Too Young to Go to Mass and Pray...What!
Updated: Jul 2
Earlier today, I went to the supermarket. After buying the things I needed, I found myself overhearing a conversation of three young women, my age. It really struck me because what they were talking about were the things I used to say and believe when I was in high school. Now I feel the responsibility to share what I have learned of the truth and the misconceptions in my journey in the Catholic faith.
“Sus dzai, akong lola sige ug simba kada adlaw. Nah! Molapas na gyud siya sa langit dzai!”
(My grandmother goes to attend the Holy Mass every day. I’m afraid she’s gonna make it beyond Heaven!)
Ha! If you're Filipino, you’ve probably said this expression a couple of times already. We used to say this to people we know who are veryyyyyyyyyyyy religious. But, seriously, for the sake of the children who are to read this, no one has ever crossed beyond Heaven because Heaven itself is an end. It is our final destination, our eternal home! And so all of us, young and old, is called to do everything (yes) just to get there! But for some people, like this young woman’s grandmother, they wanted to experience a glimpse and taste of Heaven every day so that she could know and love more the Person Who made it. This glimpse and taste of Heaven is present in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus humbling Himself again and again to become that little piece of bread. A Bread that contains His eternal love for you (and me). A love so great to be contained that the Bread gets broken every time.
I’m saying this because we often have this association of “old people” and Holy Mass. That’s why when we “accidentally” enter a Church on a weekday, we only see “old people” attending the Holy Mass and maybe one or a couple of young adults, our age. My point is, although the Church only asked of us to attend the Holy Mass on Sundays and on Holy Days of Obligation, the church doors are also open for us young adults on weekdays to attend the Holy Mass, to be with that Someone Who never tires of waiting in love.
“Unya magdala pa gyud siya ug daghan kaayong nobenaryo. Tag-as kaayong prayers, dzai!” (She also brings with her novena booklets with very loooooooong prayers).
I am personally not a novena prayer person. And it’s okay. We often associate prayers with loooooooooong (or short) novenas, and that's okay too. Some people just really prefer to pray with prayerbooks to guide them in praying. But it’s also okay to just bring your heart, open and willing to listen to the voice of the One Who made your (and my) heart. As Fr. Mike Schmitz says, "Silence is the first language of God." We can just close our eyes and open our hearts, and just be before Him in silence, spending precious time between you and Him.
In my journey in the Catholic faith, I learned that praying is not always about asking for this and that. But prayer is simply seeking and building a relationship with the Lord, asking and listening for what He wants you to do. And to build that relationship, a constant communication is needed. That is to say, a constant prayer life. So praying doesn’t only apply when one needs something. It’s an everyday contact with the Lord. It’s a necessity.
But I also know, praying is a real struggle. Sometimes you feel overwhelmed and full of joy; and sometimes it’s dry as if the Lord is not present. That is only meant to increase your love and longing for Him. It is important to know that you are not alone in this struggle. If you can come by an Adoration chapel, be present and spend even 10 minutes of your time every day and it will change your life.
In one of the retreats I attended, I was struck when one of the speakers said that holiness is meant to be normal. Because guess what, we think that being religious or holy is an extreme thing when it should be like waking up in the morning and fixing our beds. We live in this very distorted world, and as Christians we are called to go against the stream of mediocrity because we are made for more. We are made for higher things. We are made for Jesus. We are made for Heaven and Heaven is our home.