Hearing Mass For the First Time, All Over Again
Nicollo, Inio and I just came home from mass this morning.
By saying, "just came home", it's implied that we heard mass at Church again!!! For the first time!!! In nearly 2 years!!!
Well, more of, "I heard mass" because Nicollo was busy running after Inio outside the church so I could sit down inside... thank you, darling!
Coincidentally it's also the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, too, our community's Mama Mary.
I was so, so happy to be there. And I could feel that same happiness among the churchgoers today. I'm sure our family wasn't the only one attending its first physical mass today since the beginning of the pandemic.
During mass, I found myself correcting bad habits I'd acquired while hearing Mass digitally at home -- zoning out during the Homily, checking my phone for notifications... While sitting in my pew, I realized how much richer an experience it is being physically present during mass.
The community, with everyone singing and responding to the liturgy, is a huge part of the worship and prayer. And even bigger, that feeling of the physical presence of Our Lord in the tabernacle brings so much focus and attention to prayer and actually being there.
I was so moved by the simple mass, I found myself crying thrice! It was so moving when the whole church was singing Lamb Of God with so much heart and spirit. I don't know if I'd just never noticed it before, but it felt like everyone there really wanted to be there. They weren't forced by their parents or by the Sunday obligation, but out of their own volition, they were there and they were happy to be there.
I felt the Holy Spirit moving in me, too. While we were there, I could hear a calling to do something to serve the church and the community, like volunteer to sing or read at mass (hopefully when the kids are older). Then the song during communion was Make Me A Servant. It fit so perfectly in my prayer.
Anyway, I'm just so happy and at peace in finally be back in Church, especially in receiving Communion again. I felt like a kid going to mass for the very first time, at awe with everything around me -- the lights, the music, the echoes of everyone's voices, the little white wafer mom and dad lined up for (then asking them to open their mouth to take a peek)...
I'm also especially glad that we brought Inio to mass today. Nicollo and I always made sure to bring Inio to mass every Sunday pre-pandemic, even when he was so difficult to have around at church, because we wanted to expose him as early as possible to our faith. So I was really thankful (to Nicollo especially) that we were able to bring him again today to experience it. He loved the church grounds. And though it's just play for him now, that enjoyment will hopefully draw him closer to God and inspire his life of prayer later on.
I hope this wonder and desire spills over to our everyday. It is so easy to pray and be spiritual when you're inspired, right? But when it doesn't, may I remember these past two years of spiritual struggle without our physical connection with the church.
It took two whole years of being away to fully appreciate the Good... So much good in our faith. What a privilege to be back. May I never forget it.