I am reading The Last Supper by Scott Hahn, a former Protestant pastor who joined the Catholic church. It is a fascinating and enlightening explanation of the relationship between the Book of Revelation in the Bible and the Catholic Mass. Hahn says the Catholic Mass is the key to unraveling the mystery of the Book of Revelation. There is so much I am learning about the richness and depth of the Christian Catholic tradition. The Mass is teeming with belief and practice some of the oldest church fathers took part in and upheld throughout the centuries. The research is magnificent. I do not find it a coincidence that the very ideas are coming to life before my eyes. I went to a Catholic church in a town called Roskilde yesterday morning. The Mass was completely in Danish. But I was not lost. In fact, I have never felt more united to the body of Christ than in that hour of worship. I may have picked up on a handful of words the priest and the congregation spoke, but it didn’t matter. I didn’t have to understand because I knew what they were saying. Not just because the readings and prayers are set for the liturgies each Mass but more so I was joined in worshiping the Lord of the universe with those Danish people in the congregation, the church fathers from centuries before, even the Apostles themselves. And you.
Scott Hahn explains the Mass is literally heaven on earth. “In the Mass, you and I have heaven on earth. The evidence is overwhelming. The experience is revelation.” I knew I came to the church to know my Father and King. I didn’t realize I could come to be with you, dad. I didn’t know you would be next to me in the pew as we celebrate the beauty and graciousness of our Lord God. Mom always asks if I feel you with me. If I feel your presence. I did yesterday. And it brought me to my knees in tears. I was utterly wrapped up. You surrounded me as a cocoon. When you died, I felt prematurely exposed. I was not ready to be stripped from my cocoon, and I blamed God for it. Didn’t He know I didn’t have wings yet? Couldn’t fly in the world without my father? He knew. I have been to Mass almost every Sunday of my life without appreciating the fullness of truth it offers. It is a cocoon from the Father. A place of transformation to emerge anew.
“In Jesus’ time, the word (communion…in Greek, koinonia) was used most often to describe a family bond. With Communion, we renew our bond with the eternal family, the Family Who is God, and with God’s family on earth, the Church.”The Last Supper
I felt you holding me. Praying with me. Putting your arm around me as Scripture was read, and the priest blessed the bread and wine to be transformed into the true Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We took Him together as He has continually offered Himself to us over and over again. In all of the undeserving moments, He presents Himself freely to us in love.
How could I ever describe this as more than the feel-good, merely warm, and fuzzy sentiment it may sound like?
“What cannot be said will be wept.”[Sappho]
I am finding this to be the truth more often than I would truly like. As my soul finds healing in the expression of feelings and my mind lets go of its prideful claim to be all-knowing, some things indeed cannot be said. No description. No explanation. Praise God we have more means of language than words. Let us thank Him He has gifted us with a created world abundant with means of expression and relation. Things like music and sport (major praises for these two specifically). I used to think “a picture is worth a thousand words” was a surface level cliché. Not so any longer. The ability of a sunset to describe peace better than I can is no cliché. The ability of a cocoon to embody transformation better than the word itself is no cliché. The ability of the Mass to bring us together, dad, is no cliché. It is real.
I love you dad,