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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Questions and Answers

I live a spiritual life in my own way. Why go to church? It’s just filled with hypocrites anyway.

Outline of the Answer
• Feeling Good
• The Eucharist
• Suffering Sacrifice: Worship / Faith and Love
• Physical and Spiritual Sustenance
• Abuses
• Be Not Afraid
• Self-deceived

 
When many Catholics ask the question, “Why go to Church,” they are thinking as Protestants think. After all, anyone can pray at home just as well as in a church. So what is the point of going to church? Well, for a Protestant, there is no meaningful point. Protestants have “worship services” not a Mass.

That’s why, for a Catholic, going to church has a very special meaning. In the Catholic celebration of the Eucharist, a Catholic enters a sacred environment to adore God and to receive the real presence of Christ. There isn’t anything symbolic about this; the Mass is a real matter of life versus death.

Now, it’s true—and sad—that many Catholics who go to church are trying primarily to feel good about themselves, and they often treat the Blessed Sacrament and the sanctity of the church environment with casualness, if not outright carelessness. They don’t receive the Blessed Sacrament, they take it for granted. They attend Mass out of habit and guilt. Worship for them isn’t an expression of true love, and it doesn’t arise out of an ardent desire to sacrifice everything and suffer anything to live a holy life. Such persons are like leafy branches that bear no fruit.

  

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for our sake was met with indifference, ingratitude, and contempt, even by His own people. So should it be any surprise that today the celebration of the holy Mass is met with indifference, ingratitude, and contempt, even by His own anointed?

  

 
The Eucharist

Now, the whole point of the Mass is the Eucharist. And because the Mass is both a sacrifice and a “meal,” we have two reasons for attending (assisting at) Mass.

  

If angels were capable of envy, they would envy us for two things: one is the receiving of Holy Communion, and the other is suffering.

  

—Saint Faustina, Diary, 1804

   
Suffering Sacrifice

Worship

The liturgical work of joining our lives to the sacrifice of Christ is called worship, and worship far transcends mere spirituality. Many persons today who do not even believe in God call themselves “spiritual,” but when we join with Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, we give meaning to our constant sacrifices for the souls of others. Christ’s Passion and death made it perfectly clear that suffering sacrifice is the only way to crack open the hardened free will of the human heart. So when we freely suffer for the sake of other souls, we contribute to paying the mystical price of their repentance. Even angels cannot do such majestic work!

   
Faith and Love

Moreover, keep in mind that the Body of Christ is faith, and the Blood of Christ is love. Therefore, to take Communion worthily (1 Corinthians 11:27) [1] does not mean only that you must be free from mortal sin and able to receive graces in pure faith. It also means that you must be willing to “pay the price” of receiving Christ within you. And what is that price? It is the willingness to make the personal sacrifice of shedding your own blood—that is, to stop defending your pride and personal pleasure—so as to love others according to the Way of the Cross, in perfect sacrifice. Only in this way can you receive Christ’s love worthily.

 

  

When Jesus told Peter that “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38), He said this as a warning, not as an excuse. In speaking to Peter, He speaks to all of us. Unless we discipline ourselves with fasting and sacrifice, we will fail to reach deep enough within ourselves to overcome the unconscious anger and fear that leads us into disobedience. Without disciplined sacrifice, all those pious words on our lips won’t do very much at all to help us attain the holiness we think we want.

Remember also that Christ warned us that worship must be an act of genuine love: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:20).

  

Therefore, understand that the Blessed Sacrament is sacred and that we should partake of it with due reverence. Keep in mind that it might seem to you that neither God nor others care about what you do or wear at Mass, but every act of irreverence will be accounted for at your final judgment. Better to correct things now, while you have the chance, rather than pay for it all later. 

1.

In the Roman rite, make a genuflection [2] before receiving holy Communion, or receive kneeling.

2.

Receive the Host on the tongue.[3]

3.

Dress modestly (no jeans; no sneakers; no shorts; no shirts or jackets with sports or political insignia; no visible tattoos;[4] and, for women in particular, no tight slacks, short skirts, bare shoulders, low necklines, or leggings without a skirt).


   An elegant use
   of a scarf as a
   chapel veil

4.

It is admirable and beneficial for women to cover their heads,[5] but let it be a real “veil,” such as a stylish scarf over the head and shoulders, rather than a doily precariously balanced on the top of the head.

5.

Arrive before the formal greeting by the priest, and do not leave before the dismissal.[5] Anything less than this makes a mockery of your lay obligation to assist [6] at Mass. Moreover, if you really loved God, you would not receive Communion if you miss the beginning of the Mass.[7]

  

Protestants say that their Communion is just a symbol. Well, they’re right. Just as Melchizedek’s offering of bread and wine was a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice of His Body and Blood, the Protestants’ “Communion” is a symbol—a symbol of the real sacrifice of the Catholic Mass.

  

 
Physical and Spiritual Sustenance

We partake of the Eucharist as a “meal” to sustain us physically and spiritually. Without the Eucharist you don’t have a chance to sustain yourself through all the trials of suffering and sacrifice you will have to face as you fight the spiritual battle of a holy life. The Eucharist will sustain you regardless of what anyone around you does—even regardless of wicked bishops, priests, and deacons given over to liberal heresies.

In this regard, Jesus told Saint Faustina,

  

My daughter, do not pay so much attention to the vessel of grace as to the grace itself which I give you, because you are not always pleased with the vessel, and then the graces, too, become deficient. I want to guard you from that, and I want you never to pay attention to the vessel in which I send you My grace. Let all the attention of your soul be concentrated on responding to My grace as faithfully as possible. . . . eternal life must begin already here on earth through Holy Communion. Each Holy Communion makes you more capable of communing with God throughout eternity.

  

Diary, 1599; 1811

 
Abuses

In regard to liturgy, the Traditional Mass and the Eastern Catholic liturgies preserve a reverent environment well suited to nurturing love. The language, the music, the incense, and the liturgical actions of the priest(s), server(s) and the congregation all combine to focus human action into an act of love. Although the Novus Ordo has this potential as well, the new order of the Mass is also open to abuse. The real division between the traditional and the modern concerns reverence, or, more technically, conservatism.

A conservative—a true conservative—seeks to conserve respect for the divine mystery of Christ’s Incarnation and Passion that is behind every liturgical action of the Catholic Church. Thus, the Novus Ordo can be offered conservatively, and there are places—though they may be hard to find—where it is offered conservatively.

You may have to travel quite a distance on Sundays to find a conservative Mass, but you may not have the time for extensive travel on weekdays. Therefore, if you have to go to a liberal parish, then, instead of putting money into the collection, leave a note of warning.
 

When I attend Mass here, I will not support this parish financially as long as you do any of the following:

Use “altar girls”

Use extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion in non-extraordinary circumstances or refer to them as “eucharistic ministers”

Fail to maintain a general atmosphere of modest reverence for the sacred environment, especially when women serving as lectors or ushers wear slacks or jeans instead of skirts

 

Alter the liturgical texts or disobey the rubrics

Make the homily into joking entertainment

Use a chalice made of glass or other commonplace material

I will give my monetary support only to those who defend and teach the true faith and who respect the holy mysteries of the divine liturgy.

 
This isn’t being judgmental, it’s a matter of giving a legitimate warning about abuses.

  

The psychological idea behind all abuses is to “dumb down” the Mass so that anyone, even a child, can understand it; the unwitting consequence of this is that no one, not even a child, can take the Mass seriously.

  

 
Be Not Afraid

So do not be afraid. Commune with God in ways that even angels cannot. Remain steadfast in the Faith, and do not become angry at the sins of others, but think of the mercy that awaits them, if only they would repent their sins and accept God’s mercy. And then pray and make sacrifices that they do accept it.

Pray, and make sacrifices.

—The Blessed Virgin Mary,
Fátima, 1917

 
Conclusion: Self-deceived

In the end, no matter what prayer and liturgical practices you follow, if they are not leading you to love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength; if they are not leading you to forsake the world and its enticements; if they are not leading you to live a chaste and modest lifestyle; and if they are not leading you to treat others with forgiveness and compassion, then, to borrow an expression from Saint James, you are self-deceived.

 

Who wrote this web page?

 

Notes

1. “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord.” For more information about documented and authenticated Eucharistic miracles, see Eucharistic Miracles from The Real Presence Association.

2. See Peter Elliot’s definitive text, Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995), §336. A genuflection is a sign of adoration due to God. To make a proper genuflection, keep your back straight, bend your left leg, and touch your right knee to the floor. Note that a curtsy is not a genuflection. Note also that a bow, in the Roman rite, is simply a sign of respect, as would be given to another person; to bow, rather than to genuflect (or kneel), before the Blessed Sacrament is to give the appearance of “respecting” Christ while secretly denying His sacred presence.
     It’s true that the norm in the US is to bow before receiving Communion. And, I will add, it’s also true that the norm in the US is that most Catholics don’t have a clue as to what Christianity really is, and that many so-called Catholics are in a perpetual state of unrepentant mortal sin. So, if you want to resist the impending persecution from the world that will sweep away much of the true faith, then resist the norm of ignorance and apathy that surrounds you now in the Church itself. Therefore, if you are ever told that genuflection is disobedient, then adore Christ by kneeling to receive Him. (Reception of Communion while kneeling is protected by church law; see Redemptionis Sacramentum, 91).

3. This is not an issue in the Eastern rites because of the universal practice of intinction (dipping the host into the Precious Blood, with reception in the mouth), but all Roman Catholics have the right to receive the host on the tongue (see Redemptionis Sacramentum, 92 and GIRM, 161). This right cannot be legally denied, even in the flu season, and any priest who denies you does so illicitly and thereby commits a grave sin. (If any priest consistently tries to force you to receive in the hands, then start wearing gloves. Every priest knows that reception of the host in gloved hands is absolutely forbidden.) It is also illicit to be denied Communion for kneeling (see Redemptionis Sacramentum, 91).
     Furthermore, in regard to sanitation, it is more sanitary to receive the host on the tongue that to receive the host in your hands. Keep in mind that by the time for Communion your hands have been subject to far more bacterial and viral contamination than the hands of the priest. Plus, a good priest will not even touch your tongue when giving Communion. As for “extraordinary” ministers of Communion, well, what’s the point of your not touching the host with your hands if you are willing to let anyone other than a priest touch the host? 

4. If you have a tattoo that you acquired in a time of spiritual ignorance, then, to prevent the sin of giving scandal to others, cover it in shame for having so desecrated your personal temple of the Holy Spirit. 

5. When a woman refuses to cover her head in prayer, she also refuses to take seriously the spiritual battle with evil—and that’s a sad thing for her and for the entire Chrurch as well. 

6. “Eating and running” is a social blunder that can get you barred from future dinner invitations. Do you think that it offends Christ any the less? 

7. See Can. 1247 and 1248. 

8. You are obligated by Church law to receive holy Communion only once a year (see Can. 920 §1); partaking of the sacrament of the Eucharist more than this minimum is optional. Therefore, refraining from receiving holy Communion when you have not been able to prepare yourself properly (e.g., in quiet meditation before Mass begins) would be of greater honor to Christ than receiving Communion as a formality simply because you managed to get there “before it was all over.”

 

Additional Resources

For information about documented and authenticated Eucharistic miracles, see Eucharistic Miracles from The Real Presence Association.

Messages to any mystic from the Blessed Virgin and Jesus do not have to be accepted by anyone as articles of faith, even though the messages may be approved by the local bishop as not contradicting the faith. Nevertheless, regardless of what you might think about the revelations made to Catalina Rivas, you should still read this explanation of the awesome meaning of the Holy Mass. After reading it, you might think differently about your personal responsibility to Christ’s marvelous sacrifice for all mankind.

The Holy Mass explained to Catalina by Jesus and Mary

 


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