Every morning as I set out for Mass, many thoughts rise with me from my bed. The faces I see today at morning Mass are the likely faces I will see again tomorrow. They sit down meditating and patiently waiting for Mass to begin. I find this highly encouraging for my ministry, and above all, for my spiritual life. I always remember the admonishment of the Bible which says, ‘Remember your Creator in the days in your youth’ (Ecclesiastes 12:1). It is necessary to use the time at hand to pray and honor God in the hay days of our lives.
Comparing attendance from what I know of Nigeria and here in the USA, the enthusiasm is the same. Catholics love the Eucharist and those who attend do so because of their faith. However, the demographics of those attending daily Masses differ between my previous experience of ministry in Nigeria and what I see here. While in Nigeria, I see faces of all ages attend Mass, here it is the old folks that impress me most in the morning. And this is one big reason which makes my sunrise exciting with joy.
My point is not condemning the younger generation because they have to go to school or work, but in praising the efforts of the older generations for their enthusiasm and commitment to nourishing their Catholic life. Mother Teresa of Calcutta was always found at Mass and her encouraged Catholics to attend every morning before they begin their busy schedules. With the pandemic, we need to be careful about our health. However, we need to have time to pray at Mass.
Sometimes we ask, “how can one become a saint?” Here is a simple answer. The saints were not extraordinary people by the privilege of birth. No, the saints were ordinary people who did the ordinary things of life in extraordinary ways. In doing so, they etched their names on a solid path to sainthood as exemplary people that others can emulate because they struggle against imperfections. In the vision of St. John, the beloved apostle, he saw a multitude of people from every nation, innumerable, and impossible to count. These were people who washed themselves in the ‘blood of the Lamb’ through sacrificing their time for the things of God while they lived in the world. Every the individual is given 24 hours in a day, and the the way these hours are utilized depends on an individual’s time management skills. While few remember that worship is important at the beginning of the day, others are in a rush to finish their to-do lists.
Does prayer automatically put a person on the path to sainthood? The point is not to think of it that way. Rather prayer is the habit that puts the awareness of our transition from this mortal world into God’s eternal life. The saints were people who understood that their eternal journey did not begin at death but while they had ample time on their two feet.
Jesus gave us the beatitudes to remind all of us that poverty in the spirit does not necessarily constitute a deprivation of a healthy human life. Rather, the beatitudes prepare those who expend time for the things of God to know that their investments in the present time will surely yield bountiful harvests long after their two legs can’t move. Such peoples’ names are written in gold never to be bloated by any human efforts.
I see faces at Mass and I know that they mean business. Ask me what I love about my ministry, and I should tell you, it is the joy of seeing old folks take seats early morning meditating, praying before Mass. These are saints in the making. How often do you attend Mass? Keep praying!BACK TO LIST