Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Morning Mass

Hilaire Belloc set out on his walk from Toul to Rome, with the intention of attending Mass every morning along the way.  That goal was immediately spoiled as Mass was finished by the time he arrived in the first town.  He struggled to understand his extreme disappointment and irritability about having missed, which led him to meditate on What's The Big Deal Already?  His conclusion: daily morning Mass is a source of continual comfort for him for the following reasons:

1)  That for half-an-hour just at the opening of the day you are silent and recollected, and have to put off cares, interests, and passions in the repetition of a familiar action.  This must certainly be a great benefit to the body and give it tone.

2) That the Mass is a careful and rapid ritual.  Now it is the function of all ritual (as we see in games, social arrangements, and so forth) to relieve the mind by so much of responsibility and initiative and to catch you up into itself, leading your life for you during the time it lasts.  In this way you experience a singular repose, after which fallowness I am sure one is fitter for action and judgment.  

3)  That the surroundings incline you to good and reasonable thoughts, and for the moment deaden the rasp and jar of that busy wickedness which both working in one's self and received from others is the true source of all human miseries.  Thus the time spent at Mass is like a short repose in a deep and well-built library, into which no sounds come and where you feel yourself secure against the outer world.

4)  And the most important cause of this feeling of satisfaction is that you are doing what the human race has done for thousands upon thousands upon thousands of years.  This is a matter of such moment that I am astonished people hear of it so little.  Whatever is buried right into our blood from immemorial habit that we must be certain to do if we are to be fairly happy (of course no grown man or woman can really be very happy for long--but I mean reasonably happy), and, what is more important, decent and secure of our souls. 

--The Path to Rome

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