Bringing a friend to mass for the first time can intimidate even the most confident evangelists. You try to quickly brief them before mass begins, “Oh yeah, we’ll listen to some readings from the Bible and then we will move onto the second part and draw in some stuff from the Last Supper…you know, pretty cool”. But as you enter the church, you will realize the dozens of approaching moments you forgot to mention. Keep it cool, my friend, the Holy Spirit has got this one under control. Use this time to remember all the awesome components of the mass we often forget.
1. The Holy Water
Did I mention we bless ourselves?
2. We still chant
And sometimes in Latin, too. Ancient never goes out of style.
3. You may see some of this:
And if you don’t see it, you’ll smell it!
4. We all kneel at the same time
We kneel, then we kneel again. And then we kneel more. This all occurs during the most reverent parts of the mass.
5. “Peace be with you”.
We exchange a sign of peace, typically a handshake, to those sitting close to us.
6. The priest is holding Jesus
He is literally holding Jesus’s body and blood.
7. You can follow along with the missal
You can follow along with the priest’s role and the congregation’s responses.
My friend’s first encounter with any church occurred when she spontaneously came with me to daily mass one evening. I told her the one-sentence Bible-readings-plus-Last-Supper explanation and mentioned nothing else. We entered the chapel and I immediately wanted to smack my palm to my forehead because I realized the benefit in this particular situation of sharing the above seven things.But every situation is different – Sometimes the Lord places great details on our hearts to share while other times places only silence.
So what do you forget to share but want to? Do you give details or just a one-sentence overview? If your first mass occurred after infancy, what do you wish someone told you?