Questo articolo è disponibile anche in: Italian English

Question

Hello Father,

I would like to ask you a question concerning going to mass not only on Sunday but also on weekdays. I have not received a good Christian upbringing, neither do I come from a pious family. Furthermore, I have not led a morally orderly life in the past.Therefore, since I have drawn near to the Lord my family life is not easy anymore. I feel misunderstood by my atheist and disrespectful father and by my protestant mother, who actually respects me, but does not understand my need to pray, to spend time with the Lord. […]

I remember that in my parish I was taught that weekdays are for work, whilst Sundays are for the Lord, for the poor and for one’s family. I would not get bored during mass on Sunday, I would not go there out of habit, and if I was tempted not to go, I would try to overcome the temptation and to attend mass anyway. I would go to confession almost on a weekly basis. It was not a burden for me. I had started to attend mass weekly. Then I stopped: I had lost enthusiasm. I would like to resume daily mass. I was also very attracted by Thursday mass because there was the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.  When I prepared myself for the mass with the adoration of the Sacrament, I would live mass in a different way, although my heart was not always full of God and I felt I was doing things out of habit. 

Getting back to the daily mass issue, what can I do? In the area where I live mass is not celebrated every day, because there are few priests. Moreover, there are other problems: extended hours at school or work, for instance, force me to get up early and to come back late in the evening. If I cannot go to mass sometimes (on weekdays, of course; I always make sure to attend mass on Sundays, in spite of the opinion of a materialistic world), is it okay for me to pray with the rosary and meditate on the readings at mass on that day? 

I apologise for my long letter. 

Thank you for your kind attention.


Answer

Dear friend,

  1. It is not mandatory to attend mass daily, but it is obviously highly recommended. Just as one does not eat because it is compulsory, but rather because one feels the need to, so daily Eucharist is a spiritual need for many people. 
  2. In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus taught us to ask every day for our supersubstantial bread (this is the literal translation). Supersubstantial bread is Jesus himself who said about Himself: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (John 6:51). Jesus is yearning for us to feed on Him every day. Of course, one does not feed on Jesus only by receiving the Eucharist, but also by listening to His word and by praying. 
  3. In any case, the Eucharist is undoubtedly the highest form and the richest of grace. For this reason, Saint Augustine writes: “This is our daily bread; take it daily, that it may profit thee daily” (De Verb. Dom., Serm. XXVIII).
  4. And Saint Thomas: “There are two things to be considered regarding the use of this sacrament. The first is on the part of the sacrament itself, the virtue of which gives health to men; and consequently it is profitable to receive it daily so as to receive its fruits daily. Hence Ambrose says (De Sacram. IV): If, whenever Christ’s blood is shed, it is shed for the forgiveness of sins, I who sin often, should receive it often: I need a frequent remedy. The second thing to be considered is on the part of the recipient, who is required to approach this sacrament with great reverence and devotion. Consequently, if anyone finds that he has these dispositions every day, he will do well to receive it daily. Hence, Augustine after saying, Receive daily, that it may profit thee daily, adds: So live, as to deserve to receive it daily”.(Summa Theologiae, III, 80, 10).
  5. That said, it is necessary to consider the situation of each person and his or her possibilities. For this reason, it would be expedient for you to proceed gradually; this way, you should not have troubles with your parents. You might start going to mass on Thursdays on the pretext of adoration. Then, one thing leads to another. You might make friends with people you meet in the church, you might be asked to take some tasks upon yourself and so on. This way, your family will see your attending the church in a better light, not just as an act of devotion. At the same time, you will be encouraged to see daily eucharist as the heart of your daily life. It will not be a burden, but the deepest breadth, without which you will lack oxygen for your daily life. 
  6. On weekdays, when you cannot go to mass, it is a good idea to pray with the rosary and to follow the readings of the day. In any case, recite the rosary daily even when you have the opportunity to go to mass. 

I wish you all the best, I remember you to the Lord in prayer and I bless you.

Father Angelo