07 October 2021, The Tablet

Topic of the week: Choosing the world before God


I’m no hardened conservative, but I’m astonished that Frank Graham and Henry Mayr-Harting (Letters, 11 and 25 September) don’t see that deliberately choosing to miss Sunday Mass must be a grave sin.

God’s gift of the whole Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity, in the Eucharist, to us in communion with other members of his mystical body, is the ultimate gift of gifts, the love of loves. Damnation is total separation from God, self-chosen through unrepented acts against love. In human life, to refuse a lover’s gift is the extreme insult. To refuse God’s – the infinite lover’s – gift is insult on an infinite scale.

To take Sunday Mass, the Communion of the whole Body of Christ since the Christian beginning, as just one among many possible ways of spending a Sunday, is secularist in theory and something infinitely worse in practice. The Church in charity recognises that the world often gives one no choice but to be busy with secular matters at Mass-time. Deliberately choosing the world before God is something quite different.

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