Most everywhere I speak, I ask for a show of hands from people who have someone in their lives who no longer goes to church or practices the faith. Every time I ask, it’s nearly unanimous. Almost every hand in the room goes up. It’s truly heartbreaking. Baptisms are down, marriages are down, Mass attendance is down…the list goes on and on. The picture can sometimes seem pretty bleak.
I’m a great believer that challenges present opportunities. This is true in the Church today. We have to ask ourselves why these things are happening. Certainly the answers are numerous and complex. I spent many years away from the Church myself. I always tell people that it was sex, drugs and rock & roll – the pull of the world is strong.
I was raised Catholic. Went to Catholic school for a few years and really grew up in the Church. But I never really knew much, if anything, about my faith. I was grossly undercatechized. After a radical conversion, I returned to the Catholic faith and began learning everything I could about the faith. I remember the first time I went back to Mass, I was in awe. Even though I didn’t know much about it, I knew that something very special was happening.
After some study, I came to realize that Jesus Christ was made present on the altar at Mass. Not only that, but I was able to take Jesus into my own body! I was actually living out Jesus’ words in John 6 – You must “eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood.” Are you kidding me? My sense of awe grew deeper and deeper.
There are those who say that Catholics don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. To that I respond: Every time I go to Mass I get to eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood. I get to take Jesus – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – into my very body! It doesn’t get any more personal than that!
So here’s my chief answer as to why so many walk away from the Church: they have lost (or never had) that sense of awe. We have to bring back the awe! How do we do that? By helping people understand what is actually happening at every Mass. We are participating in the wedding feast of the Lamb of God! We are experiencing heaven on earth! Regardless of the music or the preaching or the reading or how the church looks or who’s wearing what, Jesus is made present on that altar. The Author of Life, the King of Kings, the second Person of the Trinity, God Himself becomes part of your very being! What could be more awesome?? I believe that no one would ever leave the Church if they really knew what was happening every time they went to Mass.
About a year ago, people were asking me what my next A Minute in the Church book would be about. In A Minute in the Church and A Minute in the Church Volume II, I covered a lot of Catholic apologetics questions. Many of these were to help people understand objections that folks have about Catholicism. They’ve been a huge help to hundreds of thousands of people. It seems that people love the one-minute teachings, and the fact that you can turn to any page in the books and learn something – in a minute!
People need to learn about the Mass. Even (maybe especially) those folks who go to Mass on Sundays but are just putting in their time. They need the awe. That’s why my newest book is so important. In A Minute in the Church: The Mass they can learn more about what’s happening every time they go to Mass. They’ll learn about the vessels and vestments, the smells and the bells, and the deeper meaning behind all the things that are so familiar, yet they’ve never really been taught about.
A Minute in the Church: The Mass is the perfect book for parishes to get for the entire parish family. Not only is it packed with great information, but perhaps the best thing is that people will actually read it! So many people today won’t even give a second glance to a “full-sized” book. A Minute in the Church: The Mass is small enough so as not to be intimidating. And with each chapter taking only a minute to read, people get the information quickly and concisely. They will read it! After all, isn’t that the goal?
To introduce this book to parishes, we’re offering a free copy to any priest or DRE who requests one. The request must come from the priest or DRE. If that’s you, just send an email to sales@GusLloyd.com, along with the name and address of your parish and we’ll send you a copy at no cost. I believe when you see this amazing resource, you’ll want everyone in the parish to have a copy. If you’re not a priest or DRE, please forward a link to this post to your priest or DRE and ask them to contact us.
Finally, we have a special offer for the launch of the new book. You can get a copy of A Minute in the Church, A Minute in the Church Volume II and A Minute in the Church: The Mass – all three books – for just $10. And, just as with my other two A Minute in the Church books, we will be offering A Minute in the Church: The Mass for just $1 a copy when purchased in bulk. We want every Catholic to have these books! The new book goes on sale Tuesday, September 1, 2015.
I hope you’ll pray for this outreach effort. And get copies for yourself, your family and your parish! Help us bring back the awe!