When settling into this current global crisis the summit of the Christian life was taken away, the public celebration of Holy Mass. Within days thousands of Catholic parishes across the world began to live-stream a priest celebrating Holy Mass. Virtually any person could turn on their TV and watch “Mass” --or so we thought!
Like clockwork, Catholics around the world would put on their TV a priest in some distant place celebrating Mass and would ponder at a screen for an hour attempting to align their aspirations to that of the celebration of Mass. Although modern technology may allow one to think they are seeing the same thing as if they were actually in a church building, the reality is they are watching a bunch of tiny pixels of color.
At first, it very well could have been met with good intentions. Since the public celebration of Mass was barred, it seemed feasible to turn on the TV and in some way “watch” Mass and remotely participate. Most likely many people even observed the different positions (sit, stand, kneel) while watching Mass. Although, after a while, these motives can be relaxed, one could now sit in a recliner the entire Mass and even wear pajamas or eat breakfast. These behaviors while watching a TV Mass can very well impact one’s mindfulness when returning to the public celebration of Mass.
The Catholic celebration of Holy Mass cannot be simplified to a simple click on the TV and time spent gazing in front of a screen. The Holy Sacrifice of Mass is a sacrifice. It is the re-entrance to Calvary at the very moment Jesus Christ is bound to the cross, the tool of our Eternal Salvation. Jesus Christ gives to us His very Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.
The greatest sense of community we can have is that of belonging in the Communion of Saints, actively inviting the saints into our lives and to guide us and intercede for us. While TV Mass can look attractive, easy, and perhaps even relaxing, these things discredit our Holy Church and the irreverence stemming from such action pierce the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is much more efficacious and beneficial to the soul, and pleasing to God to observe private prayer during this time. By praying the Holy Rosary, the Liturgy of the Hours, Scripture, or other fitting prayers in front of a crucifix or a statue can bring the soul much closer to God than that of a TV or computer screen.
The difference between private prayer and a TV Mass? Effort. If one truly wants to live their Catholic religion it takes effort. To have a relationship with Christ takes effort. Christ cannot be simplified to a click on a remote, one person cannot decide how they will be Catholic, but rather how they will choose to follow the teachings of Christs Church!
Although our immediate future is uncertain, our eternal future is certainly in our hands. Make your soul pleasing to God, and seek to console Jesus’ Most Sacred Heart. Your soul is yearning, not for a TV Mass, but for personal and private communication with The Creator, the Merciful Father.
You can learn how to pray a "dry Mass", here.
This article is solely for those who have found themselves tuning into Mass via TV due to the current global crisis. TV Mass can very well be beneficial for those who are permanently home-bound and too sick to get to a parish church. If you are home-bound, I highly recommend tuning into the Daily Mass broadcasted by the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) or some beautiful Latin Masses from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter at LiveMass.org. God bless you!
Seth is a convert to the Church and lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.