Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tips on Attending Daily Mass

In 2008, my humble little convert family started attending Daily Mass together at 6:30 AM each morning. Our Holy Father gets all credit for this new habit. (We started attending Daily Mass in April to prepare our tiny kids to sit through the Papal Mass.) Since we have 3 kids under age 6, we're the only noisy ones in the pews at that early hour. A friend asked me to share some advice gleaned on this subject. Here's a recap of my email to her.

Reasons to go to Daily Mass:

1) You have a front seat to your priest's best homilies.

2) You effortlessly learn Scripture & observe cool, formerly unknown Saint's Days.

3) You get to form close friendships with other highly motivated and extremely kind parishioners. The "Daily Mass" folks tend to be a regular, stable group who you'll meet over and over again at church events. We've formed close friendships with people of all different ages, and in our immigrant Catholic church, from all different countries.

4) You get to know your priests well and they get to know your family.

5) Your kids get exposed to Mass as a regular part of Daily Life.

Those are just the quick tangible things that keep us former night owls going to bed early so that we can wake up at 5:30 AM, dress extremely sleepy children into nice clothes and bundle them into a freezing car in the dark.

Here's the mystical part that I can't put easily into words. "It's the Eucharist." Its the summit of Catholic life. It's the world's greatest miracle that gets enacted at your local parish church each and every morning and several times on Sunday. When you show up to the "optional" Mass, you receive grace. You get told explicitly in a homily or in a Sacred Scripture quote exactly how you are supposed to change your life to better conform yourself to Christ. And like the helpless humans that we are, Christ gives you himself to help you reach up to God.

If I'm asked why I drag a pack of restless young children to Mass each day, my simple answer is "because I need it." I need Mass. I need the Eucharist. I need that daily dose to get myself through the laundry washing, and the naughty chair enforcement, and the finding of the missing buckle shoes.

I go to Mass nearly day because I need Christ.

I go to Mass nearly every day because Christ needs me. He needs me there to receive his daily outpouring of love.

When I'm at Daily Mass, I get to pray for the needs of our whole Church and our whole world. My kids get to notice that the three Wisemen moved a little bit closer to the Nativity set and that someone kindly glued back the donkey's ears which got broken off last Sunday. By going to Daily Mass, I get to pray, to go to confession and to be blessed on every trip home to see my parents, every big meeting for my husband and every scary homeschooling meeting for myself.

When I go to Daily Mass, I'm already in a holy routine. When my father-in-law had his scary helicopter flight to the regional ICU, we didn't have to look up the next Daily Mass times. We already knew it by heart. On that scary day when we didn't know if Jon's Dad would be okay, we got up at our regular time and prayed our "regular" Mass with with our beloved parish priest and a beloved group of devout friends.

Not every day is an "emergency", of course. But every day, especially these hectic days with lots of young bodies in my house, is Holy. The single greatest help to living a more holy life is to "eat Jesus" more often!

If you feel any pull of your heart to go to Mass more often, just start. Don't make a big plan or big announcement. Start where you can. Drag the kids out to Mass at Candle Mass on Feb 2. Or start going by yourself on Saturdays in honor of Our Blessed Mother.
Start where you can start and let yourself be surprised by all the heavenly help that will race forward to embrace you!

Anyone else going to extra "optional" Masses either alone or with young children in tow?

11 comments:

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

As you know, I recently went on a couple of "discernment" trips to daily Mass and the Holy Spirit basically hit me over the head with a ton of bricks to tell me that, yes, this is something I'm supposed to do more often.

Thanks so much for this wonderful post!

Jen said...

I've been dragging my 3 (6 and under) to one 8 am daily mass a week for the past year and a half. Over the summer, I slowly started getting myself up and out to 6:30 the other 4 days. Now, I NEED that 6:30 mass by myself in order to be a better wife, mother, person.

This morning, I didn't get it. My husband had an early class and needed to leave by 4:30 am, and I overslept and missed the 8am mass with the kids... and boy, did my day show it! I can just handle all that comes my way with more grace when I start my day with Jesus!

Hallie said...

Thank you so much for this! I don't know if Jen mentioned what an inspiration you've been to us both. Don't be concerned but we talk about you quite a bit. ;) I started going to daily Mass on Thursday and can hardly believe the blessings I have experienced after just three days. Take care!

Melanie B said...

I used to go to daily mass. In the year before I was married, I think I went every day that I could. But pregnancy and exhaustion derailed me and I think I've been about 5 times since with my older daughter. Since baby #2 I haven't gone once. I miss daily mass. I hate to sound like a wet blanket because I totally agree about all the wonderful graces and benefits.

And I hope eventually to get back into the habit, but I know my own limits. Right now I can't even handle fifteen minutes of prayer at home much less dragging a toddler and a baby and my pregnant self out of the house before 9 am. Grace is great but sometimes you do have to give up a good, even the great good of daily mass, for the sake of your health and the well being of your family. Pope John Paul 2 once said that piety is good but that a mother sometimes needs to be home serving God by serving her family and that's where I am right now. Right now I need sleep more and my girls need a mommy who is not exhausted.

Maybe once my energy levels improve we'll be able to join my husband for noon mass occasionally. He works at the Chancery and is lucky enough to have daily mass and adoration just two floors below his office. We did go for the feast of the Immaculate Conception and everyone was amazed at how good the girls were. I know they are capable and that my husband would love to have us come, all the limitations are on my end right now.

The Koala Bear Writer said...

A friend of mine with seven kids goes to the daily 9:00 mass at our church; like you, she says it gives her the grace she needs to get through the day. My husband and I enjoy going to the evening 7:00 mass with our 10 month old. We really enjoy the time to pray and reflect together, and feel blessed that our church offers a daily mass we can both get to.

Amber said...

I've been going to daily Mass at 8:30 am twice a week since September and it has been a wonderful blessing. I go with my 6 yo, just turned 3 yo, and my now 7 mo old. It is a little trying at times, but well worth it. I wish I had started doing it sooner!

Dianna@KennedyAdventures said...

I'm so glad to find you through Jen's Conversion Diary!

This post is so timely for me, as I struggled this morning with my twin boys, busy playing with dinosaurs and stacking up the hymnnals at Mass today.

Our Mom's group at the local parish is going to start going to a Daily Mass together as a group once a month ..... I'm hoping that will blossom into once a week, with the solidarity of other mothers supporting each other.

I'm off to read more of your site ... blessings!

Marianne said...

God bless you! Happening upon your conversion blog was most definitely a treasure. What a gem! Not long ago, I started attending daily mass after having recently returned to the Catholic faith. The first day afterwards, I felt so serene and happy for being in unity with Our Lord.

Recently, I was able to convince my fiancé to attend with me. At first he was a bit hesitant and reluctant, but over time, he's come to love attending church. Unfortunately, his job inhibits his ability to attend daily. But I make it a habit to attend everyday, and my church as its first daily mass at 7, so I can begin my day with Christ!!

Beautiful blog and blessings upon you all and your families.
~Marianne~

lnrsmama said...

I've started bringing my 2-year-old daughter to the 8:00 a.m. daily mass with me, after my 2 older children get on the school bus. I'm able to do this usually twice during the week , in addition to Sundays. Our pastor really appreciates seeing us there and he sometimes comments about her. THere is an outpouring of grace in the sacrament of the Eucharist, such a wonderful help we have available to us.
Thanks everyone for sharing!
Andrea, mother of 3

lnrsmama said...

I've started bringing my 2-year-old daughter to the 8:00 a.m. daily mass with me, after my 2 older children get on the school bus. I'm able to do this usually twice during the week , in addition to Sundays. Our pastor really appreciates seeing us there and he sometimes comments about her. THere is an outpouring of grace in the sacrament of the Eucharist, such a wonderful help we have available to us.
Thanks everyone for sharing!
Andrea, mother of 3

lnrsmama said...

I've started bringing my 2-year-old daughter to the 8:00 a.m. daily mass with me, after my 2 older children get on the school bus. I'm able to do this usually twice during the week , in addition to Sundays. Our pastor really appreciates seeing us there and he sometimes comments about her. THere is an outpouring of grace in the sacrament of the Eucharist, such a wonderful help we have available to us.
Thanks everyone for sharing!
Andrea, mother of 3