SummaryChery Hernandez on why attending Daily Mass will provide peace and order in our lives and the armor we and our children need to fight this earthly battle.
Editors Note:Originally published September 11, 2013.
Why do we need ten reasons to attend daily Mass? God created us — the very reason we exist, living and breathing right now, is because of the goodness and infinite love of God, and we owe it to Him to spend time with Him every day.
This should be enough of a reason for us. We have the chance to partake in the Body and Blood of Our Savior — His flesh mingled with our flesh. This also should be enough of a reason. If we truly understood this, churches would be filled every day. Nothing would hold us back… but the reality is that churches are not filled.
Perhaps it’s because we will never really understand the power or beauty of the Mass. As St. John Vianney said, “If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy.”
So it is my feeble attempt to offer a few more reasons why daily Mass is so important for our families, and although I think all of these reasons have merit, the list is presented from the “least” important to the most important, so keep reading to the end.
Even though these reasons are specifically addressed to homeschooling families, Our Lord waits for each and every one of us to shower His graces upon, and He cannot be outdone in generosity.
10. Daily Mass will help put order in your homeschool.
One excuse often heard is that Mass will cut too much into school time. It’s hard enough to get all the schoolwork done!
The truth is, attending daily Mass forces us to be more organized, structured and to prioritize our lives.
Think about it — by 9:00 am, we could have already showered, dressed, done some quick chores, gone to Mass, had breakfast and be ready to start school. Yes, it takes some planning and a little practice, but it can be done.
Kids who go to school must get up at the crack of dawn in order to catch the school bus. Working people, especially those who commute, must get up very early. For some reason, we homeschoolers have become a little lax in this area. Getting up early at a set time is good for us (more on that in Reason #9).
Having a structured, morning routine keeps us on task and more focused; consequently, more work actually is accomplished.
If you’re wondering why your daughter often daydreams and seems so slow in getting her school work done, maybe she needs to be sitting at a desk, fully clothed (not in her pajamas!), having just received the Eucharist and a good healthy breakfast. St. Isidore, a poor farmer, went to Mass every day.
God, in order to show how pleased He was, caused his field to be plowed by the concealed service of the Holy Angels. St. Germaine, a poor peasant girl who had the task of shepherding the family’s sheep, would fix her staff in the ground on the hillside when it was time for Mass each day. The sheep would gather around it, never leaving until she returned.
Perhaps God will not ask the angels to do our children’s school work or help with the house work while we are at Mass, but undoubtedly He will give us the help we need to order our lives when we put Him first.
Think about it this way. There is no better catechism that our children will receive than from Christ Himself.
So school has already begun once you walk through the doors of the church.
9. Going to daily Mass teaches self-discipline.
Getting up early and beginning each day with Jesus is the perfect way to begin every day. St. Josemaria Escriva says in The Way, “Conquer yourself each day from the very first moment, getting up on the dot, at a set time, without granting a single minute to laziness.
If, with the help of God, you conquer yourself in that moment, you’ll have accomplished a great deal for the rest of the day. It’s so discouraging to find yourself beaten in the first skirmish!”
In addition to getting up at a set time every day, the Mass itself offers opportunities to learn self-discipline. How about the ability to sit still and focus for a set period of time? This is a skill that must be practiced, often difficult to teach when homeschooling.
In our homeschools, children like to get off their chairs, find the need to move around for the slightest reasons and are distracted easily.
Because homeschooling doesn’t provide that built-in opportunity to sit at a desk in conformity with all the other kids, they really don’t get much of a chance to learn these skills. And the ability to sit and focus is indeed an important skill.
Daily Mass, being only 30 minutes, provides a wonderful opportunity to teach that. And like anything else, practice makes perfect, so the more we attend daily Mass, the more self-disciplined we will become.
St. John Vianney said,
“Those who go often to Mass during the week do their work very much better than those who, for want of faith, think they have no time for it.”
8. Your children will have more opportunity to serve.
Often our children can only serve once or twice a month on Sundays. If they come to daily Mass, they may be able to serve several times each week, if not every day! If our children truly love to serve, then this is a blessing. Boys who serve at the altar, working with a priest, gain a glimpse of the priestly life.
If God later calls them to a religious vocation, they may then be more open to answering that call. Daily Mass is also perfect training ground for new servers — the Mass is shorter, less complicated, less stressful for beginners. Older servers can use this opportunity to help train younger servers, gaining leadership skills.
7. The repetition of attending daily Mass makes the Liturgy something familiar and loved.
Our children will come to know and understand the Mass through frequent attendance. They will then pay better attention, point out details and ask all kinds of questions. The Mass will become something they look forward to and expect on a daily basis.
God willing, when they are older, they will carry on this tradition because it has become such an important part of their lives.
6. Daily Mass is the perfect way to learn about the saints.
Because we don’t celebrate saints’ feast days on Sundays, the Sunday Mass homilies are rarely about the saints. But at daily Masses, the homilies are often about the saints. We and our children will fall in love with the saints as we follow the liturgical year and celebrate each of their feast days. These wonderful men and women — who are gazing at the face of God — will become our children’s heroes and models.
We are fortunate in that our pastor displays relics of many saints on their feast days. What a joy to bring our children to venerate the relics of some of their favorite saints.
On the Feast of St. Maria Goretti each year, I look forward to kneeling in front of her relics, after celebrating Mass in her honor, asking for her intercession for our children — especially for their purity and chastity. On the Feast of St. Blaise, we have our throats blessed.
We can celebrate our children’s patron saints and Confirmation saints by having the priest or deacon give them a special blessing after Mass.
And one more wonderful benefit related to the saints and daily Mass: Our Lord, in a revelation to St. Gertrude the Great, said that for each Mass we hear with devotion, He will send a saint to comfort us at death. Wow!
5. In 3 years of going to daily Mass, we will have read (almost) the entire Bible!
Based on the three-year cycle of Sunday Mass readings and two-year cycle of daily Mass readings, 80% to 90% of the Bible is read during a 3-year period. St. Jerome said that “ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ,” which is why the Church puts such importance upon the Liturgy of the Word.
Children get excited when they hear a familiar passage that they have studied in their religion course or read about in a book. As homeschoolers, opportunities for discussion about the readings around the lunch or dinner table are endless, as are topics for paragraphs and essays.
Best of all, during Mass we listen to the Word of God speaking to us personally, allowing us to get to know Him better, and whetting our appetites just enough to want to continue studying Sacred Scripture at home.
We and our children will have many opportunities to share our Catholic faith with our Protestant brothers and sisters. Knowledge of the Bible is essential to effectively communicate with them and explain the fullness of the Truth which only the Catholic Church holds.
4. We can offer up our Mass for loved ones — living or deceased.
We know from the Catechism that the four principal ends (purposes) of the Mass are Adoration, Thanksgiving, Contrition and Petition.
There is a wonderful time to petition or ask God for favors, during the Prayers of the Faithful. Here we can offer up our Mass for our children, our spouse, loved ones who have died, or for anyone who needs our prayers.
St. Anselm, a Doctor of the Church, said that a single Mass offered for oneself (or someone else) during life may be worth more than a thousand celebrated for the same intention after death. Our pastor allows a few moments after the general intercessions, asking us to offer up silently any other intentions we have. This is a beautiful moment to petition Our Lord.
We can also rescue Holy Souls from Purgatory. Many saints have told us that by piously hearing Holy Mass, we can afford the Souls in Purgatory the greatest possible relief, and once they are in Heaven, they will be praying for us!
3. We are giving our children a foundation for life.
Our children will someday grow up and leave for college, marriage, religious vocation, etc. They will never forget the importance we put on daily Mass, on making God the center of our lives, every single day. They may forget most of their algebra, chemistry and Latin, but attending daily Mass will never leave them.
Even if they do stray from their faith after they leave, or get a little lax in their Mass attendance, the foundation has been laid. Something will draw them back because, once it has become a part of our daily life, the Eucharist is a very hard thing (Person) to live without.
God has entrusted our children into our care for such a short period of time and He expects us to “…keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice…” (Genesis 18:19) So much of how our children will choose to live out the rest of their lives depends on the foundation that we give them.
We have a grave responsibility. We will make many mistakes as we raise our children, probably wish we could change some of the decisions we make, but be assured the decision to attend daily Mass as a family is one we will never regret.
It is the single greatest gift we can give to ourselves and our children.
2. Daily Mass gives us the armor we and our children need to fight this earthy battle.
Yes, it is a battle. There is a reason we are called the Church Militant. Satan is in a battle for our children’s souls. The Church offers us so many ways to protect ourselves from the Evil One — the rosary, wearing the brown scapular, consecrating our children to the Blessed Virgin Mary, devotion to our guardian angels — but nothing gives us more strength to defeat Satan than receiving the Eucharist every day.
We have all heard the mantra, “the family that prays together, stays together.” Pope Paul VI said that the Mass is the most perfect form of prayer! Daily prayer unites and strengthens our families.
The world seems bent on destroying the family. Every time we read the news, there seems to be another attack on the family. Our best defense is to get holy by arming our families with sacramental graces from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
1. The more we attend Mass, the holier we will become!
Each time we receive Holy Communion, we are receiving sanctifying grace. The Catechism states that sanctifying grace is God’s own life in our souls. Grace makes us holy and pleasing to God.
Reception of the Holy Eucharist also brings sacramental graces, which helps us to keep God’s life in us — in other words, if received properly, these graces help increase our faith, help us to live how God wants us to, and lessens our inclination to sin.
“He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood has life everlasting and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:54)
After reading these ten reasons, if you’re still not convinced of the importance — and necessity — of daily Mass, listen to those who are now fulfilling the purpose of their existence… “to know, love and serve God in this world so we can be happy with Him in heaven.”
I’ll leave you with the wisdom of the saints….
“If we only knew how God regards this Sacrifice, we would risk our lives to be present at a single Mass.”
— St. Padre Pio, stigmatist priest
“You will gain more from one single Mass than you would from distributing all your goods to the poor or making pilgrimages to all the most holy shrines in Christendom.”
— St. Bernard
“Man should tremble, the world should vibrate, all heaven should be deeply moved when the Son of God appears on the altar in the hands of the priest.”
— St. Francis of Assisi
“All the steps we take to hear Mass are counted by the Holy Angels and that person will be given a high reward by God in this life and in eternity.”
— St. Augustine
“Know, O Christian, that the Mass is the holiest act of religion. You cannot do anything to glorify God more nor profit your soul more than devoutly assisting at it, and assisting as often as possible.”
— St. Peter Julian Eymard
“Every Holy Mass, heard with devotion, produces in our souls marvelous effects, abundant spiritual and material graces which we ourselves, do not know.”
— St. Padre Pio
“Receiving communion every day for so many years! Anybody else would be a saint by now — you told me — and I …I’m always the same!
Son, I replied, keep up your daily communion, and think: What would I be if I hadn’t received?”
–St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way #534