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A Fast from Mass?: Weekly Message for 03-24-2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
A few years ago, celebrating Mass at a private altar of the Legionary of Christ College in Rome, I received the inspiration to write a series of reflections on the prayers of Mass and share some of the spiritual wealth I had experienced celebrating the Eucharist. Those reflections were published over a period of almost three years here at RCSpirituality in blog form (as Finding the Plug) and now I have brought those reflections together in the book Maximizing the Mass, which is available this week.
I would never have imagined that the week my book went on sale I would be celebrating the Mass again at a private altar because public celebrations of the Eucharist had been suspended as a precaution against the spread of the COVID-19 virus that has impacted so many people not just virally, but spiritually, socially and economically. I feel blessed as a priest to continue to celebrate the Eucharist during these trying times for all of you and to offer Our Lord sacramentally to Our Heavenly Father for all your intentions, and I can only imagine the trial an imposed Mass “fast” implies for all of you.
The Second Vatican Council called for a reform of the liturgy in order to foster “active participation” in Mass so that “the faithful come to it with proper dispositions, that their minds should be attuned to their voices, and that they should cooperate with divine grace” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 11). Mass is not just something to be attended, but lived, and the key to letting the spiritual wealth of the liturgy enrich your life is participating actively in the Mass. My hope is that Maximizing the Mass helps you do that.
Just as that first candy Easter morning after refraining from sweets during Lent is more satisfying than when you have sweets at your fingertips every day I hope this “fast” from participation in the Eucharist will pique your spiritual appetite for that day when you can return to Mass again.
My book has always been intended as a resource you could read and meditate on as a preparation for Mass. For many of you Mass is not coming up in a few days or hours (whether you participate weekly or daily), but a few weeks (due to precautions against COVID-19), so I hope my book will help you return to Mass with renewed appreciation and participation. It’s a Lenten “fast” none of us could have ever foreseen, but, like all fasts, you will emerge stronger for it.
May Our Lord strengthen you during this Mass “fast” and bless you with a renewed appreciation of the Eucharist.
Father Nikola Derpich, L.C.
Maximizing the Mass