not. To be fair, I did not really examine the Catholic faith as much as I tossed it out as being unnecessary.

After 12 years of being Mormon, I began to feel a hunger for the Eucharist, even though I did not realize that was what it was. In the last few months, we have all gone through this same experience in that we have not been able to attend Mass.

I hope that you have noticed the need for the Eucharist, a hunger for the Eucharist. By appreciating what you have been missing, hopefully you will appreciate more what you have. Absence can truly make the heart grow fonder.

When I came back to the Church and to Mass, my hunger was satisfied, and I woke up. I began to see for the first time the great gift in knowledge, wisdom, sacrament, and example that the Church is.

Daily Mass really helped me experience this deeply. It was a smaller group than Sunday Mass. It was also less like a circus than Sunday Mass can be. It was filled with people who genuinely want to be there. It made it easier to pray, to feel Christ’s presence and Mass became rejuvenating in the way it was always meant to be.

Daily Mass has returned with conditions to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. On June 7 churches who meet those same conditions will be able to have Sunday Mass. (Mass will continue to be livestreamed for those who can’t attend or choose to remain at home).

Now we are all going to daily Mass! May it be for you, as it was for me, a time to rediscover the wonder and awe that is Christ becoming present to us. Hopefully, this rediscovery will become our new normal.

-Father Marc Cramer is the vocations director for the Archdiocese of Edmonton and the pastor of St. Charles parish.