Do I have to go to Mass?

By  Catherine Richard, Youth Speak News
  • January 25, 2010

{mosimage}Do I Have to Go? by Matthew Pinto and Chris Stefanick (Ascension Press, 156 pages, $12.99).

Many Catholics have asked themselves the question at least once — Do I have to go? — but rarely has the question received such a clear answer as the one provided in this book by authors Matthew Pinto and Chris Stefanick.

Do I Have to Go? explores “the Mass, the Eucharist, and your spiritual life” in easy to read question/answer format. Pinto and Stefanick eloquently cover almost every question imaginable regarding the Mass and the Eucharist.

The book opens with some very basic queries, such as, “Why do I have to worship God?” and “Why should I go to Mass?” Then it quickly delves into the deep and simple questions regarding sacrifice, liturgy and our relationship with Jesus.

A whole chapter focuses on the Holy Eucharist, exploring profound topics such as the mystery of transubstantiation and simple questions such as, “I don’t feel any holier after I receive communion — is that normal?” This chapter fully explains the beauty and richness of the Eucharist, providing a foundation of apologetics (an explanation of the faith) on the subject by  discussing questions that a non-Catholic would ask.

{sa 1934217336}The following chapters cover a variety of topics and questions that are both thought-provoking and relevant. In a particularly enlightening chapter, Pinto and Stefanick stress the importance of attending Sunday Mass and the effect of purposely missing it. They also offer an interesting look at the history of the church and the changes that time has brought.

Mass terms, prayers, and “Rules and Regs” are discussed in depth, introducing questions many Catholics would never think to ask — for example, “Who is the priest Melchizedek mentioned during the Eucharistic prayer?” Pinto and Stefanick write clear, thorough answers, but keep the mood from becoming cheerless by throwing in witty references and amusing analogies.

Perhaps you are someone who has attended Mass all your life but never understood the significance of many of the actions of the priest. If so, this  book is for you. Nearly every element of the Mass is explained in a way that will leave you with a new, fuller understanding.

The book is geared for teens, so while the subject matter is deep and reflective, as is so much of the Catholic Church, it is written in modern  language that doesn’t induce headaches. It is written carefully and clearly, using many references from the Catechism, as well as quotes from popes, saints and encyclicals. The questions are well crafted and well thought out, progressing naturally as you read.

By reading this book, we learn that Mass is not just a requirement. It is a fulfilment of our very being — for what can be more fulfilling   than becoming physically one with Christ? The Mass fills our lives and ourselves with the grace we need to become fully alive and joyful. After reading this book, I believe the question, “Do I have to go?” will be the furthest one from your mind.

(Richard, 15, is a Grade 11 homeschooled student from Winnipeg.)

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