The Eucharist, its celebration and itself as the extraordinary Sacrament, is the “source and summit of Christian life”.
If we really believe that, then we must also hold that what we do in church, what we believe happens in a church, makes an enormous difference.
Do we believe the consecration really does something? Or, do we believe what is said and how, what the gestures are and the attitude in which they made are entirely indifferent? For example, will a choice not to kneel before Christ the King and Judge truly present in each sacred Host, produce a wider effect?
If you throw a stone, even a pebble, into a pool it produces ripples which expand to its edge. The way we celebrate Mass must create spiritual ripples in the Church and the world.
So does our good or bad reception of Holy Communion.
So must violations of rubrics and irreverence.
Mass is not merely a “teaching moment” or a “celebration of unity” or a “tedious obligation”. Our choice of music, architecture, ceremonies and language affect more than one small congregation in one building. We are interconnected in both our common human nature and in baptism. When we sin we hurt the whole Body of Christ the Church.
If that is true for sin, it must also be true for our liturgical choices. They must also have personal and corporate impact. Any Mass can be offered for the intentions of the living or the dead.
Not even death is an obstacle to the efficacy of Holy Mass.
Celebrate Mass well, participate properly – affect the whole world. Celebrate poorly – affect the whole world.
In each age since Christ’s Ascension, people have felt they were in the End Times. They were right. In any moment, when the conditions are right, the Lord could return.
Considering what is happening in the world now, I am pushed to think about the way Mass is being celebrated, even the number of Masses being celebrated. Once there were many communities of contemplatives, spending time before the Blessed Sacrament or in contemplation, in collective and in private prayer. There were many more Masses.
Many more people went to confession.
Who can know how they all lifted burdens from the world and turned large and small tides by their prayers to God for mercy and in reparation for sin?
A single droplet of Christ’s Precious Blood consecrated at Holy Mass is the price of every soul ever created in God’s unfathomable plan.
So I repeat: