Why do I have to go to Mass when I can pray alone?
When we were baptized, we entered into a covenant with God. Our parents promised on our behalf that we would learn the faith, love the faith and live the faith of the Catholic Church. God, for His part, removed our sin, strengthened us for the fight ahead and took us into His loving arms, promising to care for us our entire lives. (Please note: God didn’t promise to make our life easy or take away our pain. He promised to walk with us in our lives and to share our pain.)
Part of our obligation is to attend Mass weekly. It’s our best source of strength for living the faith and it surrounds us with two important things for our walk with God—the presence of Jesus and a community of believers. St. Augustine compared the baptismal waters to the waters of the flood in the time of Noah; it saved some and drowned others. In the same way, not following through on our baptismal promises by living the faith of the Church and attending Mass puts our souls in danger.
To be honest, I don’t think we should ask what we have to do, but try to find out what we need to do in order to grow in holiness. It’s a shift in our thinking from an obligation to a response of love to Jesus who holds nothing back in His love for us. Our attendance at Church is a requirement of the law of love and, as baptized people, we must follow that law. Not because we have to, but because He is worth it.
Why do I feel alone even when I am in a crowded room?
Look around you. Are the other people in the room speaking your language? That might be the first problem. OK, OK, that might not have been as funny as I thought it was, but it does contain a truth. What language do YOU speak? Is it the language of faith, or of the world? That language of faith is borne of prayer (including reading the Bible), good works and seeking God. When we do these things, we get ourselves in touch with God, who is the Author of Love. We learn each day that we are sons and daughters of the One who loves perfectly. Through these things, we grow in awareness o the unconditional love of Jesus (look up unconditional in your dictionary and get blown away).
When we understand that, we know we are no longer alone. We are not afraid to take risks, which is required if we want friendship. We don’t care if we get rejected because we understand they are rejecting one for whom the Son of God died. When we know God’s love, we have all the love we need, so we share it. This draws others to God and to us—we find we are not alone anymore.
Enjoy another day in God’s presence!