What Does “Peace Be With You” Mean in Catholic Mass?

Reading, “At Mass, what does it mean to exchange “the peace of Christ”?” from Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction inspired me to put together a little something to explain what “the sign of the peace” or saying “peace be with you” at Mass means. While I understand that most Catholics know the meaning behind this rite of the Communion, I believe that there are also a few who might still be wondering what does “Peace be with you” mean in Catholic Mass.

The salutation, “peace be with you,” was actually inspired by Jesus Christ’s words upon seeing his disciples during his resurrection. (You can read the story in Luke 24:35-48.)

I read a very wonderful and concise explanation of this rite from a book titled, “How to Understand the Liturgy” by Jean Lebo, it said: “The Sign of Peace is a point where one sees whether the liturgy holds together. If the congregation has not really been welded together during the course of the Mass, then it is useless and inappropriate to perform this action.”

So what does “peace be with you” mean in Catholic Mass? Simply put, I would say that the “sign of the peace” is meant to remind us that we cannot become one with the Lord unless we we recognize him in the people around us.

Things That Can Ruin the Liturgical Experience

My family and I have had the opportunity to travel a bit, which is a blessing. With those travels, we have attended Mass at various local parishes. So, reading Jeffrey Tucker’s “Five Ways to Ruin the Mass” kind of struck a chord in me. A few times we have found ourselves in the middle of a Mass feeling a little confused and uncertain as to whether we are actually in attending a Roman Catholic Mass. There are certainly some things that can ruin the liturgical experience. The author captures exactly the things that lead me and my husband to feel this way–celebrants improvising liturgical texts, politicized prayer of the faithful, replacement of Mass propers.

The Holy Mass is the central act of Catholic worship. For this very reason, I believe that it is improper for anyone to change any of the details of the the Catholic Mass according to his own penchant. I would describe the traditional Catholic Mass as mysterious, glorious, reverent, awe-inspiring, and holy, and  I would like for it to be this way forever. Wouldn’t you? What are some things that can ruin the liturgical experience in your opinion?

Smile More During Mass

While I was doing my morning scan at the National Catholic Register, I found myself reading a post titled, “Smile?” Somewhere along the post, I read this sentence, “Catholics certainly don’t smile very much during Mass.” This statement made me pause for a while and recall the picture of a usual Mass in my head. And indeed, the statement was right, my memory of a usual Mass did not include a crowd of smiling faces.

While I agree with the author of the article above that “this non-smiling is not a sign of anything bad.” Not smiling can mean that we are thinking hard, pondering, reflecting and talking to God in the duration of the mass and not just mean that we are sad or worried. Wouldn’t it be more wonderful if we smiled while doing all these things though? Wouldn’t Mass feel more warm and encouraging with a smiling crowd? I want to make a point to smile more during Mass.

Besides, we have all the reason to keep a smile on that face. We are alive, we are loved and we are saved by grace! So smile more during Mass and all the time!

Why I Love Going To Mass

This morning, I read a post titled with a question: “Why do YOU skip Mass?” caught my attention. These lines from the said post especially struck a chord in me: “When you have skipped mass, why have you done it? If you routinely skip mass, why? What is not working, for you?” These questions remind me of the time in my life when I could barely find my way into a Church. More importantly, they reminded me of why I attended mass again, and why I love going to Mass now. Let me share with you my reasons:

1. At Mass God is able to talk to me in a way that I will not find anywhere else.

2. It gives me the opportunity to tell the world around me that I am a believer and follower of Jesus Christ and a member of the Catholic church.

3. It gives me the chance to feel a sense of fellowship and belongingness with other believers.

4. It is the only time that I get the opportunity to receive the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ.

5. It gives me the chance to commemorate, celebrate and perpetuate Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary.

Whatever your reasons are that is great! I just want to share why I love going to Mass. Why do YOU love going to Mass?

Distractions During Mass: Physical and Mental

I believe we have all experienced distractions during Mass. Well “distractions” may mean sitting next to a parent with a crying child or a bunch of gossiping teenagers to some people, but a post I read titled “Mass Confusion” reminded me that these physical sources of distractions are not really the main reasons why we lose our focus during Mass. Distractions during Mass can come from within.

Yes, the people who come to Church inappropriately dressed or those who come marching down the aisles in the middle of the homily may also cause us distractions aside from the things I have mentioned above. More often than not, it is our own worrisome thoughts that really rob us of the beauty of Mass–thoughts of things that ought to be done at home or at work. Intrusive thoughts about the people who have wronged us, thoughts about our goals, desires and most especially our problems. It is these thoughts that really take away our focus from God–this is what keeps us from enjoying the full blessing of the Holy Mass.

Do you have any suggestions about what we can do or what we should not do to be able to handle the distractions we experience during Mass ? Insights are much appreciated.

Thoughts About The “Cry-Room” at Church

A few days ago, I shared my thoughts about how I admire parents who take their children to Mass. Today I would like to share my thoughts about the “cry-room” (also known as the family room) that most churches provide for mothers or families with young children. My thoughts were inspired by one mother’s experience on taking her kids to Mass alone. (If you want to read about it, here it is: “I Took the Kids to Mass Today!“)

There is no doubt that churches have put up the “cry-room room” with the best intentions–that is, to make sure that worshipers get to hear Mass undisturbed. However, I believe that parents shouldn’t be forced (by anyone) to use the room if they think their kids can handle sitting with the general audience. Of course, they are kids and there certainly will be some minor hiccups from time to time, but I think that as long as a child stays put and doesn’t throw fits, there is no need to use the “cry-room”.

Furthermore, I think that parents ought to train their child to behave well during Mass rather than choose to have them stay in the family room–where no one really gets anything out of the Mass. It is important that we teach our children the right things early on, instead of having them do what they want all the time. It isn’t fun to have to correct their wrong behaviors, but it is the right thing to do.  Lastly, if you happen to sit beside a mother with her kids in the general audience some time soon, please don’t ask them to sit in the “cry-room” and deprive them of the chance to enjoy and worship the Lord fully.

Respect Parents Who Bring Their Young Children to Mass

I respect the families that choose to bring their young children to Mass. Most of the time they are really well behaved, and I think it is important to instill the habit of attending Mass in kids today. Sometimes I see parents struggling to keep their child quiet during Mass, and some people give them annoyed looks. I really dislike when people do this. The parents are simply trying to do something good. Sure, the young children might cry or have an outburst at some point, but can you blame the parents for trying to teach their kids about God? I think we all need to relax and let these parents keep doing what they’re doing. Eventually those little kid will grow up, and hopefully the good habits of their parents will help them grow into future members of your parish.

I read a post that I thought was really cool recently. It was written from the perspective of the youngest child of a family who attends Mass together. The post is titled, “A Letter to Frankie About Mom’s Mass Survival Tips”. I thought it was an awesome post because it describes how this mother has kept her family full of children under control at Mass. Hearing it told from a young child’s perspective was hilarious though.

Dog Still Attending Mass Each Morning After Owner Passed Away

I recently read a story that solidified the fact that dogs truly are man’s best friend. A dog whose owner passed away not too long ago, has still been attending Mass every day. The dog’s owner Maria Margherita Lochi used to bring the dog, Tommy, to Mass every day with her. Her funeral was also held in the same church in San Donaci, Italy. It seems that the dog has gotten used to the routine of attending Mass, and has been returning each morning. The local community has no problem with this because Tommy is well behaved, and also loved by the community. Currently Tommy is being cared for by the community, but he will have a new owner sometime soon. This story warmed my heart and I wanted to share it with all of you.

To read more about this story follow this link: Loyal Dog Continues to Attend Mass Every Day at Church Where Owner’s Funeral Was Held

New Mass Translations: Surveys Show Different Opinions a Year Later

It has been over a year since the new Mass translations have been put into effect. Hopefully you’ve all gotten used to saying, “And with your spirit” by now! A recent survey shows that 70% of Catholics are happy with the new translations and think it was a good idea. The survey was conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. 1,047 Catholics took place in the survey. It seems like mostly Catholics who said they went to Mass on a more regular basis appreciated the changes more.

However, there are surveys that have been done to show the contrary. U.S. Catholic Magazine featured an interview that showed clergy and Mass goers are overall unhappy with the changes. So I suppose it really depends on where you get your information from.

To read more about the surveys talked about in this post read this: Catholics Find New Mass Translations to Their Liking

How do you like the new Mass translations?

The Eucharist: The Meaning of God’s Gift to All Catholics

Catholics receive the Eucharist when they go up to the alter to receive the bread and wine. This is a representation of the Last Supper when Jesus said the bread was his body and the wine was his blood and extended them to his disciples.

The Importance of the Eucharist to Catholics

Receiving the bread and wine during communion is an important part of being a Catholic. It reminds us that we are part of God’s life. We are much like the disciples that sat with Jesus on that sacred Last Supper day.

Why We Need the Eucharist

But why do we need this reminder every time we go to Mass? We need it because without taking in the body and blood of Jesus, we tend to succumb to the demands of life and forget what we really need to concentrate on.

As human beings, we are naturally drawn to material possessions. We work so we can afford to live a lifestyle that is much more than we need. We stress about things that are not what God wants us to stress about. We fail to do what God wants us to do in our life, which is to follow Him.

When we go to church, we take time to reflect on our life. We put God back into our life and remember what we haven’t done in accordance to Him. We then think of what we can do in the coming days to follow His path. We correct our lives and bring back the true meaning of life.

The Eucharist is the final confirmation that we have God inside of us. When we leave the church, the body and blood we received remains with us. God remains with us. Being able to take our reflections and the symbolism of the bread and wine gives us what we need to follow the scriptures.

Human beings are not perfect. We may try our hardest to do what is right in accordance with God but we make mistakes and we succumb to temptations. God knows this…He cares for us though. As long as we actively try to improve our life and do what is right by Him he forgives us for our faults. He sees the good in us. He sees our soul.

Many people stay away from church because of the guilt they feel from not doing what they should do but what these people need is the Eucharist. They need the reminder that they have God with them always and even though they haven’t been doing the best lately, they can always change their path when God is with them.

How to Bring the Meaning of Eucharist into Your Life

The next time you receive the Eucharist, remember how you are taking in the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Feel Him inside of you, caring for you and loving you. Having someone with you at all times whom only wants the best for you can make you live a deeper spiritual life.