The Simple Act of Attending Daily Mass - Letter from Lindsey Harrison
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For some reason I initially struggled to find the right words to string together for this letter. I don’t know why. Words are usually very easy for me. Half the time, I don’t stop talking! But the more and more I got writing and was able to focus my thoughts, the more easily the words flowed. (Note: this is definitely not my first draft!). It was as if I struggled to pinpoint how exactly Christ has transformed me, and not only pinpoint it, but turn it into a coherent, encouraging, and “meaningful” story to share with you here. But, oh, what a great problem that is! How fortunate am I to have been formed and loved in such a way that I didn’t know how to condense and make sense of all that I could say. I do know, though, that it has been in the little moments along the way that my mind stops racing and takes in the still small voice of Jesus in the present that the love and reality of God have been revealed to me in undeniable, tender, and personal ways that have changed me for the better.
Sometimes, you never really notice how you or your life are changing in the midst of it all. Gradually, things just become your new normal. But looking back, you can see how quickly things changed. That’s exactly how my love story with Christ has been. In the moment, I didn’t realize what was happening or how my heart was being rebuilt, but reflecting over the past two years, especially this past year, I am filled with gratitude and humbled by how quickly and intimately He drew me into Himself; I didn’t even realize the moments I was developing the one thing in my life that defines the core of my existence. But now I see them with a clarity only Christ can give. Let me tell you, though, I wasn’t always this way, and didn’t always speak of Jesus the way I have in this letter.
When I started college, life seemed to be coming at me from all directions. For the sake of writing a letter (which will still probably be too long) and not an autobiography, we can just say that most of my first year is a blur and I spent the summer after my freshman year reflecting on how I was made for more and had potential for such a more meaningful relationship with the person I supposedly believed to be receiving every Sunday. I had been raised Catholic and been practicing and “striving” my entire life. I in no sense of the word “fell away”, but I sure as heck didn’t grow deeper. And I knew that’s what I was made for. To not be stagnant, but to come to know Jesus, the man who knows me and calls me by name. So with a new year in life and a new grade in school, I challenged myself to go to daily mass once a week in order to make that happen. And how holy did I think I was. I mean, I was a busy college student and I went to church twice a week! It was in daily mass that my life was changed.
Mind still going a mile a minute, as some things are just always the same, I would enter the church and pray a little before mass, and then just sit there in silence until mass began. Not pray for anything in particular, not reflect on anything specific, just sit for the 5 or 10 minutes until the priest entered. I knew I had to let God have a chance to speak to me, and this effort of going to the smaller and simpler masses, with no obligation whatsoever, this was me saying to Him, “Okay God, I want to know you more because I know that will make me the best version of myself, but I need you to help me out. I’m here, do what you want.”
And sisters, the changes that happened as a result of not only going to daily and Sunday mass, but enjoying them, have truly changed my heart, my life, and how I see myself in this world. It was through the times of surrender and trying to quiet my mind, to invite someone who was hard to see into the very essence of who I was, that I set my sights on sainthood and heaven. One daily mass a week led to two, or three, or just as many as I could make happen in a particular week. If I was struggling with schoolwork and all things college, but had been able to make it to mass 5 days in a row, it was still a really good week. The holy hours that I was afraid to attend because I didn’t know all the words to the Latin prayers, or what God would place in my heart when I showed up to talk about all the things that keep my mind racing, those changed me too.
I keep going to mass and adoration (aka to see Jesus!) because I have never left without feeling better than I did when I walked in the church doors. Jesus has yet to disappoint me, and I have fallen so in love with Him because He has given me everything I never even knew I needed. I didn’t know how well I was being loved, formed, and saved until I looked back, even for the purposes of this letter, and saw how much I had changed and fallen in love.
My heart has been made new in the moments of walking into the church, saying “hey Jesus… I’m here… I love you… Do your thing… I want to be made perfect and more closely united to you”. And, oh, how He has done his thing! This is what I am here to encourage you to do, friends, to run to God and develop a relationship with Him. Get to know the man that died for you. The man, the God, that thought uniquely of you when he gave us the Eucharist and entered his Passion. It has given me so much life and is the most important thing about who I am today. That I am loved by Love Himself. What joy, freedom, and strength comes in knowing how deeply you are cared for and pursued, and how much the Lord rejoices whenever you, specifically you, his daughter and beloved, turn to Him in all times.
So while my mind still continues to race, while I still very frequently fall victim to the pressures and temptations of this world, I can without a doubt say that Christ is the reason that I can overcome. Even though my prayer and relationship with Him is not perfect, that I sin and get frustrated when I don’t immediately see how He is answering me, I still know how good He is because of how I have seen myself change. When I have least expected it, God has shown me in ways that only He knew would speak to me the deepest, how much He longs for me to run to Him. And that, sisters, has changed my life. In the good and bad times in our lives- all of it- Jesus wants to embrace us, show us his Love and Truth, and change us for the better, we just have to let Him “do His thing.”
I encourage you to go to daily mass. Maybe get there early. Sit and stare at the tabernacle. Reflect on a prayer. Be in the silence. Visualize Christ the man there with you, because He really is. While I am far from being perfect and my mind still races, I have come to know and love the one thing, the one person, who sets it all right. The still small voice speaks to all of us, and I have come to find that the more we seek to hear it, the more deeply it calls and transforms.
If we don’t meet in this life, I know I will see and know you in Heaven!
Through Jesus and Mary,
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Hi friends! My name is Lindsey, often referred to as Linds or Lindsey Kate by my friends, and I just recently turned 21 years old. This fall I will be entering my senior year at the University of Florida where I study Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience and Leadership, hoping to go into the medical field in the near future. Born and raised in Florida by parents who are from New England, I have an equal love for both sunshine and the beach as well as mountains and the cold. I love my beautiful friends and family, all kinds of food, being outside, making the simple things exciting, and making people laugh. An avid fan of personality tests, I am summed up pretty well by the classifications of a choleric and sanguine temperament and an ESFJ personality. But above all else, I am a Catholic and the daughter of a relentless Father. My joy, strength, confidence, passion, quirkiness, peace, motivation, love, desire for adventure, and the breath in my lungs all come from the Lord. Life is a gift and the giver is good!
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