The Dam Has Cracks
I think many people are feeling the ill effects of not attending Mass or attending virtually. Some of my friends, who I used to see all the time at Sunday Mass, have stopped going regularly. And while they may not think they feel any different by not attending Mass, I see changes in their personalities and general happiness. This may be due to other circumstances, but not having the Mass as the spiritual anchor makes dealing with life’s challenges all the more difficult.
Skipping weekly Mass is like a leak in a dam holding back water. As you skip Mass, more “cracks” tend to develop because the overall integrity of the dam is compromised. None of those cracks may be huge and individually, they don’t threaten the dam’s overall stability. But when combined, all those small cracks threaten the dam’s overall integrity causing it to fall apart.
The dam in this parable is our faith. On the dry side is our soul. The water being held back is all the influences in this world. It’s a mixture of sins and emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, joy, doubt, and calmness. Our faith acts as a barrier protecting ourselves from the torrent of sin and emotion. But as those leaks start to form, those sins and emotions start to manifest themselves more in our lives. If there are too many leaks causing the dam (our faith) to fail, those “waters” of sin and emotion will completely flood and destroy our lives.
No Joy, Only Anxiety
From my personal experience, I’m starting to see spiritual “cracks” in some people. I notice a greater sense of anxiety and unhappiness in those who stopped attending Mass regularly. They tend to complain about everything in their lives. Every inconvenience is a crisis requiring someone to blame and be punished. They have replaced joy with anxiety.
We’re also seeing this general anxiety play out over the internet. Something happens locally in one part of the world, and the next thing you know, the Twitterverse is in an uproar. There are millions of people whose lives are affected by what’s on social media or the 24-hour news cycle. Without the Mass, they’re losing the ability to counter-balance the craziness of the world.
Many of us couldn’t go to Mass during the Covid lockdowns or we attended virtually. Most of us didn’t have a choice. But that was a crack in our faith that needed immediate patching. And thank God, many of us did fix that crack. As soon as the churches opened, we were right back in those pews. But there are a significant number of people that developed more spiritual “cracks” by not returning to the Church. The tragedy is that they may not see how their absence from the sacraments and the Catholic community contributes to their fears and anxieties.
We have challenges in front of us to bring people back to their spiritual home and the greater Catholic family. We have to compete with endless entertainment options, less free time from school and work, and government and media hostile to religion and our values.
Related: Is Discipleship More Challenging Today? Five Modern Hurdles to Ministry | Desiring God
Related: What’s the role of religion as social trust unravels in American public life? — GetReligion
Loving our Neighbor with the Rosary
What do we do now? I suggest starting with meditating on the Second Joyful Mystery, The Visitation. This mystery’s fruit is loving our neighbor. Mary went out and helped her cousin Elizabeth despite being pregnant herself. We too should help our brothers and sisters in Christ who have fallen away from the Church recently. We need to pray because we need Mary’s help in approaching this delicate topic. We can’t just get into peoples’ faces and start quoting the Catechism. Prayer will help us know what route to take. It may mean working with your parish pastor or finding the right words in a conversation. Prayer also will allow the Holy Spirit to work within people’s souls.