During the course of a day, we rely on our personal definitions of things to determine our actions. We know what “breakfast” means, what “work” means, what “recreation” means. Our definitions are precipitated by what we have been taught by others, our life experience, our physical makeup, our belief system, and/or environmental influences. Of course, numerous other factors can come into play, and our definitions can change many times over the course of our lives.
Through the fourth grade, I attended public school. I was dismissed with a few other Catholic students an hour early on Fridays for “release-time instruction” at the nearby Catholic elementary school. After fourth grade, I was enrolled in a Catholic grammar school full time and also attended a Catholic high school. I learned a lot about the Mass and sacraments and Catholic definitions.
Not long ago, I heard that there were fewer attendees at weekend Masses at my local church. This suggested to me that perhaps many of us need to review definitions of Catholic rites and rituals. Maybe “release-timers” especially would benefit from going over some of the truths and explanations associated with our Church. There are so many websites on our phones and computers now, we can look up words and find the Catholic Church’s explanations and definitions. We can be reminded of the wonderful things available at Mass and through our sacraments. Many of the words we might look up have more than three syllables and not used often in everyday conversation.
I suggest that for refreshment and renewal, we might look up the following words at a Catholic website and savor their definitions:
Eucharist Consecration Transubstantiation
Reconciliation Penance Responsorial Psalm
Liturgy Epistle Evangelist Contrition Grace
In light of the increasing shortage of priests, we might try to reintroduce ourselves to many of the opportunities for sacramental grace and religious practice while we still can with relative convenience. We might need to redefine our religious life practices and what is really important and valuable for our earthly and eternal lives.
Sacred Scripture is a vast source of knowledge and inspiration. Let us consider what St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:11:
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child;
when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
Photograph by Christin Hume on Unsplash.
The gospel passage is from the New American Bible, Oxford University Press, 1990.
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, Connecticut. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.