Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best of 2011 - Blog Hop

I'm joining in with Shanda at A Pause on the Path for her blog hop highlighting everyone's best blogs of 2011.  I choose to repost the following post because it has not only been my most viewed post but I feel that has had a significant impact on my actions, my thoughts, and on my writing and studying this year.
Be sure to jump back to a A Pause on the Path to read some awesome posts.

Conserve, love, understand, be taught

"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."

This was said by Baba Dioum about environmental conservation issues. 

This is one of my favorite quotes for environmental education and conservation but I also see it as true in other parts of my life as well.  I have been reading about the American Catholic identity and the decrease in mass attendance of Catholics on Fr. John Zuhlsdorf's blog and Fr. Longenecker's blog.  There is a huge amount of Catholics who do not attend mass each Sunday.  What should be done about this?  I do my best to attend mass each Sunday and try to attend daily mass when I can but sometimes I feel like I am just sitting in the pew, following along with the actions and just waiting for mass to be over.  I am physically at mass but my mind is somewhere else.  
Why do I do this?  Because I don't understand the mass.  How can we expect people to take time out of their busy lives to go to the church and sit in the pew every Sunday morning when they don't really understand what is going on around them or why they need to be there?  In order to increase mass attendance and more importantly mass participation we need to teach people about the mass.  

"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."

We can not conserve and increase participation in the mass until we love the mass.  Mass should not be something that you have to do because you are Catholic but something that you love because of what it is.  In order to love the mass we need to understand what is happening at the mass, both the big event and small prayers and actions of the priest and the congregation.  But we can not understand the mass until someone teaches us about the mass.  This is where we need to start.  
Today in mass I tried to really focus on every thing that the priest said and not let my mind wonder.  I realized how much I don't know and understand about the mass.  The more I know and understand about the mass the more I can love it and be an active participant in Sunday and daily mass.  So now it is my goal over the next few weeks to take a closer look at the mass, really learn what is going on and share that information here and with others.