Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mass in the Dark-A Journey Back to the Early Church Worship

Due to the snowstorm sustained by the Northeast this weekend, our power had been out from Saturday evening until this afternoon.  This morning, my wife and I headed out as usual to daily mass at 6:30 AM. As we approached the church there were no lights on because of the power failure and we wondered if mass would be cancelled. When we got closer to the parking lot we saw the faithful walking from their cars to the front door so we were pretty sure we would have mass.  Once inside, we looked down from the foyer through the glass doors into the sanctuary and saw rows of candles illuminating the altar in an otherwise darkened Church.
    We then noticed a row of chairs set up surrounding the altar. Fr. Ardinger set it up this way so everyone could see and hear and enter into the worship fully, not impeded by the darkness and lack of amplification from the sound system. I had never been so close to the altar during Mass and couldn't wait until the consecration when I knew Jesus would made present in the appearances of bread and wine. (At this point in the mass, the angels also surround the altar and worship as well, and I thought that it is actually much more crowded up here than it appears)
   After the consecration, Fr. Ardinger went around the altar to each of us bringing us Jesus. "The  body of Christ" he said to each, and we each quietly responded, "amen" and received the Eucharist. He then went to those sitting in the pews who were unable to climb the steps to the altar and gave them the Eucharist.(not unlike the early priests who reserved some of the Eucharist to take to those who were sick at home and unable to attend the mass.)
    Throughout the mass I thought about how the early Christians worshiped and how our present mass was so similar. The early Christians went to the catacombs and made altars on the tombs of the martyrs and celebrated the Eucharist in the darkness illuminated only by candles. This is why, incidentally, most altars that are made still have a relic of a saint or martyr embedded in them during construction, to reflect this ancient tradition of the Church.  The current liturgy uses some of the very same prayers that our early fathers in faith used and the order of the service is essentially unchanged from the second century.  As we walked out of the Church, the early morning sun was starting to rise in the east.  I was so thankful to receive Jesus and commune with so great a cloud of witnesses that have worshiped the Lord in this very same way for almost 2000 years.
For further reading on the Sacrifice of the Mass Go here .


Blogger Patricia Milot said...

That sounds beautiful, Russ! I enjoyed reading this enlightening post of Mass today!

October 31, 2011 8:26 PM  
Blogger George @ Convert Journal said...

"At this point in the mass, the angels also surround the altar and worship as well, and I thought that it is actually much more crowded up here than it appears."

I think about this too. When I go to daily Mass and there is not a lot of people present, I know that it just makes more room for all the angels and saints. (Yea, I know it is thinking in physical terms for something which certainly is not.)

On another point, the Mass you were at and every Mass in the past and future is joined. We are united with those folks in the catacombs long ago.

October 31, 2011 9:08 PM  
Anonymous Russ said...

Amen George and Patti!

October 31, 2011 10:54 PM  

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