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“Ask a Priest: Is Attending Daily Mass Really Helpful?”
Q: I am a college freshman, and daily Mass is always available. However, sometimes I feel like I should be doing other things during the Mass, even such as studying my Bible or making an examen in order to better dispose myself for the Eucharists I do receive. I always thought it was interesting that Mary at Fatima requested that all Christians say the rosary every day, but not that all Christians attend daily Mass if it’s available. Is there a law of diminishing return when it comes to the Eucharist? Is one Mass a week sufficient to support growth in sanctity? — A.M.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: If the Eucharist is received fervently, there is never a “diminishing return” in regard to communion. The treasures of the Eucharist are infinite, since it is Jesus himself.
A few observations might be helpful here.
During Mass we should be paying attention to the Mass itself: the prayers, the readings, the homilies, etc. It’s not really a time for Bible study. And if we live the Mass well, we are already preparing to receive the Eucharist well.
If you raise the question about diminishing returns, it might be a sign that you simply need better spiritual preparation for communion.
As for Fatima: Our Lady would never disparage the Mass for the sake of the rosary. Daily Mass is simply a lot to ask of most people, whereas a daily rosary is much more doable for the faithful.
And while Mass on Sundays and holy days are an important ingredient of a person’s growth in holiness, that shouldn’t dissuade someone from attending daily Mass.
In fact, when people get more seriously focused on their faith, daily Mass is one of the best ways for them to intensify their spiritual growth. A book that might you is Maximizing the Mass.
In general, if you feel called to go deeper in your faith, that is an inspiration you might want to pursue.
We only have one life to live, and we need not settle for meeting the minimum requirements of the Church.
To help with your prayer life, you might consider The Better Part. I hope some of this helps.
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