I took my own advice from yesterday’s blog and went to Mass this morning. It has been a long time since I have attended a weekday Mass. Anyway, after kneeling down in the pew, before Mass, I began …absent mindedly… to recite the Act of Contrition. This is a ritual that I always do before the Mass starts. During it, my mind runs over the sins, transgressions, acts of impatience, unkindness, and all the rest of the little shop of horrors of my past life. It is like I am saying to God, “Here I am, and in case you forgot…I am the one that did these things.” Well, this morning, as I was going through my little ritual, a thought popped into my head. Why am I saying I am sorry for all of these things? I am, but I already confessed them. Some, I even confessed multiple times. Christ said, “That once a sin is confessed and forgiven in the sacrament of Reconciliation… it is FORGOTTEN by Him”.

This started me on a new line of thinking, before Mass, today. Do I think that Christ really didn’t forgive me when I confessed these sins? Do I trust Him or don’t I? If I was sorry, which I was, if I intended to not do them again, which I meant at that time (even though I might have slipped up afterwards) … then I was truly forgiven. It is over. This is not a time for moaning and groaning over milk that been spilled and wiped up? Why am I here today, right now? The Mass, the most perfect of prayers, is about to begin. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, his offering of himself up to his heavenly Father for our transgressions will be celebrated once again. What is my part in all of this?

We listen to readings from the Old and New Testaments. We hear about God’s love and tenderness for His people. We hear of Jesus’ life and what it means to us and our relationship with God. We hear the Word of God stream out of the Bible. These are the very words, which we heard a long time ago, and told us that Catholicism, Christianity was something special to us. Something stirred inside our heart.

And so, we hear God’s Word and try to identify some aspect of our own lives to which it has meaning. We then express our own beliefs to all present, when we recite The Creed. And then… The Offertory follows. Unfortunately, we tend to think of it as the “collection”. But it is just this, “The Offertory”, which concerns us most intimately. Without realizing its significance, we think of it as merely, “the Collection”. Believe it or not, the collection is actually symbolic of what the Offertory really is. We take something of our lives and place it in the hands of the celebrant, and together with the bread on the paten and the wine in the chalice is offered to God as our combined sacrifice. This is the moment of truth. This is the time we acknowledge that we need Christ’s action, but would like to offer something of our own as well, imperfect as it is.

So here I am waiting for the beginning of Mass and what am I doing? Recounting past offenses? How much better would it be to think of things positive that I can do today, or this week and offer them as my symbol of my love for Jesus. It can be my thank you to Him. People are people. They are not obstacles, they are suffering, hurting, hoping individuals. “But what can we do?” we ask. We can cry with them. We can offer our hand in friendship to them. We can see their need and help them. And, when we run out of opportunities to assist, we can always pray for them. Who in the Church around us (including ourselves) does not need our prayers? Which leaders of our government do not need our prayers, in today’s topsy-turvy world? Name one country in the world, today, that does not need divine assistance with the handling of its problems. So, there is a lot that we can do. Before Mass, we can try to assess what qualities we have and can use for others. This is a much more positive way to prepare for the divine banquet we are about to attend, than thinking of past offenses. In offering our daily lives as prayer for others, we are saying “Yes” to everything Jesus preached, here on earth. We are putting our life on the paten with the knowlege that coupled with Christ’s life, it will be pleasing to our God