By: Sven Ruygrok Let me be short, sweet and to the point. Short, because well, I stand an impressive 1.68m off the ground. Sweet because I will share with you a sweetness that no sugary substance on earth could ever compare to and to the point; I will try describe that sharp tool and weapon that pierced my heart – The Mass. Let me not rush too far ahead… I was never this enthusiastic about the Mass. In fact, I disliked it as much as a child dislikes those terrifyingly green trees of broccoli. Church to me was a mold infested structure, the stench of cheap incense plastered to the walls, creaky creepy wooden floors, eunuchs in dresses and odd people who seemed quite content with sitting and standing more than what is required in your an average day job. I would always find a somewhat amusing statue or painting of Christ hanging on a cross, His face either in extreme discomfort or looking like a clown (thanks to some artist who took it upon themselves to reinvent the image of Christ using the leftover sticky crayons in the cry chapel room). The word home for me was not associated with Church. So what changed? A massive white dove, with wings of fury, breathed down my neck whilst I was falling asleep one day in Mass. The air that slid off its wings, as it descended, had enough force to knock my relaxed ribcage back into its ridged structure. No, this is not what happened although I really wish it were that dramatic. It was, quite simply, God’s gentle hand toiling the soil in my heart one day at a time. A slow and labored process. Which I fought with teenage-tenacity. I went, obligingly, to Mass every Sunday. Was involved with various activities and ministries within the Church from a young age. Realized early on, that I was lacking something. Identity. I would immerse myself in all sorts of things to find validation and acceptance. Desperately shouting out… “Do you see me? Do you see me? Am I enough?” Suddenly I had to pull on the reins that I had kept slack for so long, waiting for someone or something else to make the decisions for me. I had to go back to the source of my faith. Acceptance. Acceptance in God’s abounding love for me just as I am. I had to allow myself to hear His voice call out to me: “Sven, you are my beloved in whom I am well pleased.” Where would I most likely hear His voice and, more importantly, where was this hotline number to God? For it was clearly not in the yellow pages or scribbled on an old drug-dealt napkin. No, I found it in the very heart of our faith… The Mass To decipher God’s voice and to foster a relationship with Him I first had to figure out why the heck I was being drawn back to this historically old building (which I called the conclave of the order of the institute of Religion), and what actually was going on in the Mass that made these seemingly odd people so joyful? Through conversation, relationship with people in my community and copious amounts of research it hit me like today’s media (fast and in your face). The Eucharist is ALIVE! The Host that you receive is not a thing; it’s not a piece of an ice-cream cone. It is a Person and – He. Is. Alive. Angels fall prostrate before the Blessed Sacrament! Angels? Those beings who dwell constantly in the presence of God bow down? Yes! And yet I stand in line with my mind filled with my own self-absorbed distractions, shuffling my flip-flop feet to God. Indifferently. This was a hard realization and it caused me to really examine my attitudes and why I was doing what I was doing. My second head slap was: The Mass is heaven on Earth. As human beings, we are limited to time and space. God is unlimited and transcends time and space. The Pascal Mystery is: the unique event of history which does not pass away; Jesus dies, is buried, rises from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the father “once for all” (#1085 catechism) What?? Basically this means the sacrifice of the Eucharist (Mass) is not an isolated, individual event. Each time a Mass is offered it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ. At every Mass, we are celebrating (not repeating (#1104)) Jesus’ supreme act of love for us. So this is what blew my mind: Each time we say Mass we are joining with all of heaven and earth in celebrating that one eternal liturgy. When the priest says: “Now, let us join in the choirs of angels as they sing their unending hymn of praise”… BOOM! We are joining in with heaven, all the angels, and saints who are constantly singing, constantly celebrating the one Mass. We are not praying alone or only with other people in the Church. We are praying together with the whole Church – all over the world and in heaven. You GAIN! Gym junkies will know that the most important part of bodybuilding is diet. And it’s true for our spiritual bodies too. Each time you receive the Eucharist you are gaining! You are obtaining graces needed for your soul to flourish in this world. Entering into communion is a personal encounter with Christ where you unite your entire being with Him and He with you and you become “one flesh.” Since this small yet powerful realisation, my heart has been drawn to daily Mass. It’s the coffee to kick start my day and without it, I feel quite lost. And no, I don’t feel obligated to go, I want to. I wake up and run towards that building, arms outstretched and as I enter I can hear God’s voice calling out to me: “God’s Hotline… Welcome home”. About The Author Sven Ruygrok Im a mad man, actor, film addict, motivational speaker and knick-nack lover with a hunger for life.