What do we do when we go to Mass and we “don’t get anything out of it?”
I think at some point in the Mass as our boredom or frustration mount, we have to make a decision. Are we going to let something as insignificant as bad coffee get in the way of encountering God?
Sometimes going to Mass is like getting great coffee in a bad cup.
The other day I bought a coffee and didn’t realize that the seal on the bottom of the cup was imperfect. The leaking coffee made huge stains over the front my sweater. I was hacked off to the point of not being able to enjoy the coffee. Then I considered that there was nothing I could do to change the cup at that moment, so either I could be angry and not enjoy my coffee or I could drink it and enjoy every drop that wasn’t on my shirt.
Even when everything seems to be going wrong at Mass, God is still present. And if God is present, we have an opportunity to find Him. The path to finding God in the midst of the messiness of imperfect Church is a shift in focus from our needs or wants to God’s outpouring of love. When we move our focus from us to God, the bad coffee matters less and less. In other words we have to name the coffee as bad, and then get over it.
This is hard.
It is hard to experience God in the midst of poorly done Church. So what do we do? I don’t have a great answer. I wish I did. What I do have are two suggestions for making sure every time we walk out of Mass we know God moved in us. Read More
Why are we so infatuated with coffee or preaching or music, if it isn’t the most important thing? Are we that shallow? Why do we lose the point in the midst of all the things trying to make the point?
We know when we have a good cup of coffee.
Things like coffee can be judged and measured. We know when we have heard a good homily because we have an emotional or intellectual reaction. We know when the music works for us because our toe taps, and we are tempted, dare I say it, to sing and pray along. We know when we walk into a church, look up into the mosaic covered dome and utter “Oh my God” (not at all in vain) in reaction the undeniable beauty before our eyes.
We want to know something has happened when we go to Church. We want to be able to observe or even measure the value we received. If Church is going to be worth our time, we want to know that it worked. Not only do we want Church to be actually good for us, we want to be aware, to know, that it was good.
Thus, we put more importance on good music, entertaining preaching (did I laugh?), and coffee because when those things are good, we know we got something out of Mass. When those things aren’t good we often walk out of Mass and don’t know that we were affected. We may even think nothing has happened. Read More
There is a plague that has run rampant in Catholic Churches for years. Few have sought to end this scourge. Most have just accepted this fact as an unchangeable reality. The elderly sigh and talk about the good ol’ days when things were different. The young don’t bother to come to the Church for this anymore because they can get fancier, flashier versions somewhere else. The world has become so relativistic that some even challenge the notion that there is good and bad of this fundamental substance.
Of course, I’m talking about coffee.
Church coffee is notoriously bad. When our bulletin folders are in the office, the coffee is so thin you could read the bulletin through it. For some reason, when particular people make coffee, there is this oily film covering the top. Some days the coffee is so wretched to call it burnt sludge would be an insult to burnt sludge.
Frustrated and deeply desiring a “real” cup of coffee, I made a desperate move. I went to Target and purchased an $18 coffee maker, $3 worth of filters, and an $8 bag of good beans. I brought them back to my office and brewed myself some good coffee. It was magnificent. Read More