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Advice from Padre Pio

by aquinasandmore on October 1, 2008

Last week, our product manager came across this letter from St. Padre Pio about how we should conduct ourselves at Mass (as well as outside of Mass). I thought it would be good to share here because it's something that we can all learn from. Unfortunately, a lot of Catholics today don't seem to realize how sacred a thing the Mass is, and too often the reverence that the Mass deserves is lacking. (The sentence “Try not to speak to anybody, except when charity or strict necessity requests this” stuck out for me because I can't count the number of times when people I've gone to Mass with have gotten annoyed at me for not wanting to contribute to a conversation they were trying to have, both before and during Mass.)

There really isn't anything surprising in this letter, and yet more often than not people seem to do the opposite of what it says. I think a lot of us can work on ourselves to be more reverent and more aware of Who it is we visit each time we are at Mass. Some people use the argument that it's good that Catholics are at least going to Mass, but when that excuse needs to be used for the majority of people who are there (obviously this isn't true everywhere), I think there's a disconnect that needs to be addressed. This letter is a great place to start. If we all aimed to add just a little bit more reverence and respect to what we do each week, our experience at Mass could become so much deeper - not just for ourselves, but for those around us as well. After all, many people learn by following the examples of others. I know that's been very true for me. So even if it seems like you're the only one not talking before the Mass starts, or the only one who kneels and prays before and after Mass, don't be intimidated. You never know who might be watching you, learning, and maybe starting to follow these practices themselves.

Go read the letter, and maybe you'll learn something you didn't know before. Pass it on to someone you know who might be able to learn from it. Reverence at Mass, and in our daily lives, is an area where we can all work to better ourselves.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Deacon Patrick October 1, 2008 at 11:35 am

Thank you for this reminder, Ian. The challenge is to strike a balance between reverence as wonderfully described here, and Christ in community (communion), delighting to see other members of our one Body.

May we always remember that the Last Supper was a Seder Meal — likely a bit chaotic and social at times, and deeply reverent at other times. Sometimes the reverence even gets a bit chaotic with wine drops intentionally spilling out and loudly reciting the 10 plagues — Hail! Locusts! Darkness! Death of the First Born! Not long after this came what we now know as the first Eucharistic prayer by Jesus our Christ.

There is, somehow, room within holiness for both reverence and community.

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