I remember the precise moment it happened as if it were yesterday: it was like waking from a long sleep and seeing the sun shining brightly. There I was, at Holy Mass, like I’d been countless times before, but suddenly this one was different I was transported across space and time into the presence of our Lord.
The hammer that struck me deep in my soul was the realization that I'd been there before and hadn't appreciated the privilege. My eyes welled up with tears that fell uncontrollably until I reluctantly pulled myself away at the end of the celebration.
St. Peter’s words on Mt. Tabor came to mind” “Lord, it is good that we are here,” I thought, followed almost immediately by St. Mary Magdalene’s joyful cry, “I have seen the Lord!”
I have been a daily communicant ever since, hardly able to wait until the next time I could be close to Him in the Eucharist.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses the Holy Mass in the discourse about the Holy Eucharist: “Is this not the same movement as the Paschal meal of the risen Jesus with his disciples? Walking with them he explained the Scriptures to them; sitting with them at table 'he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them'” (CCC #1347).
At the Holy Mass, we’re there, simultaneously at the foot of the Cross and before the Throne of the Father, transported across space and time not as metaphor, but really there! When the priest proclaims Christ’s words, he is not replacing Christ, but Christ is acting through the priest. Again, the Catechism has great words for us:
He is high priest of the New Covenant; it is he himself who presides invisibly over every Eucharistic celebration. It is in representing him that the bishop or priest acting in the person of Christ the head (in persona Christi capitis) presides over the assembly, speaks after the readings, receives the offerings, and says the Eucharistic Prayer. (CCC#1348)
The Holy Mass is not some empty ritual or “nice” ceremony, it is the gate of Heaven. When we sing the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) we join the angels and saints in their eternal praise around the Throne. When we see the priest elevate the Host, we’re looking upon Jesus, the Lamb of God, “standing as if slain” (Rv 5:6) in the perpetual yet once-and-for-all sacrifice that set us free from sin.
What a wondrous, amazing gift is the Holy Mass! He is always there, waiting for us to come to Mt. Tabor and Golgotha, to join Him before the Throne for the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
Yes, “It is good that we are here!”
Mickey Addison is a career military officer, and has been a catechist at the parish level since 2000. He and his wife have been married for 19 years and they have two children. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was previously published on the Rosary Army’s website and is used by permission.