January 20, 2014

The Third Commandment: Keep Holy The Sabbath

Many Catholics do not understand the meaning of the third commandment. I invite you to join me for a look at  "Keep Holy The Sabbath" and what it means to us as Catholics.

Attending Sunday Mass is an honor and a privilege. We receive special graces when we avail ourselves of the Sacraments, particularly receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist (if we are spiritually prepared to do so.)

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
"2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.119 Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin."

What does this mean? If we blow off Mass to go shopping, watch t.v., relax, attend a sporting event or a party, etc. - we are committing a  "grave" or "mortal" sin. (Breaking any of the ten commandments constitutes grave/mortal sin.) 

This applies to Sunday Mass as well as a missed Holy day of obligation. However: if we miss Mass because we are injured, ill, attending to an ill family member, weather conditions are dangerous, etc it is considered an excusable absence and not a mortal sin. (If you want to be certain, ask your parish priest - he may give you a dispensation for your situation.)

One who misses Mass for a non serious reason will need to make use of the Sacrament of reconciliation (confession). If you haven't been to confession in 20 years - never fear. The angels in heaven rejoice at your return! Priests deal with this all the time and they will not be offended or shocked. Rather, they will guide you gently through the process - which by the way is cleansing and wonderful! 

We may still attend Mass with unconfessed mortal sin, but may not receive holy communion. Knowingly receiving communion with mortal sin on the soul is also a grave sin to be confessed. The good news is - you may still approach the priest for a blessing! Simply cross your hands over your chest when you get to the front of the line, and he will bless you.

I find that although attending Sunday Mass is an "obligation" of our Faith it does not feel like one! It is *I* who is enriched by attending. I also attend daily Mass when I can. There is no better way to start the day, than to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Not to mention the awesome feeling of being in community with fellow believers - uniting our voices in prayer! Right now, in Syria, Egypt and most of the middle east - our Christian brothers and sisters are being killed for their Faith - many beheaded. What they wouldn't give to attend Mass without risking their very lives - but still they do. We don't realize how blessed we are.

So I encourage  you to learn more about your Catholic Faith and to live it - and experience the great, unsurpassed joy that comes when we do. And remember the most important thing: Jesus love YOU. His mercy waits . . . especially for YOU.

Vatican Website: Catechism Of The Catholic Church: The Third Commandment

#Sabbath, #Mass, #Sin

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