Saint Joseph’s :: Resources :: GIRM

A baby’s hand touching an adult’s.

GIRM Gathering

Those who have received the grace of baptism are not saved as individuals alone, but as members of the Mystical Body.

John Paul II - Dies Domini

It’s not uncommon to hear people say things like, “I believe in God, but I’m not into organised religion” or, “I don’t need to go to church to pray“. On the whole, those sorts of sentiments indicate something about a person’s view, not so much about prayer, but of God. For them, God is a thing, an object. Phrases such as ‘a higher power’ or ‘a higher logic’ are common. God may well be those things, but our approach must be one of building a relationship - an intimate relationship. And not just with God, but also with the members of Christ’s body. As the church teaches: you can’t be saved on your own.

     So how do we start to build a relationship with the Creator of the Universe? Scientists tell us that the universe is so large that, even if we could travel at the speed of light, it would take us thirty billion years to travel across it. Numbers like that are difficult to make much sense of. The universe is just so vast, and it’s just as difficult to create a mental picture of the God who could create such a universe. And again, how do we approach this Creator of the Universe? Well, the meeting point was given to us when Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me”.

“If you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering.”

Matthew Chapter 5, Verses 17-37

     Just as you can’t be saved on your own, you can’t share a meal on your own, and you can’t respond to Jesus’ command to “Do this in remembrance of me” on your own. We need each other as we approach God, and that is very much emphasised in the Gathering part of the mass. We begin by standing and singing together. We respond to the priest’s greeting together. We say sorry to God together and we pray together. But our unity must go deeper than the these physical things. It’s well known that Jesus said we must be reconciled with each other. Equally true, is that we must learn charity for each other. There are no kings and queens at mass, no lords and ladies; we’re all the People of God. If we find ourselves looking down at someone else there, we need to recognise what we’re doing and pray for a change of heart. Before we approach the Word of God. Before we approach the altar.

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