The Holy Mass is our overall theme of the year and you’re really seeing that upfront, here at the beginning. It was the theme of our October Classroom Lessons, the theme of our Challenge this year, and the theme of all of our October Home Lessons.
It’s the source and summit, the most perfect form of prayer*, the sum and summary of our faith. The Mass is the center of Catholic liturgical prayer, because it recalls and re-enacts the greatest event of history and of Christian faith: the paschal mystery – the passion, death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.** At the Mass, Jesus our savior is continually re-presenting His perfect sacrifice to God the Father, not only on behalf of the whole world, but of sinful, unworthy me! (and you, and every other individual) Every time we assist at Mass*** we unite ourselves with the liturgy that is constantly happening in heaven, and are practicing for the day when we can be part of that eternal worship face to face! No matter what you understand about the Mass – there’s always more to learn. And no matter how much you love and appreciate the Mass – it’s just a fraction of the devotion that is really deserved.
On the most basic level, the Mass is one prayer with two main parts: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We’re going to divide the lessons in the same way over the next two weeks, so we can devote a little more time to each before your kid’s attention span gives out.
I can think of a few different directions for your study, depending on the age and needs of your kids.
- First, and most obvious, is to go through the parts of the Mass learning more about the the order and the meaning of each. This was the focus of the Classroom Lessons and you would do well to reinforce it at home. Part of the Classroom Lesson for your K, 1st, or 3rd grader included lots of movement as they practiced all the stand/sit/kneel, the Sign of the Cross, genuflecting, and of course, this month’s memory verse of tracing small crosses on their forehead, lips and heart before the Gospel reading. Not only does this give valuable practice but it’s a good way to get the wiggles out.
- Second, for those who are older or already very familiar with the parts of the Mass, is to actually think about the meaning. Your child’s copy of My Holy Mass Book aids in this goal in all the places provided to write personal reflections. (Jesus forgive me these faults; I give you glory and praise for these things; This is what I learned from today’s readings, etc.) You may also want to share parts of the extra piece entitled Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Mass. It’s intended for parents, but would be very appropriate reading for teens or anyone who just wants to learn more.
- And finally, if you think this is all over the head of your youngest saints, you may want to just focus on appropriate behavior and preparation for Mass. You’ll find some help with this on the inside cover of the My Holy Mass Book, and on the green sheets entitled The Paulines Go To Holy Mass. These skills are the foundation of it all, so start here if that’s what works best for you!
NEXT WEEK: The Liturgy of the Eucharist!
- *Pope Paul VI
- ** Alan Schreck, Basics of the Faith
- *** Baltimore Catechism, 363-364 to learn more about the the concept of “assisting” at Mass