I recently read Scott Hahn's The Lamb's Supper and I was fascinated with the comparisons he made between the Mass and that which was revealed to John in the Book of Revelation. Now I had been made aware of this in my liturgy class at Our Lady of Holy Cross and this peaked my interest enough to read the book, Dr. Hahn's not John's. Of course after reading Dr. Hahn's I felt compelled to read Revelation again. Which leads me to the question, how many of us enter the Mass with the notion we are in heaven? When I was a child I went with my friend to her Mass, not being Catholic, I was in awe of the beauty and glory of the liturgy. My protestant service was dull in comparison, there were no candles, incense, beautiful vestments, our meeting room was just that, a meeting room. Many years later I returned to a Mass and I was surprised to find some of the glory and beauty a little faded, so to speak. No longer did I see any incense or hear any bells ringing. The words were now in English and the people now seemed bored. They were dressed differently as well. As a child we went to that Mass in our dresses and I had to wear a veil on my head, I felt like a princess or a bride(ummm!). This time there were no veils, the girls had on shorts and jeans, no men in suits. Later I asked my friend what had happened and he said things had relaxed a little since the second Vatican Council. Well at the time I had no idea what that meant and didn't concern myself since I was not Catholic, yet.
I have come to understand many things since that time so long ago. I have come to understand that not all Masses are as lifeless as the one attended when I was older. I have attended many Masses that do seem to be heaven on earth with all the beauty and glory that was written about in Revelation. What I understand is the fact that no matter when and where a Mass is being celebrated it is Heaven on earth. The invisible reality is that there is a heavenly liturgy taking place at the moment the visible signs of the Mass on earth are taking place. The reality for us as Christians is that the moment we walk through those doors we have entered heaven. We bring our sacrifice, ourself, to the altar to offer to Christ the true and living sacrifice all our cares and woes. Now I ask you, if you are in heaven standing before the Lord what will your attitude and posture be? I wonder if people think about what the Mass re-presents and the meaning of all the words, symbols and signs(for an explanation of the incense see previous blog). People say they believe that Jesus is truly in the Sacrament at the words of consecration, but do they stop and think about the ritual that leads up to that consecration?
If you are someone thinking about this or wondering, I recommend Dr Hahn's book and then maybe you should read John's as well. Fascinating!