The Mass

A packed St. James' Church in Medjugorje in the mid-1980s. The Virgin Mary taught the parishioners how to live the Mass.

A packed St. James’ Church in Medjugorje in the mid-1980s. The Virgin Mary taught the parishioners how to live the Mass.

Even non-Christians can get a sense of awe from going to church and attending the Mass. What they feel, and what they respond to, the Virgin Mary explained in one of her messages about the Holy Mass – an event very close to her heart and another of her main messaages from Medjugorje:

“The Mass is the greatest prayer of God. You will never be able to understand its greatness. That is why you must be perfect and humble at Mass, and you should prepare yourselves for it.” (1983; exact date unknown)

The Virgin also said for how long people should prepare themselves before Mass:

“You do not celebrate the Eucharist, as you should. If you would know what grace, and what gifts you receive, you would prepare yourselves for it each day, for an hour at least.” (1985; exact date unknown)

Visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti in prayer before an apparition

Visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti in prayer before an apparition

Each faithful decides his own outcome

According to the Virgin Mary, the outcome of attending the Mass greatly depends upon the attitude of each of the faithful. This is why she said:

“Listen attentively at Holy Mass. Be well mannered. Do not chat during Holy Mass.” (February 19th 1982) - and even:

“If people attend Mass with lukewarmness, they will return to their homes cold, and with an empty heart.” (March 30th 1984)

New-comer pilgrims are oftentimes very impressed when they attend the Croatian evening Mass in Medjugorje. More often than not they do not understand a word of what is being said – and still a great many pilgrims have learned very much from attending Mass in Medjugorje. Before they may have yawned their way through the Mass, just longing for it to end. Or they may have listened without giving anything back of themselves.

In Medjugorje they learn to pray the Mass, and make the Mass a two-way experience. In realizing the greatness offered to them, they are filled with a desire to give something back to God, however little they can offer. This whole development is exactly what the Virgin Mary recommends:

“Dear children, I am calling you to a more active prayer and attendance at Holy Mass. I wish your Mass to be an experience of God.” (May 16th 1985)

The Virgin Mary even coined an expression to describe the attitude towards the Mass that she would like to cultivate among her children. She calls this attitude “living the Mass”, as opposed to merely listening or longing for it to end:

“May Holy Mass, little children, not be a habit for you, but life. By living Holy Mass every day, you will feel the need for holiness and you will grow in holiness.” (January 25th 1998)

“May the Mass, the most exalted and most powerful act of your prayer, be the center of your spiritual life.” (August 2nd 2008)

The Eucharist is Jesus, mysteriously hidden and yet fully present in the consecrated bread and wine. In Medjugorje the Virgin Mary has confirmed this ancient teaching of the Church

Jesus comes in the Mass

All the Virgin Mary does aims at leading people to Jesus, her Son. When she loves the Mass as much as she does, it is because Jesus, during Mass, gives Himself to the faithful in the most concrete, literal way: The Eucharist, the consecrated bread and wine, is Jesus, fully present in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, though hidden in the the species of the bread and the wine.

Still there and seemingly still just humble bread and wine, the species become Jesus through the miracle known as transsubstantiation. Though visibly demonstrated by God in quite a number of so-called Eucharistic miracles throughout history, to most people the mystery of transsubstantiation is something that must be accepted in faith – or rejected due to lack of faith. In Medjugorje, too, the Virgin Mary confirmed the Church’s teaching on the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist:

“My children, I wish that the Holy Mass be for you the gift of the day. Attend it, wish for it to begin. Jesus gives Himself to you during the Mass. Thus, look forward to that moment when you are cleansed.” (March 30th 1984)

And so, in conclusion, the Virgin Mary calls to not only a new kind of attitude towards attending the Mass, but also to a whole new way of viewing churches, more generally:

“Let the Holy Mass be your life. Understand that the Church is God’s palace, the place in which I gather you and want to show you the way to God. Come and pray! Neither look to others nor slander them, but rather let your life be a testimony on the way of holiness. Churches deserve respect and are set apart as holy because God, who became Man, dwells in them day and night.” (April 25th 1988)