Saturday, January 11, 2014

Why I go to Church

At my home parish, I always hear a familiar litany of intentions;

For Carol, Shauna, and Maria, for Kevin and Marie, who are battling cancer...
For those on hospice, and for those who care for them...
For those who suffer from chronic pain...
For those who cannot pray for themselves...

We pray to the Lord.

I know these by heart because I've heard them called out by the same people at 5:30 mass on Saturdays for as long as I can remember. It used to just be Carol, Shauna, and Maria. 

There also used to be Beth and Tricia.

When I was younger, and I heard the lector say, "Let us now pray for our personal intentions, whether aloud or in the silence of our heart," I used to rush to think of every single wish I had so I could frantically call them all to mind before she said a closing, "Let us pray to the Lord," and my intentions could be prayed for with the force of an entire church full of people. 

I still do that.

There's something sacred that happens in prayer, especially in the context of the Mass. I don't know Carol, Shauna, or Maria, but I've been praying for them by name for years because one parishioner offers them up each week. The Knight of Columbus that always prays for "those who cannot pray for themselves" challenges me weekly to think about who that means. Who can I pray for who cannot pray for himself? Who do you know in your life for whom yours might be their only prayer?

Lord, hear our prayer.

This is why I go to church. It's not because I'm jazzed about getting dressed on a Sunday only to get back in my sweats and do homework an hour later. It's not because I'm a Theology major and have some kind of requirement to love this stuff. It's not because I just go crazy for those hymns they sing, or the potential for hand holding with a nice Catholic guy during the Our Father.

I go for those on hospice, and those who care for them. I go for the people in my life who I want prayed for by a church full of people. I go because I like to visit Jesus at His house. I go because I'm Catholic.

I'm Catholic, and Jesus died for me, and my sins. And He listens, even if I don't get it all in before, "Let us pray to the Lord."

He's listening.

Love, Chris

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